Muslim Refugees in Perspective

In a companion essay, “Hypocrisy!,” I pointed out that there was a good fit of preferences between the current crop of refugees from Syria and from Iraq and the countries one would reasonably expect to be giving them asylum. Muslim countries, with a small number of brave exceptions don’t want them and the refugees – almost all Muslims -don’t want to go there anyway.

As you would expect because many people go through life on automatic, liberals, libertarians and Muslims join tongues to blame the United States for the current exodus. Sure thing, the US intervened in Iraq against the bloodthirsty tyrant Hussein after he violated several hundred times the cease-fire that put an end to the First Gulf War. (Note for those younger people who learned their history in public schools: In the First Gulf War, the US had led a coalition of about 50 countries – not including Israel – to roll back Hussein’s annexation of Kuwait. Yes, he started it. It’s the cease-fire to that first war that Hussein violated.) It’s not difficult to make the case that the US under Bush did a piss-poor job of re-organizing the Iraq it conquered after two weeks plus a sandstorm. It’s even easier to wonder why the Obama administration would just quit the country without attempting to leave a defense force behind (as in Korea, for example). Both the invasion and the failure to conclude its aftermath can reasonably be said to have caused major instability in Iraq and thereby, a flow of refugees from that country. (Personally, I still miss Saddam Hussein. He was a sweetie in his own way although much misunderstood.) But most of the current refugees seem to be from Syria. It’s also possible to argue that the US is responsible for the horrors there too. This time, it’s because it did not intervene into its home-grown civil war until recently. Worse, the US General-in-Chief declared a red line and ignored it when it was crossed with the gassing of civilians.

Nevertheless, it’s difficult to blame on the West, on America, the flow of emigrants from such countries as Eritrea, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, even Senegal where there has not been any Western intervention. (Senegal obtained its independence in 1960, seamlessly, without a struggle with France, the colonial power.) Meanwhile Boko Haram (“Books are Forbidden”) in Nigeria is burning villages, kidnapping girls, raping and then, forcing them to become living bombs. What those countries have in common, of course, the peaceful ones that can’t provide for most of their population, and the others that are living hells is this: Coca Cola is sold in all of them, of course. Coca Cola is there everywhere, without exception; the Unites States’ malevolence yet again!

Conservative commentators on radio and on Facebook observe darkly that many or most of the migrants from the Middle East are of “military age,” perhaps portending a repeat of the many Muslim invasions of Europe ending only in the seventeenth century. Several comments are in order though I can’t make them in an orderly fashion.

First, a question lest I be accused of ignoring the issue: Will ISIS and other extremist Islamist groups use the exodus of Syrians and Iraqis to place undercover agents and terrorists in Europe. To ask the question is to answer it: Of course they will. Why wouldn’t they? It’s cheap and it’s easy.

Next: Many of the migrants are young men because, historically, everywhere, the first migrants are always young men. Second, they are of “military age” as some conservative observers pronounce breathlessly. Sure thing; many are fleeing the draft, precisely, a draft for a murderous war on in which they don’t believe. (A war many times more murderous than the Iraq war has been for Americans.) There is a third possibility that does not contradict the others and that casts a different light on the plausibility of these new migrants, these refugees being absorbed into European societies.

Many of the new migrants may be simply seizing the opportunity to flee from life in an Islamic society. (No, I don’t mean “Islamist.”) Here is the key: Islam maintains minimalist metrics about who is or isn’t a Muslim. By and large, if you were born in a Muslim family; if you are a male who was circumcised as a small child; if you don’t adopt another religion (at some risk to your life. See below) then, you are automatically a Muslim. No affirmative action is required, no behavior prescribed although some is proscribed: no alcohol, fasting in the day time and no daytime sex either – would I make this up? – for one month out of the year. With such lax standards, it would be amazing if many nominal Muslims were not lukewarm, or indifferent, or downright free thinkers.

