Selective Multiculturalism?

The question of borders and freedom of movement is forever facing increasing pressure especially in the midst of the refugee crisis. Europe has some of the most secure borders are are constantly re-evaluating their immigration policies. In his article Zack Beauchamp consults an expert to discuss the anti-immigrant sentiments which are appearing among radical right parties. While anti-immigrant opinions appear in front-page news, this may not necessarily reflect the actual stance of individuals and parties, and government policies should be more closely examined to see how the issue is really treated.

Cas Mudde, an American expert on European politics stated that there are a few characteristics which seem to reoccur within radical right parties in Europe. I personally find the left-right spectrum ambivalent and troublesome, as every individual and party has slightly different views and even within one party you could have members on the ‘far right’ on some issues while on the ‘left’ for other issues. However Mudde claims that nativism, authoritarianism and populism are reoccurring characteristics for European parties of the radical right. Mudde describes nativism as a xenophobic form of nationalism, a belief that a state should be inhabited by members of one nation. In the contemporary globalized world is it nearly impossible to find an example of a nations consisting of only people who were born within the state. Furthermore as discussed in class, Immigration helps grow the economy and could be critical to help a declining population as seen in many European countries.

Authoritarianism believes that society should be strictly ordered with severe punishments for criminals. According to Mudde Authoritarianism perceives every issue first and foremost as a security issue, which can range from controlling the drug trade, to immigration policies.

Modern communications and social media have created a platform where actions of people and parties are easily publicized and criticized. This hopefully means that negative radical ideas can be condemned, and positive ones reinforced. It is up to the citizens of each nation to create and defend their own laws and policies, and social media can help bring issues within society to public attention. Every individual has a different opinion on immigration. We cannot force others to change their minds because we believe we know what is right. We can only show them through success of our own practices. It is difficult for a Canadian to criticize European immigration policies, as Canada has very high barriers to entry, and lets in a fraction of immigrants Europe does, despite having similar geographic area. What we can do however especially public media is draw attention to hateful ideologies such as xenophobia which turn fellow humans into the Other and can cause serious harm and suffering.

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