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EU sortition assembly and legitimacy 1

July 19, 2017
  1. Introduction:

In this chapter, we aim to adapt Gastil and Wright (forthcoming)’s sortition assembly proposal to fit EU institutions and generate greater legitimacy therefor. We accept that enhanced legitimacy is a major driving force behind deliberative innovations (Fung 2015, Curato and Böker 2016), and to that end, we put forward a rival proposal which better secures it: a consultative body of citizens with downstream deliberative powers. Would our alternative proposal better meet feasibility challenges and EU legitimacy requirements? And would it thereby solve for one facet of the EU democratic deficit? Naturally, these questions, as presently worded, are overly broad in scope. To get clearer on the proposals and stakes, it will be necessary to lay out the precise make-up of the two sortition bodies proposed and of the feasibility and legitimacy tests to which they will be put. Accordingly, we shall first examine the bodies’ structure and the different criteria for permutation: powers, function, embeddedness, level, dissemination. We shall then identify those structures which best fit both the overall purpose of the two rival proposals and the EU institutional context. At this point, we will elaborate two series of tests by which to measure the feasibility and legitimacy which the two proposals might accrue. The structures preselected will first be tested at the practical level through Kies (2016)’s seven golden rules. Attention will then shift to a second test at the theoretical level wherein the proposals’ “legitimation capacity”[1] is to be tested on four dimensions: personal, interpersonal, institutional, systemic. Finally, we shall conclude by showing how our proposal comes out ahead on both tests, is less constrained by EU institutional context and may light the way to further EU deliberative innovation.

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Kymlicka’s Contemporary Political Philosophy 20

July 18, 2017

The above considerations suffice, for the author, to shift the burden of proof from multiculturalism’s defenders to its would-be critics. Barring further empirical evidence, there is little reason to suppose that multiculturalism and liberal democratic stability are conceptual opposites, distinct and incompatible across all cases. What will instead be necessary is greater attention to the details surrounding particular instantiations of such a relation. The author underscores this in a footnote to the above:

“Philosophers’ claims about the relationship between minority rights and social unity are often doubly speculative: first we speculate about the sources of social unity (the ‘ties that bind’), and then we speculate about how minority rights affect these ties. Neither sort of speculation is grounded in reliable evidence. For example, some political philosophers have suggested (a) that it is shared values which form the bonds of social unity in modern liberal states, and (b) that immigrant multiculturalism and/or multination federalism reduce the level of shared values. There is no good evidence for either of these speculations. I seriously doubt that minority rights have reduced shared values, but I equally doubt that it is shared values which hold societies together. (See pp. 253-7 above) Other philosophers suggest that it is shared experiences, shared identities, shared history, shared projects, or shared conversations which hold countries together. We have little evidence to support such claims about the source of social unity (and even less evidence about how minority rights affect these factors). We simply do not know what are the sources of social unity in multiethnic and multi nation states. To argue against minority rights on the grounds that they erode the bonds of social unity is therefore doubly speculative: we do not know what the real bonds of social unity are, and we do not know how minority rights affect them.” (376, footnote to page 368; cf. Kymlicka 2017)

Finally, Kymlicka turns to the politics of multiculturalism as it is practiced. He suggests that, like other politico-theoretical approaches surveyed in the volume, multiculturalism may take either a forward- or backward-looking form, either both at once or successively, depending on the aims of the group pressing their rights claims. More specifically:

“Multiculturalism takes these divergent political forms because modernization is a challenge not only for the mainstream society but also for minority groups. Multiculturalism can be invoked by minority groups to attack the conformism and conservatism of the larger society, and to pressure it to accept the new realities of openness and pluralism. But some members of the minority groups themselves fear this new openness, and invoke multicultural- ism precisely to justify suppressing the freedom and changes it brings. As a result, multiculturalism is sometimes invoked by liberals against a narrow and conformist conception of the national culture, and sometimes invoked by conservatives to defend a narrow and conformist conception of a minority culture.” (369)

Wherefore a strong ambiguity in its concrete everyday manifestations:

“As with communitarianism and civic republicanism, the political implications of multiculturalism depend in part on whether the people invoking multiculturalism accept the liberal premiss about the revisability and plurality of our ends. If they do, then we are likely to see a liberal form of multicultural- ism which seeks to challenge status inequalities while preserving individual freedom. If not, then we are likely to see a conservative form of multicultural- ism that seeks to replace liberal principles with a communitarian politics of the common good, at least at the local or group level.” (ibid.)

