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Do you agree with multiculturalism?

  1. Jun 20, 2011 #1
    Mass immigration from third-world countries to Europe and USA, in my opinion, damages the countries that receive the immigrants. Many immigrants can't integrate in our society and can't assimilate our culture. Multiculturalism in my opinion is viewed by many as something that can't fail and must happen. But I think we must stop and think: Can it really work? Isn't a multicultural society an utopia? Can there be a successful multiculturalist society?
    Many immigrant populations have not integrated well in Europe. It explains why far-right parties are gaining power in many european countries: http://www.swedishwire.com/politics/8086-europes-biggest-far-right-parties"

    I don't think being against multiculturalism is being racist or xenophobic, it's just accepting that in some cases, different cultures can't live together and it damages the society and the country. It's not immigrants' fault, the fault is of politicians that maintain open-borders and don't realize its consequences.

    Do you agree with multiculturalism?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 21, 2011 #2
    Firstly, Tosh5457, I might accept your assertion that a philosophical opposition to multiculturalism is not necessarily founded on racism or xenophobia, but it remains a problem requiring great caution in dealing with this that the kind of arguments that would support an opposition to multiculturalism are ones with which the racist and the xenophobic would tend to align themselves. If you say that you are not simply racist and that you are not simply xenophobic, then I must take that at face value. But you and I and any other contributor to this discussion must remain very sensitive to the unavoidable overtones.

    So, what if we take a purely hypothetical situation, that the world was a place where wealth and prosperity, and access to decent living standards were more evenly distributed among the whole population, but yet that the demarcation of different peoples and different cultures remained very well defined. Is it a better world that those lines of demarcation are maintained? Is it better that each of those different cultures remain isolated and isolationist? I would strongly suggest to you that the lessons of history would tend against that idea. Nations that have tried to maintain an isolationist stand have not prospered. Quite the reverse. In fact, you might argue that only way that the hypothetical scenario could exist would be if the even distribution of wealth and prosperity took the form of universal poverty.

    And the truth is that the even distribution of wealth and prosperity is not the actual situation. So an argument against multiculturalism, even if it is not racist or xenophobic, might nonetheless be seen as arguing for a status quo that advantages you. Perhaps you will have less of a problem with your argument being seen in that way, but it doesn’t seem a very strong position to argue from to me.

    Your first assertion is the one with which I would disagree directly and completely – that ‘mass immigration from third-world countries to Europe and USA … damages the countries that receive the immigrants.’ Again, history strongly suggests that vibrant immigrant communities tend to contribute strongly to the economies of the countries in which they settle. It is obviously much more subjective whether or not you see the cultural cross fertilisation as a good thing or not, but a good example would be the way in which modern historians trace the roots of modern popular music culture to the melting pot of cultures that rubbed up against each other in early twentieth century USA.

    But my final point, Tosh5457, is actually the most important, that for me, sweeps all the other points aside. The growth of human technology and global communications means that the gelling of the world’s population into a single global community is a reality that is coming. For you, or any politician or anyone else to attempt to fight against that absolutely is a modern case of King Cnut and his waves.
     
  4. Jun 21, 2011 #3
    I think multiculturalism comes down to how it's implemented. Using a broad stroke of 'multiculturalism: good/bad?' missing the points of how it works great in some situations, and fails in others. Right now, for Europe, they're realizing their post-Iron Curtain/uptopia-wanting mistakes of open borders. Many communities are becoming havens for refugees from the former Soviet Bloc countries and the middle east. This extreme influx of new people, culture, etc - contributors to the societies or not - have shocked cities and towns throughout Western Europe.

    I think slowly adding new immigrants can definately help integrate new cultures into the accepted paradigm. When a culture obtains a 'shock' of immigrants (or has a slow migration go on for too long) is when 'multicultural backlashes' occur.
     
  5. Jun 21, 2011 #4

    arildno

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    Did European mass immigratuion help the indigenous population of the Americas back in the 16th-19th centuries?
     
  6. Jun 21, 2011 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    I think that's not a simple question. If you were Montezuma, certainly not. If you were slated for being their next human sacrifice, certainly. There were winners and losers.
     
  7. Jun 21, 2011 #6

    arildno

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    True enough.

    If you were a Sioux, Pueblo, Mohican, Irokese or Apache, though, chances are you'd end up a loser..
     
  8. Jun 21, 2011 #7
    I'm not at all sure whether or not we are meant to take that seriously. Are you putting forward these examples as an argument against multi-culturalism? Are you suggesting that these cases indicate that insular isolationism can be good for a people?
     