With access to the Internet, the famed serenity of Islam may be indistinguishable from boredom. And the vaunted moral sternness of Islam may begin to seem like unbearable oppression: Ten lashes for a single beer (NOT in most Muslim countries, in some, it’s a simple fine)? Marriage to an indifferent-looking cousin without a chance to smell the flowers first. No rap, or little rap and in mental handcuffs. (I dislike rap myself; not the point.) And then, there is the shame even for individuals who are only reasonably educated: the shame of living in a less civilized part of the world with death as the penalty for conversion (not in all Muslim countries, perhaps rarely applied), the death penalty also for witches (uncommon, true, but happened recently in Saudi Arabia, and nowhere in the West, recently), death by stoning for adulterous women (not often applied but really calms amorous ardors); incidentally: adulterous = any sex outside of marriage, except in the Islamic Republic of Iran where two-week temporary “marriages” are encouraged. Remember also the grotesque sexual mutilation of little girls practiced on a vast scale in the Muslim world (only in some of it, SOME, and also practiced outside of it. And it’s NOT an Islamic practice; it just happens there a lot). And when young Muslim men in Yemen, in Somalia, and yes, in Syria and Iraq as well, hear that the unemployment rate among Muslim youths in France is as high as 30%, they think they are dreaming; they suspect a cheap propaganda trick: only 30%?

Just think about it. There are no doubt millions of Muslim youths who would do well in one of our colleges, who would get good grades, who would fit right in the coffee shop; the girls would even flirt with some of them. Many or most have some access to the wider world through the Internet and through movies. Some are rationalists not very different from your neighbor’s kids; some are much better rationalists than your neighbor’s kids if you live in Santa Cruz, California, for example (as I do). How much the meanness and the superstitions around such youths must lead to self-contempt and even to self-hatred when they realize that their own society is a lot like Europe was six hundred years ago? (To be fair, Europeans burned many more people alive, including thousands of witches, mostly older widows who owned some property, another story. It was then though. We have not done this for a long time.) There are many who would stay put otherwise for whom the sudden practical unlivability of their society pushes them over the rim, I would think.

There is a reason why I construct this frankly hypothetical view. If you dropped me in any French city, within an hour, I would be sitting with people with a Muslim first name and last name who would say this to me, “Why me, live where I – or my parents – are coming from? Are you out of your mind? Why would I want to live under the restrictions, sometimes under the gross oppression of a Muslim society? Don’t be stupid, I am French, I am a European, I am a Westerner.” (Incidentally, there is a remarkable autobiographical book in English describing the travails of a young Algerian’s multiple efforts to leave home for good. It’s called: Donkey Heart, Monkey Mind. It’s by Djaffar Chetouane.)

What about the Germans who have publicly promised to take in 800,000 refugees? (And who will probably seduce and bully other European countries to absorb an equal number between them, I would guess.) There are two ways to look at this, both valid.

First, everyone else has forgotten but the Germans themselves that in 1945 and 1946, there were millions of Germans on the roads of Europe, expelled from various countries, some in which they had lived for centuries, trudging on foot to a homeland they have never seen. Ordinary Germans have not forgotten the misery nor the giant successful efforts a ruined German deployed to give them roof and board, and work. More recently, when the hapless communist Democratic Republic of Germany collapsed from the inside in 1990, tens of thousands of “Osties” made their way to the West where they were generously accommodated too. “Been there,” many Germans think, “We did it under much worse circumstances. We can do it again.” Yes, the Germans have more compassion on refugee issues than other nations of Europe. Also, they know more, from the inside, about brutal dictatorships than do most other Europeans.

Second, as has been observed by many (I was scooped; I thought of it first!), there is Germany’s low fertility rate of 1.39 per woman. A low fertility rate has both proximate and long run consequences. In the long run, it means that you disappear as a people. In the shorter term – if and only if you have sturdy economy – it means that jobs go unfilled. This must be especially galling to Germans who have reasons to think that in every other way, almost alone among Europeans (almost), they have their act together. The Germans need bodies, preferably young bodies, now. And, they need children to pay tomorrow for the fairly generous benefits of the next retirees. Germans have good reasons to think favorably of mostly young men flooding into their country all reared up at no cost to them and ready to work. In addition, I garner from different press commentaries that many of the Syrian and Iraqi refugees are a different breed from the usual economic migrants. They seem more urban and better educated. (Many know English or French, some both.) It’s a cynical thing to say but this impression of middle-classness is re-inforced by the fact that they are able to pay the horrendous ransoms human traffickers extort from them.