In the end, only a greater attention to details of this sort can help to sort liberal nation-building and minority groups out from their conservative counterparts, a note on which Kymlicka closes the multiculturalism section.

Kymlicka’s Contemporary Political Philosophy 19

July 17, 2017

To accept either of these amounts to seeing such measures not as discrimination but as compensation. The author judges this first aspect of the debate to be more or less settled. By this, he means that it is untenable for most participants to the debate to maintain that multiculturalism is intrinsically unjust. He clarifies:

“I do not mean that defenders of multiculturalism have been successful in getting all or most of their claims implemented, although there is a clear trend throughout the Western democracies towards the greater recognition of minority rights. Rather I mean that the terms of the public debate have been redefined in two profound ways: (a) few people continue to think that justice can simply be defined in terms of difference-blind rules or institutions. Instead, it is now recognized that difference-blind rules can cause disadvantages for particular groups. Whether justice requires common rules for all, or differential rules for diverse groups, is something to be assessed case by case in particular contexts, not assumed in advance; (b) as a result, the burden of proof has shifted. The burden of proof no longer falls solely on defenders of multiculturalism to show that their proposed reforms would not create injustices; the burden of proof equally falls on defenders of difference-blind institutions to show that the status quo does not create injustices for minority groups.” (366)

That this first grounds of opposition has fallen away does not mean that overall opposition to multiculturalist programs is at an end. Rather, attention has shifted to the question of whether multiculturalism inhibits social unity, political stability, civic virtues, common identities and society-wide practices. The author puts this objection as follows:

“Many critics claim that multi- cultural policies are misguided, not because they are unjust in themselves, but because they are corrosive of long-term political unity and social stability. Why are they seen as destabilizing? The underlying worry is that multi- culturalism involves the ‘politicization of ethnicity’, and that any measures which heighten the salience of ethnicity in public life are divisive. Over time they create a spiral of competition, mistrust, and antagonism between ethnic groups. Policies which increase the salience of ethnic identities act ‘like a corrosive on metal, eating away at the ties of connectedness that bind us together as a nation’ (Ward 1991: 598; cf. Schlesinger 1992; Schmidt 1997).” (ibid.)

To this first point is added a second, to the effect that emphasizing a politics of recognition comes at the expense of a politics of redistribution. In short, pursuit of one excludes the other. While Kymlicka is ready to concede that such objections, at least as initially worded, are indeed cause for concern, he is less convinced that they hold water upon closer examination. For there is a decided lack of empirical and conceptual clarity on these counts. To wit:

“But do we really face a choice between these goals? Is it in fact true that multiculturalism erodes support for the welfare state and the politics of redistribution? There has been much armchair speculation on this question, but remarkably little evidence. Reliable evidence is needed here, because one could quite plausibly argue the reverse: namely, that it is the absence of multiculturalism which erodes the bonds of civic solidarity. After all, if we accept the two central claims made by defenders of multiculturalism-namely, that mainstream institutions are biased in favour of the majority, and that the effect of this bias is to harm important interests related to personal agency and identity-then we might expect minorities to feel excluded from ‘difference- blind’ mainstream institutions, and to feel alienated from, and distrustful of, the political process. We could predict, then, that recognizing multiculturalism would actually strengthen solidarity and promote political stability, by removing the barriers and exclusions which prevent minorities from whole- heartedly embracing political institutions. This hypothesis is surely at least as plausible as the contrary hypothesis that multiculturalism erodes social unity.” (367)

The author furthers this line of reasoning with reference to two general cases, that of immigrant groups in countries with official multiculturalism policies and that of national minorities in liberal democracies.

