Biculturalism and Borders
It`s true, America and Australia grew the institutions of their democracy with relatively homogeneous populations and then evolved into successful “multicultural” societies. But that’s not what’s happening in Europe right now. If you want to know what a multicultural society looks like, read the names of America’s dead on September 11th: Arestegui, Bolourchi, Carstanjen, Droz, Elseth, Foti, Gronlund, Hannafin, Iskyan, Kuge, Laychak, Mojica, Nguyen, Ong, Pappalardo, Quigley, Retic, Shuyin, Tarrou, Vamsikrishna, Warchola, Yuguang, Zarba. Black, white, Hispanic, Arab, Indian, Chinese – in a word, American.
Whether or not one believes in “celebrating diversity”, that`s a lot of diversity to celebrate. But the Continent isn`t multicultural so much as bicultural. There are ageing native populations, and young Muslim populations, and that`s it: “two solitudes”, as they say in my beloved Quebec. If there`s three, four or more cultures, you can all hold hands and sing We are the World. But if there`s just two – you and the other – that`s generally more fractious. Bicultural societies are among the least stable in the world, especially once it`s no longer quite clear who is the majority and who is the minority – a situation that much of Europe is fast approaching, as you can see by visiting any French, Austrian, Belgian or Dutch maternity ward.
There`s an important point here: when a lot of different countries send immigrants to open up Greek, Italian, Chinese, and Danish restaurants, that`s immigration. That`s kind of what the National Origins Quota system was about. When one country sends 20 percent of its population into another country, that`s colonization, and bad for the colonized.
But once again, in the United States, it`s not North Africa that`s coming to stay, it`s Mexico.