Thanks to Amy Welborn of Open Book for spotting this.

Is Multiculturalism Fatal?

One of the most intellectually daring results of the London bombings is that multiculturalism-that academic trend that refuses to make value judgments about cultures-is coming under scrutiny.

"The Blair Government's intervention in Iraq is not to blame," writes former Australian treasury secretary John Stone. Rather, successive British governments have persisted in the multiculturalist folly that a nation can be built on separate but equal cultures. Moreover, under Tony Blair in particular, Britain's immigration policies and border controls against illegal immigrants have become international jokes, and now a national tragedy."

Stone offers some suggestions to prevent Australia from becoming a breeding ground for those who hate her:

"[T]he precious gift of Australian citizenship must be harder to obtain. The permanent residence requirement for citizenship is a derisory two years. If we value citizenship so lightly, how can we expect newcomers to do otherwise?

"[C]itizenship should be conditional on reasonable fluency, appropriately tested, in English. If ethnic ghettos are to be avoided, newcomers must learn our language.

"[C]itizenship applicants should also have to pass a reasonable written test of citizenship's meaning: parliamentary democracy, respect for others' rights, the rule of law and a general understanding of the Australian values to which they swear commitment.

"[E]mphasis on English in our immigration policy should be enhanced. Today, English-language proficiency earns points towards an applicant's overall score. It should be made an absolute requirement (including, in other than exceptional cases, for our humanitarian intake)."

Just to make it clear, I want to quote a final point that Stone makes:

"All this has nothing to do with race, but everything to do with culture, and particularly with people whose culture is such that they are unlikely readily to integrate into society. For the world's problem today, whence the London bombings derive, is that Islam has become a failed culture."

Loose Canon considers herself a real multiculturalist. I appreciate other cultures. But I feel it is important to make judgments about our culture and other ones. I especially feel that when people immigrate to a country they owe it a degree of loyalty.

The Faith of the Wife

I remarked yesterday on the superficiality of a New York Times profile that dealt with John Roberts's faith. There is a much better piece on Jane Sullivan Roberts today in the Washington Post--you get a sense of what her Catholicism means to her. And the reporter's tone is respectful--but I don't expect that to last.

Tiptoeing Around Terrorists

Even though yesterday's bombings in London were less murderous than 7/7, there will be those who use them as a pretext to do what they have wanted to do all along: pull out of Iraq.

But can you appease terrorists? Would it reduce their attempts to destroy civil society? Here is the answer to these questions from an excellent piece on the logic of trying not to make the terrorists angry:

"Let's assume for the sake of argument that appeasing some of Al Qaeda's demands (those precious few that are actually appeasable) will at least put a given country lower down the hit list if not actually all the way off it. Okay then. Why not go as far as possible? If it's worth doing something to mollify Al Qaeda, then it's worth doing another thing to mollify them even more. If the whole point is to keep your head down, then keep your head down. Lowering your chin but not your forehead is not going to cut it.