Ricardo Duchesne on Will Kymlicka: Living up to Western Ideals

Ricardo Duchesne on Will Kymlicka: Living up to Western Ideals

Kevin MacDonald

Kevin MacDonald
Kevin MacDonald

Ricardo Duchesne is well-known to TOO readers. His The Uniqueness of WesternCivilization is essential reading not only for an understanding of the deep wellsprings of Western culture, but for his attacks on the Cultural Marxists who now dominate the academic world in an effort to remake the Western world in the name of multiculturalism and displacement-level non-White immigration.

Prof. Duchesne continues his attacks on intellectually bankrupt academics with an article on Will Kymlicka appearing in the Canadian journal, The Quarterly Review (“Will Kymlicka and the disappearing Dominion“).

A theme of Prof. Duchesne’s writing on academics like Kymlicka is that they are having wonderful careers. The reward structure of the academic world favors those who are willing to plug themselves wholeheartedly into the multicultural zeitgeist. In Uniqueness he describes them as “happily ensconced within a world of like-minded academics, backed by multiple grants and prestigious titles.” Kymlicka is no exception:

He is arguably the best connected and best funded academic in Canada, regularly producing papers commissioned by government agencies and corporations, including Forum of FederationsICCSCitizenship and Immigration Canada and the Transatlantic Council on Migration. …

Kymlicka holds, currently, the Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy at Queen’s University in Kingston. Best known for the elaboration of a liberal theory of minority rights, with particular reference to Canada, he has been tremendously effective in this endeavour. Since the mid-1980s when he was a grad student, he has received, every single year without interruption, highly lucrative grants and awards, including the Premier’s Discovery Award in 2009($250,000), the Trudeau Foundation Fellowship in 2005-2008 ($225,000), and the Killam Prize in Social Sciences in 2004 ($100,000). He has held visiting professorships and fellowships outside Canada every year since coming to Kingston in 1998. Around the world his books have been accepted as part of the official consensus on multiculturalism in Canada, translated into 32 languages. While portraying himself as an outsider fighting the dominant Eurocentric discourse, he is best viewed as Canada’s government-sanctioned ideologue of multicultural citizenship.

That last is the most outrageous part. The legions of Kymlickas who dominate the academic world routinely portray themselves as courageous, powerless outsiders fighting against an evil establishment. At the same time they hold prestigious academic chairs, are well-connected to the government, and become wealthy in the process. Similarly, US Attorney General Eric Holder described Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent in the recent University of Michigan affirmative action case as “courageous” even though her dissent was lionized by the elite media like the New York Times and even though her opinion is entirely in line with her own ethnic interests.

Kymlicka develops a theory of multiculturalism very much like that of philosopher Horace Kallen, the Jewish intellectual who pioneered the theory of cultural pluralism in the United States with an eye to maintaining Jewish group cohesion in a liberal, individualist political culture. For Kymlicka, public policy should allow immigrants “to maintain their communal distinctiveness “in their family lives and in voluntary associations” while still participating “within the public institutions of the dominant culture” (1995: 14).

Beginning with a 1915 paper opposing the melting pot concept of America, Kallen developed the theory that different ethnic groups should be able to remain distinct and pursue their interests (Kallen was a committed Zionist and active on behalf of Eastern European Jews) while nevertheless participating in American democratic institutions. This was accompanied by a romantic ideology that relationships between groups would be cooperative and benign—that America would become a “symphony” of cooperating groups. America ought to be a proposition nation — committed only the the principles of individual liberty and democracy, and not defined by the ethnicity of the founding peoples. As Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau phrased it in the case of Canada as quoted by Duchesne, it would be “a nation neutral in matters of culture and ethnicity committed to mass immigration from the Third World. It would be a nation without any ethnic core.” Kallen’s views became central to Jewish self-conceptualizations in America at least by the end of World War II (see here, pp. 245–250).

Kallen took advantage of the fact that Enlightenment principles were prominent in the founding documents of America; the problem is that he excluded everything else. As Eric Kaufmann noted in the The Rise and Fall of Anglo America, it was common among the founders to see American political institutions as a consequence of Anglo-Saxon ethnicity: “After drafting the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson stated that Americans are “the children of Israel in the wilderness, led by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; and on the other side, Hengist and Horsa, the Saxon chiefs from whom we claim the honour of being descended, and whose political principles and form of government we have assumed” (pp. 17–18; emphasis in text).

