Occasionally, I google the words ‘culturism’ and ‘culturist,’ to make sure I’m still on the first page of search results. Recently, Willem Schinkel’s book, ‘Imagined Societies: A Critique of Immigrant Immigration in Western Europe,’ appeared in my search. Why?
It has an entire chapter on the ‘Rise of Culturism’! But, oddly, Schinkel’s book never references me, my book entitled ‘Culturism,’ or my decade of articles on the topic.
I emailed Schinkel to ask why my work had been ignored. In his response, he let me know that he’d been using the terms ‘culturism’ and ‘culturist’ as long as I had! And, he confirmed that we seem to use the term in the same way, (though I am for culturism and he’s against it). But, Schinkel’s email ignored my question about why my work had not been cited.
After some thought, I concluded that it was because my book is self-published and I mostly write for blogs, not academic journals. His avoiding me is a part of academia’s general insular disconnection from common folk and logic. This, in turn, parallels standard politicians’ insular disconnection from common voters and logic.
Just as Trump’s rise showed the populaces’ readiness to drain the political swamp, Schinkel’s book shows how we can drain the academic swamp.
ATTACKING THE WEST
Sneakily, Schinkel’s title, ‘Imagined Societies’, riffs on Benedict Anderson’s ‘Imagined Communities,’ meme. Anderson claims that nations only really started in the early industrial revolution via newspaper readers having an imagined shared community. Thus Schinkel’s title shows that he too thinks ‘society’ is just made up. (40)
This assumption justifies obnoxious statements, full of dismissive quotes, like the following: “Thus national discussions often involve the invocation of a supposedly civilizational heritage. Thus, in various countries “Islam” is constructed as clashing with national cultures, but only because these are “Western” or “enlightened.” (82) Yes! He puts ‘Islam’ and ‘Western’ in quotes!
Of course, to a certain extent, the West is a continually recreated and reinforced social construct. It is made out of banners, anthems, stories, family lines, etc. But it is not true, as Schinkel writes, “that ‘society’ does not exist independently of imagination.” (6) Since multicellular organisms began, groups have pervaded the natural world. Packs of wolves are not just ‘imagined.’
Yes, Cardinal Richelieu (1585 – 1642) strengthened the French state, language and identity. But, he codified standard French, not Mandarin. Charlemagne and Charles the Hammer existed. England goes back to the 8th century at least. Western nations are not just recent, artificial constructs.
Schnikel attacks the reality of ‘society,’ rather than ‘the West.’ Thus he avoids discussions of Christendom’s roots in Athens and Jerusalem. To beat him we need only mention the Islamic conquest of Spain, the battle of Vienna and the Crusades. This tactic will also defeat his attempts to whitewash Islam.
In right-wingers’ minds, Schinkel writes, “”Islam” is imagined as an intolerant culture.” (168) (Yes, again, Islam is in quotes). But, nothing undermines such snarky quotes like Islam’s death penalty for apostasy. I dare him to go to announce Islam’s ‘imagined’ status in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran or any other Islamic republic.
Schinkel says the ‘clash of civilizations model’ created a “hegemonic frame of antagonism. In fact, the antagonism may be a result of an articulation.”  Again, the Crusades, wars for Vienna and conquest of Spain happened. These did not result from the way academics framed reality.
ATTACKING SCHINKEL’S MAIN ARGUMENTS
Schinkel’s overall argument is as follows:
Multiculturalist policy has never really been tried in Europe. 1960 Europe just ignored immigrant culture as it was assumed guest workers would repatriate. Culturists made up the myth of failed multicultural policy to justify calls for integration. This, in turn, reinforces the false ideas that western society exists and that Islam is inconsistent with it.
Schinkel wants to undermine culturists’ myth of a failed multiculturalism so that Muslims can live lives of dignity and we can discuss their economic marginalization without prejudice. Instead, he has provided an example of multiculturalists’ weaknesses, that we culturists can exploit!
Schinkel’s argument requires a revolting, pathological denial of terrorism. In discussing the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh for making a film critical of Islam, he rues that the “Moroccan community” (Yes, in quotes) must answer for it to “Dutch society,” (Yes, also in quotes). (21) Schinkel and his ilk must be condemned for their heartless, dangerous excuses for Jihad and the consequent blood on their hands.
We must also counter the multiculturalists’ assertion that cultural diversity is not real or important. Schinkel sneers, “The culturist turn explicitly relates the negative socioeconomic indicators (including the emergence of a migrant underclass) to “culture.” (124) Yes! Culture impacts economic and educational outcomes. Immigrant groups’ failures point to cultural diversity being real, not white racism.
