First, it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, then French President Nicolas Sarkozy who denounced the philosophy of multiculturalism as a failure, and finally the most ringing critique of all from British Prime Minister David Cameron who, in a recent speech to the Munich Security Conference, not only denounced it, but put the issue squarely on the table as a primary element of the security agenda of the West. But he did even more by suggesting antidotes, including what he called “muscular liberalism”, by which he means that a genuinely liberal country, as opposed to one that is “passively tolerant”, believes in certain values and actively promotes them and “it says to its citizens, this is what defines us as a society; to belong here means to believe in these things”. This kind of talk in the European public square is long overdue. Maybe it represents the first stirrings of a wake up call for the European malaise of the past several decades. Let’s pray that it does. But also let’s hope that we can see and hear this sentiment expressed loudly and publicly by our own leaders, beginning in the White House, and it would help if we could have more pressure applied by trustees and alumni to those last bastions of multicultural mythology, the upper reaches of our leading colleges and universities.
We are the product of a long trail of classical liberal values dating from the Reformation and the Enlightenment that help us distinguish between our version of reason and those not only of radical Islam, but of the core beliefs of Islam itself. This heritage has been corrupted by the postmodern notion of multiculturalism to the point of confusion about who we are. Our intellectuals have failed us in this regard and they should repent and repair the damage, the sooner the better, before we develop a terminal case of the European disease.