We live in a society that is constantly evolving. Given the fast rhythm of development, we often forget to obey the core values of the society and we are forced to improvise as we go. Nowadays, the whole world is confronted with choosing between 2 major concepts: pluralism and multiculturalism. However, there are very few people who understand the differences between these two concepts and without a thorough understanding people cannot make an informed decision. Today we are going to discuss the characteristics of a pluralistic society as well as the core values of multiculturalism.
Similarities and differences between pluralism and multiculturalism
Both concepts are based on tolerance, yet they each have a different approach to it. Pluralism stands for acceptance of all minorities. This means that all groups are accepted into a new society without being judged. However, in order to truly be part of a nation, minorities need to integrate the system. This does not mean giving up the moral values that define them, but it does imply accepting society’s core values as their own in order for the nation to be united and to be able to progress. On the other hand, the foundation of multiculturalism lies in the lowest common denominator of values in a society. This means that while minorities are tolerated, they are individualized. A good example of the differences between these two concepts is the comparison of Europe and the U.S. When a stranger lives in America, he is viewed as an American despite his background. In Europe on the other hand, each country has a strong sense of nationality which makes the citizens reluctant to accepting strangers as part of their nation.
Can too much tolerance be harmful?
The United States of America is probably the most pluralistic society that ever existed. However, the colorful nature of our society often leads to certain paradoxes. Too much tolerance can turn into intolerance if it is not kept under control. In a world where everybody is free to express their opinions, the people who choose to lead a more quiet and less public life are singled out and outcast for not being able to integrate the overall ensemble of the pluralistic society. Furthermore excessive tolerance can also lead to chaos when citizens try to take advantage of freedom in order to follow their own goals without keeping in mind the core values of the nation. It is very hard to keep a multicultural society united without taking some of the personal freedom of the people. This may be the case of America which is currently manifesting unbalances in all the industries. What was once the most powerful nation in the world is currently a country who can no longer sustain and control itself.
What is the best option for the future?
As the U.S has shown in numerous occasions, a pluralistic society has numerous advantages. When the majority and all of the minorities are sheltered under the umbrella of a balanced society, progress is inevitable. However, tolerance and freedom must be driven by the core values of the society in order to avoid chaos. While Europe is currently adopting a multicultural approach, globalization will soon force it to review its agenda. Despite being open minded and communicative, it still has a strong sense of individuality which at a certain level is slowing down its progress.