“On the contrary, these two countries [Australia and Canada] do a better job integrating immigrants into common civic and political institutions than any other country in the world. Moreover, both have witnessed dramatic reductions in the level of prejudice, and dramatic increases in the levels of interethnic friendships and intermarriage. There is no evidence that the pursuit of fairer terms of integration for immigrants has eroded democratic stability (Kymlicka 1998: ch. 1). The situation regarding the self-government claims of national minorities is more complicated, since these claims involve building separate institutions, and reinforcing a distinct national identity, and hence create the phenomenon of competing nationalisms within a single state. Learning how to manage this phenomenon is a profoundly difficult task for any state. However, even here there is significant evidence that recognizing self-government for national minorities assists, rather than threatens, political stability.” (367-8)

Kymlicka’s Contemporary Political Philosophy 18

July 14, 2017

The fourth and fifth groups, metics and racial caste groups, differ from the above in that they are only indirectly targeted by liberal nation-building. More specifically, where the former groups are included in the societal culture, metics and racial caste groups are excluded therefrom. To what strategy might the latter then have recourse in order to redress injustice from the majority culture?

Metics, be they irregular migrants or temporary workers, typically seek paths to citizenship and, ideally, would appeal to strategy 2.). Whether they do so in actuality remains an open question. That said, policies based on voluntary return are empirically unsound, so there is considerable incentive for liberal democracies to open paths to citizenship. As the author puts it:

“This is not only prudent, but morally required. For it violates the very idea of a liberal democracy to have groups of long-term residents who have no right to become citizens. A liberal-democratic system is a system in which those people who are subject to political authority have a right to participate in determining that authority. To have permanent residents who are subject to the state, but unable to vote, is to create a kind of caste system which undermines the democratic credentials of the state (Baubock 1994; Carens 1989; Walzer 1983; Rubio-Marin 2000).” (359)

Sooner or later, there comes a time when the person’s original terms of admission no longer matter, and they are for all intents and purposes loyal and productive members of society.

The case of racial caste groups, particularly African-Americans in the United States, seems a case apart. Contrary to metics, they have no origin country to which they would voluntarily return. For this reason, none of the standard strategies worked out above seems appropriate, and it is necessary to pursue a mixed strategy for this group. Such measures “may include historical compensation for past injustice, special assist- ance in integration (e.g. affirmative action), guaranteed political representation (e.g. redrawing electoral boundaries to create black-majority districts), and support for various forms of black self-organization (e.g. subsidies for historical black colleges, and for black-focused education)” (361). If certain of these seem in tension with others, this owes more to the complex life of African-Americans regarding the majority culture than to incoherent public policy.

This closes Kymlicka’s overview of minority groups, minority rights and strategies therefor. He summarizes:

“If we try to combine these different demands into a larger conception of ethnocultural justice, we can say that majority nation- building in a liberal democracy is legitimate under the following conditions:

(a) no groups of long-term residents are permanently excluded from membership in the nation, such as metics or racial caste groups. Every- one living on the territory must be able to gain citizenship, and become an equal member of the nation if they wish to do so;

(b) insofar as immigrants and other ethnocultural minorities are pressured to integrate into the nation, the sort of socio-cultural integration which is required for membership in the nation should be understood in a ‘thin’ sense, primarily involving institutional and linguistic integration, not the adoption of any particular set of customs, religious beliefs, or lifestyles. Integration into common institutions operating in a com- mon language should still leave maximal room for the expression of individual and collective differences, both in public and private, and public institutions should be adapted to accommodate the identity and practices of ethnocultural minorities. Put another way, the conception of national identity, and national integration, should be a pluralist and tolerant one;

(c) national minorities are allowed to engage in their own nation-building, to enable them to maintain themselves as distinct societal cultures.” (362)

When legitimately employed, nation-building gives rise to a complex dialectic with minority rights in which each successively makes demands on the other. Moreover, their combination allows for a kind of mutual justification: if nation-building justifies minority rights, these likewise justify the former.

