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Liberal Multiculturalism : Protective and Polyglot
Robert E. Goodin
Political Theory 2006 34: 289
DOI: 10.1177/0090591705284131
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Keywords: multiculturalism. but they are liberal in very different respects. less familiar in academic circles although perhaps more common in actual social practice. there might be two distinct models of liberal multiculturalism. polyglot at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19. protective multiculturalism H ere I distinguish in deliberately broad brushstrokes two forms of multiculturalism. 2011 . Macpherson’s famous models of liberal democracy itself. Canberra By analogy to Macpherson’s “protective” and “self-developmental” models of liberal democracy.” the majority might expand its own “context for choice” by having more minority cultures from whom to borrow. here dubbed “polyglot multiculturalism.sagepub. and Diane Gibson. 289 Downloaded from ptx. The second sort of liberal multiculturalism.” mirrors Macpherson’s model of “protective democracy.1177/0090591705284131 http://ptx. suprisingly closely if not exactly.1177/0090591705284131 Goodin Liberal Multiculturalism Liberal Multiculturalism Protective and Polyglot Political Theory Volume 34 Number 3 June 2006 289-303 © 2006 Sage Publications 10. For discussion of these Robert E. which I call “protective multiculturalism.sagepub. still recognizably liberal in form. On the other model. and to the referees and editor of this journal.” It aligns with Macpherson’s model of “developmental democracy.”1 Its mulitcultural counterpart says that entrenching minority rights is required in order to protect cultural minorities from oppression by the majority community and the government it elects.Political/ Theory 10. The first and more familiar sort of liberal multiculturalism. to Chandran Kukathas. to two of C. On the protective-style model. They correspond. Both are recognizably liberal. B. than the self-defensive liberalism of the more purely protectionist hosted at http://online. The latter is a more welcoming and inclusive strategy.” The latter sees “democracy primarily as a means of indiAuthor’s Note: This article was inspired by Anne Phillips’s 2004 Passmore Lecture. Brian Barry. liberalism. I am grateful to her. cultural mixing.” The latter says that liberal democracy is required in order to “protect the governed from oppression by the government. Goodin Australian National University. is what I call “polyglot multiculturalism. the aim is to protect minority cultures against assimilationist and homogenizing intrusions of the majority.

” Will Kymlicka worries.”3 Clearly. No doubt “polyglot multiculturalism” will be a more plausible approach in some situations rather than others. It is no part of my brief here to argue that either of those forms of liberal multiculturalism is superior to the other. That is not exactly the same as “self-development. there is a clear family resemblance in the concern with autonomous agency that those two models share. 2011 .” of “impartiality. liberals have argued for it on many different grounds: of “egalitarianism. from a liberal point of view or any other.” of “fairness. I think there is more to be said for the “polyglot” option than the short shrift it is ordinarily given (where it is even mentioned at all) in most discussions of liberal multiculturalism.” of “rectifying historical injustices. Still.”5 Certainly it is true.”6 But aesthetics alone are. .com at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19. the details of those arguments differ in many important ways. still. that “cultural diversity is . . My argument is simply that these are those two very distinct liberal grounds for multiculturalism—and.” of course. furthermore. “most majority cultures have not seen it in their ‘enlightened selfinterest’ to maintain minority cultures. What is crucial in defending the plausibility of that model is the explanation below of how.”2 The related model of multiculturalism commends “polyglot multiculturalism” on the basis that expands the choice set of autonomous agents. “To date. as he and others say (briefly and in passing). people in at least certain sorts of cultures can indeed “borrow from” without fully “living in” the other cultures around them.” of “epistemic abstinence. .4 Multiculturalists are wary of the latter approach. for an interesting range of cases. valuable .sagepub. he and other liberal multiculturalists fear.290 Political Theory vidual self-development. that adopting one instead of the other makes a very big practical difference to what sorts of liberal multicultural policies you end up endorsing. contrary to the intuitions of theorists like Kymlicka. In the rich literature on multiculturalism. Nor is it part of my brief to argue that liberalism necessarily provides the best (still less the only) possible ground for multiculturalism. I freely admit that the cases I have principally in mind in my discussion of it below will be of “polyethnic” and immigrant societies (like Australia) rather than of multinational ones (like Canada). . too slender a reed upon which to build any strong case for respecting the claims of competing cultures. But all of them share an affinity with “protective multiculturalism” in representing minority cultures as making claims against the majority rather than (as with “polyglot multiculturalism”) as benefiting the majority. in the quasi-aesthetic sense that it creates a more interesting world.7 Downloaded from ptx.

