Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Fukuyama on European Islam

Francis Fukuyama argues that terrorism is not just (or at all) a problem of dysfunctional Middle Eastern societies and polities. Many terrorists live or came of age in Europe. Their Islamism, Fukuyama argues, is a response to their failure to integrate into their new home countries. And that failure can be traced to misbegotten mulitculturalism and labor policies. Here’s the core of Fukuyama’s conclusion:

The real challenge for democracy lies in Europe, where the problem is an internal one of integrating large numbers of angry young Muslims and doing so in a way that does not provoke an even angrier backlash from right-wing populists. Two things need to happen: First, countries like Holland and Britain need to reverse the counterproductive multiculturalist policies that sheltered radicalism, and crack down on extremists. But second, they also need to reformulate their definitions of national identity to be more accepting of people from non-Western backgrounds.

The final recommendation, by the way, amounts to an elevation of the American example: a "nationalism of principle" can ultimately accommodate and integrate immigrants much better than can one that focuses on ethnicity.

Update: Andrew McCarthy responds to Fukuyama, but without engaging what I take to be his most interesting conclusion. McCarthy seems to assume that what Fukuyama wants is more better multiculturalism, and a weakening of various European national identities. I don’t think so. What he seems to want is a reconception of national identity in terms that don’t depend upon ultimately illusory conceptions of ethnic homogeneity.

Discussions - 2 Comments

Exactly right! This suggests that Fukayama needs to rethink his Hegelianism and discover natural rights. If he did, he might conclude that the basis for Bush’s foreign policy was not idealism, but high principle mixed with prudent statesmanship. There is no conflict beteween the latter two. Maybe there’s hope for Fukayama, after all.

Orrin Judd pretty much sets Fukuyama where he has retreated to.

"The tragedy of Mr. Fukuyama is that his secular rationalism leaves him no access to nor comprehension of how America’s founding ideals bind the many into one and so an essay like this ends up being only half written because he can’t make the recommendations that Europe needs if it is to sustain healthy democracy."

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