Friday, March 4, 2011

Carol Iannone, on the ostensible rejection of mulitulcuralism by some European leaders:
But the failure of multiculturalism also underscores the dangers in the idea of universality, that all men desire and deserve freedom as we understand it, and are immediately capable of realizing it right now.

. . . [T]he failures of multiculturalism and the persistence of large, unassimilated populations in Western democratic societies indicate that freedom and equality as we understand them require cultural anchorage and do not transmit themselves automatically. . . .

It doesn’t seem possible and yet it was so: Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, and Cheney believed that the individual’s desire to be personally free would translate instantly into a liberal self-government in Iraq once Saddam was overthrown. So much so that the looting of Baghdad was allowed to take place under the very nose of the American Army. . . .

[I]f one leg of the stool of conservatism (traditional values, free markets, strong foreign policy) is removed, the stool no longer functions and the others will eventually erode as well. We should take advantage of the denunciations of multiculturalism on the part of European leaders not to promote unadorned universality but to re-emphasize our own cultural embodiment of those universal ideals and to insist on their transmission in our educational institutions.