Respect and tolerance are not what we need for Europe’s diversity

Voltaire (http://voltaire.nlr.ru)
Voltaire (http://voltaire.nlr.ru)

Michiel Luining ᅵmichiel.luining@gmail.com

Today multiculturalism is said to have failed in Europe. We can recall the statement made by Angela Merkel in 2010 on the topic. Soon after, David Cameron also declared the end of multiculturalism, and similar remarks emerged in political debates in the Netherlands as well as in other countries. In recent times we have seen an increase of nationalist movements many of which are fuelled by anti-Islam and anti-immigrant sentiments. Simultaneously, we witnessed growing feelings of resent within immigrant and minority populations towards their host countries and cultures. All in all, it would seem that we are experiencing a downward spiral.

In response to this, idealistic calls have been made in favour of respect, tolerance, consensus and mutual understanding in order to transcend this last decade’s polarising cycle. However, these calls are wrong. Respect is not what we need, and neither are the current thoughts on tolerance. In order to sustain a democratic and tolerant society, we need to get rid of the naive mindset that lies beneath such claims; those that fail to consider realistic solutions and opportunities that are vital for a free society. In part, the problem lies in the multicultural categorisation that has taken place, and further still in the way is the concept of tolerance that is being used by many people noways.

“Respect is not what we need, and neither are the current thoughts on tolerance….”

Although it is difficult to discuss multiculturalism (as the word has many meanings), its basis lies in identifying groups based on political considerations – typically by ethnicity – in order to remove stigmatisation and exclusion in relation to such groups. Today, instead of accepting difference as an integral part of (considerate) co-existence, the liberal multicultural state facilitates rigid differences. Continue reading “Respect and tolerance are not what we need for Europe’s diversity”