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Should the liberal state help its citizens maintain their voluntary ethnocultural identities, and using… Jackson, Jennifer Ann 1992

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SHOULD THE LIBERAL STATE HELP ITS CITIZENS MAINTAIN THEIRVOLUNTARY ETHNOCULTURAL IDENTITIES, AND USING WHAT MEASURES?byJENNIFER ANN JACKSONB.A. (Hons.), The University of British Columbia, 1991.A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of Political ScienceWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAJuly 1992(c) Jennifer Ann JacksonIn presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my' writtenpermission.of foil-HDepartment f l - e aThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate 7)b /DE-6 (2/88)11ABSTRACTThis thesis offers a general discussion of the reasonswhich might be given to justify a liberal state's politicalaffirmation of all ethnocultural identities in itsjurisdiction. Although I hope my argument may be pertinentto practical debates about state recognition ofethnocultural identities, I am primarily concerned withliberal theory's ability to provide such a justification.An immigrant society that contains voluntaryethnocultural associations raises important normativeconsiderations of the sort that political theorists address.These associations, perhaps unlike those of the colonialplural society, are to be valued by liberals because theyare driven not only by fate but also by choice. In societiesmade up in part of immigrants from diverse ethnoculturalbackgrounds, some people choose to express theirindividuality in this way. However, this choice is notalways easy to make. In the historical experience of pluralimmigrant societies like Canada and the United States, forexample, there have been certain periods when ethnoculturalassociation and expression where not affirmed but despisedby the majority of people. In circumstances of majorityhostility and government indifference such choices can onlyIllbe made by individuals who possess courage and determinationto go against public opinion. People lacking theseexceptional traits will, in effect, be denied an essentialelement of freedom. This seems both unreasonable andunwarranted if something can be done to change it which doesnot sacrifice a value of equal importance.I conclude that no such sacrifice is necessary in thecase of political affirmation of ethnocultural identities.No one will be disadvantaged as a result of this kind ofstate intervention. In acknowledging all ethnoculturalidentities to be good and worthy, in no way can the liberalstate inadvertently inflict indignity on any individual orgroup. Nor does this measure involve taking anything awayfrom the political community as a whole. Politicalaffirmation of ethnocultural groups in a plural immigrantsociety is an integrative--although not assimilative--principle. Members of such respected and worthy groups wouldhave a stake in the political community that adopted suchmeasures: they would have a significant reason to obey andbe loyal to that political community. In sum: the politicalaffirmation of the dignity of all ethnocultural identitiesin a plural society is integrative,IVentails no significant costs, and is the right thing for aliberal state to do.CONTENTSABSTRACT iiCONTENTS vACKNOWLEDGEMENTS viiFORWORD viiiCHAPTERI . INTRODUCTION 1II. VARIETIES OF PLURALIST THEORY 8Descriptive PluralismNormative PluralismIII. HUMAN DIGNITY IN POLITICAL THEORY 18Dignity as a Social GoodFreedom and DignityContempt as a Social FactIV. NEGATIVE LIBERTY AND DIGNITY 34The Idea of Negative LibertyAdvantages and Disadvantages ofNegative LibertyV. THE POLITICAL AFFIRMATION OF DIGNITY 44A Justification of State AffirmationVIPossibilities for AffirmationAndre Laurendeau's LegacyVI. CONCLUSION 59SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 64VllACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThis thesis would have been very difficult to completewithout Professor Sam LaSelva's continuous support. Hisencouragement gave me the confidence to pursue this subjectaccording to my own intellectual disposition, and he wasalways prepared to discuss my ideas, difficulties, andconcerns. Professor Alan Cairns' careful and detailedcriticism of an earlier draft prompted me to reconsider myinitial assumptions. As a result, I believe I have produceda better thesis than might otherwise have been the case. Iadmire these two scholars and offer my sincere thanks. Ihave only myself to blame for any errors of fact or judgmentwhich remain. I should also like to thank Professor JeanLaponce for lending me the unpublished State of the ArtReview on Canada's Multicultural Society, even while he wasin the process of editing the manuscript. Finally, I owemuch to the love and support of my parents and of StevenPreece.VI11FOREWORDHow does one choose a suitable topic for a mastersthesis? This question preoccupies every graduate studentfaced with such a task. Fortunately, rny thesis supervisorgave me a word of advice that was, in retrospect, veryhelpful. He encouraged me to choose a topic for which I felta genuine intellectual passion.I live in a plural immigrant society and myethnocultural heritage means a great deal to me. I am proudof my ancestors who came from Denmark, England and Croatiaand I have engaged in activities which reflect my interestin these countries. I have travelled to Europe and visitedDenmark, England and Croatia. I have researched my Englishfamily tree in St. Catherine's House, London, and studiedEnglish literature. I have read East European history andliterature in translation. I am a member of Husak--theCroatian Students' Association at the University of BritishColumbia--and I proudly wear a sweatshirt that reads "ZivilaHrvatska" or "Long live Croatia".While it is easy for me to wear my Croatian sentimentson my shirt in public, such an open display would have beenmore difficult for my grandfather to make when he was anewly arrived immigrant to Canada in the 1920s. He and hisfather were ridiculed and chastised for being "bohunks"--aIXpejorative term then commonly used in reference to Slavs.Even as a young girl I could not understand why someone Iloved would have been despised simply for being who he was:an immigrant who was proud to be a Canadian citizen--healways wore a maple leaf pin on his lapel--but at the sametime also proud to be Croatian. Why, I asked, did he changehis name from Josef Prpic to Joe Perpick? That way it waseasier to get jobs and to get along better with otherCanadians. I received the same answer from my Danishgrandfather when I asked why he gave up Johannes Joachumsenin favour of John Jackson. By the 1970s, however, thisanglicizing of names was no longer necessary. My newlyarrived Croatian cousins retained Prpic just as it was.This new state of affairs is in my opinion betterrather than merely different. I believe it is intrinsicallyright for citizens in plural immigrant societies to havetheir ethnocultural identities respected, and wrong for themto be despised on these or any other irrelevant grounds. Iwill attempt to justify this moral conviction in terms ofliberal political theory.IINTRODUCTIONThere are,,,ethnic groups who want to maintaintheir original language and culture, at leastin their homes, in their private meetings and intheir churches. Should the state help them achievethis objective, and using what measures? I am notyet ready to answer this question very precisely.I'll only repeat what I said in Sainte-Marguerite:in human relations, majorities can afford to begenerous. ...Civilization begins when the strongervoluntarily refuses to abuse his or her power;in other words, when the majority recognizes"minority rights."Andre LaurendeauThis thesis was inspired by a political practitionerwho was dealing with a specific policy issue in a particularcountry at a certain moment in its history. AndreLaurendeau, while reflecting on his experience as co-chairman of the Canadian Royal Commission on Bilingualismand Biculturalism, wondered if the Canadian state shouldhelp ethnocultural associations maintain their language andculture, and using what measures. Laurendeau was not able togive a detailed answer--although it is important to notethat the Commission itself recommended Canadian governmentsupport of ethnic associations which laid the foundationsfor Canada's policy of multiculturalism^. Laurendeau did,1 Preliminary Report. The Royal Commission onBilingualism and Biculturalism (Ottawa: Queen's Printer,1965), p. 51.however, suggest a general principle for dealing with suchnormative questions: "Civilization begins when the strongervoluntarily refuses to abuse his or her power; in otherowords when the majority recognizes minority rights."I share Laurendeau's humanitarian conviction aboutminority rights and will seek to justify an affirmativeanswer to his provocative question. This thesis willinvestigate the value of social dignity for ethnoculturalgroups and their members in plural immigrant societies. Thisis an emerging subject for liberal political theorists,perhaps owing to the fact that free societies withethnocultural associations are a relatively recentphenomenon. The existence of these societies may requiremodification of liberal assumptions and arguments regardingthe legitimate role of the state in conferring dignity onits citizens.My guiding moral principle--to echo liberal thinkerJudith Shklar--"is that social diversity is something thatany liberal should rejoice in and seek to promote, becauseoit is in diversity alone that freedom can be realized."However, it is important to emphasize that I will not beconcerned with the particular experience of any real state2 Patricia Smart, The Diary of Andre Laurendeau(Toronto: Lorimer and Company, 1991), p. 149.3 Judith N. Shklar, Legalism (Cambridge, Mass.: HarvardUniversity Press, 1986), p. 5.or society, and I do not offer any prescriptions orsolutions for specific plural immigrant countries and theirproblems. What I do offer is a general discussion of thereasons which might be given to justify a liberal state'spolitical affirmation of the dignity of all ethnoculturalidentities in its jurisdiction. Although I hope mydiscussion may be pertinent to practical debates about staterecognition of ethnocultural identities, I am primarilyconcerned with liberal theory's ability to provide such ajustification.In addressing this question, I make a number ofassumptions which are important to identify and defend fromthe outset. For my discussion to be more than merelyfanciful--and thus a bona fide political theory topic—itmust, of course, have some foundation in human experience.That is to say, it must address circumstances which, thoughgeneral in nature, nonetheless are broadly similar to thosewhich really exist in particular countries. I thereforeassume, firstly, that free societies with ethnoculturalassociations do exist. If asked what kind of living societymy thesis has in mind, I would respond that it would belongin the same category of societies as Canada, the UnitedStates, and