Politeía Digest

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Cameron’s Multicultural Wake-Up Call

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The growth of Islamist extremism in the West is something even the politically correct can no longer ignore.

By Douglas Murray

‘Multiculturalism has failed,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron last weekend in Munich. If anybody thought they had read those words before, it is because they have. Many times. Last October German Chancellor Angela Merkel (sitting onstage with Mr. Cameron when he gave his speech on Saturday) said the same. Finally, Europe’s mainstream party leaders seem to be realizing what others have long noticed: Multiculturalism has been the most pernicious and divisive policy pursued by Western governments since World War II.

Multiculturalism is a deeply misunderstood idea. That was one of the reasons for its political success. People were led to believe that “multiculturalism” meant multiracialism, or pluralism. It did not. Nevertheless, for years anybody who criticized multiculturalism was immediately decried as a “racist.”

But the true character and effects of the policy could not be permanently hidden. State-sponsored multiculturalism treated European countries like hostelries. It judged that the state should not “impose” rules and values on newcomers. Rather, it should bend over backwards to accommodate the demands of immigrants. The resultant policy was that states treated and judged people by the criteria of whatever “community” they found themselves born into.

In Britain, for instance, this meant that if you were a white English girl born into a white English family and your family decided to marry you against your will to a randy old pervert, the state would intervene. But if you had the misfortune to be born into an “Asian-background” family and the same happened, then the state would look the other way.

In 1984, a British school principal named Ray Honeyford politely suggested in an article in the Salisbury Review that it might be a good idea if students at his state-funded school were able to speak English and did not disappear to Pakistan for months at a time. The result was a siren of accusations of “racism,” which willfully ignored his arguments and precipitated the end of his career.

The multicultural model may have continued a lot longer if it hadn’t been for radical Islam. The terrorist assaults and plots across Britain and Europe—often from home-grown extremists—provided a breaking point that few sentient people could ignore. The question now is what can be done.

In his speech in Munich, Mr. Cameron rightly focused on the problem of home-grown Islamic extremism. He stressed several preliminary steps—among them that groups whose values are opposed to those of the state will no longer be bestowed with taxpayer money. It is a symptom of how low we have sunk that ceasing to fund our societies’ opponents would constitute an improvement.

But this is a first, not a final, policy. The fact is that Britain, Germany, Holland and many other European countries have nurtured more than one generation of citizens who seem to feel no loyalty toward their country and who, on the contrary, often seem to despise it. Read more in The Wall Street Journal.

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Written by Theophyle

February 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm

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