Monday, October 09, 2006

Multiculturalism and the decline of neighborliness

Harvard Political Science Professor Robert Putnam has an interesting study on the effects of ethnic diversity on trust, according an article at the Financial Times. In short, multiethnicity undermines trust within communities.

A bleak picture of the corrosive effects of ethnic diversity has been revealed in research by Harvard University's Robert Putnam, one of the world's most influential political scientists. His research shows that the more diverse a community is, the less likely its inhabitants are to trust anyone – from their next-door neighbor to the mayor. ...

The core message of the research was that, "in the presence of diversity, we hunker down", he said. "We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it's not just that we don't trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don't trust people who do look like us."

Prof Putnam found trust was lowest in Los Angeles, "the most diverse human habitation in human history", but his findings also held for rural South Dakota, where "diversity means inviting Swedes to a Norwegians' picnic".

When the data were adjusted for class, income and other factors, they showed that the more people of different races lived in the same community, the greater the loss of trust. "They don't trust the local mayor, they don't trust the local paper, they don't trust other people and they don't trust institutions," said Prof Putnam. "The only thing there's more of is protest marches and TV watching."

The core message of the research was that, "in the presence of diversity, we hunker down", he said. "We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it's not just that we don't trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don't trust people who do look like us."


Back in the mid-1990s, Putnam wrote a popular book called Bowling Alone, which described the breakdown of communities as reflected in a decline in membership in group organizations. Apart from the FT summary, I can't find a summary of Putnam's work on ethnic diversity anywhere on the web. About the only question that comes to mind is whether what is attributed to multiethnicity can really be explained by the word multiculturalism. Webster's defines ethnicity as " of or relating to large groups of people classed according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background". Race is apparently only one aspect of ethnicity and maybe the least important one — we find Swedes distinguished from Norwegians in one of Putnam's examples of "diversity" — and it may be that communities which are homogenous with respect to religion, language and culture have a higher trust coefficient than communities of the same racial background but have different religious and cultural contexts. The warring communities in Northern Ireland immediately come to mind as an example. Putnam himself says, in diverse communities we distrust people who do look like us.

But if Putnam is correct, then one of the central tenets of multiculturalism — that it brings people together if they simply "respect" each others differences — immediately requires qualification. In fact, it becomes entirely conceivable that the multiculti program is actually the driver behind many of the tensions which are now rising in places like France, the Netherlands and the UK.


Blogger Rob Spear said...

No kidding

10/09/2006 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Wretchard said . . .
In fact, it becomes entirely conceivable that the multiculti program is actually the driver behind many of the tensions which are now rising in places like France, the Netherlands and the UK.

. . . and Iraq. If we're working off the inclusive Webster's definition Wretchard provided, then certainly the religious differences in Iraq would be another "driver of tensions" there. Yet Wretchard still supports the multi-culti efforts led by our military force, no?

10/09/2006 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/09/2006 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


Iraq's constitution calls for a federal state. It doesn't call in any shape way or form for a multicultural state where people all live happily on a hilltop singing "I'd like to buy the world a Coke". That's why the Iraqi constitution calls for powerful regional armed forces. The Peshmerga, for example, are not an illicit institution. This has been criticized precisely by those people whose vision of Iraq was of the Happy Hilltop variety, not one consisting of nearly autonomous regions.

Recent polls held there showed a fairly high degree of support for such a federal state whose requirement is driven by the circumstance that some means of sharing the oil resource and access to the waterways must be found for any enduring peace to be established. When you think about it, this is really the model of nations, which cooperate with other nations for the common good yet retain their own identity within which they can be, well, neighborly.

It's interesting to compare the federal vision of the new Iraq with the Saddam-era unitary Iraq, so beloved of those nostalgic for the old dictator. Saddam's regime was a multiethnic society, full of hatreds it's true; but one held together with an efficient secret police. Now which was it that we wanted?

10/09/2006 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

...much of the world is no longer capable of even identifying the indecent -- or the decent, for that matter. Moral relativism, multiculturalism and dividing humanity between strong and weak or rich and poor, as opposed to dividing it between the decent and the indecent, have all virtually paralyzed the human conscience.

