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The Falsehoods That Drive ‘Open Borders’ Theory

The idea of “open borders” is to open one’s heart and arms to everyone in the world, open one’s country to all comers, to encourage everyone to come. “Open borders” is an increasingly popular idea in the West. Mainstream politicians of the European Union and of the largest countries of the Union have thrown open their borders and admitted all comers. So too in North America. Canada has welcomed anyone who infiltrates the partially unguarded border, as well as returning Islamic State terrorists. In the U.S., the Democrat Party increasingly opposes enforcing border protection and removing “illegal aliens” (to use the official government term), called “dreamers” by Democrats as they chant “abolish ICE” (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

Why Open Borders?

The new enthusiasm for open borders is a result of the confluences of three lines of political thought, each one ill advised: multiculturalism, utopianism, and “social justice.”

Multiculturalism

In the past, people in Western countries wished to protect and preserve their ways of life, their cultures. It was therefore common for immigration policy to encourage those from similar backgrounds and to limit those from different backgrounds. But in recent decades Western countries have shifted from “nationalism” to “multiculturalism.” The multicultural view, as the current prime minister of Canada has said, is that there is no mainstream culture in Canada, that Canada is a “post-national” state. The “progressive” elites of other Western countries, especially in western Europe, accept the multicultural perspective and have opened their doors to floods of Middle Easterners -- most of whom bear cultures incompatible with traditional Western culture.

Western political and educational elites see multiculturalism as authorizing people of every culture around the world to come to Canada, the U.S., and Europe, and continue to live in their language and culture. Cultural relativism, the view that all cultures are equally good and valuable, is assumed and defended. So there is no reason to defend borders, or even to have them, because it would be fine to have unregulated flows of people from anywhere and everywhere. In fact, the “progressive” view is that the more people from many cultures that come, the better, because “diversity” is somehow “enriching.”

All of these arguments in favor of multiculturalism are false. First, different cultures -- different languages, beliefs, values, rewards, and punishments -- are incompatible and cannot exist in the same society. You cannot drive both on the left and on the right; you cannot have both male supremacism and gender equality. Some immigrants are actively hostile to European, Canadian, and American culture, and some have acted and others will act against their adopted society.

Second, immigrants in North America cannot live in the languages and cultures from their countries of origin. Canadian law and practice are based on European culture. The official languages are English and French. Every Canadian must speak one or the other, preferably both, to function effectively in Canadian society. Canadian law is based on British common law and French civil law. Furthermore, Quebec officially rejects multiculturalism in favor of “interculturalism,” which guarantees primacy of French culture.