Kallen thus essentially ignored the ethnic component of traditional American identity and the ethnic origins of American political institutions in fashioning his theory. But as Prof. Duchesne notes, a major component of the multicultural project has been to reconstrue European societies in the same manner, despite their long histories and ethnic traditions. He discusses an influential intellectual tradition (Eric Hobsbawm [this link to “He hated Britain” appears in Duchesne’s original], Benedict Anderson  and Ernest Gellner) which argues that

the nation states that emerged in nineteenth century Europe were not created by a people sharing a common history, a sense of territorial belonging and habitation, similar dialects, folkways and physical appearances; no, the nation-states of Europe were “socially constructed” entities, “invented traditions,” “imagined” by people perceiving themselves as part of a “mythological” group in an unknown past….
It tries to give the impression that Western nations have always been diverse, blank slates ceaselessly open to immigrants from time immemorial. It further stipulates that Western nations without open borders are violating their liberal ideals. Europeans are neither a people, nor a tradition, nor a religion, but a conglomerate of abstract units possessing rights that in principle belong to all humans.

Duchesne cites recent academic work refuting of the historical truth of this perspective: “When modern states emerged in Europe in the nineteenth century, they did so as liberal states within ethnolinguistic boundaries and majority identities” (emphasis in original).

Further, it should be noted that whatever the self-conceptions of European societies in the nineteenth century, in fact they were highly ethnically homogeneous. Indeed, recent population genetic research continues to show that Europeans from East to West are genetically quite homogeneous, and certainly even more so within the traditional European nation states. Europeans therefore had a very large ethnic interest in resisting immigration from around the world— in resisting the calls from ethnic and corporate interests intent on displacing the traditional peoples of these countries and eradicating all sense of a racial/ethnic identity for Europeans.

As the above quote shows, Westerners are forever being exhorted to “live up to their ideals” by rejecting ethnic identities and ethnic interests — often by those with strong ethnic commitments of their own who would never apply these ideals to their own ethnostates (“Israel is a Jewish state”). Again I am reminded of the debates over the 1924 immigration law: Zionist activist Israel Zangwill advised the forces opposed to immigration restriction in the U.S. to claim that restrictionists “are destroying American ideals” (see here, p. 266). Or consider Harvard historian Oscar Handlin’s 1952 Commentary article claiming that immigration policy should conform to American ideals that “all men, being brothers, are equally capable of being Americans” (Ibid., p. 285). Framing the United States as exclusively an Enlightenment project based on moral idealism became central to the public claims of the organized Jewish community:

As in the nineteenth-century attempt to define Jewish interests in terms of German ideals (Ragins 1980, 55; Schmidt 1959, 46), the rhetoric of the Intergroup Relations Movement [spearheaded by the ADL and other activist Jewish organizations] stressed that its goals were congruent with American self-conceptualizations, a move that stressed the Enlightenment legacy of individual rights while effectively ignoring the republican strand of American identity as a cohesive, socially homogeneous society and the “ethnocultural” strand emphasizing the importance of Anglo-Saxon ethnicity in the development and preservation of American cultural forms (Smith 1988). (Ibid., 257-258)

It is remarkable that no other people could remotely be said to have ideals that require them to give up any sense of their ethnic interests.  As I noted elsewhere,
The reality is that Whites are the only people who have developed moral idealism—in my view a unique feature of Western individualistic  culture where groups are constructed less on the basis of kinship than on the basis of ideology and moral reputation (see here, p. 14ff).  Whites are loudly encouraged to act on the basis of these moral ideals by elites in the Western media and academic world. But a moral idealism that doesn’t take account of human nature and continues to promote non-White ethnocentrism may well end in a moral disaster—for example, the many millions in the USSR murdered in pursuit of the highest moral ideal of a classless society.

Critically, nation states with the greatest cultural and biological homogeneity “were the ones with the strongest liberal traits, constitutions and institutions. That is why minority rights became a legitimate component of these liberal nations. By contrast, those states (or empires like the Austro-Hungarian Empire) composed of multiple ethnic groups were the ones enraptured by illiberal forms of ethnic nationalism and intense rivalries over identities and political boundaries.” Group-based identities engendered by multiculturalism are ultimately incompatible with a liberal social order because they set off between-group competition — a theme of Separation and Its Discontents (p. 170 ff). This is why an essential aspect of Kymlicka’s approach is to anathematize group identities among Whites.

