Multiculturalism, not to be confused with pluralism (a good idea), argues that one cannot ask people of a cultural tradition to abide by the norms of a host culture. Rather, each culture has its own norms and accordingly it would be racist, sexist, imperialist, or Islamophobic [insert here other slurs] to pass judgments on the cultural and religious practices of other groups. This suicidal cultural ethos cannot sustain itself in Western societies (as per the recent comments to that effect by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Nicolas Sarkozy). The reality is that the Western ideals of liberty and all of the associated freedoms (of press, of religion, of speech, of association) are superior to cultural norms where such liberties and freedoms are not permitted. Cultures where women are allowed to drive are superior to those where they are forbidden from doing so. Cultures where homosexuals are protected against hate crimes are superior to those where they are hung in public squares. Cultures where religious minorities are free to practice and preach their religions are superior to those where apostasy, atheism, and the proselytizing of "minority" religions are punishable by death.
In his latest book, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, the renowned author Sam Harris argues that moral judgments are not within the sole purview of religion. Specifically, he proposes that science and reason possess all of the necessary tools to determine whether act A is morally superior to act B, or more generally whether the moral norms of culture A are superior to those of culture B. Such a position is antithetical to multiculturalism, the defining ethos within the intellectual and political Western elites over the past forty years or so.