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A Delectable Lie
by David Solway
I begin with a disclosure. Salim Mansur is a friend of mine, so if I were in any way skeptical of his deposition I would not have consented to write this review. Friendship is too precious a value to risk giving needless offense, either by being too brutally honest or by producing a piece of dishonest puffery. And since even the best of us have written problematic books (including yours truly), it is best in such cases to say nothing adverse in print and leave it to others to dissect the writer's efforts.
That I write a review of a friend's book, then, means that I suffer no crisis of conscience in praising it for its many virtues: clarity, painstaking research, intellectual scrupulousness, a surfeit of historical and juridical information, and a powerful argument backed by strict evidence and leading to a set of forceful conclusions.
Mansur presents his thesis with lucid precision in his Introduction: "The idea of an 'official' multiculturalism program to be sponsored by the state, supported by tax-payers, and monitored and enforced by thought-police (human rights commissions) was at best dubious, and at worst by its very nature poised against Western liberalism. Moreover…it was based on the false idea—another official lie, really—that all cultures are equal."
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