The Post-National Cult of Diversity Promotes Authoritarian Intolerance

“There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada. … Those qualities are what make us the first post-national state.” — Justin Trudeau, 2015. Throughout history, populations with sufficient historical, […]
Published on March 18, 2024
“There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada. … Those qualities are what make us the first post-national state.” — Justin Trudeau, 2015.

Throughout history, populations with sufficient historical, geographic, linguistic, economic, religious, and cultural attachments have flourished within the borders of unified nation-states.

Few modern nation-states fit a uniform definition. In countries such as Canada and the United States, two or more nations, regions, colonies, and tribes learned to prosper together within a negotiated constitutional order.

Not all nations insist on total sovereignty as a condition of their existence. Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged this when he put forward a parliamentary motion recognizing that the Québécois form a historical “nation” within the united Dominion of Canada.

In 2006, Members of Parliament overwhelmingly supported Mr. Harper’s motion, but it was notable that Justin Trudeau, a rising star in the Liberal Party of Canada, regarded the recognition of a Quebec nation as an “old idea from the 19th century.” He said it was “based on a smallness of thought.”

After Canada’s 2015 election, Mr. Trudeau decided he had been selected to lead the world’s first “post-national state.” He said Canada had “no mainstream.” The new PM insisted that nationalist sentiments should be replaced by “shared values—openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, to search for equality and justice.” Canada’s doors were to be open to the world.
In March 2016, the Trudeau family received a warm welcome at the Obama White House. Forgetting years of reciprocal visits with the former PM, Mr. Harper, the U.S. president enthused that “Today, we are very proud to welcome the first official visit by a Canadian Prime Minister in nearly 20 years—it’s about time, eh?”

For the cosmopolitan left, the period between November 2015 and November 2016 was a pivotal moment in history. A U.S. president who had rejected the idea of “American exceptionalism” and a Canadian Prime Minister who said his country had “no core identity” were in perfect accord with a growing cabal of international plutocrats who disapproved of nationalism and looked forward to the emergence of a borderless, new world order.

Globalists were convinced that a higher form of humanity could be achieved through a new trifecta of values known as “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” The only people standing in their way were pesky British Brexiters and Donald J. Trump.

Modern Origins of Anti-Nationalism

The post-modern left has always insisted that patriotism is a precursor to fascism. Since the late 1960s, Western intellectuals have deceptively linked nationalism and patriotism with the cultural values of Nazi Germany. For neo-Marxist intellectuals, affirming the merits of one’s nation is symptomatic of an authoritarian personality.

Following the fall of the Iron Curtain in the late 20th century, “global integration” became an increasingly popular vision among international policy experts. World Economic Forum patricians proposed a superior morality to be guided by a “Great Reset.”

The left insisted that problems such as climate change, inequality, racism, and poverty called for bold solutions. As a result, a “one-world government” paradigm came to occupy the center of academic thought. Universities in North America and Europe routinely advertised for positions in “global governance,” a term that few would have recognized a decade earlier.

Western literary elites rushed to defend the idea of post-nationalism. Writing in The Guardian in 2017, Canadian novelist Charles Foran said, “First and foremost, post-nationalism is a frame to understand our ongoing experiment in filling a vast yet unified geographic space with the diversity of the world.”

The presumed genius of leaders such as Mr. Trudeau and President Obama promised to usher in a new era of diversity and inclusion that would make our world a kinder and gentler place.

The Old Diversity and the New

Over recent years, several scholars have adopted a more skeptical view of the post-national bromides being passed off as “diversity and inclusion.”

For example, University of Kent emeritus professor of sociology Frank Furedi argues that “diversity” is not “a value in and of itself.” He regards the present-day version of diversity as the foundation for a new form of authoritarianism.

In a January Substack article, Mr. Furedi pointed out that the meaning of diversity has been fundamentally altered.

“In the past the affirmation of difference ran in parallel with the celebration of the organic bonds that tied communities to their ancestors,” he wrote.

This older form of diversity promised that the cultural freedom of local districts, tribes, races, religions, and immigrant communities could be respected within a justly established legal and constitutional order. It was a model that inspired the loyalty of citizens in modern nation-states such as the United States and Canada.

Post-national diversity means something entirely different. Mr. Furedi argues that “the current version of diversity is abstract and often administratively created. It is frequently imposed from above and affirmed through rules and procedure.”

He goes on to assert: “The artificial character of diversity is demonstrated by its reliance on legal and quasi-legal instruments. There is a veritable army of bureaucrats and inspectors who are assigned the role of enforcing diversity related rules. The unnatural and artificial character of diversity is illustrated by the fact that it must be taught.”

Dogmatic Diversity and the Decline of Freedom

Over the past 75 years, the left has promoted diversity as a remedy for discrimination. By the late 1960s, it had acquired a sacred importance. Mr. Furedi contends that “the main driver of this development was the politicisation of identity.”

He quotes the philosopher Christopher Lasch: “In practice, diversity turns out to legitimise a new dogmatism, in which rival minorities take shelter behind a set of beliefs impervious to rational discussion.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Furedi writes, “diversity has proved to be an enemy of tolerance.”

Radical proponents of diversity and inclusion reject debate and demand conformity. They have no qualms about limiting fundamental liberties, particularly free speech. The totalitarian temptations within this cult are akin to the impulses of an ancient creed or a communist dictatorship. No one is free to disagree, and there is little kindness in a dogma that has become the foundational value for 21st-century authoritarians.

Ten years ago, post-nationalist politicians such as President Obama and Mr. Trudeau found it easy to sell woke elites the same unfounded assumptions they had already acquired in university.

Today, free-thinking common folks are becoming considerably tired of serving the appetites of false prophets.



William Brooks is a Senior Fellow at Frontier Centre For Public Policy. This commentary was first published in The Epoch Times here.

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