Multiculturalism is dead. That's the message David Cameron, the British prime minister, delivered at a security conference in Germany last week. Cameron said that the United Kingdom's promotion of multiculturalism has allowed Islamic extremism to gain a foothold in British society. He argued that the state ought to focus on strengthening national identity, and discourage minority groups from splintering off from the wider community. The speech drew criticism from Muslim groups and opposition politicians in Britain — but has provoked an argument well beyond the U.K.'s borders. Is it time to give up on multiculturalism? (See Cameron's comments)
Cameron is saying what we're all thinking: David Cameron should be applauded for being the first Western leader to mount a "reasonably coherent defense" of our values, says Gregory Buls at American Thinker. The only way peaceful Muslims will live in harmony with the West is if they understand "what makes Western societies such ideal places to live and raise families." That's a "matter of philosophy," not simply politics.
"David Cameron lifts the lid"
Cameron misunderstands what multiculturalism is all about: The Prime Minister's speech was driven by "nostalgia for a strong national collective identity," says Madeleine Bunting at The Guardian. But the beauty of multiculturalism is that it has reinvented our notion of "what it is to be British." That's a debate still being "subtly negotiated" in our streets, schools and hospitals. Cameron's rhetoric deprives that argument of hope, and "makes it instead something to fear."
"Blame consumer capitalism, not multiculturalism"
Liberal Britain is afraid of being patriotic: Cameron wants, understandably, to promote a "unified British culture," says John Hinderaker at Powerline. But it's far from clear that "post-Christian" Britain has the "self-confidence to promote its own values." It's troubling that Cameron is pushing the "weak tea of contemporary liberalism." Will that really be enough to "counteract the attraction of radical Islam?" Don't count on it.
"The end of multiculturalism?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Russia's new air force is a mystery
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- How Hillary Clinton's 'smart power' turned Libya into a dumpster fire
- When it comes to ISIS, our Congress is full of cowards
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
Subscribe to the Week