Demographics, Immigration, and Democracy. Hosted Pat Gunn of Philosophy Circle NYC – Aug 28

  • Wednesday, August 28, 2013

    6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

    Columbus Circle

    59th St and Central Park West, New Yok, NY

  • Please RSVP at and also note his instructions. Thank you.
  • In the postcolonial era, which began much later in Europe than in the United States (France lost control of Algeria in the 1950-1960s), many European nations have grown large immigrant populations. Discussion of selective immigration (or a lower rate of it) were dismissed as far-right concerns for many decades, although in recent times, the issue has become open for broader discussion across the political spectrum (and parties that have not adapted to this have seen new competition).

    Pim Fortuyn (1948-2002), an openly gay Nederland politician, advocated for limits to immigration from Muslim countries, arguing that their social and political behaviour was limiting the tolerance in Nederlandish society for gays, teaching of science, and damaging the tolerant enlightenment ideals their society was built around. He was assassinated in the run up to an election by an activist who argued that he was using Muslims as scapegoats.

    What is the meaning of tolerance in society, and how do we navigate value conflicts in our political intuitions? Is ideal immigration policy different for small nations versus big nations, and should we expect immigrants to integrate? When subcultures effectively have their own government and laws (either because they’re in areas isolated from mainstream society or because they use arbitration and contracts to create new systems of law, consider Sharia or Halakah courts), is that a problem for a multicultural society? How should multiculturalism work? Should we think about oppression on a group or a individual level, or in a way that somehow includes both?

    These are a lot of topics. We’ll spend time on whatever issues the group seems to find interesting.

    Readings: (this is a fairly difficult reading; don’t worry if you get stuck partway through) – Debate over Fortuyn’s book, "Against the Islamisation of our Culture" (in Dutch, subtitled in English) – Read as much of this as you like; it’s Charles Taylor’s "Politics of Recognition"

    Date and Place: This will be held in Central Park; we’ll meet at Columbus Circle, remain there for 20 minutes, and then find our way into the park; we’ll either keep walking or perhaps find a nice place to sit.

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