At this point, the author pulls back to identify a common thread running through the three phases of the multiculturalism debate, namely, whether minority claims are just. In order for the supporter of multiculturalism to advance that end, Kymlicka deems a certain number of elements necessary. First:

“The first task confronting any defender of multiculturalism, therefore, was to try to overcome this presumption, and to show that deviations from difference-blind rules which are adopted in order to accommodate ethnocultural differences are not inherently unjust. As we have seen, this has been done in two main ways: (a) by identifying the many ways that mainstream institutions are not indiffferent [sic.] to people’s ethnocultural identities, but rather are implicitly or explicitly tilted towards the interests and identities of the majority group; and (b) by emphasizing the importance of certain interests which have typically been ignored by liberal theories of justice-e.g. interests in recognition, identity, language, and cultural membership.” (365)

Kymlicka’s Contemporary Political Philosophy 17

July 13, 2017

While such a societal culture is by its nature thin and allows for rival notions of the good, it nonetheless requires integration into the core societal institutions. Hence it belies the account of “benign neglect” laid out above all while prompting new outlook on the multiculturalism debate. One must better take account of this culture and the identity bound up therein in order to make sense of the injustices to which liberal nation-building can give rise, be it cultural imperialism or ethnocultural prejudice. In the face of nation-building and injustice, minorities may have recourse, following Kymlicka, to one of five strategies: 1.) mass emigration, 2.) negotiation of integration terms, 3.) self-government rights and powers, 4.) permanent marginalization and 5.) military overthrow. Given the feasibility and morality questions surrounding, 1.), 4.) and 5.), the author deems 2.) and 3.) more likely strategies.

Naturally, one and the same strategy may make work equally well for all minority groups, a point which the author takes pains to make clear. Thus, it is important to fit strategy to group type of which Kymlicka delineates five: national minorities, immigrant groups, isolationist ethnoreligious groups, metics and racial caste groups. To each he devotes a short treatment to show what strategies, if any, may improve their situation vis à vis the majority culture.

National minorities come in two kinds: substate nations and indigenous peoples. Despite important differences, these minorities share an overall resistance to nation-building and typically pursue strategy 3.) with the aim of greater autonomy. If, previously, liberal nations sought to disempower and suppress national minorities, the past century has seen a remarkable change in attitude:

“It is increasingly recognized that the suppression of minority nationalism was mistaken, for both empirical and normative reasons. Empirically, the evidence shows that pressuring national minorities to integrate into the dominant national group simply will not work. Western states badly misjudged the durability of minority national identities. The character of a national identity can change quickly-e.g. the heroes, myths, and traditional customs. But the identity itself-the sense of being a distinct nation, with its own national culture-is much more stable. Liberal-democratic governments have, at times, used all the tools at their disposal to destroy the sense of separate identity amongst their national minorities, from the prohibition of tribal customs to the banning of minority-language schools. But despite centuries of legal discrimination, social prejudice, and indifference, national minorities have maintained their sense of forming a distinct nation, and their desire for national autonomy.” (351)

Combined with normative considerations, these empirical observations serve to show the counterproductive effects of nation-building directed at national minorities and the need to change tack. While unable to espouse a theory of permissible nation-building, Kymlicka suggests that, in the case of national minorities, the burden of proof lies with the majority culture rather than the minority group.