Thus. 2011 . But that case for protecting the autonomy interests of individuals in minority cultures soon started sliding into being a matter of protecting minority cultures as such. Kymlicka writes.” the title of his own subsequent collection was. Almost—but not quite.8 “Culture” in turn is inherently communal. The Rights of Minority Cultures.” Failure to protect those cultures “will create new tragic cases of groups which are denied the sort of cultural context of choice that supports individual autonomy. argument for multiculturalism was thus in terms of facilitating the autonomous agency of individuals. This is what Susan Moller Okin had in mind when asking Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?11 If the distinctively liberal rationale for multiculturalism were to promote people’s autonomy.” then any culture would do and no more than one would be required. If all that autonomous agency required were a “context for choice.” and hence for exercising the sort of autonomous agency so central to liberal values. Culture as a Context for Choice There are many reasons for welcoming a multicultural society. while the premises have been all but forgotten. To do otherwise would risk depriving autonomous agents shaped by one or another of those cultures of their own “contexts for choice” and the autonomous agency that proceeds from it.”9 Kymlicka’s own original. So far.” “Culture. strictly speaking. tellingly. that constitutes an argument for “culture” and “community” in the singular. is couched centrally in terms of “choice. This is a result that liberals would clearly wish to avoid. we must foster and protect the communities that create and sustain those cultures in turn.Goodin / Liberal Multiculturalism 291 I. is necessary to provide agents with a “context for choice. the product of collective activity. But suppose more than one culture happens to be extant in any particular place. Then there is an argument within this choice-based liberal framework for allowing all of them free play. urged forcefully by Will Kymlicka over the past decade and more. then that Downloaded from ptx.” and “liberals should care about the viability of societal cultures. Whereas Kymlicka’s original argument about protecting people in minority cultures would have better expressed. as an argument for “the rights of cultural minorities. “The liberal value of freedom of choice has certain cultural preconditions.” Kymlicka maintains. and distinctively liberal. Kymlicka concludes.sagepub. For the issue of “individual autonomy” does conspicuously arise in connection with “illiberal cultures” (or “illiberal” corners of otherwise liberal ones).10 The conclusion of the argument had been remembered. The distinctively “liberal” at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19. So to foster and protect the cultures that make autonomous individuals possible. because they contribute to people’s autonomy.

and expands her range of choices.” So too do they prefer cultures that afford people a wide range of options among which to choose. 2011 . in the present context. Thus. having more options among which to choose.”13 One must at least have an “adequate range of options” to qualify as “autonomous” at all. and liberal multiculturalists along with them. for him. a criticism of some cultures that they are illiberal. The fact that he is judgmental in all those ways is in no way vitiated by the fact that he stops short (for pragmatic reasons as much as principled ones) of endorsing attempts at active suppression of those cultures.” makes one’s autonomy “more valuable. additional options doubtless become a burden rather than a blessing. The important point.14 Beyond a certain point.15 But up to that (presumably pretty high) point. Liberals clearly prefer cultures that facilitate rather than undermine people’s autonomy. liberals—conspicuously including the most prominent liberal multiculturalists—prioritize autonomous agency. They are prepared to adjudge cultures that better promote autonomous agency as superior cultures. understood as their “capacity to choose. “is that it creates more options for each individual.12 Who is right on this issue of the malleability of cultures matters not.”16 So say liberals in general. he conceded the fact that there were some awfully illiberal cultures. Kymlicka had anticipated that objection.17 at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19. From the start.292 Political Theory rationale would provide no grounds for multicultural acquiescence in cultures that systematically impair the autonomy of many of their members. It is. is the sheer fact that even so committed a multiculturalist as Kymlicka is not necessarily nonjudgmental among alternative cultures. was merely what to do about that fact. “The value of diversity within a culture. Living in versus Borrowing from Many Cultures Arguing against Kymlicka’s claims about culture and choice. They demur only as regards how best to attain those superior cultural results. Jeremy Waldron (in)famously asks us to imagine someone not unlike himself: Downloaded from ptx. The question. Where critics saw certain cultures as essentially and irredeemably illiberal. Kymlicka is perfectly prepared to endorse attempts to reform them.” for liberal multiculturalists such as Kymlicka. Kymlicka saw cultures as always in flux and hence as always potentially liberalizable.sagepub. for present purposes. while not exactly making one “more autonomous. for Kymlicka.