Australia--in short, it would be predominantly asociety of immigrants and thus one characterized by avariety of secondary ethnicities. It would therefore be asociety in which a substantial number of people voluntarilybelong to ethnocultural associations. This is in fact thecase in the above-mentioned countries. Even if such peoplerepresent only five percent of the overall population of acountry, they would still constitute a considerable numberin their own right — one million in a country of twentymillion, ten million in a country of two hundred million.Thus, even at this relatively low level, voluntaryethnocultural association and expression would besignificant.I assume, secondly, that individuals who are inclinedto associate in this way value their identities as membersof such ethnocultural groups. Their individual sense ofself-worth is contingent to some degree on the socialdignity of these associations. As Donald L. Horowitzsuggests,4 Fred W. Riggs has suggested a distinction betweenprimary ethnicity--referring to expressions of ethnicity byethnic groups within the confines of their ethnic homeland—and secondary ethnicity — referring to expressions ofethnicity by immigrant groups in countries not of theirethnic origin. See "Modes of Ethnicity," in S. Devetak andM. Rogac (eds.), Ethnicity Today: Eastern and WesternApproaches (Ljubljana: Institute for Ethnic Studies, 1988),pp. 71-91.if the need to feel worthy is a fundamental humanrequirement, it is satisfied in considerable measure bybelonging to groups that are in turn regarded asworthy. Like individual self-esteem, collective self-esteem is achieved largely by social recognition.Everywhere ... col 1ective social recognition is conferredby political affirmation.This sociological view of the relationship between dignityand association raises important normative questions of thesort that political theorists address. Since liberalism iscommitted to promoting and justifying the values of liberty,personal autonomy and equality, a liberal state would wantto ensure that individuals who desire to express theirethnicity are free and able to do so and that suchexpression is respected by society at large--in other words,that this choice is given as much respect as other choices.As Laurendeau points out, this basic social esteem wouldseem to be a requirement of civilization, or at least ofliberal civilization.This is not to say, however, that members ofethnocultural associations are excused from civilrequirements themselves--far from it. Reciprocalresponsibilities apply to them also. Ethnoculturalassociations must respect the legitimate demands of thestate concerning the associations' treatment of theirmembers, non-members, and the public at large. Ethnoculturalassociations — and all other voluntary associations for thatmatter--cannot usurp the state's authority but can only5 Donald L. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), p. 185.employ free consent and persuasion. This restriction enablesindividuals to adopt and relinquish various memberships--including ethnocul tural memberships — as they wish. Ittherefore preserves liberty. Thus, there is no contradictionbetween ethnic association and freedom in such a society.Thirdly, I assume that negative liberty is inadequatefor the task of providing social dignity. My thesis willattempt to illustrate why--when applied to ethnoculturalassociation and expression—negative liberty assumptionsallow a situation prejudiced in favour of the dominant wayof life — where one exists — and against other ways. Negativeliberty can ensure that one's freedom to associate will notbe obstructed by any other agent. But it cannot ensure thatindividuals who choose to associate in ethnic or otherparticular ways will be accorded dignity by the public atlarge. Indeed, negative 1iberty--other things remainingequal—is more likely to produce assimilation, since theonly way individuals can acquire dignity in such a situationis by conforming to the dominant choice. Thus people arediscouraged from making associations they might otherwisehave considered valuable.Finally, my thesis assumes, values and affirms a worldof diversity that reflects an endless variety of voluntaryassociations and encourages corresponding identities which6 Jean Laponce, Languages and Their TerritoriesI Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987).the unencumbered human personality creates. Consequently, indiscussing the grounds for a liberal state's affirmation ofethnocultural identities I am in no way excluding thepossibility that other kinds of voluntary identities mayalso justifiably receive state recognition on similargrounds. In no way do I intend to privilege the decision toassociate along ethnocultural lines and I do not deny thatmembers of ethnocultural associations may also possess othermemberships and corresponding identities or that suchidentifications may be freely taken up or discarded at anytime. My fundamental value is voluntary choice within aplural society—including the choice of ethnoculturalidentification and affiliation.IIVARIETIES OF PLURALIST THEORYPolitical theorists have reflected on plural societiesin several different ways. It is important at the outset tosketch these approaches and locate my argument within them,We can conveniently classify pluralist theory into twogeneral categories: descriptive pluralism and normativepluralism. Descriptive pluralism is mainly concerned withncharacterizing particular historical societies. Normativepluralism, in contrast, celebrates an ideal plural societyand explicitly identifies it as good in its own right.Although I have in mind the kind of pluralist societyrepresented by Canada and the United States, the argument iswritten in the genre of normative pluralism.Descriptive PluralismWithin this category it is important to distinguish thepurely descriptive pluralism of anthropologists andsociologists from the mixed descriptive-prescriptive7 For a discussion of the category I have termed"descriptive pluralism" see David Nicholls Three Varietiesof Pluralism (London: Macmillan, 1974). Also see his ThePluralist State (London: Macmillan, 1975), esp. ch. 5: "TheState, the Group, and the Individual".pluralism of British political theorists and Americanpolitical scientists. The pluralism of anthropologists andsociologists attempts to describe colonial societies inOtropical areas. The overarching colonial society is theresult of an external imposition--European imperialism—andwould not otherwise exist. By contrast, the internalsocieties are the local populations and their traditionalorganizational units—tribes for example. The overarchingsociety created by European imperialism and colonialism isplural since it incorporates but does not assimilate thesemany smaller, indigenous ethnic societies. This generalplural society is held together by a common economic andadministrative system backed by force which does not permitwarfare or other hostilities between the indigenous groups.But the externally created plural society is not liberal: itpays limited attention to the personal freedom or well-beingof individuals within the indigenous groups it encapsulates,being concerned mainly to establish and enforce anoverarching rule of law between the groups and theirmembers. Primarily for this reason liberal politicaltheorists would be inclined to regard it as paternalist orauthoritarian. However, they might find reasons to justifyit — John Stuart Mill justified foreign intervention and8 The classical study is 3. S. Furnivall, ColonialPolicy and Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1948).10colonial rule over indigenous despotisms. Butanthropologists and sociologists have been concerned mainlyto portray this type of society and not to justify it.A second variety of descriptive plural ism-- one whichpossesses a prescriptive element--attempts to describeadvanced western societies. Unlike tropical colonies, theseplural societies are characterized not simply by ethnicgroup diversity but also by a diversity of many kinds ofvoluntary associations—religious, economic, artistic,professional, and so forth. This pluralist theory, accordingto David Nicholls, represents a reaction against politicaltheories which tend to ignore the presence and importance ofgroups within society. Its advocates argue that politicaltheories which focus merely on the relationship between theindividual and the state fail to capture and therefore alsoto consider the significance of society's collectiveelements. More than merely emphasizing the existence andimportance of voluntary association in society, they makethe prescriptive claim that social diversity is desirablesince it constitutes a check against state absolutism. Thesetheorists therefore conclude that any attempt by the state9 J. S. Mill, "A few words on Non-Intervention, in G.Himmelfarb (ed.), Essays on Politics and Culture by JohnStuart Mill (New York: Doubleday, 1963), ch. 10.10 Nicholls, Three Varieties of Pluralism, p. 2.11to undermine the existence of voluntary association shouldbe resisted in the name of freedom.The kind of pluralist argument I have briefly describedwas first made by J.N. Figgis, Harold Laski, Ernest Barker,and other English political theorists. Later it wasadapted by David Truman, Robert Dahl and other Americanpolitical scientists to explain and justify the American12form of government. Because pressure groups which lobbygovernments are a ubiquitous feature of American politicswhich seems to reinforce constitutional checks and balancesthey are considered by these plural theorists as not onlysignificant but valuable as well. In sharp contrast, Britishtheorists usually condemn action by voluntary associationsthat seeks partial and preferential treatment by thestate.1311 J. N. Figgis, Churches in the Modern State (London:Longmans, 1913), H. J. Laski, Authority in the Modern State(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1919), Ernest Barker,Principles of Social and Political Theory (Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 1961).12 David Truman, The Governmental Process (New York:Knopf, 1951) and Robert A. Dahl, A Preface to DemocraticTheory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956).13 Nowadays single issue groups are often considered toobstruct rather than facilitate American constitutionaldemocracy.12Normative PluralismThis variety of pluralist theory celebrates pluralismas a good in its own right since it is only in situations ofsocial diversity that freedom can be fully realized. Incelebrating diversity, theorists like Judith Shklar, IsaiahBerlin, and Joseph Raz are not concerned with describinggroup co-existence--1 ike anthropologists and sociologists--nor exclusively with limiting state absolutism--!ike Britishand American pluralists.14 Instead, their emphasis is on theindividual's ability to define, pursue and realize his orher conception of the good life--in other words, to be fullyautonomous and esteemed. A diversity of choices isidentified by these theorists as an essential requirementfor such an existence—which