Thursday, February 10, 2011

Is Multiculturalism Dying?

Now that British prime minister David Cameron has joined German chancellor Angela Merkel in pronouncing the failure of multiculturalism in their respective countries, can we expect the American Left to recognize their cue and follow suit?  After all, the Europeans are always so much more sophisticated and avante garde than we.

We can only hope. 

But multiculturalism in America has always had a crazy cast to it that I think may make it more resilient than the European version.  Here, multiculturalism has included not only a strong measure of typical liberal self-loathing, but also a peculiar understanding of the Declaration of Independence, an allegiance to which is what otherwise makes Americans of us all.  Red and yellow, black and white, Jew and gentile, Protestant and Catholic, etc.

For the Left, universal principles always trump particular expressions of them, even honest particular expressions of them.  While there is something hopelessly naive about that point, I take it nonetheless.  But they go far beyond it the American case.  For them, the argument advanced in the Declaration that men everywhere are free and equal means that as Americans they are also free and equal in their right to remain  non-Americans.  In fact, I swear I have even heard them to say that it is precisely because of our founding principles that the most American thing of all is to live here but refuse to become an American.  To insist that someone assimilate and actually become a legal and loyal citizen is to violate their natural rights, the very rights enshrined in the Declaration itself.

Whew! It's hard to argue with that kind of sophistry.  So, I figure the reports of multiculturalism's demise in the U.S. are a bit premature.  But then we can always move to Europe.

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