19 More fundamentally.21 If so. Anglophone residents of the United States do indeed have a “secure framework of a single culture to which. Waldron says. ate Chinese. is merely someone who is “enjoying the opportunities provided by the diverse societal culture which characterizes the Anglophone society of the United States. . What Waldron describes. . He doubts that Waldron’s example could be all that common.18 Understood (as Waldron pretty clearly intended it to be understood) as an argument that he is participating in many cultures at once. in the various ways that Waldron memorializes. what the proponents of cultural identity politics claim they do need . . Kymlicka doubts that the lifestyle Waldron describes really amounts to “living in a kaleidoscope of cultures. worshipped with the Book of Common Prayer. You are not genuinely “living in” any of those cultures when you merely borrow bits from them. someone who did not take his cultural identity to be defined by any bounded subset of the cultural resources available in the world. Kymlicka thinks. the southwestern corner of the Pacific Ocean. being comprised of a pastiche of fragments borrowed from many other “societal cultures” from around the world. or practiced Buddhist meditation techniques. . . they belong. gave lectures in Buenos Aires. on the point at issue between them. .” Eating Greek does not make you Greek.” just as Kymlicka had said. Kymlicka would be right and Waldron wrong. . [S]omeone who did not associate his identity with any secure sense of place. and came in turn to Oxford from the other side of the world. Downloaded from ptx.sagepub.Goodin / Liberal Multiculturalism 293 [A] person who lives in California. Clearly. . That singular Anglophone U. From that fact.S. in some deep sense. listened to arias by Verdi sung by a Maori diva on Japanese equipment. . whither his English and Irish ancestors emigrated in the mid-nineteenth century. they at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19. Kymlicka is unpersuaded.” and (2) that that single “societal culture” is itself internally diverse. wore clothes made in Korea.” Waldron does. “societal culture. in some deep sense. immersion in the secure framework of a single culture to which. but came there from Oxford via Edinburgh. followed Israeli politics. “a person can live like that. societal culture just happens to be internally diverse. [and] are entitled to as a matter of right—namely. 2011 . He did not take his identity as . Waldron regards his case as proven: [P]eople do not need .”20 That is to make two claims at once: (1) that there is a singular (“the”) Anglophone U. compromised when he studied Greek. nor does practicing Buddhist meditation techniques make you a Buddhist.S. then.

” The Anglophone U. Kymlicka has conceded the superiority of cultures that are more liberal. as so often. multiculturalism is superior to monoculturalism precisely on the grounds that it enriches the autonomy of agents by providing them with a superior context for choice. certainly is not actively inclu- Downloaded from ptx. also recognizably “liberal” but in a very different way. that fixates on the “rights of minority cultures. then Kymlicka’s liberal argument for protecting culture as a context of choice extends to that one societal culture at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19.sagepub. But it sees no particular reason to broaden the cultural mix. Polyglot versus Protective Multiculturalism Remember. it is an unfortunate fact about people’s circumstances which makes them need to stand on their rights. 2011 . If it so happens that at present there is only one societal culture extant in some particular place. in the selfsame context-for-choice terms that Kymlicka thinks cultures are valuable at all. for the sake of those trapped in them and who have no escape from them. inevitably carries a taint of disapproval. is those people “participating in a superior culture. paradoxically enough. On this alternative account. though: Kymlicka is perfectly prepared to say that some cultures are better than others.S.294 Political Theory III. as such.24 “Protective multiculturalism” is an argument for multiculturalism that. It is an unfortunate fact that they are thus trapped.” What it involves. That is importantly different from the now-standard form of multiculturalism.22 Toleration. “protective multiculturalism” is an argument for multiculturalism that. if not exactly exclusionary. polyglot societal culture is “superior” to various other less polyglot ones. It sees nothing of value in a multiplicity of cultures.” It is a rather grudging multiculturalism. That sort of multiculturalism—the sort that emphasizes protecting the rights of minority cultures—is what I call “protective multiculturalism. case for multiculturalism. distinctively liberal. is sometimes content to endorse monoculturalism.” That latter form of multiculturalism tolerates minority cultures. instead. insofar as they are present. But here. Let us concede that the scenario that Waldon describes does not involve people “participating in multiple cultures. beyond that found in any given place at present. however. In agreeing to countenance liberalizing reforms. Liberals wholly agree that we ought to solicitously respect the rights of people in such situations. So the debate between Waldron and Kymlicka can simply be recast in the following terms. Furthermore.23 It attaches value merely to the culture or cultures that happen to be presently extant in some particular place. This suggests another. that facilitate choice and expand choices. It respects the rights of cultural minorities and minority cultures.

