Monday, May 04, 2009

CATO loves multiculturalism (and Toronto, too)

I have to admit, I was a little surprised to see such a glowing commentary on Toronto and multiculturalism from the likes of someone from the Cato Institute.

I fully support this opinion and am heartened to see more progressive views on multiculturalism migrate across the political spectrum.

As someone who left Toronto over ten years ago, I can say that every time I've returned, I've found the city more sophisticated and cosmopolitan. When I left I thought Toronto was somewhat provincial but it has improved greatly over the years.

I'm not sure it is the urban paradise this article makes it out to be, but it does a lot of things right on the immigration front. There still needs much to be done in terms of urban design and overall urban/architectural aesthetics, but that is a different story.

Happily, the article debates this central anti-immigrant argument:

Successful societies (so this argument goes) owe their liberty and prosperity to distinct institutions which, in turn, depend on the persistence and dominance of the culture that established and nurtured them. Should that culture fade—or become too diluted by the customs, religions, and tongues of outsiders—the foundation of all that is best and most attractive about that society cannot long last.

This, I would argue, is a recipe for disaster for a society, not for success. Without constant external input, a society becomes complacent and its thinking ossifies. It basically bores itself to death because it is unable to draw on new sources of thinking to spur innovation and creativity.

The greatest societies are those that stood (or stand) at the crossroads of humanity and are able to pick from and integrate the best humankind has to offer.

Glad to see that Toronto has picked up on this lesson.

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