Although Angela Merkel may have used the low German fertility rate argument as an afterthought, perhaps as a political way to make ordinary Germans amenable to the promise of accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees, it must have resonated among many Germans who can’t find employees or who are well aware of Germany’s demographic decline. Germany is not much worse off than other European countries in terms of fertility, incidentally. Italy is also at 1.39, Belgium at 1.55. None of the European countries pass the bar of 2.00 in the 2013 Eurostat. It’s generally accepted that the true replacement rate is 2.2 or 2.3 per woman, absent a catastrophe such as war or famine. Europe is disappearing before our eyes. Other European countries are less aware of their demographic decline because their economies are in bad shape and unemployment dominates every other issue in their collective narrative. As usual, Germany is ahead of the curve. (No, I am not stupidly, reflexively pro-German. Read my essay “the Best Meal and the Worst Meal Ever,” on this blog.)

Although immigration is almost always a net economic plus according to serious studies, it often carries a full load of negative social consequences. In this case, as I already mentioned, there is the near-certainty that Islamist terrorists will join the flood of good immigrants. But then, Germany will have hundreds of thousands of competent informants. (I believe the adage that good police work means having plenty of good informants.) I see a bad sign in the fact that many, most of the female refugees shown on TV wear the hijab, the head covering. It’s not required by Islam; it used to be uncommon in the major Muslim countries. The hijab directs you to a certain kind of retrograde Islam. It’s the kind of Islam where women must cover their hair in public lest they excite the lust of men and thus distract them from thinking of God. The hijab directs you to a culture where women in general are closer to the devil, where girls are poorly educated or not educated at all, where religious law is also civil law and it mandates that a woman’s testimony in court is worth only half a man’s testimony. A simple rule of thumb: If half an immigrant population must stay home, and it’s charged with rearing the next generation, it’s difficult for the whole immigrant group to assimilate or even to adapt. (Yes, I know, the parlous conditions for women I describe does not all, ALL, prevail in all Muslim countries.)

Second, it remains to be seen whether Germany will avoid again the curse for the second generation that is well demonstrated in France, next door. There, millions of immigrants mostly from North Africa, most of rural origin arrived with their sleeves turned up, ready to work, appreciative of the possibility of advancing themselves, of offering their children a better life than they could ever have back home. Their children, raised in France, end up sharing the sense of gloom common to most French young people but with a painful twist. They suffer additional disabilities, because of racism and because of Islamophobia to an extent, but also because they cannot but be incompletely socialized by their often illiterate immigrant parents. The young themselves don’t quite measure how much of a handicap reaching adulthood without benefit of a name, of family connections, of good adult examples constitute to succeeding in any society. (I do. You should read my book: I Used to Be French….) They only know they are getting the short end of the stick. Of course, the more stagnant the host society, the worse the handicap. Many of the children of appreciative immigrants accordingly become disaffected with the society where they live without really understanding why. This disaffection takes the form of drug abuse, of banditry, small and big, sometimes, seldom actually, of adherence to extremist creeds, for some, it’s of all three in turn. (The Charlie Hebdo terrorists, for example). The Germans have been there before however. They absorbed millions of Turks without experiencing much of this kind of mass alienation. Notably, in this case, they were stingy with citizenship and generous with employment opportunities, the reverse of the French formula.

We will see. Past the current immediate human suffering of the mass migration I am optimistic that Germany will keep its word and that other countries will be shamed into following the Germans. Our easy sense of doom often comes from a general human inability to contemplate the alternative. A mass of Syrians and some Iraqis of military age flood Europe. They may be viewed as a threat or you may think of them as so many fighters ISIS won’t force into its ranks or murder, of millions of children who will not grow up to be fanatics.

I am not losing track of the possibility that three dozen additional warplanes in the Middle East would do more to solve the present refugee crisis than all the European bumbling to absorb refugees.

Note: I did not say a thing about the US and Mexican immigrants, legal or illegal.