they would argue is the mostfundamental political good of all. The Judith Shklarquotation which I cited in my introduction is a good exampleof this kind of value statement. The works of Isaiah Berlinand Joseph Raz are also representative of this liberal pointof view.Judith Shklar observes that pluralism is a centralfeature of modern societies which no contemporary political14 Shklar, Legal ism; Isaiah Berlin, The Crooked TimberOf Humanity (London: John Murray Ltd., 1990); Joseph Raz,The Morality of Freedom (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986).13theory can ignore without loosing its relevance. More thanthis, however, she endorses the belief that, diversity shouldbe cherished and encouraged by liberals since it is only insituations of diversity that individual freedom can berealized. In Shklar's view, a free society is one in whichindividuals are both allowed and encouraged to makeeffective social choices from a variety of alternatives. Shemakes plain that it is not only the range and number ofchoices available which determine the degree of freedom, butalso the respect among those who choose differentalternatives. Shklar reminds liberals of a frequentlyforgotten point: if it requires extraordinary determinationand courage to pursue a course of life or express an opinionwhich contradicts those of the majority, then one is notliving in a free society. Judith Shklar specificallyacknowledges that this view of liberalism reflects both theapprehensions and adverse experiences of minority groups.Isaiah Berlin defines humans as possessing wills,sentiments, beliefs, ideals, and ways of living peculiar tothemselves. Consequently, humans crave room to "bethemselves" and opportunities to express thosecharacteristics which define their individuality: the wishto be and do something of their own choosing, and not simplythat which another has ordered them to do or to become.15 Shk1 ar, Legal ism, p.16 Berlin, The Crooked Timber Of Humanity, p.14Berlin insists that governments must recognize human dignityand should not try to reduce everyone to a "universal humanmaterial" devoid of individuality. Many of the choices anindividual makes will concern his or her relationships withothers: human beings are social animals. In totality theydesire and form an extremely diverse range of associationswhich reflect their above noted sentiments, beliefs, idealsand ways of living. Included among these are associationswhich reflect their identifications with particularreligious, racial or ethnic groups. Most people want toassociate freely with other people like themselves: peoplewith whom they can feel at home. They do not wish to beobliged to assume personas or form associations which arecontrived for them by others: whether that is the state orthe party or the corporation or any other agency which aimsat reducing if not eliminating the recalcitrantindividuality of human beings. Berlin believes that humansseek liberty of action, determination of their own lives,and are naturally resistant to dilution, assimilation anddepersonalization. For these reasons he advocates pluralism.A human being must always be an end--his own man or woman--and never the means of somebody else.Joseph Raz thinks that an autonomous person is above1 7all else part author of his or her own life. Theautonomous person's life is as much a result of what he or17 Raz, The Morality of Freedom, p. 204.she might have chosen as it is what he or she did in factchoose. In other words, a person is autonomous only if he ox-she possesses a variety of acceptable choices. If thosechoices are restricted or inhibited in any way theindividual is accordingly deprived of autonomy and freedom.By the same token, if choices are expanded autonomy andfreedom are accordingly increased. Raz believes that socialplurality widens human choice and in so doing is aprecondition of personal autonomy. Social diversity is agood thing and a means to the good life. Consequently,governments dedicated to personal autonomy must do more thantolerate social diversity, they must take positive measuresto support and encourage it.The argument I present in this thesis falls within thetradition of normative pluralism. Like Shklar, Berlin, andRaz, I too believe that diversity is a good in itself. Ishare with them a view of humans as unique individualpersonalities. According to this liberal view, a societypredicated on individuality will require diversity--including a diverse range of voluntary associations amongwhich may be ones based on ethnicity or culture. My argumentseeks to justify not only government toleration but alsopositive government action to promote ethnoculturaldiversity and to affirm the dignity, esteem and mutualrespect which — as Judith Shklar reminds 1 iberal s- -areintrinsic to robust individuals.16An immigrant society that contains voluntaryethnocultural associations raises important normativequestions for pluralist theory. These associations, perhapsunlike those of the colonial plural society, are to bevalued by liberals because they are driven not only by fatebut also by choice. In societies made up in part ofimmigrants of diverse ethnocultural backgrounds some peoplechoose to express their individuality in this way. However,this choice is not always easy to make. In the historicalexperience of plural immigrant societies like Canada and theUnited States, for example, there have been certain periodswhen ethnocultural association and expression were notaffirmed but despised by the majority of people--at least inpart, I will argue, because governments did not activelyrecognize and respect them. Consequently, Judith Shklar'sconditions for a free society--at least concerningethnocultural association and expression—have not alwaysbeen satisfied. In circumstances of majority hostility andgovernment indifference such choices can only be made byindividuals who possess courage and determination to goagainst hostile public opinion. People lacking theseexceptional traits will, in effect, be denied an essentialelement of freedom. This seems both unreasonable andunwarranted if something can be done to change it which doesnot sacrifice a value of equal importance. I do not believeany such sacrifice is necessary.17What implications do issues such as these have fornormative pluralist theory? Given the fact that many humanbeings do not possess a robust individuality which wouldenable them to rise above such adversities it seems entirelyappropriate and reasonable to consider what a liberal statemight do to compensate. I turn to this question in chapterV. It is first necessary, however, to clarify the value atstake: what is human dignity and why is it a social good?IllHUMAN DIGNITY IN POLITICAL THEORYDignity as a Social GoodIt might be thought that dignity, esteem, respect,self-worth and similar topics are appropriate subjects only1 8of social psychology. There is of course no question thatsocial psychologists should examine these topics since theyobviously have to do with individual states of mind.However, dignities and indignities are also fundamentalsubjects of political theory since these individual statesof mind arise out of social evaluation by other agents--including not only other people but also the state. They arehuman values which can be socially and politically affirmed,denied or ignored. Consequently, dignities and indignitiesprovoke normative questions of the sort that politicaltheorists ordinarily discuss. What claim can individualshave on other individuals and the state to respect theirdignity? In what circumstances should liberal governmentslegitimately deny the dignity of particular citizens? Whenshould liberal governments actively affirm the dignity of18 The Oxford English Dictionary defines "dignity" inits first signification as: "The quality of being worthy orhonourable; worthiness, worth, nobleness, excellence."19citizens? And can governments ever legitimately ignore theirindignity? I address this last question in the next chapter.I will argue here that values which dignify persons--esteem and respect for example--are primary social goodsthat every individual in a liberal society has a right toenjoy. Of course, dignity has many sources but for somepeople in immigrant plural societies this enjoyment willcome from membership in ethnocultural associations. Theliberal state—because it fundamentally values liberty,personal autonomy and equality and thus a societycharacterized by diversity—is reciprocally obliged toaffirm the dignity of all individuals--including those whochoose to be members of such associations. However, becauseethnocultural identities have sometimes been despised bymajority opinion in immigrant plural societies which claimto be liberal I am singling out this particular source ofhuman esteem and contempt for attention.A caveat is necessary at this point. I do not deny thatcertain human choices and actions may be justifiablyI Qdespised by liberals and by liberal states. They shoulddespise murderers or child abusers or wife batterers orterrorists or any one else who inflicts harm upon innocentpersons. Public contempt can justifiably be directed againstsuch agents not only because their actions warrant it butalso because such contempt actually encourages a social19 Raz, The Morality of Freedom, p. 404.good: a. society that will not condone such people. Noliberal and no liberal state should refrain from expressingsuch contempt when and where it is justified. And if a statedid refrain from condemning such agents---perhaps because itcould do little about them--it certainly could not claim tobe a liberal state--or perhaps even a state, for thatmatter.20However, indignities which are bestowed uponindividuals exclusively as a result of their race,ethnicity, language, culture or religion are an entirelydifferent matter and cannot be justified. In a liberalsociety this particular type of indignity is intrinsicallywrong because it is not merited in any way. To indulge in itor even to tolerate it would be unacceptable conduct for anygenuine liberal.Dignity, esteem, respect and self-worth are, I argue,intrinsic social goods. By "intrinsic good" I mean a humanvalue whose merit will be self-evident to any reasonableperson. For example, we are identifying intrinsic goods whenwe acknowledge that every child deserves love or that noperson should be tortured or tormented. Similarly, an"intrinsic evil" is a human abuse which any reasonable20 This calls to mind a famous remark of Augustine:"States without justice are but robber bands enlarged." Cit]of God (Chicago: Bentcn Publishers, 1952), part IV, sectioni v .21person would recognize and condemn. Murder, child abuse,wife battering, and terrorism are examples of intrinsicevils. I maintain that it is also intrinsically wrong for anindividual to be despised exclusively because of his or herethnocultural membership, and, furthermore, that the libertyof individuals who are so despised is thereby diminished ina significant way. I elaborate on this point in the nextsecti on.A liberal state which encouraged or even merely turneda