By immigrant groups, the author intends both those who immigrate for economic reasons and those who immigrate for political reasons. Still, an important distinction needs to be made between those who become citizens and those who do not. Kymlicka focuses on the former while reserving the latter for discussion of “metics” below. So, how do immigrants on the path to citizenship handle nation-building efforts from the majority culture? The author opines that they are unable to resist such efforts but nonetheless seek to exact a certain price for compliance. In short, they pursue strategy 2.) in contrast with national minorities. He writes:

“Indeed, many recent debates over ‘multiculturalism’ in immigrant countries are precisely debates over renegotiating the terms of integration. Immigrants are demanding a more tolerant or ‘multicultural’ approach to integration that would allow and support immigrants to maintain various aspects of their ethnic heritage even as they integrate into common institutions operating in the majority lan- guage. Immigrants insist that they should be free to maintain some of their old customs regarding food, dress, recreation, religion, and to associate with each other to maintain these practices. This should not be seen as unpatriotic or ‘un-American’. Moreover, the institutions of the larger society should be adapted to provide greater recognition and accommodation of these ethnic identities-e.g. schools and other public institutions should accommodate their religious holidays, dress, dietary restrictions, and so on.” (354)

Although one might point to the need for assimilation in order to become “loyal and productive members of society”, this begs the question by predetermining that immigrants are not already loyal and productive. Imposing further entry costs on immigrants does little to help the process of assimilation. On the contrary, it would be worthwhile, as the author suggests, to lower those costs through mother-tongue services and common institution more sensitive towards cultural and identity differences. Only then can the costs imposed be considered to have fairer terms.

The third group, isolationalist ethnoreligious groups, pose rather more difficulties for nation-building and injustice. First, it should be noted not all such groups seek to isolate themselves from modern society, making strategy 4.) limited in applicability. Secondly, it is unclear whether liberal democracies should continue to offer such groups concessions common institutions, civic duties and standard education even if standard practice to this point has often extended them these concessions. After all, such groups may impose stringent internal requirements which impinge on their members’ autonomy. In short, their situation merits case-by-case scrutiny.

Kymlicka’s Contemporary Political Philosophy 16

July 12, 2017

In response to the above, Kymlicka underscores the fact that the bond with a particular language or culture is not always a choice to which maintenance costs and reasonable expectations would then attach. Yet he is ready to concede that there is a more difficult question to face about the tension which may arise between autonomy and minority rights. One need only think of those minority groups opposed to liberal values or to gender equality, and one will need to think hard on whether this tension can be reconciled. The author elaborates:

“A crucial task facing liberal defenders of multiculturalism, therefore, is to distinguish the ‘bad’ minority rights that involve restricting individual rights from the ‘good’ minority rights that can be seen as supplementing individual rights. I have proposed distinguishing two kinds of rights that a minority group might claim. The first involves the right of a group against its own members, designed to protect the group from the destabilizing impact of internal dissent (e.g. the decision of individual members not to follow tradi- tional practices or customs). The second kind involves the right of a group against the larger society, designed to protect the group from the impact of external pressures (e.g. the economic or political decisions of the larger society). I call the first ‘internal restrictions’, and the second ‘external protections’.” (340-1)

The first variety concerns intra-group relations. This variety becomes “bad” should those internal restrictions shift from the person’s respecting certain conventions in order to remain part of a group to the group’s imposing conventions regardless of whether the person wishes to remain a member thereof. In contrast, the second variety concerns inter-group relations. This variety becomes “bad” should the external protections prove unfair in the treatment of one group as opposed to another, for example, by marginalizing one group to protect another’s distinctiveness. That said, the varieties of minority rights come apart insofar as a group can seek one but not the other; both are not always present within one and the same movement’s demands.

