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Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Failure of Multiculturalism?


Much is being made of British PM David Cameron's speech in which he claims that state sponsored multiculturalism has failed and is in some ways responsible for the rise of Islamic extremism and terrorism. Highlights from Cameron's speech can be found here and a full transcript can be found here.

As Jacobson at Legal Insurrection mentions "Cameron was not criticizing multi-racial or multi-ethnic societies; he was proclaiming the failure of policies which sought to segregate and separate groups in the name of multiculturalism rather than assimilating them into existing cultures." That is important to understand.

Like so many other failed European policies eagerly pursued by the American Left, multiculturalism has proven to be a political and social disaster in Europe. What has developed after its implementation, as Cameron noted, is an overriding sense of disconnection and alienation. This is hardly a surprise when introducing immigrants into a situation where their original culture essentially no longer applies due to the geographic setting, and the surrounding culture is both unaccepting (although "tolerantly" so) and inapproachable.

Particularly interesting is when Cameron promotes the idea of "active, muscular liberalism" as opposed to a "passively tolerant society". Differentiating between the two, Cameron said "A passively tolerant society says to its citizens, as long as you obey the law we will just leave you alone. It stands neutral between different values. But I believe a genuinely liberal country does much more; it believes in certain values and actively promotes them. Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality. It says to its citizens, this is what defines us as a society: to belong here is to believe in these things."

Of course Cameron is talking about classical liberalism, and not the current, common American usage of "liberal" stemming from the Left's usurpation of the title.

I have long held the belief that the much vaunted value of "tolerance" is not nearly enough when different races and ethnicities interact. Tolerance is merely a place to start, and should not be thought of as a goal of any significance-- much the way starting a car is not a significant goal when driving from Los Angeles to New York. The result of mere tolerance, left on its own, can be seen across Western Europe now, and yet how often is tolerance held up to be the key and end all to racial harmony in America?

As Obama and the American Left have gone into overdrive to stress identity politics and to promote the alienating position in universities, it would be wise to look over the Western European example. The results of mere tolerance and multiculturalism is fully exhibited there, and, as is being admitted by an increasing number of politicians, it's an utter failure.

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