blind eye to such indignities would, in the first place,undermine its own legitimacy. Individuals who were despisedas a result of their race, ethnicity, language, culture orreligion would have legitimate grievances against it. Whyshould individuals support and obey a state whichparticipated or acquiesced in a diminution of their liberty?Why should they pay taxes or serve in the army or in otherways be responsible citizens if this were the case? Inshort, why should despised and disesteemed citizens remainloyal when their suffering is encouraged or ignored bypublic officials? Political theorists will recognize thesequestions as highlighting important problems of politicalobligation which could arise in liberal countries whereminority ethnic groups and their members are held incontempt.These problems would not be as likely to arise,however, in liberal states which affirmed the dignity ofethnocultural groups and their members. Citizens who arepublicly respected by their governments are more likely torecognize them as legitimate. Individuals and groups wouldhave a stake in that state which recognized and affirmedtheir dignity: they would have a compelling reason toidentify with that state and be loyal to it. One could.therefore argue that the affirmation of ethnoculturalidentities by the state would be not only the right thing todo, it would also be in the state's interest. I return tothese issues in the final chapter.Even beyond this, a state which affirmed the dignity ofethnocultural groups would benefit not only those groups andtheir members or even itself but all citizens and the71country at large. In affirming the dignity of minorities,such a state would be encouraging the development of apositive social climate in which every particularassociation and expression would be welcomed. The dignity ofthe minority would make a contribution to not only thedignity of the majority but to the good of the society as awhole. A society of such widely distributed social respect-would qualify as a good society in normative pluralisttheory.2221 Raz, The Morality, of Freedom, p. 256.22 Shklar, Legalism, p. 5.23Freedom and DignityThere is an important relationship between freedom anddignity which must be clarified. While freedom alone cannotcreate esteem or sei f. -worth—as I will argue in the nextchapter--contempt and scorn which is tolerated cannevertheless diminish or restrict freedom. Despised anddenigrated identities--as indicated--wil1 only be displayedand the associations based on them will only be supportedand sustained by individuals who possess exceptional courageand determination in the face of strong and persistentsocial pressures to do otherwise. However, the averageperson — who must be the main focus of any realisticpolitical theory-~cannot be expected to possess suchstrength of character. Given this climate of negative publicopinion, he or she is less likely to support theseassociations—even if he or she privately values them. Thus,because public opinion is, in effect, dictating the kind ofchoices such average people make, these individuals can nolonger be considered "free" in the full liberal sense of theword.The tyranny of majority opinion has been of greatconcern to liberal thinkers at least since the time of John2 QStuart Mill." Indeed, Mill is the preeminent liberalcommentator on this subject and for this reason it is23 John Stuart Mill, On Liberty And Other Writings(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).24necessary to quote him at some length. Liberals cannotignore that society as much as government can exercise"mandates", and if society exercises wrong or illegitimatemandates then "it practices a social tyranny more formidablethan many kinds of political oppression, since...it leavesfewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into thedetails of life, and enslaving the soul itself." Hecontinues: "The likings and dislikings of society, or ofsome powerful portion of it, are thus the main thing whichhas practically determined the rules laid down for generalobservance, under the penalties of law or opinion."Mill particularly sees in the development of religiouspiuralism--in which minorities eventually gained "permissionto differ"--the "battle field" on which "the rights of theindividual against society have been asserted on broad,grounds of principle, and the claim of society to exerciseauthority over dissentients, openly controverted." Howeverhe continues: "so natural to mankind is intolerance inwhatever they really care about, that religious freedom hashardly anywhere been practically realised...In the minds ofalmost all religious persons, even in the most tolerantcountries, the duty of toleration is admitted with tacit-reserves." As I will argue below, in our time this equallyapplies to ethnicity.24 Mill, On Liberty, ch. 1.25Mill develops his argument for individuality andindividual liberty with awareness of such difficulties fullyin mind. "There is a limit to the legitimate interference ofcollective opinion with individual independence: and to findthat limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is asindispensable to a good condition of human affairs, asO rprotection against political despotism." He goes on toexplain why barriers to the encroachment of public opinionon individual liberty are necessary: "As it is useful thatwhile mankind are imperfect there should be differentopinion, so is it that there should be different experimentsof living; that free scope should be given to varieties ofcharacter, short of injury to others...Where, not theperson's own character, but the traditions or customs ofother people are the rule of conduct, there is wanting oneof the principal ingredients of human happiness, and quiteO (~the chief ingredient of individual and social progress."These arguments can serve as a springboard forexploring the relationship between hostile public opinion,dignity and freedom. Social tyranny and the pressures forconformity which express it do not ennoble the individualhuman being in the way liberalism desires. Instead itrestricts, reduces,, and handicaps individuals by obligingthem to adapt to the conforming expectations of the majority25 Mill, On Liberty, ch. 1.26 Mill, On Liberty, ch. 3.26and refrain from freely and fully expressing their owndesires and inclinations in associating with whomever they~> 7wish." They cannot as effectively conduct "experiments inliving" which, for liberals, is the purpose of life.Imagine the alienation, frustration, low self-esteemand other suffering that social conformity produces. SupposeI really value my minority immigrant ancestry, whatever itmay be, but public opinion and social pressure prevent mefrom expressing this openly by joining with others likemyself and forming an ethnocultural association whichcelebrates our common heritage. I avoid associating withthem, and they with me, because we genuinely worry thatpublic opinion would take real offense at our ethnic pride.We fear that we would very likely become the object ofderision and contempt. If I am a person of averagesensibilities and strength of will I might very well denymyself and give up this social experiment for the sake ofavoiding a public stigma which might otherwise be attachedto me by all those who cannot tolerate people who aredifferent from themselves.27 Will Kymlicka argues in a similar vein, referring toaboriginal communities, that cultural membership is aprimary good for people because anyone who is stripped ofsuch membership is stunted in his or her personaldevelopment. See Liberalism. Community and Culture (Oxford:Oxford University Press, 1989).27We can readily imagine plural immigrant societies inwhich individuals who valued ethnocultural associationbecome victims of such social tyranny and are effectivelyinhibited by it. Public opinion would ridicule those whowere openly "ethnic" and applaud those who assimilated. In apredominantly Anglo-Saxon immigrant society, for example,"Smolensky" might be not only difficult for most people topronounce and spell but it might also be despised. "Smith",on the other hand, would be recognizable and respected. Thisis a small example, to be sure, but it represents a bigissue: the opportunity for people to be who and what theyhappen to be, and freely express that identity, even if itis inconvenient and unwelcorned by the majority. Sheddingethnicity for such expedient reasons would be regretted byliberals who value free choice and expression and condemn•J Qwhat Mill terms "moral coercion of public opinion".""Melting pots" which resulted not from freedom of choice inquestions of identity but, instead, from such moral coercionwould be illiberal and would not be justified. A liberalwould want to prevent situations in which an individual feltobliged to "pass" for something other than what he or shereally was in order to avoid social ridicule and contempt.The social tyranny I have described imprisons thegenuine interests, desires, passions, and sensibilities ofthe human personalities affected. It prevents certain28 Mill, On Liberty, p. 13.individuals from living and enjoying the life they reallyvalue. Instead, they are obliged to live a deception: tosuppress and conceal their true beliefs and inclinations andvalues beneath a veneer of social conformity defined bymajority opinion. This is not conducive to the freedevelopment of individual personality. Nor is it conduciveto the development of the kind of liberal society in whichsuch individuals can flourish.Contempt as a Social FactIt is a human predilection to respect those who arelike ourselves and despise those who are different. Monasticretreats, hippie communes, Hutterite villages, nudistcolonies, and other attempts to live—at least for a time--in isolation from the larger surrounding society althoughperhaps extreme are nevertheless expressions of a generalhuman desire. Even if the vast majority of people would notgo to these extremes of isolation, they still seek out thecompany of those who share their convictions andinclinations. This common desire is the basis offriendships, clubs, churches, parties and associationsgenerally. However, if one such conviction or inclinationdominates the larger society it may be the origin of that29 Vaclav Havel, Living in Truth (Boston: Faber andFaber, 1986), part one, discusses an extreme version of sucha social tyranny."moral coercion of public opinion" which targets individualsand groups who do not conform to its expected model ofbehavior.As long as everybody chooses to exercise his or herfreedoms in the same general way, their freedom remainsuntested. It is easy to respect my neighbor's freedom whenhe or she exercises it as I exercise my own. When this isthe case, my neighbor's choices and values will be similarto mine and consequently I will have little if any excuse tochastise these choices. For example, my neighbor and I mayenjoy freedom of religious worship but as long as we bothchoose to attend the Anglican service on Sunday there is noway of knowing how powerful or effective a freedom it reallyis. The same cannot