29 thoughts on “Muslim Refugees in Perspective

  1. There is a certain crowd of people who blame America and the West for everything that is wrong in the world. Bad governance is found in all countries and all walks of life. We do not have the corner on the market of bad leaders. There are obviously plenty to go around.

    • John,

      Your point about plenty of blame to go around is a good one. Consider, though, which entity has been funding the brutal Arab regimes for the past 75 years. It’s the US government. Washington has given away billions of dollars in taxpayer money to Arab dictators in the name of stability, peace, and, of course, democracy.

      Jacques has reputation around here for repeating little lies over and over and over again. It’s one French intellectual tradition he has never been able to shake. He denied, for years and in public, the presence of the US military on Saudi soil at the time of 9/11. He is doing the same thing regarding Arab despotism.

  2. “the US had led a coalition of about 50 countries — not including Israel”

    Don’t be so sure about that last part. Early in the air war, I was perimeter security for the naval airport at Al Jubail. Most of the air traffic there consisted of US supply/transport aircraft. There were also a couple of Apache attack helicopters (my unit ran perimeter ground patrols, the Apaches were on call for prospective incidents which might require immediate support).

    The only photos I took which were ever censored (we weren’t allowed to send exposed film home, we had to turn it in for development at the PX there) were of a couple of F-15s that flew out and came back a couple of times a day. I was told, in a “between you and me and the lamp post,” that although the F-15s bore US markings, they were actually flown by Israeli pilots, due to the Israeli government prevailing on DC to let their guys get some combat experience.

  3. Thomas: I am not so sure. I get my information from the respectable press. I have no inside source.

    Maybe there was some Israeli participation, as you affirm. Israel was not officially part of the coalition. This is a minor matter I include to meet what I imagine are the thought processes of leftist propaganda-fed public school graduates in their thirties. My perception may be erroneous.

    The broader point implied is that absent a state of Israel, pretty much the same events would have taken place.

    • Jacques,

      True, Desert Storm would have happened the way it did without Israeli involvement. Indeed, the only way FOR it to happen the way it did was for any Israeli involvement to be very minor and kept under wraps, otherwise some of the Arab coalition partners (for example, Syria) would likely have withdrawn.

      Incidentally, Jordan played both sides of the fence. They were putatively attempting to act as mediators, while generally siding with the coalition in terms of rhetoric. But after the ground war, almost every pile of Iraqi small arms ammo I came across was in boxes marked “GHQ Amman,” and I heard from at least one intel type that Jordan had been shipping ammo to the Iraqis as fast as it could right up to the minute the fighting started in earnest.

      I disagree with the general thrust of your article here, but figured it would be more fun to contribute trivia than to be part of the pile-on. There are always plenty of others willing to take care of THAT part 🙂

  4. John, Brandon: The US has been giving “billions of dollars” of taxpayer money to Arab dictators in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia? Or where, exactly aside from Iraq (yes , and not exactly to dictators) and Egypt? The subsidy to Egypt’s military dictatorship is part of a deal brokered by Pres. Carter as part of the peace with Israel. It’s a bribe and it’s money reasonably well spent although it may contribute to the continuing hold on power of the military in Egypt. But now that I have seen the debacle of the recent Egyptian Spring, I am not even sure that the US subsidy played a significant a role at all in the maintenance of that particular dictatorship.

    Brandon: I don’t know that I “deny” anything about Arab despotism. (See my essay above.) This must be your personal fantasy. Is Arab despotism much worse than that which I allude to in the essay? Perhaps; I don’t know; it’s not really my subject this time. Is basic, run-of-the-mill Arab despotism so awful that it makes ISIS look almost nice and cuddly? Or do you have another point?

    Also, Brandon: It’s not customary to call liars commentators whose writing you decide to put up on the blog you control. Your life must be hell, what with all the decisions: ” Is Delacroix’s essay so brilliant, so necessary that I must reproduce it here in spite of the lies?”

    A strongly held ideology often causes brain freeze. It lowers the IQ of otherwise intelligent people. (I will be damned if I did not hear candidate Rand Paul less than a month ago refer to Russia as “the Soviet Union”!)

