Multiculturalism has taken a beating in the wake of the London bombings.

“The gospel of multiculturalism,” notes New York Times columnist David Brooks, “preaches that all groups and cultures are equally wonderful. There are a certain number of close-minded thugs, especially on university campuses, who accuse anybody who asks intelligent questions about groups and enduring traits of being racist or sexist. The economists and scientists tend to assume that material factors drive history — resources and brain chemistry — because that?s what they can measure and count.

“But none of this helps explain a crucial feature of our time: while global economies are converging, cultures are diverging, and the widening cultural differences are leading us into a period of conflict, inequality and segmentation.”

Brooks points out that, even though the U.S. has the most globalized economy in the world, cultural differences persist and may even be becoming more defined.

Interestingly, if you look at conflicts in the world, you?ll see that many arise and thrive among those who reject globalization:

“[I]f you look around the world you see how often events are driven by groups that reject the globalized culture. Islamic extremists reject the modern cultures of Europe, and have created a hyperaggressive fantasy version of traditional Islamic purity. In a much different and less violent way, some American Jews have moved to Hebron and become hyper-Zionists.

“From Africa to Seattle, religiously orthodox students reject what they see as the amoral mainstream culture, and carve out defiant revival movements. From Rome to Oregon, antiglobalization types create their own subcultures.

“The members of these and many other groups didn’t inherit their identities. They took advantage of modernity, affluence and freedom to become practitioners of a do-it-yourself tribalism. They are part of a great reshuffling of identities, and the creation of new, often more rigid groupings. They have the zeal of converts.”