Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, spoke yesterday to the youth wing of the Christian Democratic Union Party according to The Times. Her message that then would foresee the future was that multiculturalism, as it had been led so far, had failed. I guess that people are slowly starting to admit this in Sweden as well in the wake of the recent electoral success of the Sweden Democratic Party who's main issue was integration and immigration.
The only concrete issue that Merkel spoke off, according to the article, was that immigrants must learn German. This is obviously a requirement also in Sweden. What seems to be happening then is that the balance of the integration/immigration debate is tightening and more requirements are going to be given to immigrants.
Will Kymlicka, a Canadian professor of philosophy, who wrote the book Contemporary Political Philosophy 2002, a book that was translated to eight languages among which Swedish was one, is an authority on multiculturalism. He defends a liberal stance on the issue and means that the general idea right now in AngloAmerica is that it is very difficult to hinder the development of multiculturalism but that one should strive for the appreciation of liberal values at the same time. Multiculturalism is also linked to the issue of Feminism and the balance within the family, a unit in which foreign cultural ideas is thriving. Should it be possible to interfere in family life?
In other words it is very difficult to force immigrants to leave a certain amount of cultural attributes behind. Attempting to brain wash newcomers is a very difficult prospect. It was found by the Chinese in the 1950s that trying to make communists out of Koreans only 11 out 4,500 survivors of a total of 7,000 people became communists. Furthermore, it is also known that among the brain washed the new phenotype is highly unstable as well. Even if communism might be a harder sell than the liberal equalism of European nations, the example illustrates the difficulties in changing cultural attributes. So what you in reality are ending up with is the common sense among immigrants to realize that their prosperity relies on the functioning of the state they arrived to.
The problem, however, seems to be more difficult than this since the tolerance of the home population to insignificant symbols like niqabs, minarets and the like seems to be low. One would think that if an immigrant learned the language, got a job, paid his tax and followed the laws this would be enough to satisfy the demands of immigration but unfortunately it might not. In Germany, however, according to the article above, people seem to question if the actual costs of immigration has paid off. Kymlicka argues that immigrants do not have a home to return to after all and that solutions to the "fact" of multiculturalism has to be found. If he is right, it is probably not helpful to say that it has failed. A healthy debate on what minimum requirements that are judged to be necessary for integration though in society is probably useful.