Jonathan Sacks–Wanted: a national culture

Multiculturalism has run its course, and it is time to move on. It was a fine, even noble idea in its time. It was designed to make ethnic and religious minorities feel more at home, more appreciated and respected, and therefore better able to mesh with the larger society. It affirmed their culture. It gave dignity to difference. And in many ways it achieved its aims. Britain is a more open, diverse, energising, cosmopolitan environment than it was when I was growing up.

But there has been a price to pay, and it grows year by year. Multiculturalism has led not to integration but to segregation. It has allowed groups to live separately, with no incentive to integrate and every incentive not to. It was intended to promote tolerance. Instead the result has been, in countries where it has been tried, societies more abrasive, fractured and intolerant than they once were.

Liberal democracy is in danger. Britain is becoming a place where free speech is at risk, non-political institutions are becoming politicised, and a combination of political correctness and ethnic-religious separatism is eroding the graciousness of civil society. Religious groups are becoming pressure groups. Boycotts and political campaigns are infecting professional bodies. Culture is fragmenting into systems of belief in which civil discourse ends and reasoned argument becomes impossible. The political process is in danger of being abandoned in favour of the media-attention-grabbing gesture. The politics of freedom risks descending into the politics of fear.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Judaism, Other Faiths

4 comments on “Jonathan Sacks–Wanted: a national culture

  1. Jeffersonian says:

    Sorry, but multiculturalism has far, far too large a constituency to simply roll over and find common ground. Too many in politics, academia and the multiculti industry are dependent on this poison to even consider jettisoning it.

  2. azusa says:

    Translation: a lot of East European Jews came to Britain in the 19th century, then from Germany in the 1930s, and they settled happily enough, prospered and became part of the Establishment. But now there are myriads of Muslims of south Asian origin who can’t or won’t settle, who are recreating their social structures in England, trying to introduce local sharia, and are very hostile to Jews and Israel.

  3. Larry Morse says:

    I am not sure, #1, that you are right, although you are certainly right about the size of the constituency. My point here is that multiculturalism is a fad like some many of the other American value-creating devices. Fads of course are not real values, but mirrors before which one puts on the pancake makeup of the day. Fads pass, and this one will pass also. Its liabilities are very real as he spells out, and TEC, whose peddling of inclusiveness is indeed a child of the last century, is a sign that the due date of the old canned fruit has gone by. LM

  4. drjoan says:

    This is pretty eye opening especially as coming from Dr. Sachs.