be said of situations in which two ormore different creeds exist side by side in the samesociety. The individual who adheres to one will have farless in common with and probably much that is different fromthe individual who adheres to another. Thus disrespect forand even interference in the life of another become realtemptations. Consequently the freedom of everyone topractice his or her preferred religion with dignity becomesa challenge. If suddenly my neighbor attends Catholic masson Sunday or--even more controversial 1y--gees to a synagogueon Saturday and works on Sunday while I continue to attendthe Anglican service, the right of free religious worshipand the protection it can provide become far more important.30In an ethnically homogeneous society like England theearliest attempts to limit the moral tyranny of publicopinion--as Mill reminds us—were made out of a regard forreligious nonconformists--who were its most obvious targetsJohn Locke's famous Letter Concerning Toleration, forexample, argued that religious beliefs must not becoercively imposed. This conviction became enshrined inBritish lav; beginning with the Act of Toleration (1689)(which granted freedom of worship beyond, the establishedChurch of England to Presbyterians, Congregationalists,Baptists, and Quakers) and in subsequent acts that extendedthis freedom to Unitarians (1813), Catholics (1829), andJews (1858).31In immigrant plural societies this human predilectionfor intolerance will also tend to assert itself alongethnocultural lines. On the same street or even in the sameapartment building one person might be English and anotherItalian, or Polish, or perhaps even Chinese. They may eatdifferent foods, read different books and magazines, playdifferent games, listen to different music, speak differentlanguages, and perhaps even possess different physicalcharacteristics--!]! addition to possibly having different30 John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration, J. H.Tully (ed.) (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1983).31 J. B. Bury, A History of Freedom of Thought (London:Williams and No:;gate, nc date), pp. 100-105.31religious beliefs. In short, those usual boundaries whichseparate people into more or less homogeneous nationalgeographical units do not exist in immigrant countries, andthis fact inevitably generates distinctive problems oftoleration and respect. Consequently, race, ethnicity,culture and language — in addition to religion — are likely tobe tests of liberty for the plural immigrant societies ofthe twentieth century.These difficulties may be further exacerbated if oneethnocul tural group arrives first and. establishes theprevailing values of the immigrant society as a whole. Thispioneer ethnic group may come to disparage groups whicharrive later and do not easily conform to their beliefs,customs and way of life. It may even promote assimilationthrough public opinion —especial 1y if it is the majority.This, of course, was the case in both Canada and the UnitedStates where the pioneer Anglo-Saxon group for a time lookeddown upon later immigrants of different ethnic origins.Yankee Americans and English Canadians even created avocabulary which consisted of pejorative references for allother ethnic groups: Irishmen were "Paddies", Poles were"Polacks", Spaniards were "Dagos", Chinese were "Chinks",African Americans were "Niggers", and so forth. Thesederogative labels were symptomatic of a more importantgeneral contempt which placed assimi1ationist pressures onmembers of disparaged ethnocultural groups--all who were notAnglo-Saxon.Contempt is often accompanied by discrirr.in3.tion. Forexample, both were widespread during the time when Canadaand the United States were experiencing great waves ofimmigration. Thus it is important to clarify therelationship between them. A person who discriminatesnecessarily also disesteems the object of hisdiscrimination, but. a p e r s o r. w h o disestee m s rrt a y n c tdiscriminate. Take, for example, the case of a nineteenthcentury Yankee (American of English descent) who despisesthe Irish. This Yankee holds all Irishmen in contempt; theyare Catholics, have too many children, are drunkards, and.even believe in fairies. The Yankee who discriminates takesthis contempt one step further: he not only despises theIrish but also refuses to have anything whatsoever to dowith Irishmen in his public as well as his private life.Above the door to his business hangs the sign "No Irishwanted here". Thus he actively discriminates against theobject of his contempt. However, the consequence of contempt-is not always discrimination. It is plausible that anotherYankee who equally despises Irishmen may nevertheless workalongside an Irishman dawn to dusk, Monday to Friday, yearin and year out--though he would never voluntarily associatewith any Irishman in his own free time. Thus while contemptis present wherever discrimination occurs, a lack ofdiscrimination is not proof of respect. Consequently,banning discrimination does not necessarily removedisesteem. That may require positive affirmation en the part33of liberal governments as I will argue in the following twochapters.34IVNEGATIVE LIBERTY AND DIGNITYThe Idea of Negative LibertyNegative liberty signifies the idea of freedom frominterference or coercion by the state, private individuals,3 ^or groups. - According to this conception, interferencepresupposes an identifiable interfering agent. Underlyingthis definition of liberty is the assumption that eachindividual left to himself or herself has an equal chance tosucceed or fail in his or her chosen life plan. According tothis ideal, human beings do not need to be further empoweredto exercise their freedom; this ability is inherent in theunencumbered individual. Consequently, if interference inthe lives of individuals is prohibited, each person will beable to develop whatever talents and pursue whateverinterests he or she desires. If an individual in thisposition fails to carry out "experiments in living" it ishis or her responsibility alone.Mill's "moral coercion of public opinion" is obviouslyan amorphous and pervasive form of coercion unlike the32 Benn and Peters, The Principles of PoliticalThought, pp. 247-249.353 3identifiable interfering agent idea of negative liberty.Consider, for example, situations where an Anglo-Saxonmajority of which Tom Brown may be a member considers allIrish to be ignorant, irresponsible and contemptible.Negative liberty assumptions would not. identify thiscontempt as a form of coercion: no significant connectionbetween freedom and states of mind like dignity andindignity is acknowledged. For example, Sean Murphy'sfreedom is seen to be complete as long as Tom Brown does notthreaten him with a gun, or steal his life savings ordismiss him from work on wrongful grounds, or refuse himservice in a restaurant for discriminatory reasons, and soforth.According to the negative liberty ideal, how should aliberal state act? Of course, it should not abuse its ownpowers: its actions should be limited to the negative roleof preventing one agent from coercing another. Two generalprinciples of state action follow from this ideal: statenonintervention and neutrality regarding the lives of itscitizens. First, a liberal state committed to negativeliberty should not intervene in the private affairs of itscitizens as long as they harm no other agent. It is onlywhen coercion of one agent by another agent arises that the33 The-.' discrepancy between "moral coercion" and the"harm principle" may be an anomaly in Mill's argument onliberty.state is obliged to intervene. Second, a liberal statecommitted to negative liberty should be neutral regardingthe freely chosen values and lifestyles of its citizens.Partiality is to be avoided and even condemned because itfavours one interest, activity, value or way of life overanother and therefore has discriminating consequences on anindividual's ability to pursue these options. If a liberalstate supports one interest, activity, value or way of life,then an individual or group of individuals who preferanother will be unfairly disadvantaged.Given these two leading principles, what actions would,a liberal state constrained by negative liberty take topreserve individual freedom? It would, of course,establish and enforce a system of criminal law thatprohibited coercive behavior on the part of privateindividuals and groups. The intention here would be to deterphysical threats to individual liberty. Such a state wouldno doubt also prohibit negligence, breach of contract,wrongful dismissal and other such wrongs--i.e., a system ofcivil law would be enforced. A liberal state would alsoprohibit discriminatory practices in employment, ineducation, in the provision of services, and so forth—byboth public and private agents. Furthermore, in its dealings34 Andrew Vincent, Theories of the State (Oxford: BasilElackwell, 1987), esp. ch. 3: "The Constitutional Theory ofthe State".37with citizens, such a state would not want to favour orpenalize one equally valid moral belief (i.e., one that didnot entail harm) over another.Advantages and Disadvantages of Negative LibertyThe principles of liberty have in practice encouraged--among other things—the development of anti-discriminationlegislation. Discriminatory practices in employment, forexample, have in recent times been recognized asinfringements upon the liberty of individuals. Consequently,liberal states — such as Canada and the United States--haveenacted similar although not identical legislation to bandiscrimination by both public and private agents. Under thiskind of legislation, for example, it would be illegal for aYankee to advertise "No Irish Wanted Here" or use otherirrelevant criteria such as race, religion, sex, and so35 For a detailed analysis of negative liberty see Serinand Peters, The Principles of Political Thought, esp. ch.10: "Freedom as a Political Ideal"; Isaiah Berlin, Four-Essays on Liberty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989),esp. ch. 3: "Two Concepts of Liberty"; and J. R. Lucas., ThePrinciples of Politics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), esp,section 32, "Freedom", section 33, "Freedom to and FreedomFrom," section 34, "Freedom under the Law", section 35,"Legality: The External Aspect", and section 36, "LegalLiberty".forth in hiring. Discriminatory government practices havealso been rescinded and prohibited in these two states. Forexample, country of origin quotas in immigration that gavepreference to certain ethnic groups and restricted othershave been abandoned by Canada. Similarly, discriminatorylegislation that imposed a head tax on Chinese immigrants orthat denied suffrage to specific ethnic or racial groups—asexisted in early twentieth century Canada and the UnitedStat.es--h.as been abolished. Measures such as these havedefinitely furthered the cause of liberty in pluralimmigrant societies.The ideal of negative liberty has also influenced theliberalization of legislation designed to uphold specific•5 Cbeliefs or moral judgements. H. L. A. Hart, for