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What is Multiculturalism and Should We Embrace It?


Multiculturalism is a thorny topic. It is also a topic on which any truly rational discussion is very difficult. The problem is that many people equate criticism of multiculturalism with racism. Since nobody wants to be accused of racism (quite rightly), it is easier and safer to avoid talking about anything that might get one accused of it. This is, however, unhelpful in a world in which multiculturalism is often the very cause of much of the racism in society. If we wish to address the evil of racism, we must address its causes, one of which is a certain type of multiculturalism. Before we look at contemporary multiculturalism, it might be helpful to look at how it has impacted history, for better or worse.

Let’s begin with the Norman Conquest of England, the 950th anniversary of which we commemorate this year. For Hilaire Belloc, a dyed-in-the-wool Francophile, this had been a blessing for England, infusing English culture with a French influence which Belloc believed was beneficial. For J.R.R. Tolkien, however, an equally dyed-in-the-wool defender of Anglo-Saxondom, the Conquest had been an unmitigated disaster, bringing to an end a golden age of English culture, alive with great saints and great works of literature. For Belloc, the Conquest was the birth of true England; for Tolkien, it was the destruction of the Shire.

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