Jürgen Habermas, in The New York Times:
To the present day, the idea of the leitkultur depends on the misconception that the liberal state should demand more of its immigrants than learning the language of the country and accepting the principles of the Constitution. We had, and apparently still have, to overcome the view that immigrants are supposed to assimilate the “values” of the majority culture and to adopt its “customs.”
That we are experiencing a relapse into this ethnic understanding of our liberal constitution is bad enough. It doesn’t make things any better that today leitkultur is defined not by “German culture” but by religion. With an arrogant appropriation of Judaism — and an incredible disregard for the fate the Jews suffered in Germany — the apologists of the leitkultur now appeal to the “Judeo-Christian tradition,” which distinguishes “us” from the foreigners.
Nevertheless I do not have the impression that the appeals to the leitkultur signal anything more than a rearguard action or that the lapse of an author into the snares of the controversy over nature versus nurture has given enduring and widespread impetus to the more noxious mixture of xenophobia, racist feelings of superiority and social Darwinism. The problems of today have set off the reactions of yesterday — but not those of the day before.
Read the entire article here.