” as a practical political project. And no doubt in many places “multiculturalism” does indeed take that purely “protective” form. Kymlicka is absolutely right: choosing a Greek dinner does not make you Greek. 2011 .27 “multiculturalism. the really great virtue of multiculturalism is that it provides a broad smorgasbord of mix-and-match options from which to choose. multiculturalism of the “protective” sort rings vaguely untrue. In many places multiculturalism does indeed amount to little more than a defensive maneuver on the part of beleaguered groups.” for being able to choose among all the diverse range of options that polyglot multiculturalism makes available. At most. and can indeed be seen purely as special pleading on their behalf.” In societies like that.sagepub. Second. Now. It is of course logically possible for borrowing to occur at a distance. How to Mix Cultures Polyglot multiculturalism presupposes two things. multiculturalism means different things in different places. on all those points. multiculturalism of this sort offers no reason for admitting (much less actively seeking to import) any others. We can borrow from cultures without having any representatives of them within our own society. You are not really participating in any of them.Goodin / Liberal Multiculturalism 295 sionary.25 Now. if dipping in for the odd meal or chant is all you do. it provides grounds for tolerating diversity—acknowledging it. But the point—the central point. protecting it. nor does intoning Buddhist chants make you a Buddhist. You are not simultaneously participating in all those at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19. involves first and foremost a “celebration of diversity. precisely because it seems unable to provide any grounds for celebrating diversity.26 In other places. from the point of view of “polyglot multiculturalism”—remains that you are blessed with a wider “context for choice. but hardly celebrating it. respecting it. polyglot multiculturalism presupposes a variety of other cultures from which those bits are borrowed. The alternative liberal argument for multiculturalism that I have been teasing out of the Waldron-Kymlicka exchange—“polyglot multiculturalism. If there is only one societal culture presently extant in some particular place. On that account.” I call it—is a study in contrast. Remember Delftware: the polyglot culture of seventeenth- Downloaded from ptx. however (Australia being a conspicuous example). First. it presupposes a polyglot societal culture (akin to Kymlicka’s Anglophone societal culture in the United States) into which borrowed bits are incorporated. IV.

The issue from that perspective is whether people who are not practicing Shakers can nonetheless take pleasure—albeit perhaps different pleasures than an actual practicing Shaker might—from decorating their houses with Shaker furnishings.sagepub. without appropriating all elements of that culture wholesale. perhaps the case for multiculturalism on polyglot grounds extends in some directions. polyglot societal culture of their own. note that “polyglot” and “protective” forms of multiculturalism adopt importantly different perspectives. Internal versus External Borrowing When judging the mix-and-match possibilities of a particular culture.296 Political Theory century Holland mimicked Ming patterns in its pottery. “Polyglot multiculturalism. most Shakers would presumably insist. takes the external point of view. is whether people outside of some particular culture can appropriate elements of that culture piecemeal. Still. without any appreciable numbers of Chinese living in the Netherlands. then these two perspectives would collapse into one another.” in contrast. from that perspective. But suppose Kymlicka is right that dabblers are not genuinely participating in the cultures from the inside at all. it is always easier to borrow from near neighbors than distant strangers. And that is what provides polyglot multiculturalism with its distinctive argument for multiculturalism—not only tolerating such cultural diversity as is already extant in some place but also actively encouraging the expansion of that diversity by welcoming in yet more cultures that are different yet again. The issue. Then the external and internal perspectives can potentially pull apart. for example? Surely not. is whether someone inside that culture can adopt elements of other cultures and still remain fully a member of that culture. from that perspective. with no presumption that the meanings attached to those fragments within the polyglot culture necessarily correspond exactly (or perhaps even remotely) to those in the original culture from which they were borrowed. Let us explore those issues with a bit more care than is often given them. the point of view of someone within the culture in question. If Waldron were right in his original claim that polyglot cosmopolitans were genuinely participating in each of those cultures from the inside. however. but not in others. “Protective multiculturalism” takes the internal point of view. The at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19. and cultural “mixing-and-matching” that makes no sense from the internal Downloaded from ptx. And if so. borrowing fragments from many different other cultures. Perhaps not all cultures admit of the possibility of polyglot borrowing. Can a Shaker privately own motorized vehicles and still remain a true Shaker. 2011 . Suppose that they are instead creating a pastiche.

