The virtues of the multicultural era were elite virtues. The British sociologist Geoff Dench suspected, with good reason, that favouring elites was a large part of the point of multiculturalism. Conﬂicts in a striving meritocracy, he noted “can probably be managed more easily where there are groups whose membership of the nation is ambiguous, who are very dependent on elite sponsorship, and whose presence ﬂushes out ethnocentric responses among the masses which can then be held against them. A society tied to the notion of meritocracy may therefore have a particular need for minorities.”
By now it is almost second nature for westerners to assume that anything familiar, traditional, and western is to be opposed; and anything discomfort-inducing and foreign is to be protected.
Two of many piquant observations in Christopher Caldwell’s “Fear masquerading as tolerance” in Prospect.