The net result is that not only do the bad keep eradicating the good, but much of the world actually denies that fact, denies that we can even categorize any people as "good" or "bad," and often opposes the best taking up arms against the worst.

Every Generation

10/09/2006 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

This makes me remember being astounded at just how clueless the multicultural types I knew in San Francisco were about the suburbs just a few years ago (for all I know their ignorance persists today). They went on and on about the 'whitebread' suburbs, but had they ever gone there they would have discovered that:

(a) these suburban areas were being populated by all sorts of ethnic groups eager to get out of the 'wonderfully multicultural' city, and

(b) these new arrivals were energetically and as fast as they could creating clearly defined Iranian, Iraqi, Asian and many other 'sub-suburbs'

In other words the reality could hardly have been more different from what the multiculturalists imagined. Most people prefer to live largely among people like themselves, and that includes ethnic minorities.

10/09/2006 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger RDS said...

That's very interesting! I had developed a similar theory about 15 years ago to explain my native Pittsburgh, PA.

Pittsburgh is very ethnically diverse, having taken in waves of immigrants from many different countries at different times.

These differences are celebrated, for example, in the famous "Nationality Rooms" in the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning (see below).

The reason Pittsburghers get along, I believe, is because the neighborhoods are self-segregated.

The mills were actually up the river. The downtown urban area is small. Much of Pittsburgh is in fact a complex tapestry of distinct, and mostly ethnically identifiable, residential neighborhoods.

Partly this is due to geography; the many rolling hills and the 3 rivers creats natural enclaves. Furthermore, as the immigrants arrived in waves, they tended to stay together and lived in their own communities, with their own churches and newspapers.

Feeling secure in their livingspace, this allowed them to mingle with each other during the day in town with less tension, knowing they'd go home to their comfortably familiar community.

Over time, as different groups rose up the socio-economic ladder, they would tend to move, en masse, to better areas, in a sort of reshuffling.

Where tensions exist are where the borders between distinct communities start to get blurred if one group starts to encroach on another.

I recall explaining Pittsburgh to some college friends, and they were horrified to hear the word "segregated" used with pride. Theoretically of course, nobody is supposed to support such a thing. But in reality, it works wonderfully and makes, as I said, daily mingling in a multi-ethnic city function more smoothly.

Human nature is what it is.

See here for a virtual tour of the famous Nationality Rooms.

For example:

The work began in nationality communities of Allegheny County as they responded to the invitation from Chancellor Bowman to create classrooms that would represent highly creative periods or aspects of their heritage. Men, women, and children in church, school, fraternal, labor, and social organizations labored with pride to finance these unique gifts to a burgeoning urban university where generations of their descendants would study.

The enthusiasm spread across the nation and seas to the motherlands, where committees were formed to assist in planning the rooms. In many cases, governments responded with generous support, often providing architects, artists, materials, and monetary gifts to assure authenticity and superb quality in their classrooms.

The determination of these remarkable people to establish monuments to their cultural heritage carried them through decades of traumatic times. The Great Depression and the desperate dramas that unfolded during World War II, as their nations were pitted against each other in political and ideological struggle, failed to deter them from their goals.

The Nationality Rooms are expressions of timeless human values. In these rooms themes are rendered in wood and glass, iron and stone, fabric, color, and words.

10/09/2006 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

I don't know if I can trust this study. You got a picture of the author?

10/09/2006 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger RDS said...

To be a little more precise, it's not a racial thing in Pittsburgh that I'm talking about; it's ethnic. There are (or were not long ago) identifiable sub-communities of Greeks, Italians, Irish, Poles, Hungarians, Jews, blacks, WASPS, Germans, Scots, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Czechs, etc.

Not a whole lot of South or Central Americans, however.

