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FOR MANY on the political left, cultural diversity is not just a fact about the modern world but a central value, an ideal that combines two important themes of leftist thought. The first is the belief that we are not just self-interested individuals competing for economic satisfaction. More importantly, we are members of communities or cultures that shape our individual identities. The second theme is the idea of progressive social growth in which each culture is seen as a selfcreative communal entity that must be allowed to develop in its own unique way. Hence the freedom to participate in the creative development of one's unique culture is a key ideal on the political left.

Although today we think of the peoples of the world throughout history ...

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