What appears to be a clash of civilizations is really a tension that has always been present within all cultures between two groups which I will designate as A and B.
Group A consists of the upholders of anachronistic values, ancient worldviews, and deep-seated cultural insecurity because Group B seems to be on the right side of history.
Group B consists of the awakened sections of society who are striving to replace older visions and worldviews with newer ones.
There are elements in the older frameworks which are intrinsically good, and also quite a few elements which are intrinsically evil.
The tension between the two groups has always been there within all cultures and societies throughout human history.
For various reasons, in the Western world, by and large Group B succeeded in gaining an upper hand. Group A is still present in the Western world, trying to regain its traditional supremacy. Groups A still dominant in many Non-Western societies.
Because of this, it seems as if the clash is between two civilizations. Actually it is between the two groups, also brought into the international arena. There are protagonists and fighters of both groups in the Non-West as well as in the West.
Honor-killing, widow-burning, caste hierarchy, untouchability, racism, gender inequality, economic disparity, religious intolerance, sectarian bigotry, God-invoking fanaticism, oppression of weaker peoples, colonialism, and social injustice are among the evil components of bygone ages which ought to be eradicated for the benefit of human societies at large, but which have supporters in various parts of the world.
Multiculturalism in the sense of respecting the positive elements of all religions and cultures, and making all citizens welcome and become part of a larger culture based on Group B principles was one of the greatest achievements of the last quarter of the twentieth century in the modern world.
However, an increasing number of people in Europe, Australia, and the U.S., as also some Western governments, are beginning to feel that multiculturalism is a failing framework because they see/fear that many immigrants from some Non-Western cultures want to persist in belonging to Group A in the versions of their place of origin, and some are even wanting to transform the West into its earlier Group A dominant phase.
This struggle for power between Group B and Group A is at the toot of much of the malaise in the world. In the view of the enlightened minority in the world, healthy survival of civilization calls for the success of Group B all over the world.
It is not clear if this will eventually happen, given that the counter forces (within nations and among nations) are quite strong and are scheming and agitating for their own victory.
October 14, 2012