    • I agree that a strongly held ideology leads to brain freeze.

      You missed my point about Arab/Muslim despotism completely, though that’s probably my fault.

      Here is my point made in a more blatant manner: Islamic despotism is the result of US government intervention in the region (yes, “billions”), not Islam. Failure to acknowledge this is deeply, obstinately ignorant.

    • PS: Was Saddam Hussein – a US puppet up until the point that he wasn’t – actually “bloodthirsty”?

      I mean, was he literally a cannibal, or is Jacques simply guilty of polemics made in bad faith?

    • PPS: I am watching a news report on CNBC about the Pope’s visit to Washington. Given the US’ anti-Catholic past I think it has implications for this discussion.

  5. Thomas: Why don’t you go ahead? That’s what blogs are for. I don’t have any special knowledge. I follow the press and try to see through dense and often meaningless commentaries and make sense. If I missed a step or two, or three, or all of them, someone ought to say so.

  6. Brandon are you serious aboyt this: “Here is my point made in a more blatant manner: Islamic despotism is the result of US government intervention in the region (yes, “billions”), not Islam. Failure to acknowledge this is deeply, obstinately ignorant.”

    Call me deeply obstinately iognorant then. Islamic despotism is the the result of Islamic despots and their population not rising against them. All governments is based on ideas as Hume rightly told us.

    There is no use in creating a victim due to outside sources or interventions, not from the US, not from Russia (Syria!), or from poorly drawn borders by former imperialists (howver true that may be).

    • Thanks Dr van de Haar.

      Islamic despotism is the the result of Islamic despots and their population not rising against them.

      And yet, Assad and Hussein (for example) are (or were) Western-educated secularists, not Islamists. There is plenty of animosity towards Muslim governments in the Middle East, too, but the populations there have a boot kept to their necks thanks to Western aid (billions of dollars worth).

      To say that there are no uprisings, or few of them, and that therefore Muslims prefer despotism to democracy because there are so few uprisings is just plain wrong. The security apparatuses of these authoritarian states are largely funded by Western governments (especially Washington) in the name of stability, peace, and keeping Russia’s and China’s state-run oil firms out of the Near East.

    • A good catch, TK.

      By “Western-educated” I meant to draw a contrast between formal schooling – the kind that appeared during British colonial administration – and schooling in the madaris. Hussein got a formal, Western-style education before dropping out in order to be a Ba’athist apparatchik.

  7. Brandon: All good points and I am impressed with the billions (not millions ) of dollars spent to support puppets but where (WHERE) did this take place? I already acknowledged the large case of Egypt (and I stated that, with hindsight, it looks like a good investment.) I acknowledged Iraq. I should have specified in Saddam’s time (little money spent then, I think) and post -Saddam, large amounts that were not spent to support tyrants, to my mind. The fact that the attempt to establish a sort of democracy in Iraq mostly failed does not make it any more an attempt to support puppets. And it mostly worked in the Iraqi Kurdistan.

    So where else, in the troubled Middle East (broadly defined) were the billions of US dollars spent? (Don’t even try Jordan and Lebanon. They are not troubled, they are holding out again terrible odds .)


    Please, don’t forget to answer this question, Brandon. It’s not going to slip my mind. I will remind you if necessary.

  8. I agree, of course, that Assad the First and Hussein were secularists. They were both products of the originally “progressive,” soon turned-fascist Bath Party. The Bath Party was prudently secularist.

    And for the record: I did not speak in my essay of Islamic despotism. I am glad others are discussing the subject though. For myself I would say the reader should feel free to read between the lines that all Islamic (IC) societies are despotic though often not in a brutal form. They are despotic irrespective of their type of government. Some are horrible; some are quite livable, especially if you are not a Muslim. I would go live in Morocco at a minute’s notice. I would have to divorce my wife though. She does not want to go there again at all. (And if we divorced, I couldn’t afford to go to Morocco at all.)

    • Jacques,

      Both of your responses are great (not merely good) examples of ideological brain freeze.

      I argue that Muslim societies are despotic because of Western government intervention in the region, not because of a religion (Islam).

