Progressives believe all cultures are equally valid, that no culture is preferable, superior, or inferior to any other culture. As such, progressives consider it wrong to judge cultures based on their history, scientific and artist contributions, legal system, human rights, or any other criteria.1
Every culture, they assert, is “entitled to its own beliefs and accepted practices” because there are no objective standards in society by which all cultures can be fairly judged.2
It’s unimportant to progressives that some cultures are abhorrent and violate basic human rights. As explained by leftist author Rod Liddle, “Multiculturalism is a notion of cultures, no matter how antithetical to the norm, or anti-social, should be allowed to develop unhindered, without criticism.”3
Because progressives view all cultures as equal, they think immigrants coming to America should not be forced to give up their culture and assimilate into society to create a homogeneous whole. They reject America’s motto, E pluribus unum, which means out of many cultures and ethnicities, one national identity.
Progressives believe it’s possible for people of every culture to peacefully coexist in society, creating a vast cultural mosaic or salad bowl of different ethnic and religious groups.
Since progressives believe immigrants should be allowed to maintain their own culture, they also believe requiring immigrants to learn English is a form of bigotry. And it’s racist to denounce another culture, since no culture is better or worse than any other.
The one exception to this view is the Western culture, which progressives judge and malign as imperialist, genocidal, and oppressive.
Closely linked to multiculturalism is open borders. For many progressives, it’s not only a social injustice but morally wrong for America to close its borders. The free movement of people, progressives believe, is a basic human right. Citizens and non-citizens everywhere in the world should have an equal opportunity to improve their lives, including traveling anywhere to do so.4
Unfettered immigration, progressives assert, will accelerate the end of world poverty and will “serve to maximize global aggregate well-being.”5
“One of the most important calls we can make for social justice globally is to abolish the distinction between immigrants and citizens,” according to William I. Robinson, a progressive academic at the University of California at Santa Barbara. “The movement for immigrant rights in the United States is part and parcel of the larger worldwide struggle for social justice.”6
Progressives point to the European Union as a positive example of open borders. When internal border controls were eliminated in 1990, the result was not economic chaos. What worked in Europe, they maintain, will work in other parts of the world.
Opening America’s borders is a key policy objective of the Democratic Socialists of America. At its annual meeting in August 2019, the DSA endorsed the following resolution:
Be it resolved that DSA supports the demand for open borders … the uninhibited transnational free movement of people, the demilitarization of the US-Mexico border, the abolition of ICE and CPB without replacement, decriminalization of immigration, full amnesty for all asylum seekers and a pathway to citizenship for all on-citizen residents.7
The DSA believes “Borders and immigration enforcement are tools of white supremacy, capitalism, and imperialism.”8 Borders, it argues, “serve to undermine the international working class, by pitting immigrants and citizens workers in American (sic) … against each other in a race to the bottom.”9
By opening America’s borders, the DSA contends, it will “help citizens and immigrants jointly organize against the capitalist system in the United States” and, by doing so, change the nation’s “politics and culture.”10
Hillary Clinton backed open borders in a closed-door speech to Banco Itau, a Brazilian bank, in May 2013. She said, “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the Hemisphere.”11
But woe to anyone who disagrees with open borders. Any contrarian is quickly branded as a xenophobe. Just ask former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who declined during his presidential campaign in 2016 to publicly endorse an open border policy.
Sanders was blasted by progressive Daniel Bier, who labeled the Vermont Senator’s view on immigration “a particular eruption of economic illiteracy, political tribalism, xenophobic nationalism, and general silliness.”12 Bier said “if Sanders really cared about global poverty and taking a more ‘international view,’ he ought to support allowing poor people to improve their lives by moving to where they have the best opportunities.”13
Progressives view Islam as a culture (which it is not) and believe it’s no better or worse than any other culture.14 As such, it’s politically incorrect to judge Islam based on its glories and failings, and especially to link Muslims to Islamic fundamentalism and jihadist terrorism.
