The Corner

Multi-Culti Fail

The edifice of multiculturalism in the West is crumbling, but quick. It seems like only yesterday all good Europeans held as uncontroversial that national self-esteem was racist and imperialist per se, and that even illiberal ideologies were owed liberal deference.

Among the English-speaking peoples, Mark Steyn and John O’Sullivan have been arguing for years — in these pages and elsewhere — the foolishness and dangerousness of this course. Now others are joining the party. In France it’s the disillusioned Marxist nouveaux philosophes like Bernard-Henri Lévy and especially Pascal Bruckner, whose recent The Tyranny of Guilt is a useful polemic against “Western masochism.” Among elected officials, the first and most vocal was of course the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders.

But now it’s going mainstream. First, German chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that multiculturalism had “failed utterly”; now, British prime minister David Cameron has given an important, if tendentious, speech in Munich, on the ways in which British state-sponsored multiculturalism fills the vacuum left by British patriotism with extremist — Islamist — ideologies.

Cameron’s speech is the subject of our editorial today:

Cameron’s argument was that the terrorism threatening the West, both in Afghanistan and at home, had its origins in the underlying “extremist ideology” of Islamism. Young Muslim men in Britain often begin their journey to violent jihad by picking up this ideology from institutions, organizations, and leaders in receipt of government money and official favors. This ideology is further promoted by multiculturalism, which “encouraged different cultures to live separate lives” and so delivered impressionable young people into the hands of state-funded extremists. It would have to be confronted both ideologically — insisting on support for human rights as a condition for entry into public debate — and organizationally — denying funds to bodies that preach hatred and separatism.

You can read the whole thing here.

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