10/09/2006 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

The idea of America as a melting pot is today rot. There is no melting into a homogeneous American who speaks a common language, learns and embraces our history and is proud to be an American,period.
Yes, many of us WASP's do, but that is a product of being the first here to make this a workable "new" nation through intellect and revolution. It was Enlightenment philosophers, all white men who unfurled the long history of free man. If you are a Platonist and believe that all things exist only waiting to be uncovered then this unfurling is the sine qua_non of our Constitution. And there is little argument on that.
Each wave of immigrants became Americans until the cultural revolution of the 1960's when hyphenated Americans became de rigueur in the salons of New York and San Fransisco.
Government edicts of diversity forced corporate America to play or pay, so they played. Next went free speech and in came sensitivity training. America was no longer American but a huge host being feasted upon by hyphenated, unassimilated peoples, who had no intention of becoming American. Just gimme the benefits or we'll let the lawyers castrated the country from it's heritage.
It's been about thirty five years of buncumbe trashing two hundred plus years of progress.
In one generation we went from the "Greatest Generation" to the "Grotesque Generation".
There does not appear to be any "leadership" worthy of mention in the same article with either of the Roosevelts,A.Lincoln,R. Reagan, G. Washington and other great presidents. We are forced to choose between men to whom honor is a foreign concept.
Our financial leadership is even more bereft of ethics and honor even though Croesus would envy their riches. It is a sorry time with an abundance of wealth and a dirth of just about everything else that makes a person an American. The fault, dear people, lies not in our stars but in ourselves.

10/09/2006 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

A controversial author who has challenged Islamic fundamentalism will speak tonight at Rider University.

Irshad Manji, a Canadian author who was born in Uganda and wrote the book "The Trouble With Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith," has stirred strong emotions and even hostility.

The speech is part of the university's ninth annual Unity Day, an event that focuses on multiculturalism and strengthening communities. This year's theme is "Courage to be Just."


10/09/2006 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger demosophist said...

Well, first of all I'm not sure how much trust to place in Putnam's research. Lipset discusses the possibility that some of his data in "bowling alone" is questionable, and that he failed to notice that one type of association was being replaced by another. Moreover, Lipset and Ladd have pointed out that, if anything, Americans were converging toward a common set of beliefs that predate the Great Depression, so the ideological consensus is building rather than declining. This, in spite of the fact that we're "more diverse".

I think you're correct to speculate that the variable for diversity is influenced by elements of identity politics and multiculti. The question is, did Putnam control for this ideological component of American life? Where the American Ideology is strong and robust does the "diversity effect" decline? If our theory about identity politics and multiculti is correct one would expect to see that pattern very clearly.

10/10/2006 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

So our campus intellectual elites are *still* supporting two failed concepts: Marxism and multi-culturalism.

I wonder if there's any way support for either of those two ideas could be used as a litmus test in hiring faculty and staff at colleges and universities.

And then as a tie-breaker, the question "Do you agree that Islam is a Religion of Peace" could be asked.

10/10/2006 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yes, nahnceee, the Religion of Peace question.
In all schools that recieve Federal Funds, the correct answer is
"Yes, Islam is the Religion of Peace"
answered correctly, the applicant would recieve the job. To answer otherwise puts the applicant outside of Federally approved thinking.
No subversives should be allowed on Campus as instructors, in Federally funded institutions.

Vote Republican Values
Vote Foley

10/10/2006 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"What haven't you ruined?"

It's the Marxist totalitarianism, Stupid. Part of the s**t for brains ruination of the West is this monumentally egomaniacal idea that single generations move the World and complete actions wihtin themselves. BUNK!!

We are watching now another evolution of 19th Century European monarchical culture and the resentful response to it, Marxism. By my reckoning, it started with the Russian Revolution of 1905 and really got traction in 1917 when the Bolsheviks took control. The Soviet Union is gone, but it is folly to believe that it's ill effects are over.

10/10/2006 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger High Power Rocketry said...

: )

10/10/2006 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Ed Brenegar said...

Not surprised by Putnam's study. Surprised that it has been publically discussed. Part of the problem with the diversity/multicultural industry is that it takes a very shallow, cynical view of cultures. Culture doesn't just happen. It takes generations to form. What traditions mark multiculturalism? I can't think of a one. Cultural values travel from generation to generation on the back of traditions. When people share the same traditions, the potential for trust and respect is built. It will be interesting to see how the comments go when Putnam actually releases his findings.

10/10/2006 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Pascal said...

Habu, Chris, Nahncee,

Don't be too hard on us boomers. Rather learn from our errors and pass along the warnings.