While most Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism, it’s also true most terrorist acts are perpetrated by Muslims who have radicalized and support jihadist attacks against the West.
Just stating the fact that terrorist attacks in the world are mainly perpetrated by Islamic extremists is sufficient to be labeled an Islamophobe. For progressives, terrorist strikes by Islamic extremists are individual crimes and not acts of war. They view sharia, a set of Islamic laws, with indifference, even though it proscribes beheading, stoning, and flogging as punishments.
When forced to discuss jihadist terrorism, progressives turn a blind eye to the violence and argue that Christians and Jews in past years committed similar acts of violence and thus are no different.
Hillary Clinton’s response to Islamic fundamentalism is typical of many progressives. She avoids altogether any discussion about “Islamic terrorism” and claims “Muslims are people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”15 Clinton and former President Obama outright refuse to even mouth the term “Islamic terrorists,” believing to do so is an indignity to Muslims.16
For progressives, it’s also politically incorrect to discuss Islamic inequalities between men and women. They remain closemouthed about the Islamic practices of female genital mutilation and wife beating. They are silent when Muslim fundamentalists behead Christians and toss gays off buildings because of their sexual preference.
To openly discuss these issues is considered hate speech and, according to progressives, should not be allowed. For progressives, the problem is not Islamic extremism, but hate and false information being spread by a “tightly networked group of misinformation experts.”17
1) Multiculturalism should not be confused with celebrating one’s heritage. While America has many ethnic neighborhoods, they an allegiance to America and its core principles.
2) “Why the World is the Way It Is: Cultural Relativism and It’s Descendents,” by Dr. Edward Younkins, The Free Radical, Sept/Oct. 2000.
3) “Multiculturalism: What Does it Mean?” BBC Magazine, February 7, 2011.
4) Among the progressive groups opposed to border controls are the progressive National Lawyers Guild, Center for Constitutional Rights, and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
5) “Migration, Minorities & Citizenship,” edited by Gideon Calder, Phillip Cole, and Jonathan Seglow, Palgrave, MacMillan, 2010.
6) “The ‘Noncitizen’ Voting Rights Deception,” by Carl F. Horowitz, published in “The Social Contract,” Vol. 23, No. 1, 2012.
7)”AOC’s Democratic Socialists of America Endorses Open Border,” Breitbart, Aug. 6, 2019.
11) “Clinton Admitted She’s For ‘Open Borders’ in Paid, Private Speech: WikiLeaks,” Washington Times, October 8, 2016.
12) “Bernie Sanders on Immigrants: Silly, Tribal and Economically Illiterate,” Newsweek, July 30, 2015.
14) Progressives view Muslim Americans also as an identity group (religious minority). See “The Battle Over Identity Politics, Explained,” Vox, December 2, 2016.
15) “Hillary Hammers ‘Obsession’ with the Words “Radical Islamic Terrorism” as She Insists ‘Muslims…Have Nothing Whatsoever to Do With Terrorism” Daily Mail Online, November 19, 2015.
16) Only when Donald Trump ridiculed Ms. Clinton for being afraid to say “Islamic terrorism” did she finally mention the term in public. Obama has steadfast refused to use the term.
17) “Fear Inc., The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” Americans for Progress, August 2011.
18) “The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege,” City Lights Books, 2005.
19) “Author Susan Sontag Dies,” LA Times, Dec. 28, 2004.
Progressives view Western Civilization through the lens of identity politics. They consider Western Civilization to be a white culture that’s imperialistic and racist, which has exploited non-white cultures. It’s “an ideology of the inherent superiority of white Europeans [and white Americans] over non-whites.”18
Progressives dismiss Western Civilization’s rich inheritance from Greece and Rome, its values and long list of achievements, the Enlightenment, law, art, science, liberty and individual freedom. For progressives, Western Civilization is something to be shunned, something that one should not be proud of. As explained by progressive Susan Sontag, “The white race is the cancer of human history.”19