The home of modern multiculturalism is quickly becoming the burial grounds for it. All over Europe not just the people, but the leaders, are beginning to see what a failed experiment multiculturalism has been. Speaking primarily of the refusal of many Muslim immigrants to assimilate and integrate, leader after leader is now saying the whole thing needs a major rethink.
They are arguing – even if long overdue – that those coming to host nations need to accept the values and practices of the land, not resist them and seek to impose their own. No nation can survive if it is ripped apart by fundamentally opposing ideologies, values and belief systems.
Without some agreed upon values and certain shared viewpoints, no society can withstand the forces which would pull it apart. And that has been happening all over Europe. Foreign groups unable or unwilling to embrace the beliefs and values of Europe are now causing all sorts of difficulties.
Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard warned about these dangers some years ago. And late last year German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out about the fragmentation and destabilisation occurring there. I wrote her comments up here:
More recently the former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria warned about the growing dangers of immigrants refusing to integrate into the rest of society. And just this past week French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated that multiculturalism had failed.
In a television interview on Thursday he said this: “We have been too concerned about the identity of the person who was arriving and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him.”
But perhaps the most robust – and desperately needed – criticism came just recently from the new British conservative leader David Cameron. He made it clear that in Britain multiculturalism has been a colossal failure, and it needs to be quickly and decisively remedied.
This in part is what he said: “Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.
“We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values. So when a white person holds objectionable views – racism, for example – we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices have come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious, frankly even fearful, to stand up to them.”
He said all of Europe needs to face up to the menace in its midst: “Europe needs to wake up to what is happening in our own countries. We need to be absolutely clear on where the origins of these terrorist attacks lie – and that is the existence of an ideology, Islamist extremism.”
And it is not just the jihadists that we need to be aware of. Along the spectrum “you find people who may reject violence, but who accept various parts of the extremist world-view including real hostility towards western democracy and liberal values. If we are to defeat this threat, its time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past. So first, instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we as governments and societies have got to confront it in all its forms.”
He is not alone in sharing these views in his own country. The Chief Rabbi of Britain and the Commonwealth, Jonathan Sacks said that having pride in Britain and the British way of life is something to be encouraged, not denigrated.
In an important speech, he spoke about how his own parents “admired the British for their tolerance and decency, their sense of fair play and their understated but indomitable courage. They were proud to be English because the English were proud to be English. Indeed in the absence of pride there can be no identity at all. They integrated and encouraged us to go further because there was something to integrate into.
“At some time that pride disintegrated, to be replaced by what Kate Fox amusingly calls ‘one-downmanship.’ The British started seeing their own history as an irredeemable narrative of class, snobbery, imperialism, racism and social exclusion. It was in this atmosphere that, in the 1970s, multiculturalism was born. It said: there is no need to integrate.
“The first people to try multiculturalism, the Dutch, were also the first people to regret it. The Princeton sociologists Paul Sniderman and Louk Hagendoorn found that the Dutch favoured tolerance and opposed multiculturalism. When asked what the difference was, they replied that tolerance ignores differences; multiculturalism makes an issue of them at every point.
“Multiculturalism is part of the wider European phenomenon of moral relativism, a doctrine that became influential as a response to the Holocaust. It was argued that taking a stand on moral issues was a sign of an ‘authoritarian personality’. Moral judgment was seen as the first step down the road to fanaticism. But moral relativism is the deathknell of a civilization. In a relativist culture, there is no moral consensus, only a clash of conflicting views in which the loudest voice wins.
“That is where we are today. The extremists command attention and capture the headlines, and they become the role models for the young. Since there is no national identity to claim their allegiance, there is no contest. Hence the phenomenon, widespread throughout Europe today but rare in the past, that the children of immigrants are more hostile to the host society than their parents were, and feel themselves more alien to its values.”
He concluded with these words: “Multiculturalism, entered into for the noblest of reasons, has suffered from the law of unintended consequences. By dissolving national identity it makes it impossible for groups to integrate because there is nothing to integrate into, and by failing to offer people pride in being British, it forces them to find sources of pride elsewhere.
“Without shared values and a sense of collective identity, no society can sustain itself for long. I fear the extremism that is slowly but surely becoming, throughout the world, the siren song of the twenty-first century. We have to fight it here before we can convincingly oppose it elsewhere.”
Getting back to the situation in Australia, Andrew Bolt concludes an article saying that “the duty of governments seems clear. It’s not, as the Victorian Multicultural Commission stupidly insists, ‘to encourage all . . . culturally and linguistically diverse communities to retain and express their social identity and cultural inheritance’.
“Whether I keep wearing my Dutch clogs and eating poffertjes – or wear R. M. Williams and eat pies – is entirely my personal business, and there’s no public benefit in a government grant to make me stay more ‘Dutch’. Similarly, it’s no business of, say, the Victorian Government to encourage groups that are marked off along racial, ethnic or religious lines.
“Yet watch it go, showering $10 million a year in multicultural grants on the Somaliland Society of Australia, Burmese Muslim Community Association, United Women’s Group of Liberia, Hellenic Writers’ Association, Mexican Social and Cultural Association, and 2000 more of their like.
“Our governments’ most fundamental duty is not to keep a community divided into tribes, but to defend the shared values that are our only hope of making a one out of many. So how about a little more loving for the things that unite us, whether it’s our history, symbols, institutions or traditional values?
“And how about saying to the ideologues who reject them to do so on their own dime, not ours? Time we woke up. To spend public money to create a nation of tribes is the great experiment that has failed — because it’s succeeded only too well.”
All around the Western world not just the masses but the leadership is beginning to realise that multiculturalism, even if begun with sincere and benign motivations, has become an abject fiasco. It has resulted in more division, not less. It has resulted in more tensions, not less. It has resulted in more hatred and distrust, not less.
It is time that all of our leaders and politicians wake up to these truths and do some long, hard thinking about the future. We have had a good half century now of one set of policies which clearly are not cutting it. Thus it is clearly time for a change, if it is not already too late.