I was in highschool when Malthusianims reemerged (Ehrlich et al.) concomitantly with counter-culturism (as C. S. Lewis had warned). But I and most of the rest of us were unaware we were targets. I never heard of the ADA. Didn't know of its trained SDS brownshirts until college. There, the few who were willing to speak out were unprepared for the concerted attacks and marginalization tactics.

The counter-revolution is mounting. Leaders are made (by circumstance and opportunity) not born.

10/10/2006 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Chris 5:27AM Worst Generation.

I have no quarrel about the boomers being the worst. Naturally one size doesn't fit all but it fits enough.
We were coddled and conscripted which really did a mind f*uck on a good many. Then we were propagandized at colleges and universities by Marxists whose love of that ideology totally escapes me.
Then we moved into power positions with no regard for anyone but the "Me" generation, which really equated to "Me" , a solipsitic bunch of jerks at the heads of corporations and the administrations of government.
Yep, sex, drugs, ad rock and roll....and the beat goes on. uhg.
I was a traditionalist and counter-counter culturalist but was overwhelmed by the numbers of easily impressionable yuts, my contemporaries.

10/10/2006 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Pascal said...

See Chris? Habu and I just happened to post at precisely the same time touching on the same experience.

10/10/2006 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Shinobi said...

I question the assumption that Diversity causes mistrust, without seeing what he adjusted for I think they are too many factors that could contribute to this conclusion. In the article it says he adjusted for "class, income and other factors." What about Population Density, Crime Rates, and Geographical effects, to name a few. If they weren't included in the "other factor's" But we don't know.

For instance, Population Density, I would assume that more dense populations tend to be more diverse. I would also assume that more dense populations tend to be less trustful. But I think that has more to do with population density, than it does with Diversity itself. If you don't know your neighbors, how can you trust them? Where in smaller communities doors are left open with regularity and everyone knows the mayor, so of course they trust him. It would be interesting to see if the relationship held over a place with low density and high diversity.

Also, crime rates could be a factor, and they may well be correlated with multiculturalism AND population density.

Without seeing his data I think it is extremely foolish to take this sort of conclusion at face value, even from a Harvard professor. There are a lot of potential variables that could influence trust beyond Diversity. It will be interesting to see what other factors he accounted for.

10/10/2006 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Shinobi said...

It also turns out it is foolish to post a comment before reading the whole financial times article.

10/10/2006 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

With the advent of world wide communications and mass media, we have been all thrown into the same pot.

If a Dane drew a cartoon just 40 years ago, it is unlikely that the Palestinians would have had a chance to read it and share it amongst themselves, let alone, that we would all be an audience to a world wide tantrum of sorts.

As the population climbs and communication technology becomes ubiquitous, we all become entangled in one another’s culture. Only the strongest cultures will survive and by mutual fear at that. Guilt ridden whities need not apply.

Technology itself has always been the means of warfare and when third class murderous thugs can cobble together 60 year old technology and join the arms race we are at last in a position that we must confront the most belligerent of ascendant tribes of the world or wait until some piously religious martyr throws a match into the whole tinder box.

10/10/2006 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I think where I disagree with Putnam’s hypothesis is that when individuals become acculturated to their community, regardless of their ethnicity, that the problem by and large goes away. The problem is the celebrating of differences; when Sven shows up at the picnic with the Norwegian flags on his car and his clan knitted sweater that we have mistrust.

In the ghetto, “respeto” means “fear me mutha f_ker!”

10/10/2006 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Gee, they're actually surprised by the long term effects of Balkanizing humanity into suspicious grievance groups?

Are there any policies of the Left which have not resulted in more human suffering and strife?

10/10/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Ed makes and excellent point about the shallowness of multi-culturalism.

It's a sort of 'Esperanto' of ideologies, a utopian delusion of the kind which can only be concocted by cosseted Western 'intellectuals' and university professors -- or by an Antonio Gramsci deliberately letting loose a most pernicious virus.

10/10/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Foobarista said...

In places like LA, there is no "majority community", although there are local majorities, such as Chinese in Monterey Park, Mexicans in many areas, Blacks in others, and a small number of areas where Iranians, Lebanese, etc immigrants are the majority.

