In a rare excursion into the wilds of politics, Australia’s leading climate change scientist has examined the doctrine of multiculturalism and declared himself agin it: “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” (Professor Andrew Bolt, The Pond’s Institute Inter-corporate Panel on Climate Change, February 9, 2011).
“British jobs for British workers.” ~ Gordon Brown, Labour Party conference, 2007.
Similar warnings about multiculturalism have been sounded by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. But, if anything, Mr. Cameron went further. He called on European governments to practice “a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism,” and said Britain would no longer give official patronage to Muslim groups that had been “showered with public money despite doing little to combat terrorism.”
Perhaps most controversially, he called for an end to a double standard that he said had tolerated the propagation of radical views among nonwhite groups that would be suppressed if they involved radical groups among whites…
As for the general population, many doubtless were also enthusiastic about the opportunity to “kick a little ass” in Panama — to borrow some of the rhetoric designed by George Bush’s handlers in their comical effort to shape an effete New England aristocrat into a Texas redneck.
[Forty years ago…]
Unarmed Algerian Muslims demonstrating in central Paris against a discriminatory curfew were beaten, shot, garotted and even drowned by police and special troops. Thousands were rounded up and taken to detention centers around the city and the prefecture of police, where there were more beatings and killings.
How many died? No one seems to know for sure, even now. Probably around 200…
In the wake of September 11 and Samuel Huntington’s claim that the world is defined by a “clash of civilizations”, some pro-Western protagonists might argue that “multiculturalism” in the West is a case of “letting the side down”, and a more robust pro-Western assimilationist approach is more in order. If, in a democracy, an electoral majority of citizens are also of this opinion then a democratic polity has every right to shift from a model of nation premised on multiculturalist assumptions, to a constitutive conception of the nation which insists on assimilation to certain overarching goods, values and (even) lifestyles as a precondition for citizenship. But that polity needs to be told clearly that these are the choices open to it. The Citizenship Test introduced by the Howard government might have been consistent with a multicultural model of the nation if its purpose was to examine citizenship applicants on public sphere values alone, demanding allegiance and obedience as citizens to these. But we have seen that the Howard government’s Citizenship Test moved beyond this toward a definite “constitutive” assimilationist goal…