Posted by Lex, on June 3, 2008
Britain is the Navy.
The French state started with a philosophical big bang; the British state evolved. The French state prescribed; the British state did not forbid. The traditions of the British state, therefore, were much more favorable to multiculturalism, having always allowed people to form associations for their own freely chosen purposes. This lack of central direction served society well while differences among groups were relatively minor and while numbers of immigrants were small; but once there were so many different groups with nothing in common, each with numbers enough to form a ghetto—and worse still, some of them actively hostile to the overarching order of British society—then the laissez-faire approach was bound to run into difficulty. It is hard to oppose an ideology with a tradition.