Even in the Chinese communities, you have Cantonese in LA Chinatown, Mandarin-speaking PRC immigrants in Monterey Park, and Fujian-speaking Taiwanese in places like the San Gabriel Valley and Industry/La Puente. These three Chinese groups often don't mix well with each other, much less with more culturally distant groups like Mexicans or Iranians.

10/10/2006 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Multiculturalism does not multiethnic - it means the very opposite of that. It means compressing everything into one homogeneous concept that allows some things, requires others, but forbids even more.

It is "Cultural Marxism": we all get to carry everyone else's dead weight, and the more that gets carried the more there is to carry.

Thus people tend to regard various cultural foibles not as interesting but safely distant - a trip to Chinatown or Koreatown, or to an "Italian" village or to a Mexican restaurant - but rather "Okay, what crap are we going to have to put up with from this new bunch?"

10/10/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Earlier commentators have brushed on the importance of traditions and its importance to assimilation. The U.S. has certain traditional holidays that we celebrate, such as Memorial Day, the forth of July, and Labor Day. Others are more religious in nature like Christmas and Easter, and I am sure that there are those who consider Halloween to be a pagan abomination, but even holidays such as Columbus Day are under attack because the Mongolian interlopers don’t like Italians, Lincoln was a pansy and Washington was a slave holder. Give some Kwanza and Martin Luther King Day, others their Ramadan, and make sure no tradition gets left untrammeled.

10/10/2006 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger ppab said...

China is said to be very multi-ethnic. What with the annual ten million plus Chinese moving out of the country side to find work in cities, factory towns etc, does China have a melting pot going on?

Is a melting pot simply a big juicy incentive that harmonizes different peoples' values and behaviors?

And the key to this would be that they do it on their own, without much coercion as well as without any safetynet (bilingualist safety nets, welfare etc).

Maybe there is nothing terribly magical about the melting pot phenomenon, except that you need to have the notion of opportunity and optimism rife in the "melting pot" environment.

America in the beginning of the 21st Century, in the face of re-assuring statistics and indicators, meets no such criteria. Instead, Americans feel threatened, subverted, castigated and hated. And no one can get healthcare in this country!! It may be a miracle if we manage to integrate those 10+ million illegals. I know we could integrate them, but I think this returns to our lack of faith in our own culture.

We freely choose to not trust ourselves and so why should the Mexicans trust us? Better to just consider us solipsistic and hostile and extract whatever resources you can.

10/10/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger said...

James C. Bennett has written several compelling articles and books [The Anglosphere Challenge] on the contrasts between high-trust and low-trust societies [trust me, you want to live in the former]. Bennett makes a strong case that the Anglosphere uniquely has all of the positive attributes that foster a high-trust society.

10/10/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger ppab said...

You know, there are probably different types of "trust" or trust appropriate for different relationships and different transactions performed therein.

You could in theory map out these "trusts" as per relationships and I wonder how Barnett's "Gap" would compare to his "Core" and how the up and coming powers of Brazil, India and China would compare to Europe and the United States.

I think its self evident that there is a paucity of trust within the middle east. Will we have to learn how to export trust-making-in-a-box then? Any ideas on how ya do that...?

10/10/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hollywood tries to Help the GOP
GOP refuses offer

One GOP strategist said "jaws dropped" when the ad was first viewed. "Nobody could believe Zucker thought any political organization could use this ad. It makes a point, but it's way over the top."
EVERYTHING that might work is over the top for the TOO Old Party.
Can YouTube save the day?

10/10/2006 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

doug, I see Zucker was yet another Democrat who embraced the Republicans. No wonder conservatism (other then the social one) is waaay out the window these days.

10/10/2006 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Caution: Anecdotal evidence

My paternal grandfather immigrated from Lithuania in the 1890s. He ended up in Bridgeville, PA working in the coal mines. He spoke fluent Lithuanian, Polish, and French, but never came close to mastering English, a fact that shamed his daughters who didn't want their friends to know he was an immigrant.

As RDS noted, the various ethnic groups in Bridgeville self segregated, not so much by neighborhood because the town is small, but definitely by parish, and by social club.

He's buried in a Catholic cemetery. You'd need at least half a dozen European languages to be able to pronounce all the names on the stones.