Kymlicka finds reason, however, to cast some doubt on the first variety of rights. Specifically, he thinks that the burden of proof lies with the group or movement claiming rights to govern “intra-group relations”:

“Given the commitment to individual autonomy, I believe that liberals should be sceptical of claims to internal restrictions. Liberal culturalism rejects the idea that groups can legitimately restrict the basic civil or political rights of their own members in the name of preserving the purity or authenticity of the group’s culture and traditions. However, a liberal conception of multiculturalism can accord groups various rights against the larger society, in order to reduce the group’s vulnerability to the economic or political power of the majority. Such ‘external protections’ are consistent with liberal principles, although they too become illegitimate if, rather than reducing a minority’s vulnerability to the power of the larger society, they instead enable a minority to exercise economic or political dominance over some other group.” (342)

In a word, Kymlicka finds external protections to be compatible with liberal society and governance but cautions that claims of either kind should be scrutinized before broader political and social uptake. With this, the author concludes his account of the second wave of multiculturalism and turns to the third, which he understands as a correction of the second’s misunderstanding of the liberal state’s inner workings and requirements for minorities. In particular, the author suspects that the principle of “benign neglect” towards ethonocultural diversity and a person’s ethnocultural identity is a myth. It is important to point out, as Kymlicka rightly does, that “benign neglect” makes stronger demands on persons than “state anti-perfectionism” for which the state simply “rules out certain kinds of arguments or justifications for public policy – namely, those which appeal to a ranking of the intrinsic merits of conceptions of the good life” (344). In contrast, for benign neglect to obtain, the state actively avoids promoting ethnocultural diversity “at all, even for neutral reasons of efficiency or social harmony” (idem.). Furthermore, the criterion of benign neglect could be used to distinguish different approaches to statecraft:

“Indeed, some theorists argue that this is precisely what distinguishes liberal ‘civic nations’ from illiberal ‘ethnic nations’ (Pfaff 1993: 162; Ignatieff 1993). Ethnic nations take the reproduction of a particular ethnonational culture and identity as one of their most important goals. Civic nations, by contrast, are indifferent to the ethnocultural identities of their citizens, and define national membership purely in terms of adherence to certain principles of democracy and justice. For minorities to seek special rights, on this view, is a radical departure from the traditional operation of the liberal state. Therefore, the burden of proof lies on anyone who would wish to endorse such minority rights.” (345)

Accordingly, the supporter of liberal culturalism must go one of two routes: show that she meets the burden of proof or that the burden of proof is itself misplaced. Kymlicka opts for the second route and cites the example of the United States. Throughout its development, public policy decisions have been made to achieving such goals as a common language of governance. For the author, this suggests that:

“These policies have all been pursued with the intention of promoting integration into what I call a ‘societal culture’. By a societal culture, I mean a territorially concentrated culture, centred on a shared language which is used in a wide range of societal institutions, in both public and private life (schools, media, law, economy, government, etc.). I call it a societal culture to emphasize that it involves a common language and social institutions, rather than com- mon religious beliefs, family customs, or personal lifestyles. Societal cultures within a modern liberal democracy are inevitably pluralistic, containing Christians as well as Muslims, Jews, and atheists; heterosexuals as well as gays; urban professionals as well as rural farmers; conservatives as well as socialists. Such diversity is the inevitable result of the rights and freedoms guaranteed to liberal citizens, particularly when combined with an ethnically diverse population. This diversity, however, is balanced and constrained by linguistic and institutional cohesion; cohesion that has not emerged on its own, but rather is the result of deliberate state policies.” (346)

Kymlicka’s Contemporary Political Philosophy 15

July 11, 2017

Chapter 8: Multiculturalism

In the penultimate chapter, the author sets his sights on the swath of notions united under the umbrella term of multiculturalism: the ‘politics of difference’, ‘identity politics’, ‘multiculturalism’, ‘the politics of recognition’ mobilized by and on behalf of such groups as national minorities, immigrant groups, isolationist ethnoreligious groups, metics and racial caste groups. Indeed, he understands this cluster of theoretical and political positions as being the second challenge (along with citizenship theory) to the conventional understanding of “citizenship-as rights”. While the movements differ in important ways, they share a common core of inclusive or flexible citizenship which at once recognizes identity and accommodates difference. One should not, however, put too much emphasis on identity as that which distinguishes them from all that came before. As Kymlicka points out:

