I have for long held the position that a society needs a single overriding culture to be a society. All cultures are dynamic and change as times change and as new groups may be assimilated into it. The new culture inevitably contains elements of what new communities bring to the table and the original culture of that community – in some adjusted form – can continue as a sub-culture, but subordinate to the overriding culture. What is not tenable is the idea that a single society can remain a single society when it is splintered into a collection of many parallel cultures (and which are not subordinate to an overriding culture). It has been the misguided, do-gooding, politically correct approach of the “liberal left” in Europe which has actively encouraged new communities to maintain the cultures of where they came from and remain separate to the existing, prevailing culture. There has been little emphasis on getting new communities to assimilate and a far greater emphasis on separateness. This approach has also given rise to the fear of demanding assimilation from new communities. That has in turn led – and not very surprisingly – to the immigrant ghettos, the no-go areas and large parts of the new population who cannot even speak the local language (into the 3rd generation in some cases).
The downplaying of integration is what now gives the reality of 85 Sharia courts active in the UK or the no-go areas in Malmö or Preston or the separate, parallel societies in Molenbeek and La Goutte d’Or. It is the false god of multiculturalism which has allowed schools in Birmingham to be subverted or the predatory, medieval, sexual mores of the NW Frontier to be transplanted to Rotherham.
It is language which is the primary vehicle of a culture. But while every culture has a primary language, a language may be the vehicle for many cultures. Religion is probably the next most important “carrier” of a culture. The misguided and unsustainable “multicultural” approach has pervaded many European countries, such that even jobs requiring interaction with the public or even gaining citizenship have not required any language proficiency. However the importance of assimilation is finally gaining ground.
Angela Merkel has said this before but is now becoming much more explicit in her criticism of multiculturalism and much more vocal in emphasising the importance of integration.
Merkel still sought to address lingering concerns over the long-term consequences of the refugee crisis.
“Those who seek refuge with us also have to respect our laws and traditions, and learn to speak German,” she said. “Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies, and therefore multiculturalism remains a grand delusion.”
Her comments echoed a similar statement from 2010, when Merkel said multiculturalism had “utterly failed”.
I would have thought it obvious that learning of the local language within some reasonable time be mandatory for a residence permit for any immigrant or asylum seeker. Multiculturalism is not just a “failed concept” as David Cameron has said or a “grand delusion” as Angela Merkel now calls it, it is a false premise. A single society – fundamentally – must have an overriding culture and cannot be multicultural. The existence of multiple parallel cultures can only be accommodated by a collection of societies – or by a fractured and splintered society.