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The Trouble with Multiculturalism
Back in the day, when I was a newspaper columnist in Denver, representatives of the local chapter of the Anti-Defamation League paid a visit. Over coffee, they told the opinion editor and me that they had a program, "A World of Difference," that "celebrates America's diversity." They asked for our editorial support. The editor and I had the same reaction: Would it not be better to celebrate all the things we have in common, all the things that unite Americans of whatever ethnic or religious backgrounds? Our friends left the meeting mightily miffed.
At the time, I viewed such initiatives (the ADL was hardly alone) as well-intentioned if somewhat ham-handed efforts to combat prejudice. I later realized this was part of a larger campaign to promote multiculturalism, which seemed like a fairly harmless attempt to encourage appreciation of varying styles of art, dress, and cuisine by pretending that all have equal merit. (But is there anyone who seriously believes that German cuisine is on a par with Chinese, French, or Indian?) Only years later did I come to realize: Multiculturalism is an ideology with far-reaching — and damaging — consequences.
This was forcefully driven home to me by a book probably not featured at your local book store: Delectable Lie: A Liberal Repudiation of Multiculturalism, by Salim Mansur, a professor of political science at the University of Ontario. Mansur recounts that back in the 1970s, Canada became the first Western nation to embrace multiculturalism on an official level, "sponsored by the state, supported by taxpayers, and monitored and enforced by thought-police (human rights commissions)." He makes a compelling case that adoption of this ideology has damaged Canada, and not only Canada: Multiculturalism, he writes, has been "destructive of the West's liberal democratic heritage, tradition, and values based on individual rights and freedoms."
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