E-mail from my father:
[This] article may not be worth reading. It's of the sort, "If we had only done X instead of Y 25 years ago, we would have avoided problems a,b,c,d,e,and f in the years since."
Well, maybe. And maybe we would have also caused problems g,h,i,j,k,l,m,n,o, and p.
But the article made me realize something. There probably aren't really any multiculturalists. Not true "all cultures are equally valuable" multiculturalists. What there are are "street festival multiculturalists." Interesting food, colorful costumes, different song and dance. But basically all within a tolerant, respectful-of-individual-liberties, small L liberal culture. (It's not a melting pot but it's not a salad either. It's more a slow cooked stew. There are individual pieces but they only exist within the stock, and each piece has lost much of its individual taste and absorbed that of the other pieces.)
How else to explain how people who call themselves multiculturalists can also be strong supporters of something like the United Nations Declaration of Universal Human Rights. The Declaration is a work of cultural imperialism--and even by the former colonial powers. It says that everyone should have the rights that are thought important by European Social Democratic parties (and by much of the Democratic Party in the USA). I have no doubt that if everyone did, the world would be a better place. But there are many, many cultures in the world that don't believe this at all. For example, the Declaration calls for equal rights for women, something a hell of a lot of cultures think is an abomination.
To support the Declaration is to say, "Some cultures suck, and they better change--big time."
(Another logical possibility is that many people who call themselves multiculturalists delude themselves into thinking that all cultures really are "tolerant, respectful-of-individual-liberties, small L liberal." So people in all cultures really do want to, in the words of Rodney King, "just get along." And thus that all problems are solvable by getting together and talking, along with some appropriate arm-twisting.
Or I suppose some people could just be hypocrites.)
[And while I'm spouting, just as there are very few real multiculturalists, so there are very few real egalitarians. Right-wing intellectuals constantly accuse left-wing intellectuals of being egalitarians. How silly. As anyone who has spent any time at a high-powered university knows, left-wing intellectuals have very definite ideas about how people should act, and would love to have the unequal power to impose their ideas on people less enlightened than they are.]