Notes on Coexistence

This article is currently unfinished.

You know what Jewish women love? They love putting that one "Coexist" bumper sticker on their minivans. I would know, I grew up surrounded by these people. It was only recently that I learned that there might be a reason for that: it was made for a contest held by the Museum on the Seam, an Israeli museum. It's not just any Israeli museum, it's one dedicated to mutual understanding and conflict in the modern world. Of course a bunch of well-off women, far away from any conflict zone, would love plastering their vehicles with a vapid signifier. (I'm not just falling back on Jewish stereotypes when I say that they were well-off, these people genuinely had pretty comfy lives.)

As much as I'm shitting on a piece of vapid graphic design, I have to admit that coexistence is undeniably desirable. How can one even think about living comfortably when all of the neighbors hate you? Therefore, it should be necessary to consider what makes coexistence possible.

Coexistence between ethnic groups and and coexistence between religions are often intertwined, and hence are commonly lumped together into the broad category of "multicultural" coexistence. Today, it is common to see people lamenting that we don't have enough of this sort. The status of a multicultural society is often coveted, upheld as a gold standard that few have ever been able to implement.

Except, this conception is actually anachronistic. There have been plenty of successul multicultural societies throughout history. Which societies are these? Simple: go on your preferred search engine, search "list of largest empires," then come back here.

Perhaps some of you are surprised by the seeming display of brazen imperialism. Wouldn't a successful multicultural society necessarily be democratic? First of all, those descriptions are not actually antonyms, but I digress. Let's entertain this hypothesis for a second. The United States, for all of its serious faults, has been held up as the pinnacle of modern liberal democracy. Is America not a multicultural society? After all, is it not the proverbial Melting Pot that accepts all races, cultures, and creeds? Frankly, such a conception is laughable. Of course, the US contains multiple ethnic groups and members of different religions, that is undeniable. However, the conception of the Melting Pot is what is laughable.

America does not have cultures, it has demographics. (I apologize if I subconciously stole this quote from somewhere, it's just too good.)

Filler for later.

I am reminded of the LaRouche movement's relatively recent slogan: "Drop the Brits, join the BRICS." All five members of BRICS are commonly cited as multiethnic societies, with Brazil even having the conception of "racial democracy" tied to it (though Brazilian reality is much rougher than this implies), while Russia is home to Kazan, often held abroad as a example of Christian-Muslim tolerance. China has been criticized, particularly recently, for its treatment of the people of the Autonomous Regions of Tibet and Xinjiang, though given that much of this criticism is promoted for ulterior purposes by the US State Department, this should be taken critically. (I do not wish to imply that China is secretly a paragon of antiracism, because there is plenty of racism in China, though I highly doubt you'll ever see policy wonks making as much of a big deal out of, say, racism against African migrant workers in Chinese cities, because that would hit too close to home.)

While much of the content of the LaRouche slogan is based on his reindustrialization program, I sense some amount of affinity towards countries that the United States is, spiritually, more similar to than it is to many European nations. Everyone knows of the American Dream, but there is no Spanish Dream, Polish Dream, Slovenian Dream, Dutch Dream, or similar. Anything resembling these in a European country is at best an exported version of the American Dream repackaged for the local populace. You know what does exist? There is such a thing as a Chinese Dream, a vision of the future natively conceived by Chinese people. Could there perhaps be a Russian Dream? The Eurasianists seem to think so, but their influence is exaggerated by foreign observers (including their admirers, of which I am something of one). Still, Putin's increasing assertiveness has even won over many "dissident" voices. Remember that his campaign in the 2000 election was predicated on the notion of him being a modernizing force, one to bring Russia into the new millenium, in contrast to both Brezhnev-style conservatism and Gorbachev-style imitation. A Brazilian Dream definitely exists, though I frankly don't know enough to say if it is qualitatively different from other Latin American ethea.

This article is currently unfinished.