Multiculturalism is Marvelous for Restaurants

I think Prof. Smith underestimates some of the difficulties of multiculturalism in the European context at any rate. No one is suggesting that people who come to European countries should forget where they come from, eat the same food as the people who are already present there, and in short should make themselves exactly identical in al respects to Frenchmen, Germans, etc.

However, his multicultural optimism cannot possibly include the adoption of Cambodian political principles, Somali gynecological surgery, and so forth. He is not suggesting, I presume, that Pali, Sanskrit and Classical Arabic, as well as Church Slavonic, should be part of the curriculum taught in all Canadian schools.

In Britain, as in France, ghettoes of Muslim immigrants have been allowed to form, and as I know from my own medical practice, forced marriage is common within it, and girls are forcibly and illegally prevented from receiving an education. If they attempt to join the surrounding society, they are physically locked up—indeed, there are police units that do nothing except rescue such girls from their imprisoning families, and there are private detective agencies that specialize in kidnapping girls who have run away from home. Moreover, conflict between Muslims and Sikhs erupts sometimes into violence.

40 percent of Muslims living in Britain want Sharia law to be instituted for themselves, and 20 percent sympathize with train bombers.

This is not because there are no economic opportunities in Britain—it is economically more open than France, for example. It absorbed East African Asians in large numbers, and they prospered enormously—all before anyone had thought of multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism is marvelous when it comes to the restaurant trade—but not when it comes to matters such as the political philosophy by which we live, or the legal system we employ.

Also from this issue

Lead Essay

  • Old Europe may not be doomed, though it is “sleepwalking to further relative decline,” says Theodore Dalrymple. “The principle motor of Europe’s current decline is,” he argues, “its obsession with social security.” If Europe is to have a fighting chance, it must overcome a politics in which “personal and sectional interest has become all-powerful” and “the goal of everyone is to parasitize everyone else.”

Response Essays

  • According to historian Timothy Smith, author of France in Crisis, the main problem of Old Europe is that overregulated labor markets, alleged to “humanize” capitalism and promote “solidarity,” instead work to consolidate economic privileges for tenured labor unionists and state employees, and exclude broad swathes of the population, especially immigrants, from the work force. Smith is careful to distinguish the relative stagnation of France, Germany, and Italy from their more successful Scandanavian counterparts, and argues against Dalrymple that the U.K. is really in pretty good shape.

  • Disagreeing sharply with Theodore Dalrymple’s grim diagnosis, Georgetown University international affairs professor and Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Charles Kupchan maintains that “it is simply not the case that the continent is populated primarily by sclerotic, dysfunctional economies on their last gasp.” However, Kupchan argues that Dalrymple’s essay “considerably underestimates … the challenge of integrating Muslim immigrants into European society.” The Paris riots and the Danish cartoon imbroglio demonstrate that Europe has “embraced multiculturalism in fact, but not yet in spirit.”

  • In her reply to Dalyrmple’s lead essay, the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum lists “three factors which could, over the next decade, help reverse Europe’s course.” Market-friendly leaders, “an acknowledgment of the possibilities presented by the new members of the European Union,” and ditching “their increasingly bizarre obsession with the evil United States,” would, Applebaum argues, go a long way to “help Europe escape its current economic and psychological slump.”