THE NATIONAL INTEREST — Sunday night’s shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida by a young ISIS sympathizer highlights a growing tension in the West. Can open societies have open borders? Is mass immigration a threat to liberty? The fashionable answer has been no—indeed, many liberals argue that a truly open society includes a rich exchange of cultures, sustained by mass immigration, while many libertarians suggest that a truly open society won’t restrict the free flow of labor and people over its borders. Yet both the liberal view and the libertarian view have been running into trouble.
The Orlando shooting is a particular challenge to liberals. A vision of society in which individuals are liberated from identity-based hindrances must now reckon with a shooter who, because of who he is (a radical Islamist), killed people because of who they are (gays). And this is not an isolated incident. European Jews have been attacked because they are Jews in places like a kosher market in France or a Jewish museum in Belgium. European women have been harassed, denigrated and sexually assaulted in public because they are women.