Over the last several decades the nations of Europe were not good role models for self-reliance and good judgment, embracing crazy ideas that led some to financial catastrophe and caused serious problems for others. Today, however, we see that at least on one subject the Europeans finally have seen the light and the error of their ways.
Last Thursday French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared that multiculturalism had failed. And he is not alone; other European leaders like British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish ex-premier Jose Maria Aznar also say that multicultural policies have not successfully integrated immigrants into their countries. And in the land down under, Australia's ex-prime minister John Howard reached the same conclusion.
Many of us, perhaps most, knew multiculturalism was a foolish, politically correct effort doomed to failure. But like other politically correct ideas, it sounded good, and that was reason enough to give it a try. As predicted, it failed miserably in practice for all the reasons we expected.
"My answer is clearly ‘yes, it is a failure,’" Mr.Sarkozy said. "Of course we must all respect differences … [but if] you come to France, you accept to melt into a single community, which is the national community, and if you do not want to accept that, you cannot be welcome in France," he said.
"We have been too concerned about the identity of the person who was arriving and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him," he declared.
Prime Minister David Cameron says that "under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. … We’ve even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values,” he said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said last October that attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany have "utterly failed," saying the so-called "multikulti" concept – where people would "live side-by-side" happily – has failed, and immigrants need to try harder to integrate - including learning to speak German.
"I am a passionate believer in multiracialism,” former Australian Prime Minister John Howard said. “I believe that societies are enriched if they draw, as my country has done, from all parts of the world on a non-discriminatory basis and contribute, as the United States has done, to the building of a great society," he said. "But when a nation draws people from other parts of the world, it draws them because of the magnetism of its own culture and its own way of life."
What these leaders witnessed is that rather than becoming good French, English, German, Spanish or Australian citizens the immigrants ignored the cultural traditions and ways of life in the country to which they immigrated in favor of those of the country they left, or of their own personal or religious ideas. Which begs the question: Why go to another country if you like the way you’ve been living where you are, or if the way you want to live is not a good fit in the new country?
The major problem for European countries, which have cultures hundreds or thousands of years old, is the immigration of Muslim populations. Europeans like things as they are, thank you, and see no reason to have new-comers demand that they change what they are comfortable with and what has been proven to work, or to cast off the national culture in favor of something different.
And that makes perfect sense. Consider this on a more personal level: allowing an immigrant family to take up residence in your home. Who would allow such a family to tell their hosts what food to eat, what furniture they should have, what religion to choose, or pressure them to live in a way that is markedly different from what they are accustomed to and what works well for them?
As Muslim populations have moved into Europe and Australia, they have not assimilated into the existing culture, creating the current crisis. Some nations have witnessed radical Muslim activities.
Although Muslim integration problems are just now arising in the US, the more serious and immediate problem for us is the illegal alien influx from south of the border, and like the European problem, it is of our own making. Our crisis was created by the federal government’s disregard for border security and a sappy, feel-good mentality that illegal aliens should gain citizenship without going through the proper process.
Ultimately, successful integration of legal immigrants comes down to the attitude of the immigrant toward integration. We have room for good people from anywhere who want to come here through the legal process and become an American by assimilating into our culture.
There is no room for people who want to come here and demand that Americans adjust to their very different cultural ideals, or come in illegally and expect to be accommodated.
As Europe and Australia have learned, a national culture cannot survive irrational and reckless practices. The United States must get its house in order while there is still time.
Cross-posted from Observations