Polyglots. making use of them for their own purposes. just so long as there is something interesting that the larger polyglot culture of that community can borrow from at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19. From the point of view of adherents of the culture being appropriated. the culture in question will lose what is distinctive about it. the culture in question is “open” or “closed.” as it were. Polyglots instead simply want to “appropriate” bits of those other cultures. insofar as their doing so reduces the diversity within the polyglot mix. The question is not whether. The question is. They worry that.Goodin / Liberal Multiculturalism 297 point of view (that of the “lending” cultures) makes perfectly good sense from the external point of view (that of the “borrowing” cultures). for their part. Still. That polyglot multicultural “test for admission. on “appropriation” versus “assimilation. are not asking those other cultures to “assimilate. from the point of view of those living within it. The perspective there is external. is the external rather than internal one. On the model of “protective multiculturalism.” there is an argument of the sort just sketched for welcoming the addition of other cultures. In terms of “polyglot multiculturalism. that is importantly different from forcing them to convert to the polyglot culture and abandon their own cul- Downloaded from ptx. within “polyglot” and “protective multiculturalism” respectively.” the issue appears very different.” “Protective multiculturalism” looks at cultures from within.” Assimilation versus Appropriation We should similarly note the differing emphases. beyond those that are presently extant. from the inside. in being assimilated.” On the contrary. The implication for liberal multicultural policy is just this. rather.” whether from the inside it is an all-ornothing proposition that admits of no mixing-and-matching with elements of other cultures. From the perspective of “polyglot multiculturalism. it would be counterproductive of polyglot purposes if they did. Protective multiculturalists are wary of assimilation. They may regret or even resent that misappropriation. 2011 . What is involved in “polyglot multiculturalism” is the incorporation of bits of other cultures into the overall polyglot mix. asked from the outside: is there something the rest of us can get from it? The question—the distinctively liberal question—is whether including it in our cultural mix expands our “context for choice.sagepub. that may well be seen as a misuse of their cultural materials. there is no reason for welcoming the addition of more cultures than already extant in any particular place.” as I have already observed.

that makes it harder (more costly. therefore. on the model of the Spanish Inquisition. however. necessarily. in some sense. Note that there is no problem. That is not to say it should be kept out. polyglot liberal multiculturalists may be a little nervous of admitting “closed cultures”—ones from which the polyglot society culture can borrow. While seeing the advantages in being able to borrow from them. from the perspective of polyglot multiculturalism. V. Polyglots can borrow happily from them. There may be no particular disadvantage in those terms from having that culture represented among us.sagepub. If among true believers it is deemed a sacrilege to display an image of the Madonna in a nonreligious context. in turn.28 One thing that polyglot multiculturalism most definitely would not protect cultures against. Appropriation does not entail assimilation. polyglot multiculturalism presupposes protective multiculturalism. Cultures that are “appropriable” but not “assimilable” pose no problem. however.298 Political Theory ture. 2011 . The Limits of Cultural Mixing From a practical political point of view. at least of a watered-down sort. the protection of—the cultures from which the borrowing at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19. If some culture is not “appropriable”—if the polyglot societal culture cannot realistically borrow from it—then there is no advantage in terms of polyglot multiculturalism from having that culture extant within its community. but which cannot borrow from it in turn. To some extent. Opportunities for polyglot borrowing presuppose the continuing existence of—and hence. in terms of alienating those from whom you borrow) to realize any polyglot benefits from having those true-believer cultures among their larger culture: they cannot borrow from them (or anyway they cannot do so without cost. is for the cultures from which it borrows to tolerate the borrowing. in terms of giving cultural offense and perhaps stirring up culture wars). is Downloaded from ptx. are no part of (and are actually counterproductive of) polyglot multiculturalism. At the very least. and the benefits polyglots gain from so doing are nowise compromised by the fact that those other cultures do not borrow from or participate in the polyglot societal culture. liberal polyglots may well worry about the insistent sectarianism of such closed cultures and their refusal to “fit into” the larger society into which they are being welcomed. then polyglots have problems. Forced conversions. in the standoffishness of those closed cultures. either. The point. is being borrowed from by other cultures. from the perspective of polyglot multiculturalism What polyglot multiculturalism does need. from the side of polyglot culture as I have described it.

