Ed Driscoll

Bicultural Bye-Bye

Mark Steyn writes that Europe isn’t multicultural–it’s bicultural. And that’s a huge part of its current woes:

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 11: 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.

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In a democratic age, you can’t buck demography – except through civil war. The Yugoslavs figured that out. In the 30 years before the meltdown, Bosnian Serbs had declined from 43 per cent to 31 per cent of the population, while Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 per cent to 44 per cent.

So Europe’s present biculturalism makes disaster a certainty. One way to avoid it would be to go genuinely multicultural, to broaden the Continent’s sources of immigration beyond the Muslim world. But a talented ambitious Chinese or Indian or Chilean has zero reason to emigrate to France, unless he is consumed by a perverse fantasy of living in a segregated society that artificially constrains his economic opportunities yet imposes confiscatory taxation on him in order to support an ancien regime of indolent geriatrics.

France faces tough choices and, unlike Baghdad, in Paris you can’t even talk about them honestly. As Jean-Claude Dassier, director-general of the French news station LCI, told a broadcasters’ conference in Amsterdam, he has been playing down the riots on the following grounds: “Politics in France is heading to the Right and I don’t want Right-wing politicians back in second or even first place because we showed burning cars on television.

On Friday, we looked at the American media’s attempt to also ignore the problem, hoping it’ll go away.