I have seen numerous cable news reports of British P. M. David Cameron’s recent speech in Munich, where he spoke about “multiculturalism” as failed social policy, thus joining Angela Merkel as a critic of MC. No one in the major media, to my knowledge, understands the origin and application of this doctrine, although it is the chief sales point of many a progressive private school, and indeed, it is the ruling ideology in the U.S., though both Marxists and conservatives grumble. I wrote about its origins at length here: http://hnn.us/articles/4533.html. But to answer the question I posed above, who benefits, I can enumerate those who have triumphed in imposing MC:
1. Social democrats who smashed the red specter of proletarian internationalism that haunted Europe after the French Revolution and the various smaller revolutions that followed. The social democratic claim was that ethnicity trumped class solidarity in the hearts of the people. In countries such as the U.S. where a flood of immigrants threatened WASP hegemony, the melting pot ideal of the new amalgamated, innovative, culturally syncretic American was smothered by “cultural pluralism” and hyphenated Americanism as advanced by such as Randolph Bourne and Horace Kallen. Ethnicity or “race” displaced ”class” as an analytic category, though the Depression years saw a resurgence of class analysis, making late 1930s progressives very nervous about another depression that would surely follow demobilization after the looming second world war. Et voila, the Carnegie Corporation fretted about the “American Dilemma,” with Gunnar Myrdal attacking Ralph Bunche’s ”economic determinism” in the pages of that landmark book, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and American Democracy (1944).
2. Upwardly mobile non-white petit-bourgeois intellectuals. In the move toward separate ethnic studies programs after the urban riots of the mid to late 1960s, college administrators leapt at the opportunity to pacify the restless natives. MC asserted that “cultural diversity” was a great thing for everyone, enriching even, and that if you were a person of color, only other persons of color in your particular group understood your unique and untranslatable “experience”. Under these conditions, ancient and recent wrongs would be righted, and “deracinated” blacks, browns, and reds (Native Americans), and sometimes even yellows, would set down roots and arm themselves to resist the depredations of the white male oppressor. Job opportunities burgeoned for would-be academics from the correctly hyphenated community of color. (I.e., only an African-American can teach African-American Studies.)
3. Terrorists (home-grown). The constant reiteration of Amerika as a tainted, evil country, with no boundaries between past and present, provides the moral justification for destroying the entire entity.
So when P.M. David Cameron and various journalists deplore ghettoes that prevent assimilation to a presumably more coherent [British] “national identity” they are not misdescribing reality (though jihadists are the issue, not westernized Muslims, though there is disagreement even on this issue: see http://www.meforum.org/3053/radical-islamist-muslims). Where the pundits fail is in ignoring distinctions between liberal nationalism (Gesellschaft) and conservative, integral nationalism (Gemeinschaft). I.e., they do not sufficiently define their terms. Charles Sumner prescribed liberal nationalism during the mid-19th century as follows: the overarching federal government, as a republic, protects its citizens from invasion and protects their civil rights, including property rights (See http://clarespark.com/2008/05/03/margoth-vs-robert-e-lee/). But there was a competing notion of “identity” derived first from German Romanticism and then carried forth in the organic conservatism beloved in the American South before and after the Civil War, and by the advocates of MC today as they deploy magical notions of “community” or the utterly invented and absurd idea of Zeitgeist (the spirit of the age or Volk, a spirit, indeed).
What is lost is the notion of the free-standing individual, possessed of an education that prepared her to criticize proposed social policies and their advocates. (See http://clarespark.com/2011/10/09/vox-populi-vox-big-brother/.) What is also lost is the ongoing debate about markets: their wealth-creating potential, or conversely, their regulation, limitation, or abolition. (I am of the belief that markets are wealth-creators and that every anti-modern, anti-science initiative is a descent into possibly irreparable poverty and strife. Multiculturalism is anti-science and anti-modern.)