Two days ago David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, declared that State Multiculturalism has failed. A few months ago Angela Merkel, Germany’s leader, said the same thing.
It’s about time, because the Islamists need standing up to. As do the proponents of forced marriages. It’s an area where politicians have been timid for years, fearful of being called racist.
America has its own problems, particularly with the alienation of black people, as a result of its appalling treatment of them in the past. But it doesn’t have the same problem as we do in Europe of immigrants separating themselves off into foreign sub-cultures, at least not to the same degree. Immigrants in America feel themselves to be American in a way that immigrants in the UK do not always feel themselves to be British.
I think that immigrants refusing to engage with the wider society (and this doesn't mean surrendering their traditions, although compromises are often inevitable) belongs astrologically to the 12th House, where you find all those outside of society - whether it is those in prisons, mental hospitals, extreme political groups or religions that think they have a privileged insight into society. I'm not denigrating e.g. prisoners here. The Houses in astrology are primarily places rather than states of mind, although there is an increasing tendency nowadays to identify the Houses with the Signs, so that the 12th House is a bit like Pisces. It is a bit like Pisces, but it still is a place rather than a way of being. The 12th House can also be a place of transcendence, for e.g. the hermit who has genuinely lived the 1st 11 Houses, or the artists and writers who are outside looking in, but from a place of engagement. It is not an easy place to be, and engagement with the opposite House, the 6th of everyday routine and work and ordinariness, can provide a useful anchor.
Anyway, I think it is going too far for David Cameron and Angela Merkel to say that multiculturalism doesn’t work. I'm sure they don't mean it in that blanket kind of way, but that is how they have come across. We have, for example, had Jews in Britain for centuries without too much problem, apart from the anti-semitism of the mainstream culture, which is not the Jews' fault. Multiculturalism is always problematic, but it is do-able and stops people thinking they belong to some kind of special race, which is a very human thing to do. For Jewish people, it doesn't help them or anybody else to have a religious text telling them they are God's Chosen People.
The problem hasn’t been multiculturalism, which I think can be a great thing. It has been the timidity of political leaders in not insisting, for example, that immigrants learn English, or in allowing extremist Islamic teachers to roam at large. It has been misrule, the king not doing his job properly.
A lot of it is probably down to guilt at how we have treated people in the past, whether in Germany or in the UK. Guilt masking itself as tolerant liberalism. And the Islamists have laughed at us for what we let them get away with.
Multiculturalism began to be adopted as policy in the UK from the 1970s onwards, in the wake of the liberalising Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the 1960s. Both planets went on in the 1970s to square the UK Sun at 10 Capricorn.
The Sun is the sense of national identity (as well as the country’s leader, who is an expression of the nation’s identity.) So during the 1970s, as Uranus then Pluto squared the UK Sun, we shifted our notion of who we are in the direction of a multicultural society. 40 years later, as Pluto conjoins, then Uranus squares the UK Sun, we are reassessing that trend of the 1970s, reassessing our ideas of who we are. (David Cameron is calling for a stronger sense of national identity to combat the downsides of multiculturalism, but I’m not sure that is something that can be manufactured, or that is entirely desirable.)
With Uranus-Pluto, we see a tension between progressive, liberal ideas (Uranus) and the need for the state to maintain the power (Pluto) to rule. In the 1970s, it was Pluto, and outdated ideas of power, that needed to be shaken up by Uranus. 40 years later, and it is Uranus that has gone too far, and a reassertion of Pluto, of state power, is needed.