example,employed the principles of state nonintervention andneutrality to advocate the legalization of privatehomosexual acts between consenting adults. His argumentopposed the conservative position--defended by Lord Devlin--that to permit such practices would ultimately destroyBritain's prevailing morality and thus also the political36 For a discussion of various liberal responses to lawand morality see Basil Mitchell, Law, Morality and ReligionIn a Secular Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press,1967).37 H. L. A. Hart, Law, Liberty and Morality (Stanford:Stanford University Press, 1963).39"v \jcommunity which it necessarily supported,"0 Neutrality andnonintervention have at least checked the tendency of moralmajorities in democratic countries to have their beliefsenshrined as law. However, as I will now argue, they can dolittle or nothing to prevent the "tyranny cf public opinion"and in particular the unwarranted infliction of indignity,disesteem and disrespect on ethnocultural minorities.Liberals have employed the principles of negativeliberty to combat the use of coercion by human agents toobstruct or interfere with the liberty of others. Yet asMill reminds us, "social oppression" is more formidablesince it penetrates "more deeply into the details of life"and enslaves even "the soul itself"--by depriving humanbeings of that social dignity which they have an intrinsicright to possess. Without dignity, individuals are not freein the fullest liberal sense. Unfortunately, the ideals ofnegative liberty cannot be employed to combat this insidiousform of "social oppression".Non-intervention and neutrality allow social tyrannyand moral coercion to continue unimpeded. Paradoxically,therefore, nonintervention is not neutral at all because itallows a situation prejudiced in favour of the dominant wayof life--where one exists--and against other ways.Nonintervention cannot prevent or discourage the38 Patrick Devlin, The Enforcement of Morals (Oxford:Oxford University Press, 1S55).40s t i c^~ t"' ^  P ^  ^ o^ and "* ^  h "*' b i ^ ~ i on. c f e ^ ~ h n i c ~ x "o r e s s~* o ^is t H31 cl c-:" (-> f- ,• -; p i-. f- .-) r- >-p -f- .—. +- V| c^  i-f> ;r; -i •-•) •£ -j -h y * c^  £' /> "^  f^  P "t 3 t i O r'- c' T 1^ -1 TJ 1 ^ ! T '^  1immigrant society., this would allow "melting pets" to resultfrom "moral coercion" rather than freedom of choice.As I intimated earlier, negative liberty assumesindividuals are inherently robust and thus fully capable ofconducting "experiments in living" without further support.This assumption would appear to indicate that self-esteem isinternally rather than socially created and therefore not afit subject of political concern. According to this view, ifan individual lacks dignity or self-esteem, it is his or herown fault and not the fault of any other agent. Therefore nocoercion — which can only occur between ager:ts~~-can possiblyhave taken place. Such assumptions are, I have argued,mistaken. Dignity., esteem, respect, and self-worth areindividual states of mind that arise cut of socialevaluation by other agents and therefore can be targets of"moral coercion". When the relationship between freedom anddignity is properly understood it becomes apparent that theprinciples of negative liberty cannot be employed to combat"social oppression" in plural immigrant societies.The logic of prohibition is inapplicable to states ofmind like dignity, esteem, respect and self-worth. The statecould not control what its citizens thought, and--if ittried-~such an attempt would be considered illiberal.Liberals do not dictate what other people think; they leteach person decide what to believe for himself or herself.The appropriate way for a liberal state to remedy andprevent the harmful effects of indignity is *:h?refore byaffirmation--the state should affirm the dignity cf thosewho are now or previously were held in contempt. In thisway, it may convince — as opposed to dictate or force — publicopinion to view ethnic or other identities with respect.Objections to positive affirmation could still beraised even if one recognizes that dignity is both sociallyconferred and related to freedom in a significant way. Itcould be noted that the Irish in the United Stateseventually gained general social approval and occupied aproud place in American society. This suggests thatimmigrant societies contain a social mechanism which —overtime—eliminates social contempt for minority ethnoculturalindividuals and groups. This may very well be the case.However, I am arguing that it is wrong that someone wouldhave to suffer such contempt in his or her lifetime eventhough his or her children or grandchildren would not. haveto suffer it in theirs. Liberals absolutely insist thatevery individual be treated as an end in his or her ownright and not as a means to somebody else's end — even ifthis somebody is their own progeny. It is wrong that someonemust be, in effect, a "second class" citizen if somethingcan be done to correct it which does not requireunreasonable sacrifice on the part of everyone else. Ibelieve that no such sacrifice has to be made to support42public policies which affirm the dignity of ethnoculturalgroups and their members.A critic could also argue that in calling for theliberal state to affirm the dignity of despisedetij.nocul turai groups I am espousing a version of af i.irmativeaction—which is in itself problematic. Affirmative actionis designed to counteract the effects of discrimination--which I have ackncwledged is related to contempt. Members ofgroups discriminated against in the past are givenpreferential treatment in the present as compensation. Whilethe motivation behind affirmative action is unquestionablyliberal and valuable, unfortunately the policy itself mayhave consequences which raise further problems of justicea n u. equality. W h i i e a L j_ i r ma L. i v e s. c 11 o n assists m em*^ e r s c ^previously discriminated groups, in so doing itdiscriminates against everyone else (the Bakke case is anillustration of this resulting reverse discrimination"1^).39 Nathan Glazer, "Individual rights against grouprights" in Eugene Kamenka and Alice Erh-soon Tay, (eds.),Human Rights (London: Edward Arnold, 1978), pp. 87-103.40 Bakke applied for admission to the University ofCalifornia Medical School at Davis and was twice turned downeven though he satisfied the minimum entrance requirements.Bakke later argued his right to be assessed on non-discriminatory grounds was denied because the schoolreserved sixteen affirmative action places fo; minorities .This problem, however, would not result frcrr; a liberalstate's affirrnstion of dignity: affirming the dignity of oneethnic group does not entail despising another asargue in the next chapter.The United States Supreme Court eventually ordered thatEakke receive a place in the medical school but ambiguouslyupheld, the legitimacy cf affirmative action.THE POLITICAL AFFIRMATION OF DIGNITYA Justification of State AffirmationLiberals want to ensure that every individual is freeto pursue the widest possible range of interests,activities, values or ways of life. In order to exercisethis freedom in the full liberal sense, an individualrequires dignity, esteem, respect, and self-worth.Consequently, these states of mind are intrinsic socialgoods which every individual has a right to possess.Accordingly, indignity, disesteem, disrespect, and contemptcan neither be promoted nor even ignored by the liberalstate.The state must actively intervene to counter the "moralcoercion of public opinion" which tends to bestow esteem andto inflict contempt on ethnocultural identities in anunwarranted and discriminatory manner. The state can do thatby explicitly affirming that every citizen has a right todisplay his or her ethnic pride if he or she chooses, and tchave that pride respected by others. Displaying one'sanything else for that matter. On the contrary, the UnitedStates, Canada, and other liberal countries with pluralies should b.o committed to preserving and4- c,promoting the freedom to make these and other voluntarychoices.While state affirmation of dignity cannot by itselfprevent or eliminate the tendency for public opinion tobecome oppressive, it can nevertheless go a considerable waytowards counteracting it. In conferring dignity, no otheragent has as much authority as the state. When the stateacknowledges a choice to be valid and worthy of respect--even if public opinion believes otherwise—that choicebecomes net only acceptable but also honorable. For example,it cannot be dishonorable to possess an Irish, a. Ukrainian,an Italian, a Chinese, a Japanese or any other ethnoculturalidentity if the Canadian state says the Irish, theUkrainians, the Italians, the Chinese, the Japanese, andevery other ethnic group in Canada is an important, part ofthe definition of what it means to be Canadian.Moreover, by acknowledging ethnocultural identities asworthy the state may convince individuals who previouslydespised some or perhaps even all of them to change theirattitude--and thereby change public opinion. For example, ifthe state says Irishmen are valuable citizens and that Irishculture can contribute to the richness and diversity ofAmerican society, then the Yankee Tom Brown may eventuallycome to respect and even like the Irishman Sean Murphy.Instead of merely tolerating his presence during workingnours, ^.'Oifi iuay one o.ay voluntarily s.ssccict'ccwork and on holidays. In this general atmosphere of46acceptance, Torn may even admit that his mother was in factIrish herself and decide to rediscover his own Irishheritage.Furthermore, the affirmation of dignity does not entailany social costs--unlike affirmative action policies. No onewill be disadvantaged as a result of this kind of stateintervention. In acknowledging all ethnocultural identitiesto be good and worthy, in no way can the state inadvertentlyinflict indignity upon the ethnic identity of any individualor group: neither the Yankee American nor the EnglishCanadian nor the person who chooses not to possess an ethnicidentity will have his or her choices disesteemed as aconsequence of such state affirmation. Bestowing dignitydoes not involve taking a social good away from one group ofindividuals in order to give that same good to anothergroup--it does not require any "Robin Hood practices"whatsoever. Nor does it involve taking anything away fromthe political community as a whole--as I will argue in thenext chapter.Therefore, a liberal state has a duty to ensure thatthe dignity it confers is enjoyed by everyone. This would bethe intrinsically right thing for any liberal state to do.By the same token, it would be intrinsically wrong for anyliberal state to allow public opinion alone to distributedignity and assign disesteern. It w.?..