” From a liberal point of view. Arguments are sometimes offered for parents who are themselves imbued with an illiberal culture to educate their children in that culture. not the culture. Recall here the debates over illiberal education as a matter of cultural right. it is the people. when Native American raiding parties captured children of European settlers. VI. by permitting Amish parents to educate their children in such ways as in effect to trap them in their parents’ culture. that enjoys moral standing and exercises moral agency.” It was a practice not unknown on the American frontier.29 One cannot help hearing echoes of that old practice of “culture by capture” in contemporary arguments for the preservation of Amish culture. Conventional wisdom there had it that. for example. it is sometimes justified in terms of “preservation” of cultures that would otherwise be “endangered. the liberal concern is clearly with the “rights of cultural minorities” rather than with the “rights of minority cultures. although misleading in ways I have remarked upon before—of talking in terms of “cultures” as monolithic entities with agency and moral standing of their own. for example. That objection arises insofar as those cultures are also “closed” in the sense of restricting the “context for choice” available to their own members—by making it hard for members to leave them.30 Downloaded from ptx.” That. smacks of what might be called “culture by capture. parents had to recapture the children quickly or count them as lost forever—not because they would be killed.Goodin / Liberal Multiculturalism 299 simply that including that particular culture within (but apart from) its own society does nothing either way to alter the “context for choice” available to polyglots within that society. however. the presence of those sorts of cultures may be a matter of indifference: such cultures do neither good nor harm to the larger polyglot mix. That is sometimes justified in terms of parental rights. Strictly speaking. there may be an objection to such cultures. From the polyglot perspective. I have adopted the shorthand—common in these discussions. in such a way as to deprive the children of access to any other cultural options. 2011 . but instead because they would be assimilated into the tribal ways of their at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19. however. Recalling that fact might serve to remind us of one good liberal reason that polyglot multiculturalism might not be quite so relaxed as I have just been suggesting about cultures that are neither appropriable nor assimilable. From the liberal perspective. however. or by making it hard for members even to have an informed choice of what it would be like to leave.sagepub. Illiberal Cultures in Polyglot Societies For the bulk of this discussion.

Those two forms of liberal multiculturalism entail rather different policies. there is no particular reason to think that the policies they imply will necessarily be incompatible. “worse” cultures for that fact. Cultures that instead undermine that are. How best to liberalize them is. Those problems may be rather more pointed for the variant of liberal multiculturalism that I have been calling “protective.” Still. But while they are different. And by virtue of those liberal roots.” and a little less pointed for the variant I have been calling “polyglot. insofar as they are presently outside it. Conclusion The aim of this essay has been analytics rather than advocacy. insofar as they are presently extant within our society. as Kymlicka says. Liberals who find themselves hesitant to endorse multiculturalism of a broadly “protective” sort might find the “polyglot” case far more congenial. on a par perhaps with the issues posed by paternalistic intervention into the affairs of some other individual or humanitarian intervention into those of some other state. in terms of its “polyglot” rather than merely its “protective” potential. of any stripe. 2011 . To a large extent. The problem those cases pose are problems for liberalism.31 Downloaded from ptx. our multiculturalism can be “protective” and “polyglot” at one and the same time.300 Political Theory Liberals cannot help being nervous of those sorts of arguments. they share the problems that liberalism more generally inevitably has with illiberal educational practices in particular. and indeed to welcome them into our polyglot society. both are subspecies of liberal multiculturalism. and are nowise peculiar to any particular subspecies of at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19. and with “culture by capture” more generally. Just as polyglot multiculturalism’s demands are rather different. I merely wish to draw attention to another distinctively liberal argument for multiculturalism. The liberal case for multiculturalism—of either a protective or polyglot sort— hinges crucially upon the way in which culture provides a “context for choice” and thus enables the exercise of autonomous agency. an empirical question. and hence liberal multiculturalism. Those problems are problems experienced by liberal multiculturalism generically. He may well be right that the best way to liberalize them is to tolerate them. from a liberal point of view. so too is its appeal.sagepub. The point to note in the present context is simply this. But how best for liberals to intervene in illiberal cultures inevitably poses difficult issues for liberalism. VII.

