Liav Orgad writes convincingly that the issue of cultural rights for majorities has been thrust into view by immigration. No longer can a white French or German person think of her ethnic identity and national identity as one and the same. In the introduction to Rethinking Ethnicity: majority groups and dominant minorities (2004), and again in Political Demography (2012), I argue that migration and differential ethnic birth rates are driving a wedge between the ethnic majority and ‘its’ nation-state.
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Liav Orgad (2015) has written an admirably sensitive and learned book about besieged “majorities” in a world of global mobility and flux, especially that consisting of or conditioned by people moving across borders. It opens up an entirely new, dearly needed conversation on whether we need the concept of “majority”, which hitherto has remained legally and normatively uncharted. But is there really a case for a “liberal theory of majority rights”, analogous to a liberal theory of minority rights, both wishing to protect “personal identity and personal autonomy” (lead text, in the following “lt”)? Orgad has the right instinct that the care of the majority should not be left to the populist right but taken serious by liberals and the political mainstream. But the notion of a “distinctive cultural majority” (lt), which he presents as “the inevitable outcome of multiculturalism”, rests on an unreconstructed notion of multiculturalism; and at close inspection, much as the case for liberal minority rights, the case for distinct majority rights dissolves into a case for universal individual rights that liberal state constitutions already provide.
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Are Poland and Hungary justified, under international law or EU law, in restricting migration to defend their “Christian heritage”? How about the so-called “European way of life” or their “constitutional identity”? More generally, can a liberal democracy restrict immigration and/or access to citizenship in order to protect the "majority culture” and still remain liberal? Cultural defense policies are mushrooming in Europe, as refugees and migrants from Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East many of them Muslims keep coming to our shores in unprecedented numbers. Can the “cultural defense” of majorities be reconciled with liberal values and, if so, how? Continue reading >>
Portugals Präsident Cavaco Silva verweigert der linken Mehrheit im Parlament den Auftrag zur Regierungsbildung. Ist das ein Verfassungsbruch? Wohl nicht, wenngleich die vermutliche Strategie dahinter verfassungspolitisch zu größter Sorge Anlass gibt. Continue reading >>