Multiculturalism

April 30, 2011

I have fond childhood memories of John Cleese in Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Disney’s non-cartoon The Jungle Book.  So I was interested to learn (via Five Feet of Fury) that Cleese (“a generous donor to the Liberal Democrats who . . . has appeared in several party political broadcasts”) seems to have joined what may be an emerging consensus that multiculturalism, the West’s great experiment, has failed:

There were disadvantages to the old culture, it was a bit stuffy and it was more sexist and more racist. But it was an educated and middle-class culture. Now it’s a yob culture. The values are so strange.
. . .
London is no longer an English city which is why I love Bath.

Ed Driscoll remarks,

John Cleese morphed into Theodore Dalrymple so slowly, I hardly even noticed.

But what did he expect? . . . Besides being, at times, one of the greatest comedy shows ever, Monty Python was a weekly assault on the values of post-war England.

(If you haven’t read Theodore Dalrymple before, I think you should, if you can.  You might start with this on-topic piece about the decline of English culture, or his atheist’s defense of Christianity.)

Is a consensus emerging?  I don’t know, but a surprising number of leaders of famously left-leaning Europe now seem to agree:

British Prime Minister David Cameron said (before he was prime minister),

I believe that state multiculturalism is a wrong-headed doctrine that has had disastrous results.

It has fostered difference between communities and it has stopped us from strengthening our collective identity. Indeed it has deliberately weakened it.

Incidentally, he also suggested that this was an emerging consensus.  In a speech earlier this year, he added that multiculturalism has led to segregated communities.  (A researcher agrees that communities in Great Britain are becoming more segregated.)

An Anglican bishop agrees that multiculturalism is part of why some Muslims, even ones born and bred in Great Britain, remain unassimilated, and even hate the land of their birth.

A BBC executive said that “The white working classes feel ‘politically alienated’ and frightened to speak out,” in the words of the UK Daily Mail.  Accordingly, he planned to run programming including

a “provocative” drama about a white girl who moves into a Muslim-dominated community and starts wearing the hijab.

Documentaries will include Last Orders, about an “embattled” working men’s club in Bradford, while Rivers Of Blood assesses the impact of Enoch Powell’s infamous 1968 speech.

(In that speech, Member of Parliament Enoch Powell warned against bringing in huge, unassimilable numbers of immigrants.)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that “Attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany have ‘utterly failed’,” in the words of the BBC.  She said, “We kidded ourselves a while,” but it’s time for immigrants to assimilate.  Days earlier, another German political leader also said, “‘Multikulti’ is dead.”

Outgoing Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme said, “Merkel is right, . . . .”  He said that immigrants are welcome but should assimilate.

In the Netherlands,

Christian Democrat leader Maxime Verhagen . . . said the multicultural society has failed. . . .

Verhagen told the programme the Dutch no longer feel at home in their own country and immigrants are not entirely happy here either.

The minister wants the Dutch to be prouder of their country like people in the US where they first say they are American and then where they originally come from, says the paper.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy “declared that multiculturalism had failed.”

And so on.

Meanwhile, Mark Steyn expresses concern that talk is cheap, and that these leaders have yet to back it up with action, such as limiting immigration to anything like assimilable levels.

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