But one wonders how long such an ideology can last as Whites see their power and relative social class declining — Exhibit A for the costs of multiculturalism. All the psychology says that group identities among Whites will be more and more important. Already in the U.S. Whites of all social classes are coalescing in the Republican Party as American politics becomes ever moreracialized. While the White identities apparent in this phenomenon are implicit, it is only a matter of time before they become explicit.

Prof. Duchesne emphasizes that, like so many other intellectual apologists for multiculturalism, Kymlicka fails to seriously consider the costs of immigration and multiculturalism to the traditional people of Canada and to the society generally. Duchesne notes that we already see strong patterns of residential segregation. As throughout the West, “multiculturalism in Canada has proceeded for the most part by way of non-transparent regulations, executive directives, and administrative discretion rather than by legislative action and popular demand.” The costs of immigration to traditional Canadians were never discussed in public, and Kymlicka simply dismisses any objections as the result of intolerance and xenophobia—in other words, as completely irrational. As Duchesne rightly notes, “the vast majority of Canadians would never have endorsed policies that target them as oppressors to be dispossessed if the ultimate intentions of this ideology were presented to them by critics with equal access to the public space and without fear of demonization and loss of livelihood.”

Nor are the benefits discussed. For Kymlicka, ethnic diversity is an intrinsic good.

One would think that someone who has been so actively involved in the articulation of a fully-fledged theory on the merits of immigrant multiculturalism would at the least devote a few paragraphs explaining to European Canadians why diversity is inherently good for their culture. What was it about Canada’s European culture that was so lacking in cultural sophistication, and what is it about African, Asian, and Islamic immigration that has elevated the quality of Canada’s European culture? Aside from some trivial remarks about the higher number of ethnic restaurants in England, I have not seen a paragraph in Kymlicka addressing this issue.


So in the end, Kymlicka discusses neither benefits or costs of this revolution in a serious manner and looks forward to the day when all traces of Canada’s European heritage have been eradicated. On the other hand, we who are opposed to the impending monster created by multiculturalism have a very clear image of the  future if present trends continue.  In a recent interview, Jared Taylor provides an excellent summary of what to expect in 20 years in America on the assumption that Whites fail to act on behalf of their interests. Canada will be much the same with a different ethnic mix.



By 2034, if current trends continue, the United States will have a bare majority of whites, many of whom will be elderly. The working-age population will be heavily black and Hispanic. To give you an idea of what sort of country we will have, I could cite endless statistics on rates of crime, AIDS, diabetes, poverty, welfare dependence, etc. but I’ll cite just one figure. By the time they graduate from high school, blacks and Hispanics are reading and doing math at the level of the average white 8th grader. That will not have changed in 20 years, and it will mean we are well on our way to becoming another Brazil.

We will have a painfully stratified society, run by a mixed elite that keeps the masses of poor browns and blacks at a safe distance. Our rulers will continue to mouth slogans about equality and redemption-through-diversity but their lives will be even more hypocritical than they are today. They will live in fortified enclaves, and will increasingly see America not as a beloved nation whose destiny they hold in trust but as a herd to be milked. In 20 years, their cynicism will have begun to dull the patriotism even of Southern whites.

Our increasingly Third-World and unproductive population will force more cities into bankruptcy, and the federal government will lurch from crisis to crisis. Our decline in world stature will not be graceful.

There will still be pockets of white civility, but only for the wealthy. The middle class will shrink, as school quality declines and more and more whites are forced into low-wage service jobs. Marriage will increasingly be a relic practiced only by the elite, and more whites will copy the degenerate behavior of the black and Hispanic underclasses.

We will slowly lose the public trust and moral infrastructure that prevents bribery, nepotism, kickbacks, and government looting. Politicians will begin to buy and rig elections, especially at the local level. Fewer people will feel they have a stake in society, so there will be less volunteer work or charitable giving.

Too pessimistic?  Show me trends that prove me wrong.” (“Every Man His Own Commissar: Jared Taylor and the Politics of Race“)

It is this dystopian vision of the future that motivates us to continue the fight and provides a deeply moral rationale for doing so.



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