Americans Created Progressivism, not Immigrants

I’m always amused by nativists who fear that immigrants will wreak terrible damage on “our culture.” But I deny that the USA has “a culture.” Instead, it has scores of loosely overlapping cultures, just as separate nations have loosely overlapping cultures with other nations.

And as for the specific fear that the immigrants will dilute the vaunted American devotion to freedom and free enterprise, don’t even go there. Who exactly do you think has been undermining that devotion — to the extent that it ever existed at all — since the late nineteenth century?

I assure you that American freedoms have not been destroyed by masses of immigrants, but in overwhelming degree by native-born Americans, especially the WASPs who for the most part created, propagated, and enforced the ideology known as progressivism, which became dominant in the USA about a century ago and shows no signs of losing steam now — still not because of Mexicans or Muslims, but because of what the rubes like to call “muh fellow ‘mericans.”

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Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute and Editor at Large of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, the University of Economics, Prague, and George Mason University. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.