Multiculturalism Has Failed, Say European Leaders

I’m not myself familiar enough with the details of multicultural policies in Europe to judge these comments. But in general, I agree with the notion.

Multi-culturism sounds great, and would be great if everyone was as tolerant and cosmopolitan as we’d like them to be. But in light of human history, I think that’s hopelessly naive. If you encourage people to emphasize their differences with other people, then they will separate themselves into clans on that basis, and the different clans will be rivals, and mutual dislike will ensue. It’s virtually inevitable.

Why should different clans be rivals, necessarily? Why should they dislike each other?

Apparently, that’s human nature.

It is not. It’s not my nature; it’s not been the case in multicultural areas I’ve lived in.

The failure of “multiculturalism” in Europe, such as it is, I ascribe to those countries’ failure to establish national identities which include their subcultures. Immigrants to France, and their descendants, are “Arab” (or “Algerian,” etc.) rather than “French.” Obviously that’s a problem. A true multicultural nation needs a unifying overall identity that is separate from any component culture’s identity.

We struggle with this in America, to be sure, but overall I think we’re doing better than the Europeans.

Is the mere fact that different cultural communities exist side-by-side the biggest indication of failure? Or is there some conflict between these communities in Eruope?

So it’s back to look-down-your-nose cultural superiority and ghettoization, then?

And that’s where immigration policy comes in. The numbers have to be low enough so that the culture can absorb the newcomers, and the newcomers have a defined culture in which to fit.

Or on the other hand, you could also deduce: center-right politicians in Europe and Australia (as all of your quoted sources are) have failed. In particular, they have failed to integrate their immigrant communities by means of in-name-only multicultural policies which they now seek to blame because they never supported multiculturalism in the first place. Cf. the U.S. of A. and Canada.

Two quick questions:

  1. do you think all cultures are equally good, beneficial for people to live in?

  2. do you think that a host country has a right to prefer and want to preserve their culture?

Not everyone. But enough people to make trouble.

Or enocouraging “melting pot” assimilation.

I don’t think these guys have been in power all that long, such that you can blame their specific policies.

Not sure what you mean with this.

I disagree. Multiculturalism doesn’t sound great at all; it sounds like hell. When you say that multiculturalism has “failed,” that it sounds great but belief in it is naive, you’re implying that it’s a good ideal, but one which somehow unfortunately just can’t work in real life. We must go even further than this, and say that it’s not a good ideal in the first place. The problem with multiculturalism is not that it has “failed;” it’s that it’s false, wrong, and destructive. The best way to “respect all differences” is from the other side of the globe. Good fences make good neighbors and all that.

Conservatives in America make this mistake all the time, criticizing “multiculturalism” while never criticizing or even drawing attention to the immigration of incompatible, alien groups of which multiculturalism is the inevitable result. It’s like planting a crabapple tree on your front lawn and then complaining that the lawn is littered with crabapples. “I love this tree; I just need to find a way to prevent my lawn from becoming littered with crabapples.” No, the only solution is to get rid of the tree. And notice that that’s what Sarkozy is doing here. He’s a million miles away from even questioning the immigration of non-Western peoples into France. He foolishly thinks this immigration can continue but its concomitant problems can somehow be solved.

People like Geert Wilders and the British National Party have it right. The solution is to stop the immigration.

Merkel has been in power for 6 years. Howard was in power for more than a decade, starting in 1996 (he also would be shocked to learn that Australia is in Europe). Jose Maria Aznar was PM of Spain for 8 years, also starting in 1996. Even Sarkozy has been in power for nearly 4 years (and his party has held the presidency for 16).

So for a value of “these guys” that includes David Cameron, you would be correct.

The impact of multicultural policies is not felt over 5 years or so.

Or 15, apparently.

I think he’s saying that, in the U.S. and Canada where multiculturalism is actually wanted, it works. But I would challenge putting Canada in here. They are more melting pot style. (Personally, I think France is, too, but assumed the U.K. and Australia weren’t.)

I really, really don’t understand why multiculturalism is a bad idea, though. You want people to be bigots?

But the world would be a better place if people could be good neighbors without good fences. In this sense, it sounds good.

But a guy who insists on not having fences because we should be good neighbors without them is unrealistic.

Considering the amount of complaining you hear about racial issues in America, coming from the very circles who are most supportive of multiculturalism, I don’t think they should be holding America up as a shining example of multiculturalist success.

It’s not about what I want. Some significant number of people will be bigots, whether I want them to be or not.

For all the friction, America has been a multicultural success in some large measures, to the point where any individual describing his own ethnic heritage as “real American” is automatically taken to be a bigot. There is no one “real American” heritage. The essence of America can only be encapsulated by reference to a handful of cultures (not as large a handful, yet, as I would like, but it’s growing).

One problem with using America as a comparison is that America is a nation of immigrants, but during most of its history had more of a melting pot approach than a multicultural one. So you need to be careful about talking about the great success when much of the success was attained at a time when bigotry was more accepted and immigrants were expected to shed their cultural identities.

Which is even if one were to accept your assertion to begin with. From my vantage point, it seems that there are a lot of angry people out there.

Yes, I think modern Western culture, tribal Neanderthal culture, and Nazi German culture are all equally good. I also think we’re all special snowflakes.

Seriously: once you leave out the extremes this turns into a question without much in the way of meaningful answers. You’re not asking about a law, a viewpoint, or an action, and I’m happy to judge any of those. You’re asking me to decide what the important attributes of a culture are and then determine whether or not the whole thing is good. And then, apparently, you want to support this opinion with some kind of social policy. What makes this a worthwhile judgment, let alone the basis of things like immigration policy?

Since when do countries have rights? No. People have rights. When people pass laws “preserving” their cultures, they’re generally trying to use the law to keep their culture in a dominant position. Why? “We got here first?” I’m not impressed by that as a reason, and I don’t think a country should “prefer” one culture or another.