What’s wrong with David Cameron’s multiculturalism speech

While I have not yet read The Speech, Alex Kurtagic, who also has not read it but only read press accounts of it, may have saved me the trouble. Writing at Vdare, he pinpoints precisely the problem with Cameron’s argument that “multiculturalism has failed,” and that the solution is a “more muscular liberalism.” As Cameron put it:

Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism….

“Let’s properly judge these [Muslim] organizations: Do they believe in universal human rights … Do they believe in equality of all before the law? Do they believe in democracy … ?

These are the sorts of questions we need to ask. Fail these tests and the presumption should be not to engage with organizations.

Displaying a grasp of the issue that all too few conservatives have shown, Kurtagic explains that it is precisely the liberal (or neoconservative) belief in universal democracy and universal human equality, by admitting all peoples into a country no matter how culturally or racially different they are from the host population, that inevitably produces multiculturalism:

How can Mr. Cameron not see how liberalism, universalism, and egalitarianism cannot eventually but result in a multicultural society?

After all, a sincere belief in universal human rights and equality before the law make it impossible to exclude from a society the kind of immigrants who are incompatible with a strong national identity: it is impossible to deny them entry on the basis of their ethnic background; it is impossible to deny them access to employment; it is impossible to deny them access to citizenship; it is impossible to deny them access to public office; and it is therefore impossible in the long run to prevent them from changing their hosts’ indigenous culture and society until these are fractured by fundamental differences on the issues that are most important to each group’s most committed members.

A strong national identity is perforce traditionalist, particularist, and inegalitarian. It is dependent on localization, specificity, and uniqueness, as this is, stabilized into a tradition over many generations, what differentiates the indigenous from the alien, then native from the foreigner.

A strong national identity, therefore, implies that what is indigenous takes priority over what is alien. It is incompatible with multiculturalism or diversity.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 12, 2011 12:43 PM | Send

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