If one is to believe Merkel, Sarkozy and Cameron, then Multiculturalism was some sort of government experiment in Western Europe designed to liberalize immigration rules for Muslims. That's one way to look at it. We'll see how far that definition and context lives on in the American academy. Who knows?
Note that there is an error in the translation. Sarkozy says we are a secular nation, not we are a Catholic nation as indicated in the text.
Just this week, I caught the tail end of an NPR broadcast on the matter of how a flea jumps. The researcher who had been vindicated by a high speed slo-mo electron microscope was not particularly excited. He had always maintained that a flea jumps by using their feet, but the prevailing theory said it was its knee. The scientist said he was not surprised by the results proving him right because he thought the other idea was as silly as somebody saying "I am going to jump off this chair by clenching my buttocks".
So multiculturalism is as dead as the flea's knees theory, but people won't be sure until they see it all in slow motion with electron microscopes. That's what blogs are for. I think everything he says makes perfect sense, and that is that faith is a private matter subsumed within national identity. Whatever one wishes to be in a religious or ethnic sense, it has never really been trans-national, and proper Multiculturalism, as I mentioned many years ago, has not matured in this country or evidently in the UK, Germany and France, outwardly. Instead it has been inwardly focused, and it has been a failure. I review and update my position here:
Class Three - PC
The principles of multiculturalism are well suited to resolving issues but we suffer from a surfeit of dialog about the laziest version, political correctness. PC is nothing more than the "don't ask don't tell" version of multiculturalism, it is the false pretense that everything is relative and that we can all enjoy each other's cultures with a Coke and a smile. So long as we don't offend, we can 'all get along' and society is better off. But PC demands no real understanding nor even an effort.
I should add to this that PC is essentialist. The effort made not to offend presumes that the offense is absolute and that the person to which the offensive comment is made must be offended in ineffible but inevitable ways. Therefore all effort must be made never to offend because that class of person would always suffer.
Class Two - Diversity & Pluralism
Diversity is one step up from PC and makes pefect sense. However it is misaplied as a principle when it's really just a strategy. The value of diversity is that it stands as an indicator of a willingness to make the effort to be inclusive. The best of diversity delivers a kind of robustness, it fortifies an institution by giving disparate groups an interest in its sucess. But this need be done purposefully with the intention of maintaining that robustness without losing links.
Pluralism is not a consequence of diversity, rather I think it the proper result of a non-chauvanistic secularism in a democratic society. You can have a healthy pluralism without the attempted mutual understanding of diversity. I think they reinforce each other but that they are not the same.
These days I am not so sure that those links need to be strong. In fact I doubt that they can be if the matter of inclusiveness is based on merit. In other words, an institution that embraces diversity in a post-discriminatory fashion will right itself by establshing and defending meritocracy. The previous outsiders, by merit are now insiders. But if the outsiders maintain links to the out group, on what basis should that outgroup feel welcome? If it is by anything but merit, then it defeats the purpose of inclusion. If I say that I want Affirmative Action into Big League Baseball just like Jackie Robinson, then it renews suspicion on the entire enterprise. So 'links' to outsiders who get included on the basis of the point of discrimination makes it nothing more or less than reverse discrimination. That is the kind of hope that should not be kept alive.
Class One - Diplomacy
A proper multiculturalism is probably best described as a 'panglossos'. It involves a non-trivial understanding of history and language of the peoples of different cultures and traditions. It is diplomatic but not necessarily integrative. It is the most difficult to achieve, of course, because bridging such gaps are very difficult. Imagine giving up the principle of 'innocent until proven guilty' as the character portrayed by Richard Gere in 'Red Corner'. Respecting alien systems of governance, wedding and burial traditions, oral and written history etc are tremendous undertakings.
Diplomacy can be nothing more or less than the diplomacy of nations and extraordinary global jet-setters. Multiculturalism doesn't help anyone more average establish 'diplomatic relations'. If you want a friend, buy a dog. If you want diplomatic relations, marry somebody who doesn't speak your language and get along with your new in-laws. Outside of that..
Multicuturalism is dead.