MUL­TI­CUL­TURAL

Aus­tralian po­lit­i­cal philoso­pher Tim Soutphommasane tack­les the iden­tity is­sue with a thought-pro­vok­ing blend of lib­er­al­ism and pa­tri­o­tism, writes Miriam Cosic Don’t Go Back to Where You Came From: Why Mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism Works

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

By Tim Soutphommasane New South, 256pp, $29.99 By Tim Soutphommasane Cam­bridge Univer­sity Press, 266pp, $39.95

TIM Soutphommasane steers a per­ilously nar­row course. He is a lib­eral and a mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ist, and he is a pa­triot: paths that don’t usu­ally run to­gether. On one side lie the shoals of big­otry and ex­clu­sion, on the other the mi­as­mic dol­drums of cul­tural rel­a­tivism, and each is fre­quently in­voked as the fi­nal moral hor­ror by the other.

To put it the­o­ret­i­cally: on one side lies cos­mopoli­tanism, a ‘‘ thin’’ lib­er­al­ism in which ev­ery per­son in the world is a moral agent de­serv­ing of univer­sal re­spect, who has min­i­mal but un­shake­able claims on that re­spect re­gard­less of na­tion­al­ity, re­li­gion,

Left, new cit­i­zens Ri­ham, Natalia and John Girgis at an Aus­tralia Day cit­i­zen­ship cer­e­mony in Sydney’s Black­town this year Be­low, sub­dued Aus­tralia Day cel­e­bra­tions at Sydney’s Cronulla this year

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