101. esp.” Ethics 108 (1998): 661-84. Ibid. 1995). Ibid. 15.. 4. 14. Kymlicka. 14. “‘Mistresses of Their Own Destiny’: Group Rights. Gender & Realistic Rights of Exit. Sometimes they can. “Feminism & Multiculturalism: Some Tensions. B. Equality and Partiality (New York: Oxford University Press. 13. ch. Some might argue that. and very few people in the mainstream choose to assimilate into a minority culture. 2011 . Multicultural Citizenship (Oxford: Clarendon. The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy (Oxford: Clarendon. 4. Multicultural Citizenship. The Rights of Minority Cultures (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 16. Multicultural Citizenship. 121. 94-101.” Ethics 112 (2002): 205-30. 1971).J. Multicultural Citizenship. Will Kymlicka. The fullest and most explicit statement is in Kymlicka. Mass. lec. Ibid. To borrow Kymlicka’s distinction. The former is a difficult and painful prospect for most people. 1995). Will Kymlicka. See similarly Yael Tamir. ch. The Morality of Freedom (Oxford: Oxford University Press. and Susan Okin. the former “arguments appeal to the obligations of the majority. 6. I complained of this shift of focus in a review of Kymlicka’s collection in Ethics 107 (1996-1997): 356-58. ch. See also Susan Okin. John Rawls.. 11. and Joseph Raz. Failure to appreciate this possibility is the primary reason that Kymlicka (Multicultural Citizenship. C. Strange Multiplicity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.: Harvard University Press. 4. 32. Kymlicka. 62-84. . 1999). and expands her range of choices. Clearly. 8.: Princeton University Press. 1995). “Liberalism and Communitarianism. Susan Moller Okin et al. 1977). Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? (Princeton. 22.. and Will Kymlicka. N. 10. 1988).sagepub. Liberalism. at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19.J. A Theory of Justice (Cambridge. 17. 1985). 76.” whereas the latter “argument appeals to the interests of the majority and defends [minority] rights in terms of self-interest not justice” (Multicultural Citizenship. To what extent promoting autonomy is the responsibility of the state might be more contestable among liberals. But protecting national minorities does not expand the range of choices open to members of the majority in the same way.Goodin / Liberal Multiculturalism 301 Notes 1. Thomas Nagel. 1993). 5. Joseph Raz. Liberal Nationalism (Princeton. 94. so long as people are above the threshold of hav- Downloaded from ptx. Political Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press 1993). 1989). 9. precursors are found in his earlier works: Will Kymlicka. 30. 83-94. 14. 1994). The value of diversity within a culture is that it creates more options for each individual. in that passage Kymlicka is not contemplating the possibility that members of the majority culture might “borrow from” the minority culture without fully “living in” it and abandoning their own culture. Community and Culture (Oxford: Clarendon. 121). [C]hoosing to leave one’s culture is qualitatively different from choosing to move around within one’s culture. John Rawls. sec. To borrow John Rawls’s distinction between “liberty” and the “value of liberty”.: Princeton University Press. “Is More Choice Better Than Less?” in Gerald Dworkin. . 12. Ethics in the Public Domain (Oxford: Clarendon. 121) gives in dismissing this option: One of the basic reasons for valuing intracultural diversity has less application to intercultural diversity. The Theory and Practice of Autonomy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gerald Dworkin. 7..” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 18 (1988): 181-204. Ibid. 3. James Tully. 1991). 2. 123. as I hope to show below. . Macpherson. 108-15. 121.

