One Culture, Many Contributors
Why Multiculturalism Can't Work
By: Chuck Colson|Published: February 16, 2011 12:00 AM
Look at the United States. Our national motto is “e pluribus unum,” or “out of many, one.” Multiculturalism fails because it denies the need for the “one,” for unity, and in our case, for a shared commitment to the American creed: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Colson is often insightful. Sometimes, however, he gets a bit stupid, as we see here.
Our national motto has nothing whatsoever to do with so-called multiculturalism. The “one” and the “many” that are the subject of our motto is the separate states uniting in a confederated, and then federated, central government. It simply does not speak to the matter of “cultures.”
“Culture” is a very vague term and idea. But any “cultures” that can endorse the idea of ordered political liberty should be able to coexist and even flourish under a political economy dedicated to protecting the God-given rights of individuals to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In fact, given this protection of individual liberty, people might choose or even invent all sorts of “cultures” for themselves.
Colson is right to claim that some versions of ‘multiculturalism’ could threaten ordered liberty. If part of your ‘culture’ involves a denial of our God-given rights, that ‘culture’ could threaten our liberty. But that has nothing to do with our national motto.
This does bring up the interesting question which Colson does not explore in his article: if we are devoted to the individual liberties of the Declaration, what do we do when some come among us who are devoted to the destruction of those liberties? (What do you do when someone like that is elected President?)
In other words, how does a classically liberal society deal with those who come into its fold with illiberal ideas, especially when they attempt to put those ideas into practice? That seems to be a question to which we have not developed much of an answer.