-;47past and it. is right that Canada does confer it on their, alltoday.The good society of normative pluralist theory is asociety wherein a diversity of values, interests,activities, and ways of life flourish in an atmosphere ofrespect. Nobody's choices would be despised or ridiculed orheld in contempt on irrelevant grounds such as ethnicity,race, religion, sex, and so forth. "Melting pots" that mightemerge in this ideal society result from choices which arefreely made rather than from inhibition or stigmatization.Here, people would abandon their ethnic identities only ifthat is what they really want and not because public opinionwould otherwise make them suffer. Furthermore, assimilationwould never be a final decision: individuals would always befree to reclaim or rediscover their ethnocultural heritageif they desire.Possibilities for AffirmationWhat measures could a liberal state take to affirm thedignity of all ethnocultural identities in its jurisdiction?Public policy-makers would, of course, have to consider thespecific circumstances of their own country and tailormeasures to them. It is not the role of the politicaltheorist to provide specific advice. However, politicaltheorists should be prepared to offer general--althoughadmittedly tentative-•-ref1ections on the practicalimplications of ".heir :iGr:uc.tivs analyses. There are several48conceivable measures a liberal state could take which can bed e " i v ed from m y a r g urn e n t ,Firstly, it could provide funding to ethnoculturalassociations which met certain minimum membershiprequirements. Of course, the state could not reasonably beexpected to fund an ethnocultural group having aninsignificant membership. Such funding would be primarilysymbolic and would cost the government comparatively little.Irish folk festivals, Ukrainian dancers, Italian singers,Chinese cultural centers, Japanese martial arts centers, andso forth could all be eligible for such financial supportfrom the state. The government could also assignresponsibility for the funding of ethnocultural groups toone of its ministries which might then administer a grantapplication and distribution program. Such an institutionalarrangement would itself be an important affirmation of theworthiness of ethnocultural choices; if the organization ofgovernment reflects such choices they must be important andhonorable.Secondly, through school curricula it could promote--among others--the history, religion, customs, languages,literature, architecture, music, and dance of its manyethnocultural groups. Students presumably would not onlygain greater insight into various cultures but might also]earn to respect and celebrate social diversity. The statemight thereby foster ir: the next generation a public opinionY,T t-, i* ..-! T-s -! .-i *,.•.-. .-. -..-• .-. >"• ,.-, .-- -^j ^  4- i •<!-.-, 4- .'-. ,.-, -•? -v-, - - - -~ ,-- ,-- -. ,~, -,". f~:W j.j._v. <,. * :. .;.,-• . L L > _ . - *_ r-, _ - <_ t £- L j.. '.- ••;.' v- L- e t\ ^ ^  -- o >-/_»_ k.. ij. c>-,- -: (^  o ^ -j- ]-i TV r~\ {•"" 1 1 1 "f- i •• •"- r? ] T i^ •"- r*\ TJ r^ .'-^  !S <r •*- '^ -o .T^ . J- CX. ^  •», > — L. 4. A J A <^ ,- *•-•- l_l- J. -^ k.-i J_ L-^ C J, >_' -U '_- wi V.-i '^r Oi fc_J v.. _ .^ .L 0- '-J ,For example, radio and television stations could be requiredto include a minimal percentage of ethnocul tural content intheir regular program scheduling as part of state licensingregulations. Perhaps a separate station or channel couldeven be set aside for this purpose. Such programs couldprovide another opportunity for individuals to maintain orrediscover their ethnocul tural heritage if they choose.Admittedly, this would be a small encroachment on thefreedom of most of the audience--but surely it would net beunreasonabl e .Finally, a liberal state committed to affirming thedignity of the ethnocul tural identities of all its citizenscould decide to constitutional ize that affirmation. Itmight, for example, include a clause in its constitutionwhich recognized that the country was in significant measurethe creature of its many immigrants of diverse ethnocul turalbackgrounds. Such a clause could also require the state topreserve and promote the dignity of all ethnocul tural groupsin its jurisdiction.Andre Laurendeau's LegacyThis thesis was inspired by the reflections of apolitical practitioner who was dealing with a specificpolicy issue in a particular ccuntiry at a certain moment inits history; that man was Andre Laurendeau and his countrywas Canada. Following the recommendations of The RoyalCommission on Bilingualism and Bicul turalisrn (1964-1967)--which Andre Laurendeau co-chaired---Canada instituted r-pclicy of rnul ticul tural ism. I think it is important tocomment briefly on this policy because it is an example ofwhat one liberal country with a plural immigrant society ha,done to affirm the dignity of all the ethnoculturalidentities of its citizens.Prior to the 1960 "s, Canadian governments did notaffirm the dignity of ethnocultural identities. Instead,when ethnic diversity was considered at all in governmentcircles — and, one may conjecture, in Canadian society atlarge—it was looked upon as a disintegrating element whichrequired assimilation into a singular Canadian identity.Whether this assimilation would assume an Anglo-Saxon moldor something entirely new was the topic of much debate.41 T. C. Christopher, "The 1982 Charter of Rights andFreedoms and Multiculturalism", Canadian Review of Studiesin Nationalism, XIV, 2 (1987), p. 332f.42 For a discussion of the changing attitudes towardsnon-English and non-French ethnic groups in Canada duringthe twentieth century see Howard Palmer, "Reluctant Hosts:Anglo-Canadian Views of Multiculturalism in the TwentiethCentury", Multiculturalism as State Policy: ConferenceReport. (Ottawa: Queen'j. Printer, 1976), pp. 81-117.John Diefenbaker's vision of an "unhyphenated Canadi -•_-..:.sm"was an example of the latter kind cf assimi 1 s.ti on.'i0Recognising that distinct ethnic identities could become thetargets of discrimination, he endeavored to create aCanadian identity in which all ethnicities would blend, toform a common "Canadianess".However, Quebecois demands for status and recognitionas one of Canada's two "founding nations" produced a dualistresponse from the Pearson government. In an effort to accordQuebec the special status it sought, the federal governmentcreated the Royal Commission on Bilingual ism andBiculturalism. Canada was to be conceived as a nation bornof two parents — the English and the French — each of whichhad an important and dignified role to play in the future cfthe country. To the surprise, chagrin and possibly evendismay of some members of the commission, this definition ofCanada met with unexpected and fierce opposition from non-English and non-French--the so-called "third-force"--Canadians. This dualist vision of Canada was felt to havelittle if any regard for the dignity of "other"ethnocultural groups. In presentation after presentation,especially in Western Canada where the "third-force" wasclemographical 1 y most significant, the question was asked;"but where am I as a Canadian of non-English and non-Frenchancestry in this definition of Canada?" "What role do I have43 Palmer, "Reluctant Hosts", pp. 90-100.-J -,-. f V .- £.,4-,,,-.-. .-, -C „--, ,.-.,-,,.„ 4- .--rO " " T .,-L li L. j.i<c i, U. u U *- d ^ -_ mj -~ Q v^ j^. u l. j . .^ ^ >4-. -, -. . „.„ „ ^ . , -i ,. . ,., „, ,„-.-. ,t. O *J' o 1 Q il u i. c u / O jj o '^ U I djoecoiTic a second clsss Canadian : It is O.GVICUS t'ist. theconstitutional doctrine of dualism had a powerful emotionalimpact upon these ethnocul tural groups, who felt cheated,ignored, irrelevant. The word "multicultural" appears tohave been coined by "third-force" Canadians as they tried tocreate a political discourse that dignified theirethnocul tural identities.This demand for multicultural recognition and respectwas not--in fairness could not be--overl ooked by thecommission. Consequently, the fourth volume of the Report onBilingual, ism and Bicul tural ism was dedicated tc the concernsof these "other Canadians," By recognizing theircontribution to the development of the nation as importantand honorable it sought to dispel their fears of beinginsignificant and perhaps unworthy. Book IV specificallyoutlines the historic contribution of many of the mostsizeable enthnocul tural groups--Germans , Scandinavians,Dutch, Ukrainians, Doukhabours, Jews, Hungarians, Italians,44 For a discussion of the symbolic repercussions ofdualism for "third-force" Canadians, see Raymond Breton,"The Production and Allocation of Symbolic Resources: AnAnalysis of the Lingu:'.?tic and Ethnocul tural Fields inCanada". Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, vo!.21 (19S4), pp. 123-144,Russians, Greeks, Slavs, Icelanders, Negroes, Japanese,Asians. The commission made sixteen recommendations whichreflected multicultural demands for social dignityincluding: anti-discrimination legislation, the rejection ofcountry of origin quotas in immigration, the creation ofheritage (that is, non-English and non-French) languageeducation programs in public schools, Canadian Radio andTelevision Commission (CRTC) provisions for heritagelanguage broadcasting, and general government support ofethnic associations.In response to these recommendations, the Trudeaugovernment in 1971 officially rejected the idea ofbiculturalism, advocating instead "bilingual ism within amulticultural framework." " In announcing this change inpolicy, the prime minister declared "there cannot be onecultural policy for Canadians of British and French origin,another for the original peoples, and yet a third for allothers. No ethnic group takes precedence over another and no45 Preliminary Report, The Roval Commission onBi 1 incfual ism and Bicul turalism (Ottawa: Queen's Printer,1 Q C, £ •( r> C. "I' >- — / , L-1 • -' -1- •46 Gove "nm-Q" t c^ Csnad^ ^ini-!ts'" cf Stat^ fo"Mu11icu11ura1ism, Multiculturalism and the Government ofCanada (Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1978).citizen or group of citizens is ether than Canadian.1Canadians were told that a hierarchy ol "Canadianess" didnot exist and would not be permitted, to exist; Canadians of.every ethnocultural identity were fully and equallycitizens.The federal government thereby committed itself to: (1)support all of Canada's cultures, and to assist--resourcespermit ting-—those cultural groups which have demonstrated adesire and effort to continue to develop, a capacity to growand contribute to Canada, as well as a clear need forassistance; (2) assist members of all such groups toovercome social barriers to full participation in Canadiansociety; (3) promote interchange amongst all Canadiancultural groups in the interest of national unity; (4)assist immigrants to acquire at least one of Canada'sofficial languages in order to become full participants in4 ^Canadian society.To achieve these goals, the Canadian governmentintroduced a number of administrative changes. In 1972 aMinister of State for Multiculturalism was appointed topromote the new federal policy, and in the following yearthe Canadian Consultative Council on Multiculturalism was47 Multiculturalism and the Government of Canada, p.45 .48 Multiculturalism and the Government of Canada, pp.create3 to encourage discussion cf cultural policies at boththe federal and provincial levels. In addition tc fundingcultural associations, the federal government financed,special multicultural programs conducted by various federalagencies such as the National Museum of Man, the NationalFilm Board, the National Library, and the Public Archives.Tt also established a number of federally funded programs at.the provincial level--in particular, heritage languagepreservation designed to encourage heritage languageacquisition and retention by children of various culturalcommunities. These programs have been particularly active inAlberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, andSaskatchewan where demographics reflect a noteworthyethnocultural diversity.Encouraged by the recommendations and policies of thelate sixties and early seventies, multicultural groups weredismayed by the Trudeau government's initial proposals(1978-1979) for a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.50In trying to secure the rights cf English and. French49 For an overview of the Canadian policy ofmulticulturalism see T. C. Christopher "The 1982 Charter cfRights and Freedoms and Multiculturalism", Canadian Reviewof Studies in Nationalism, vol. 14 (1937), esp. pp. 334-3375C Roy RomariGw, John Whyte and Howard Leeson, CanadaNotwithstanding: The Makinci cf the Constitution 1P7S-19S2 ,tc: Carswel 1/Methuen, 1984).. pp. 7-10, 76-S?.