The different ethnic groups didn't really hate each other, alhough bigotry was the rule, and they stayed apart.

Public school, and the Navy changed my first generation father. He anglicized his surname, moved west, went to school on the GI Bill and left Bridgeville far behind. He joined a new tribe--aspiring middle class white males.

He wasn't ashamed of his background, but he would never go back to it either. There's nothing romantic about thick accents and poverty and bigotry.

There is a melting pot, and it's heated by the economy. Everyone's money is green. The market is multiculti, but at the end of the day we go home to our tribes.

10/10/2006 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Green money does not a melting pot make, nor does it make a country.

Money is fungible. Cultures,ethnic differences,histories,mores and folkways make a brew which if the ingredients are even close on the substrate then a harmony can be achieved over time.
However if you don"t "buy into" the cultural heritage but rather seek to dilute it , either by omission or comission then it will fail. Right now we are failing, as are many of the "old" Euopean countries.
It remains to be seen if the American culture as defined prior to the illegal immigration and looser "legal" immigartion policies can absorb the rate of change.
With projects such as NASCO, the North America SuperCorridor Coalition Inc., (the NAFTA Superhighway from Mexico to Canada) in the works already it is hard to see the USA remaining anything but more diluted and dumbed down. Buy the way it's four football fields wide and enough illegal contraband and people on it everyday will overwhelm this nation.

10/10/2006 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

wretchard said...

Iraq's constitution calls for a federal state. It doesn't call in any shape way or form for a multicultural state where people all live happily on a hilltop singing "I'd like to buy the world a Coke". That's why the Iraqi constitution calls for powerful regional armed forces. The Peshmerga, for example, are not an illicit institution.

First off Article 9 (b) of the Iraqi constitution states: "Forming military militias outside of the framework of the armed forces is banned." The Pesh Merga are not intergated into the Defense or Interior Departments, they are answerable only to their regional political parties: Barzani's and Talabani's. Second the Pesh Merga are not merely a regional force but can be found throughout Bagdhad as private security and militia for Kurds. Third, Article 129 calls for the regional establishment of "police, security and regional guards" but those mandates are of a far, far lighter variety than "powerful regional armed forces". What article in the Iraqi constitution were you referring to?

Fourth, federalism will not solve the problem of Iraqi's multi-ethnic cities, whether Baghdad or Kirkuk. If you don't belive in the success of multi-culturalism then what is the Battle for Baghdad all about?

Recent polls held there showed a fairly high degree of support for such a federal state whose requirement is driven by the circumstance that some means of sharing the oil resource and access to the waterways must be found for any enduring peace to be established. When you think about it, this is really the model of nations, which cooperate with other nations for the common good yet retain their own identity within which they can be, well, neighborly.

Federalism is moribund. Hakim can not pass it through the Parliament because of the Sunni-Sadr legislative alliance. The Sunni have no faith that federalism will give them their fair share of oil and Sadr doesn't want to be trapped in a region with SCIRI and Dawa. This killing off of federalism happened last month and you can read about it here:

Federalism Plan Dead, Says Iraqi Speaker:

Saddam's regime was a multiethnic society, full of hatreds it's true; but one held together with an efficient secret police. Now which was it that we wanted?

Which serve(d) our interests better? A check on Iran's power or a failed state tilted towards Iran just as Iran develops a nuclear bomb? Is it in our interests do be trapped between our enemies (Shi'a and Sunni) in a civil war?

10/10/2006 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger MnMark said...

Although multiculti as constructed is bogus and shortcuts genuine understanding, we neither can nor should avoid living with people from other cultures.

This is just nonsense - a tired meme. "We neither can nor should avoid living with people from other cultures." Who says? We very easily CAN and DID for a very long time. And it was quite nice, thank you. I know, because I remember it. Now I "live with people from other cultures" all around me and just as that study suggests, it is alienating. I yearn for the kind of place I grew up in, where everyone looked and talked like me and we could all enthusiastically revere the same historical heroes and celebrate the same religious and cultural holidays. There was a tremendous feeling of community and belonging that I didn't even realize was there until it was gone with the influx of Hmong, Somalis, Mexicans, Iranians, muslims, etc, etc etc.

