Liberal Multiculturalism Reconsidered

POLITICS 24 (3):189-97 (2004)
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Abstract
This article starts by setting out the evaluative criteria provided by Will Kymlicka's liberal account of individual freedom and equality. Kymlicka's theory of cultural minority rights is then analysed using these criteria and found to be defective in two respects. First, his assignment of different rights to national and ethnic groups is shown to be inegalitarian with regard to generations after the first. Second, his recommendation of strong cultural protections is shown in some circumstances to undermine freedom and equality. Towards the end of the article a policy of gradual and inclusive assimilation is described that may effectively promote the freedom and opportunities of members of cultural minorities. In conclusion, group-specific rights may, as Kymlicka says, be justified in liberal terms, but only where they differ in content from those he proposes.
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