  9. Jun 21, 2011 #8

    Ryan_m_b

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    The migration of Europeans to the Americas were certainly not examples of multiculturalism! The principle behind MC is to foster a society whereby many different cultures exist (ideally) synergistically. This avoids the establishment of a monoculture (which could cause stagnation) and encourages individuals of the society to be more tolerant of others.
     
  10. Jun 21, 2011 #9

    arildno

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    "This avoids the establishment of a monoculture (which could cause stagnation) "

    Really?

    Isn't that just a fantasy on your part?
     
  11. Jun 21, 2011 #10

    Ryan_m_b

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    How so? I'm not suggesting that a society where everyone was of one culture would stagnate, merely that I think it would be easier for such a society to remain as it is.
     
  12. Jun 21, 2011 #11

    arildno

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    And, what would be morally wrong with a stable society?
     
  13. Jun 21, 2011 #12

    Ryan_m_b

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    Not necessarily anything if it was already a utopia but all societies have room for improvement. Having a diverse mix of cultural backgrounds in my experience and opinion makes the inception and development of innovation (both culturally and physically) quicker and easier. Thus a multicultural society could, in my opinion, develop new ideas and implement them naturally faster than a monocultured one. This could be especially true of matters pertaining to civil rights and equality as people raised in a multicultural society are likely to have higher levels of tolerance for other people.
     
  14. Jun 21, 2011 #13
    i think it depends on what you mean by multiculturalism. that is, a multi-monoculturalism, or a multi-biculturalism ? the question seems to be whether a state can exist where there is no nationalism (everybody rooting for the same football team). nationalism is a requirement for cohesiveness in a multi-bicultural society, if you expect some sort of secular cohesiveness. otherwise, you're going to default to cohesiveness based on something else, like religion or ethnic identity. and in a nation of multiple religions and ethnicities, those two options will lead to internal strife.
     
  15. Jun 21, 2011 #14

    Ryan_m_b

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    Unless one holds not one but multiple aspects of different cultures. Assume there was no nationalism (perhaps because there is only one nation) people within it could still have great differences but not be easily divided into sub-communities. For instance Alice could be of ethnicity X, religion Y and football team Z, Bob could be of ethnicity X, religion Y and football team R, Claire could be ethnicity Y, religion T and football team Z. I guess what I am trying to say is that is is potentially possible (and appealing to me) to have a multicultural society where the lines between people are heavily blurred and society resembles a messy Venn diagram rather than a pie chart.
     
  16. Jun 21, 2011 #15

    arildno

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    Any actual EVIDENCE for that?

    You see, sources for invention are not just from the "outside", but every new generation is ALSO sources for invention.

    The largely mono-cultural Germany, France and Great Britain were far more innovative in the realms of science than, say, multi-ethnic colossi like the Habsburg Empire, Ottoman Empire or the Russian Empire.
     
  17. Jun 21, 2011 #16

    Ryan_m_b

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    Which is why I was careful to point out "in my experience" as well as clarifying societal change as well as scientific. I am not claiming this as gospel but a personal observation.
     
  18. Jun 21, 2011 #17
    yes, i'm taking the simplistic approach that one of the cultures in bicultural individuals is the "national" culture. i know it's not that simplistic, but you've got to have enough cohesiveness to a national identity to keep things together, i think. otherwise, you get balkanization.
     
  19. Jun 21, 2011 #18

    arildno

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    Have you personally observed if the fiercely monocultural Japanese have failed in developing a modern society?
     
  20. Jun 21, 2011 #19

    Ryan_m_b

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    For a start we haven't established a good method of measuring how multicultural a population is (I don't think this is as simplistic as ethnicity or religion). Yet again I am not saying this is absolutely true. The OP was not "does multiculturalism make a country more prosperous" it was "do you agree with multiculturalism". In my opinion a system where the majority of people only experience a monoculture (difficult these days as it is near impossible for a country to be isolationist) is less desirable than one that is multicultural.
     
  21. Jun 21, 2011 #20

    arildno

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    Unless the vast majority of the population in a country ascribes to the same system of values in how to elect leaders, what constitutes legality and so on, you can't have a functional democracy.

    In that sense, every functional democracy requires a type of political monoculturalism or consensus, if you like.

    You can, of course, have functional multi-cultural non-democracies with for example, as in the Ottoman Empire largely autonomous sub-cultures centered about religious identity, but that wasn't quite the point, was it?
     
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