£ p,language groups across the country, the government h:•?e1--:'..:Pthe nPn' riio n of rnu 11 i cu 1111 r31 s — c omp ^  e ^ e]y i r^T;o^^rl o ~ Pe^'h.3osconveniently forgotten the interests of those whose heritagewas neither French nor English."" "Third-force" Canadiansagain feared they might become relegated to a "second class"status in Canada. Where, they asked, was the government'savowed commitment to the multicultural heritage ofCanadians? Had this commitment to foster ethnic diversitybeen only so many words? Or, even more incriminatingly fromthe multicultural viewpoint, did the federal governmentbelieve that multiculturalism was, relatively speaking,trivial. A policy, yes, but not a constitutional principle?In the eyes of ethnocultural leaders, multicultura1 ism hadto be more than "so many ethnics dancing in a churchbasement"; it had to reflect fundamental values aboutr icultural equality and the very definition of Canada.51 Alan Cairns has noted that multicultural leaders andother "constitutional outsiders" employ "the language ofstatus ... they evaluate their treatment through the lens ofpride, dignity, honour, propriety, 1egitimacy, andrecognition—or their reverse." This observation suggeststhe social good in question is dignity, Disruptions:Constitutional Struggles from the Charter to Meech Lake(Toronto: McClelland S Stewart, 19?.!}, p. 132,52 For a discussion of minority ethnocu1 f ur? "<•"" *"'" *" ^ " f 1QQ'7 Charter ofEthnccul tura! associations immediately began z.concentrated lobbying effort to have the principle ofmul ti cul tural ism entrenched in Canada's constitution. In. the1980-1981 Joint Senate and House of Commons CommitteeHearings on the Proposed Constitution their representativesrepeatedly emphasized three basic points: (1) "third-force"Canadians had made an important contribution to Canadiandevelopment; (2) this contribution deserved politicalrecognition and encouragement; (3) in particular, theproposed charter must entrench a general commitment tomulticulturalism, heritage language rights, and protectionagainst discrimination.These ethnocultural demands were embodied in severalclauses of the 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and. Freedoms.The principle of multiculturalism found expression insection 27 which stipulates that everything in the Charter"shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with thepreservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritageof Canadians." Section 22 specifies that the legal orcustomary rights of any language that is not English orFrench is neither abrogated nor derogated by the Charter.Finally, the equality rights clause of section 15 prohibitsdiscrimination based on "race, national or ethnic origin",Rights,and Freedoms, see Manoly E. Lupul, "The Tragedy ofCanada's White Ethnics;: A Cons ti tut. i nna'' Post-Mor4" e —"Journal of Ukrainian Studies, v o l . 7 (1922), pp- 1~1?."color" and "religion"--among other things. As can be seen,provisions in the Canadian Charter include both the(positive) affirmation of ethnocultural dignity and the(negative) prohibition of discriminatory acts based one t hn ocultural criteria.CONCLUSIONThere are several objections concerning politicalaffirmation of ethnocultural groups in plural immigrantsocieties that, could be raised and must be addressed tobring this argument to a conclusion. First, it might befeared that such affirmation will undermine the legalobligations of members of such groups to the largerpolitical community or state. They might think that withintheir own ethnic communities the rules of the larger-political community do not apply. For example, certain non-Western groups may believe they are free to practice ritualmutilation of children. Or an ethnic group may think it candictate — at penalty of expulsion — who its members mustassociate with, how they must vote, and so forth. Or membersof an ethnic group may think they can use their citizenshipin the present state to buy and export arms for wars intheir ancestral countries. Or they might even think they areat liberty to commit acts of terrorism against rival ethnicrt f o UT~) S 1 "^' |- Vi p i r- r~< r- ei <r p. T~\ f- e~ /-> -i i -r* 4- T~ T r T.» V-, p-i-i i~ V> g ^5 f r" '^ -^ '^ " ">J *^ ^ ^~' m -f- -i r-o-i c1of these two groups are at war.However, p o l i t i c a l affirmation does not legallyprivilege any citizens on whom it is conferred: members oful ^  uv" a"! ""-oucs 'ri'' *~*c* ^  and no ^ f"-*~<c:\ tl'^ar' ~pv fit^-'-f'"60citizens, remain bound by the laws of the state.Ethnoculturai associations--1 ike any other voluntaryassociations--are not above the law: they cannot appropriatethe authority or powers of the state; some of their memberscannot resort to threats or acts of violence against ethermembers, nonmembers, or other associations." Every statehas a criminal justice system arid law enforcement agenciesto deal with these and other criminal acts. In short,members of ethnocultural groups are subject to the rule oflaw like everybody else.Second, it might be feared that political affirmationof ethnocul tural groups will undermine loyalty, patriotismand other political sentiments toward the present state.This fear could arise from the belief that members of suchgroups will retain a primary loyalty to their ancestralstate or nation. For example, some members may not onlythink of themselves totally in terms of their ethnicmembership and no longer as citizens of their present state,but may even think--as a result of this affirir.ation.---thatethnic loyalty is the only political sentiment their presentstate requires of them.Liberals do not and should not dictate the privateopinions and sentiments--pelitical or otherwise-- theircitizens might hold. Furthermore, if such groups and their53 S. I. Benn and R. S. Peters, The Principles ofPolitical Thought (New York: Collier, 1964), pp. 332-340.members did possess strong foreign allegiances there wouldbe very few occasions when that patriotism conflicted withallegiance to their present country. As long as loyalties dcnot conflict, there is no inherent problem with possessingmore than one. But suppose such a conflict did arise andindividuals wanted to act on their private politicalopinions against the interests of their present state. Thesocial mechanisms for conformity to the norms of theimmigrant country would still be compelling, I have arguedthat certain choices—namely criminal acts~-should be heldin contempt by public opinion, and further that liberalstates have an obligation to promote this contempt in thename of a social good-~a society that will not tolerate harminflicted upon innocent individuals. Public opinion shoulddespise anyone engaging in disloyal acts. In so doing itwould inhibit many individuals from acting on their privatepolitical beliefs in this unacceptable way. However, supposea few individuals nevertheless were prepared to act on theirdisloyalty despite laws that forbid it and public opinionthat would despise them for doing it. Such isolated acts areno more likely to pose a serious threat to the largerpolitical co mmun i. t y t h 3 n any other criminal b e h a v i o rThird, it could be argued that immigrants and theirr^ :rj o £<;:•.'-} ;-i i:*-o |-*-• fT;1 "i n t a c c p r^  f" ^ n d c o T ^  ^' ^  vp1 to <l" v o. "*" ~~ .p v a 1 en t wa~;sand standards of living of their adopted country. They wouldnot be expected to use private property- -inc 1 udi ng housing--in the same way they would use it in their ancestralcountry, for example, crowding a large extended family intoa small nuclear family dwelling, or keeping livestock insuburban backyards. This argument cannot be denied: certainstandard lifeways of their adopted country must be observedout of courtesy to their neighbors. They have no right toimpose on citizens of their adopted country in such ways.In a liberal country the universal standard imposed onall is a standard of law---in the above examples, local by-laws. A uniform observance of what could generally be termedthe "harm principle" by all citizens is a fundamentalrequirement of a liberal state. Diversity in all other areasof life is an intrinsic good for liberals, and is celebratedrather than condemned. By conducting "experiments in living"which do not violate this harm principle citizens are actingin accordance with the liberal ideal. There is no validreason in liberal thought why such experiments cannotinclude ethnic ways of life if they are freely chosen by theindividuals involved and are not imposed, upon them by anyelse.Behind these objections there may be a fundamentalconcern about social disintegration. However, this fear isunfounded ^o 1 i ^  i c31 ^  a f f ^ "m31 i o^ — f e^" hP o^u "I t u ra 1 o r n i ,1 "o s ia plural immigrant society is in fact an integrativ?--a!though not assirrd 1 a t i .ve--pr:' r:c- pi e . Members of suchrespected and worthy groups would have a stake in thepolitical community that adopted such measures: they wouldhave a significant reason to identify with and bo Icyal tcthat political community. By the same token, a governmentwhich ignored or tolerated public opinion which was hostileto such groups and individuals would be encouraging societa!divisions among its citizens and inviting the disaffectionor disloyalty of those who were suffering from acts ofcontempt and discrimination by the majority. In sum: thepolitical affirmation of the dignity of all ethnoculturalidentities in a plural immigrant society is integrative,entails no significant social costs, and is the right thingfor a liberal state to do.64SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHYBarker, E. (1961). 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