These Four Liberals Believe in Diversity, Tolerance

Amid the recent epidemic of liberals behaving illiberally, some still support the liberal values of diversity, tolerance and open-mindedness.

The two most recent examples of liberals behaving illiberally were the ousting of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich and Brandeis University's withdrawal of an honorary degree for feminist scholar and Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Eich was forced out of his position by same-sex marriage supporters for making a $1,000 donation in support of traditional marriage in 2008. Ali was disinvited from speaking to Brandeis students because she has argued that Islam in inherently violent.

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As conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat pointed out Sunday, both Mozilla and Brandeis oddly claimed they were promoting diversity while disallowing diverse viewpoints.

Mozilla claimed it has a "culture" that "reflects diversity and inclusiveness," and they "welcome contributions from everyone regardless of ... religious views," and their employees hold "a wide diversity of views."

Brandeis claimed Ali was disinvited because her past statements were "inconsistent with Brandeis University's core values" and Ali is invited to return to the campus for a "dialogue" in "the spirit of free expression."

The frustrating part for Douthat is not that these communities want to shield themselves from dissenting views, it is that they are dishonest about it. "I can live with the progressivism. It's the lying that gets toxic," he wrote.

These recent debates have become a type of litmus test, sorting the liberals who still believe in diversity, tolerance and open-mindedness from the illiberal liberals.

Here are four liberals who support liberal values:

Kirsten Powers

In a recent op-ed for USA Today, columnist and Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers, a pro-life Democrat, called out crowd-funding website Kickstarter for initially refusing to accept a pro-life film about convicted abortionist Kermit Gosnell, even though it had accepted pro-choice films. She compared Kickstarter's actions to those of Mozilla.

Regarding Mozilla, she wrote, "Mob rule enforcing groupthink is as illiberal as it gets, and yet it was liberals demanding uniformity of thought – or else."

Powers' column ran the same day Brandeis announced it had disinvited Ali. Responding to the controversy via Twitter, Powers wrote, "Brandeis withdraws planned honorary degree for Ayaan Hirsi Ali for having an opinion on her own life experience."

William Saletan

In a satirical article for slate, columnist William Saletan urged his fellow liberals to "Purge the Bigots: Brendan Eich is just the beginning. Let's oust everyone who donated to the campaign against gay marriage."

He found that 435 employees of tech companies in California made donations, like Eich, in support of the state recognition of traditional marriage.

"If we're serious about taking down corporate officers who supported Proposition 8, and boycotting employers who promote them," he concluded, "we'd better get cracking on the rest of the list. Otherwise, perhaps we should put down the pitchforks."

In another article on the controversy, he added: "It used to be social conservatives who stood for the idea that companies could and should fire employees based on the 'values' and 'community standards' of their 'employees, business partners and customers.' Now it's liberals. Or, rather, it's people on the left who, in their exhilaration at finally wielding corporate power, have forgotten what liberalism is."

Donna Brazile

On ABC's "This Week," Democratic strategist Donna Brazile was asked about the views of Andrew Sullivan, a conservative who supports same-sex marriage, on the Mozilla controversy.

Sullivan wrote, "The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us."

Brazile's response was, "I do agree with Andrew Sullivan that we have to be very careful that we are not practicing a new McCarthyism."

Barack Obama

In some ways, these liberals are echoing some of the themes of President Barack Obama when he first announced he had changed his mind and would support same-sex marriage. Namely, reasonable people disagree about important issues, and that is okay.

In that announcement, an interview with ABC News, he said, "I think it's important to recognize that folks who feel strongly that marriage should be defined narrowly as between a man and a woman, many of them are not coming at it from a mean-spirited perspective. They're coming at it because they care about families. And they have a different understanding in terms of what the word 'marriage' should mean. And a bunch of them are friends of mine, pastors and people who I deeply respect."

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