This idea that because there is an internet and long-distance phones and television and international trade, that somehow it follows that we must all live ass-to-elbows up against a polyglot bunch of aliens is just 100% liberal hogwash. What is going to happen is national disintegration and civil war. I second the guy who asked "just when exactly did human nature change?"

10/10/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger SFLaw said...

These figures do not mean multiculturalism does not work. They are the social ill that multiculturalism is trying to correct. By engaging members of other cultures people will be more trusting and friendly towards them than they otherwise would be.

Segregation and self-segregation on the other hand conflate these trust problems and make them worse.

I've read Putnam's previous work - Bowling Alone - and it was really good. But these figures are not very helpful. What would be more helpful would be to examine how much segregated communities trust other races vs. non-segregated communities.

Additionally, to use these numbers to justify anti-racemixing is just preposterous.

10/12/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very simplistic analogy written to convey a specific problem facing Britain and other European countries today.

Half way down Middle Road lived five British people who had lived together amicably despite being different in some ways. One was Jewish, one was Catholic, one was a Sikh, one was Protestant, and the other was an atheist. Disputes arose but were settled upon discussions. One day, there was a knock at the door.

‘Who’s there?’

‘Hello, my name is Saleem and I in danger…please me live with you?’

Of course, being British, the five friends instantly opened the door and gave Saleem the shelter she needed. All went smoothly as Saleem improved her English and made every attempt to fit in to the way the house was run. She wanted to be accepted and to be treated as an equal. Being British, the friends did accept her after they got used to her. Eventually they celebrated her differences and discovered all about them. They enjoyed the element of variety Saleem gave to the house. In fact, at times they were fascinated. Saleem also enjoyed the elements of British culture she had never experienced before.

Months passed and there was another knock at the door. ‘Hello, I am Kalim and bad things for me’

The door was opened again and the welcoming arms of the five friends embraced their new arrival. Kalim didn’t speak any English other than what he said at the door and therefore found comfort in the realms of Saleem’s bedroom. He didn’t leave her room very often as he felt he couldn’t understand the others and felt they were too different to communicate with. Every effort was made by the five friends to make Kalim feel at home. All instructions for operating the domestic appliances were translated and printed into Kalim’s language, at huge cost to the house. The house believed it would help Kalim to fit in due to feeling comfortable.

Saleem and Kalim became close friends and talked a lot in Saleem’s bedroom. They decided that they didn’t want to learn English anymore, nor change their lifelong beliefs or ways of thinking, living and dressing. Little things around the house annoyed them and so they announced that every week they wanted to have a house meeting to discuss them.

Although the five friends didn’t want to change, they also didn’t want to offend their new guests. Bit by bit, they removed articles from the house which Kalim and Saleem had pointed out caused offence. On Christmas Day there was no Christmas tree in the living room, despite it being a much loved feature of the friends’ year. One of the friends had to remove her crucifix which had been above her bed for ten years. She was upset but thought it best to create harmony in the house. The dog had to go into a shelter and alcohol was banned from the house.

One day a gay man, a friend of the five friends, came to visit but Kalim and Saleem didn’t want him to be associated with the house they now called home so the gay man had to leave.

In the privacy of their bedrooms, the five friends silently reflected on their lives with their new guests. They were saddened at the loss of the things which were important to them. They felt their unique identities had been eroded. Discussing the issue of how they had had to accommodate the various dislikes of their new guests was difficult as each believed the others would retaliate. Little did they know that four out of the five friends felt the same.

Rather than raise the issue and establish some sensibility, and maybe encourage the new guests to adapt their limits of tolerance in order to fit into their new home without taking away its traditional specialities, they buried their heads in the sand and hoped the problem would go away.

The problem never went away but four out of the five friends did and were replaced by friends of Kalim and Saleem.

One day much later, there was another knock at the door.

‘Hello. My name is Geoffrey Thistlewait and I am in terrible danger old chaps. Do you mind awfully if I could kip here the night? I won't get in your way’

The door was not opened that time.

10/16/2006 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Captain USpace said...

Fabulous post and comments, great food for thought...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe thinks
children are always right

sweet multicultural world
happiness and brotherhood

7/02/2007 11:54:00 PM  

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