Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Multiculturalism without Culture

Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Multiculturalism without Culture

Article excerpt

Multiculturalism without Culture Anne Phillips Princeton University Press, 2007

The title of this book is arresting, though it does not take a moment of time before one asks, is that not a contradiction of terms? It may have been with the purpose of inciting curious readers to open the book that the author chose this title, but as the term multiculturalism is frequently used as a euphemism for multiracialism, it would also seem likely that Anne Phillips chose the title in order to suggest that there are few basic differences between human cultures and, ipso facto, no significant differences between populations. By diverting attention to culture, as though that were all that mattered, she leaves the reader to infer that genetic differences are of no importance, that the impulse to defend our own territories is immoral, and that multiracialism and multiculturalism are the only sensible goals. If one adopts the position that there are no important cultural or genetic differences between diverse populations, then it is easy to ignore the fact that evolution has inclined us to seek to protect our own breeding grounds in order that our own genes might survive. Anne Phillips takes an essentially anti-Darwinian position. Darwinian theory postulates that evolution has occurred only because those who cannot support their own offspring will lose the struggle for genetic survival. In other words, that those that produce offspring need to be capable of nourishing and protecting them. Of course, there are ways around this, as the cuckoo has discovered. …

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