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
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