In a lengthy jargon-laden tirade on gender, Schinkel claims the Muslim, “Body is accused of having loyalties to foreign bodies and to premodern sexual practices and gender relations.” (165) Thus he belittles child brides, victims of honor killing and of female genital mutilation. The culturist book, “The Paradoxical Alliance,” explains that the Left’s hypocritical stance on gays, women and Islam is the Left’s weakness!
Schinkel understands how paradoxical multiculturalists’ stance is. He writes, “The current strength of culturism lies in its possibility of uniting opposites: it brings together the political left and right, proponents of Enlightenment and Romantics, feminists and conservatives, Christians and secularists – all under the heading of a “modern dominant culture.” (170) We can win.
Wide swaths of western society recognize the danger Islam poses to the West. Nearly every decent western person is against Islam’s promotion of violence, aggression and atrocities. Yet academic insiders like Schinkel denigrate those who state the obvious. The PC Left goes after people’s livelihoods and freedom for making obvious culturist observations.
The premises of Schnikel’s argument, (as well as his snarky-quotes strategy), point directly at the breach with common sense that can trigger a major culturist backlash! Calls for integration that recognize and promote awareness of western culture are exactly what we want. And our concerns are not just ‘imagined.’
CULTURISM OR RACISM
The full title of Schinkel’s chapter on culturism reads, “Transformations of Racism and the Rise of Culturism.” In this chapter he lays out the argument sketched above wherein culturists use the myth of failed multiculturalism to argue for integration, describes aspects culturism and considers whether or not culturism is just a new form of racism.
Schinkel practically gawks at the cleverness within which culturism can deny charges of racism and cultural prejudice. Culturism, as he notes, only talks about the existence of western culture and preserving it on western soil. Yet, he still accuses culturism of being like racism for ‘essentializing’ – that is, positively defining – Islam, rather than qualifying depictions with quotation marks. This argument is weak. As Socrates told the sophists, without terms we can’t have discussions.
Schinkel’s comparison of racism and culturism fails on two accounts. First, he fails to see the subtlety that ‘culturism’ not being ‘racism’ affords. From a culturist point of view, Hindus can assimilate easier than their equally dark Islamic brethren. So his critique wherein no Islamic person can ever be western due to their skin color, shows a very shallow understanding of culturism.
Moreover, culturists acknowledge that racial IQs differ. Gladly, this helps combat the narrative wherein all achievement gaps supposedly indicate white racism. That said, culturists argue that non-whites can be patriotic, hard working western citizens. His assumption that culturists share his terror at acknowledging human biodiversity shows he has not read much culturist literature.
SCHNIKEL’S BEST CULTURIST POINT
In slamming culturist integration policies, Schinkel asks, ‘integration into what?’ He denigrates the West’s supposedly culturally neutral Enlightenment model in which individuals constantly reinvent themselves, with no reference to a culture, as hollow. He points out the inconsistency of the secular model that promotes universal tolerance and then bans, (as the French do), religious expression. I concur.
The West must end our pretended cultural neutrality. Christendom must adopt culturist laws that legally recognize and prioritize our culture. We must take pride in Western culture and its achievements. The protection of individual conscience comes from Jesus and Socrates, not Muhammad or Confucius. If the West falls, neither the Islamic world nor Asia will promote rights. We must call ‘human rights,’ ‘Western rights.’
I am glad that Schinkel wrote about the rise of culturism: It bolsters our spirits. His critique of westerners’ shallow understanding of their own culture is accurate and helpful. And, his review of culturist policies, (such as values and language tests for citizenship), highlights the practicality of the culturist vision. Best of all, he has spread the memes ‘culturist’ and ‘culturism’!
Schinkel’s work also highlights the Left’s vulnerabilities! The Left’s failure to acknowledge human biodiversity is ignorant, not virtuous. His denigrating those who denounce Islam’s stance on gays and gender, points directly at the weakness of the Left’s paradoxical alliance with Islam. But, mostly, his constant use of quotes shows the Left’s total disconnect from common sense.
Schinkel’s ‘Imagined Society’ has, unwittingly, done the culturist movement and western civilization a great service.
Dr. John Kenneth Press is the author of ‘Culturism: A Word, A Value, Our Future. He is also the author of a biography of the first person to be called a ‘culturist’ practicing ‘culturism,’ Matthew Arnold. www.culturism.us has more information.