The Fallacy of ‘Openness and Tolerance’

While Islamic terrorists continue to wage holy war against the West, Progressives and liberals continue to frame the argument in ways that further endanger the West. For example, following a recent Islamic terrorist attack in Sweden, the New York Times argued in favor of Western leaders focusing on preserving "fundamental" values (i.e., Progressive-liberal values), such as openness and tolerance.

However, in any situation where a threat is posed to life, liberty, or property, the correct response does not focus on preserving values. Rather, the correct response focuses on securing rights; namely, the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and property. This is particularly the case in the United States, where the nation's founding document, the Declaration of Independence, proclaims that governments are instituted to secure the unalienable rights of the people.

Notably, even in nations with governments that refuse to recognize these rights, the universal principle of self-preservation still applies, so Western leaders simply do not have a legitimate excuse for avoiding the measures that are necessary to effectively deal with the Islamic threat.

Ultimately, progressives and liberals claim that the values of openness and tolerance are essential to free societies. But this claim is false, unless "free society" is redefined to mean free for foreigners to enter the society (specifically, the nation). In reality, a nation can be closed to foreigners (completely or partially) and still be free so long as the nation secures the unalienable rights of its own citizens, including the freedom of its own citizens to leave the nation. Unalienable rights are natural rights, and there is a duty to secure the natural rights of a foreigner only if a nation has permitted that foreigner to enter the nation. Nevertheless, under natural law (upon which the United States was founded), a nation does not have a duty to grant a foreigner permission to stay in the nation indefinitely; likewise, a nation does not have a duty to grant a foreigner permission to enter the nation in the first place.

Moreover, progressives and liberals are not tolerant of people they oppose; Democratic politicians, the media, the entertainment industry, and the universities are constantly vilifying and condemning those who hold opposing positions on not only Islam and immigration but also climate change, affirmative action, gun control, abortion, gay marriage, "gender identity," and other issues. And this vilification and condemnation includes a nonstop effort to label any criticism of these issues (Islam, immigration, et cetera) as hate speech. In short, tolerance is not a value that progressives and liberals actually practice; the word "tolerance" is a weapon used to silence conservatives.

Indeed, every time another Islamic terrorist attack occurs in the West, leftists react by demanding openness and tolerance, while simultaneously working to silence those conservatives who prefer taking concrete measures to counter the Islamic threat.

Now, a closer look at how the left makes its most dramatic point reveals a high level of deception and irrationality.

First. Leftists redefine freedom to include openness and tolerance (in this case, openness to followers of Islam and tolerance of Islam).

Second. Progressives and liberals use the word "freedom," as redefined, to claim that if a Western nation rejects openness (to followers of Islam) and rejects tolerance (of Islam), the enemies of freedom will have won.

The sheer absurdity of this claim is mind-numbing. Like communism and fascism, Islam is a belief system with principles that violate the unalienable rights of individuals. Thus, following progressive-liberal reasoning, if a nation rejects openness (to followers of communism or fascism) and rejects tolerance (of communism or fascism), the enemies of freedom will have won.

Perhaps a more accurate description of "the enemies of freedom" would include those in the West who undermine freedom -- real freedom -- by adopting policies based on ideological concepts such as openness and tolerance; policies that prevent nations in the West from properly defending the freedom (and lives!) of their own citizens.

The strict devotion to openness and tolerance has, among other things, resulted in progressives and liberals vehemently opposing policies like a temporary ban on foreigners entering the United States from a small number of Muslim nations, while passionately supporting and pushing for policies like a massive escalation in the number of immigrants and refugees from Muslim nations.

Leftists, including Western leaders, are so extreme that many refuse to even mention Islam when discussing terrorist attacks committed in the name of Islam by Islamic groups, or severe injustices committed in the name of Islam by Islamic governments, despite the fact that support for such actions can be found in the Koran.

How will history judge this reckless behavior? It has often been said that civilizations are destroyed not by outside enemies, but from within. A clear rejection by enough people in the United States, and the West in general, of both "openness" and "tolerance" (as defined by the progressives left) would go a long way toward preventing that fate.

Paul Pauker is the author of Morality and Law in America. He also runs a site dedicated to advancing the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and property.