“It is sometimes said that what distinguishes these reform movements is that they are about ‘identity’, and hence forms of ‘identity politics’, unlike earlier class-based political movements of workers or farmers, which were about economic interests.’ However, in reality, politics is almost always a matter of both identities and interests. The question is always which identities and interests are being promoted.” (327-8)

Indeed, his caveat is borne out by recent political events in which one can see precisely how effective mobilizing certain identities as opposed to others is to achieving a given set of political aims. In any case, the author fleshes out his account of multiculturalism through the threefold lens of “citizenship-as-rights”, “liberal nation-building” and “national identity” with reference to national minorities, indigenous peoples, religious minorities and other marginalized groups. He also recalls Nancy Fraser (1998, 2000)’s talk of status hierarchies and distinction between a politics of redistribution and a politics of recognition while taking care to note the extent to which they are combined in everyday politics. Against the Marxists, he maintains that the cultural status hierarchies are not reducible to the economic as they do not causally track one another. If one grants the author this much, it would seem to follow that special measures are in order to tackle the former. Yet this point is not so easily conceded:

“The growing realization that status inequalities are not entirely reducible to, or derivative of, economic inequalities has led to increased interest in the politics of recognition. Yet these demands for recognition through differentiated citizenship remain deeply controversial. Indeed, many people regard the very idea of group-differentiated citizenship as a contradiction in terms. On the orthodox view, citizenship is, by definition, a matter of treating people as individuals with equal rights under the law. This is what distinguishes democratic citizenship from feudal and other pre-modern views that determined people’s political status by their religious, ethnic, or class membership.” (334)

Accordingly, it is important to ask with the author what, if any sense, can be made of demands towards the existing cultural status hierarchies and how, if at all, differentiated citizenship might be instituted in light of different groups and social context. While differentiated citizenship claims concern gender as well as ethnocultural groups, Kymlicka focuses on the latter within the present chapter. To that end, he proposes a threefold distinction to understand the development of multiculturalism and minority rights: multiculturalism as communitarianism; multiculturalism within a liberal framework; multiculturalism as a response to national-building. He quickly reviews the first as an extension of the liberal-communitarian debate and the notion of group rights at stake therein. Thus, one’s position on multiculturalism was largely a function of one’s position on that larger debate. The author recaps:

“This debate over the relative priority and reducibility of individuals and groups dominated the early literature on multiculturalism. Defenders of minority rights agreed that they were inconsistent with liberalism’s commitment to moral individualism and individual autonomy, but argued that this just pointed out the inherent flaws of liberalism.” (337)

Two difficulties swiftly emerge. Not all minorities seeking differentiated citizenship are traditionalist, cohesive groups seeking protection from modern society. Nor does communitarianism’s theoretical grounding seem sound enough for a very real issue when that grounding inevitably gives out. In a word, groups seeking differentiated citizenship subscribe by and large to liberal principles. In light of such considerations, Kymlicka closes the book on the first wave and turns to the second, multiculturalism within a liberal framework. The author identifies one particularly compelling line of argument therefor as “liberal culturalism”, namely the idea that autonomy can only be properly exercised within a context with genuine choices to be made both within a culture and between cultures and a society fostering multiple cultures and identities helps to provide genuine choice. In this way, cultural flourishing and mutual respect promote the liberal end of autonomy and rational revisability.

Certainly, this point is not without its detractors whose opposition Kymlicka depicts in the following way:

“Critics of liberal culturalism have raised many objections to this entire line of argument. Some deny that we can intelligibly distinguish or individuate ‘cultures’ or ‘cultural groups’; others deny that we can make sense of the claim that individuals are ‘members’ of cultures; yet others say that even if we can make sense of the claim that individuals are members of distinct cultures, we have no reason to assume that the well-being or freedom of the individual is necessarily tied up in any way with the flourishing of the culture. People may choose to form a strong bond with a particular language or culture, but that is their choice, not a need, and on a liberal view, they should be held responsible for the costs of their choices, and not expect others to subsidize this ‘expensive taste’.” (339)