2011 . . “Cosmopolitan. . The Morality of Freedom.. 2001). 8. at 95. including social. the state should have no responsibility for providing them with more options (even if that would make their autonomy “more valuable”).” in Ethics in the Public Domain. But having a diversity of cultures among which to choose is importantly different from living within a polyglot culture which is itself internally diverse. 18. Jeremy Waldron. 2003). a societal culture . 93) 26. ch. at 217. This is true even of Joseph Raz’s discussion in “Multiculturalism: A Liberal Perspective.: Harvard University Press. religious. although his previous discussion in Raz. the way of life Waldron describes is ungeneralizable because it is parasitic “upon the quotidian lives of others to create the various local flavors and identities in which he dabbles”. Multicultural Citizenship. 93-122. where people could freely cross borders and settle.” in Kymlicka. 210-29. http://www. (Kymlicka. (Kymlicka. is a culture which provides its members with meaningful ways of life across the full range of human activities. at (accessed April 14. American and UK forms are like that. 27. The Liberal Archipelago: A Theory of Diversity and Freedom (Oxford: Clarendon. if implicitly. see Commonwealth of Australia.302 Political Theory ing an “adequate range of options” to qualify as autonomous at all. These cultures tend to be territorially concentrated and based on a shared language. encompassing both public and private spheres. 100. It is different yet again from the sort of “posthole multiculturalism” advocated by Chandran Kukathas. accepted that cultures or nations are basic units of liberal political theory. 21. 24. For the official statement. From what Kymlicka says in the passages quoted above. Mass. I take it that he and most liberal multiculturalists like him would presumably take a more expansive view of the state’s responsibility vis-à-vis autonomy. ed. insists Brian Barry. 76) 22. . but most people are rooted in one or another. 25. almost everyone (Waldron included) needed to be reared in one culture before branching out to embrace elements of others. Multicultural Citizenship. glossing his earlier discussion in Jeremy Waldron. Kymlicka. and (3) finally. Note Kymlicka’s endorsement of the fact that liberal theorists have generally. . (2) in any case. Multiculturalism Reconsidered (Cambridge: Polity. 19. 2003). 20. “Language Death and Liberal Politics.immi. monolithic cultures”: the former “involves a diversity of cultures but provides none of the goods by means of which diversity is to be justified as a political value”. the idea (also recognizably liberal) is for there to be a multiplicity of cultures among which to choose. By Kymlicka’s official policy tracks social practice. 23. 1982). [F]ew people favor a system of open borders. 2003). Will Kymlicka and Alan Patten (Oxford: Oxford University at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19. recreational and economic life. Roger Scruton.sagepub. educational. 85. There. Those doubts extend in various directions: (1) a select few might manage to fit into multiple cultures at once. For once. There is a world of difference between “a single diverse culture and a diverse set of constraining. 2002). The Rights of Minority Cultures. cf. Downloaded from ptx. “What Is Cosmopolitan?” Journal of Political Philosophy 8 (2000): 227-44. ed. . Michael Blake. Culture & Equality: An Egalitarian Critique of Multiculturalism (Cambridge. various replies in Paul Kelly.” in Language Rights & Political Theory. Multicultural Australia: United in Diversity (Canberra: Department of Communications. of “autonomy” as “adequacy of options” might have attuned him to the ways in which cultural diversity might contribute (in the “polyglot” way here discussed) to autonomous agency.” in A Dictionary of Political Thought (London: Macmillan. work and vote in whatever country they desired. Kukathas’s Liberal Archipelago is importantly different in this respect. “Minority Cultures and the Cosmopolitan Alternative. Multicultural Citizenship.

in their 1704 raid on Deerfield. most recently. John Demos.” in Nomos XXXVIII: Political Order. Robert E. Oxford Handbooks of Political Science. general editor of the forthcoming ten-volume series. Yoder. The Unredeemed Captive (New York: Vintage. Eunice. she declined. As Kymlicka (Multicultural Citizenship. He is founding editor of the Journal of Political Philosophy. Australian National University. judging from Culture & Equality. and brought her up as their own. The Mohawk captured her. Whether that counts as a mere observation or as a telling criticism depends on whether you are persuaded by Kymlicka’s other justice-based case for rights of national minorities. 28. “Democratic Autonomy & Religious Freedom: A Critique of Wisconsin v. One famous case is that of Rev. 29. 123) observes. 30. 1995). Such as Brian Barry.” to imply rights of self-government to national minorities more generally. it would not necessarily “explain why minorities should be able to decide for themselves whether or how to maintain their cultures. ed. Richard J. 2003). of course. aged six. When years later she was offered the opportunity to return to Deerfield. 2011 . Downloaded from ptx. Note that this policy of multiculturalism explicitly subsumes both immigrant cultures and Australia’s indigenous peoples and their culture. Arneson and Ian Shapiro. Massachusetts. 31. Goodin is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and of Social & Political Theory at the Research School of Social Sciences. 365-411.Goodin / Liberal Multiculturalism 303 2005).com at Vytautas Magnus University on June 19. Ian Shapiro and Russell Hardin (New York: New York University Press. John Williams’s daughter. 1996).sagepub. Reflective Democracy (Oxford University Press. and author of.