The shortcomings of the polite solution were more than anything determined by the limitations of its own logic. The culture of a particular group can only be relied on to deal with problems of pluralism to the extent that the culture in question is granted a pre-eminent status. It is only if one culture stands above all the others that it is able to mediate between them.1 For a while the polite upperclass culture of eighteenth-century society was able to impose itself in this manner but by the nineteenth century this was no longer the case. If we deny that there are superior cultures-and we do-the problem of pluralism can have no cultural solution.