It has, if you believe the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week. Multikulti, the concept that we are now living side by side and are happy about it, she declared, has failed utterly.
For a modern German leader to even raise the issue is an indicator of how seriously the failure must appear to them. So today I’m going to dip LibertyGibbert’s toe into these potentially murky waters and pose the question: Is multiculturalism desirable?
Certainly, from the point of view of Libertarianism, there is nothing inherently wrong with people of different cultures living together side by side, provided each such culture accepts at a minimum to observe a Common Law, and commits to avoid impinging negatively upon the lives of all the others, within the framework of that Law. A bit of common sense and human understanding never goes astray either; getting to actually know thy neighbour, and even making friends with him, can actually have the effect of reducing the multikulti differences to the quaint and charming: clothing, food, markets, dancing and cultural festivals, and so on. I’ve seen just how wonderfully well that sort of multiculturalism can work in my country, as I’m sure most of you have as well: vive la difference!
The problem, of course, is when one (or more) of the component cultures reject the basic umbrella tenets of the host society, usually on the basis of religion. While I’m not condemning religion holus bolus, it’s certainly true that nothing serves the purposes of Totalitarianism better than fundamentalism of one flavour or another. When this happens, those cultural differences become badges of hostile allegience. This is what appears to have happened in Germany and other Western European nations.
Multiculturalism is not new; history abounds in examples where it has existed, with various degrees of success. Jews, to take the most obvious example, have lived in ghettoes of one form or another, in Gentile cities from time immemorial. The whole history of the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent has been one long experiment in multiculturalism. It can work, it has worked; it has also failed spectacularly.
I’d like to add one huge boilerplate disclaimer to this whole discussion: multiculturalism is not multiracialism. You all know my rule on that here, and I’ll have no hesitation in wiping any comments I consider even mildly racially offensive. It is legitimate, however, to question whether the modern Western multicultural experiment has failed. Should it be scrapped entirely, or can it somehow be successfully re-engineered?
Over to you.