      You counter that the US has given billions of dollars in (mostly military) aid to Egypt and Iraq. (I am deliberately ignoring your red herring on “billions.” I gave you a link. Follow it!) Egypt and Iraq have both been governed by secularist dictatorships since the British left. You argue that this is a good thing, because the alternative (Soviet/Russian influence or Islamism) is much worse.

      Let me recap your argument, as you have just laid it out for us: Western intervention strengthens dictatorships in order to squelch Leftist and Islamist currents, and therefore Islam is to blame for social stagnation in Muslim societies.

      Do you see the disconnect in your ideologically-driven logic?

      Of course societies that are mostly Muslim are socially stagnant. Nobody is disagreeing with you here (HERE). Libertarians, and most Muslims I would willing to bet, are arguing that the stagnant situation Muslim societies find themselves in has to do with bad governance, and this bad governance is encouraged and perpetuated by Western intervention.

      Think about it this way: Muslim societies are largely insular, even among themselves. The more insular a society is, the more despotic it is going to be. Is this insularity the result of government policy, or Islam – the internationalist religion?

  9. @Brandon
    Yes, Dr. Pinocchio does have a well deserved reputation for ‘fibs’. Some are small, some are whoppers. Here’s one of his classic whoppers through omission…

    Dr. Pinocchio wonders: ” It’s even easier to wonder why the Obama administration would just quit the country without attempting to leave a defense force behind (as in Korea, for example)”

    A classic case of what is called a ‘low information’ voter since the rise of The Donald in teapublican politics; to wit the ignoramus. Anyone not microcephalic knows the answer…because of the agreement signed by Dubya.

    “The Bush Administration later sought an agreement with the Iraqi government, and in 2008 George W. Bush signed the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement. It included a deadline of 31 December 2011, before which “all the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory”.[11][12][13] The last U.S. troops left Iraq on 18 December 2011, in accordance with this agreement.[1][11][12] US Forces, in the form of air support, resumed operations in Iraq in June 2014, to defend it against ISIS.”

    • Terry, Terry, Terry … you do not understand how things work in the hawkish mind.

      George W. Bush gets CREDIT for NEGOTIATING that agreement, Barack Obama gets BLAME for KEEPING that agreement. Because hawks like to pretend they’re fiscally responsible by proving that talk is cheap.

  10. Brandon: D Saddam Hussein got a law degree in Egypt. There is a story that he received it at the point of a gun. “Western educated”? I agree that he belonged and took over a party with “western” pretension. It was Western like the Soviet Union was western.

    Where were the billions (not millions) of US taxpayer money spent again?

    Terry: Go to your room.

  11. Reminder: Some time ago, on this thread, Brandon, you said the following:

    “Consider, though, which entity has been funding the brutal Arab regimes for the past 75 years. It’s the US government. Washington has given away billions of dollars in taxpayer money to Arab dictators in the name of stability, peace, and, of course, democracy.”

    I granted you easily a lot of money given to Iraq and to Egypt (the latter as part of the Oslo agreement that is still holding).

    I have asked you to tell us if the US had given billions (not millions) of US taxpayer money to any Arab dictator (or country) besides those two. You have ignored my request.

    I know you are very busy, but still, I am beginning to wonder.

    • Don’t wonder too much, or you might end up lost in a supermarket (or a farmer’s market, since you’re in Santa Cruz). I already gave you a link. Just scroll upwards and look for the blue script, deuh!

      This is curious: You’ve already conceded that Iraq and Egypt have received lots of US taxpayer money from Washington. You’ve also argued that the costs – the dictatorships – and have been worth it. You’ve argued that Lebanon and Jordan should also be struck from any calculations involving taxpayer money, since these states are doing such a good job of keeping evil at bay. We already have four states that you concede get lots of money from Washington, and that these four states use that money to oppress nasty factions.

      Therefore, magically it seems, Islam becomes the problem?

      By all means: Keep repeating this litany, aloud, to yourself. Republicans and conservatives will no doubt enjoy The Message.

    • Well, Brandon, you and Jacques each seem to be holding half the puzzle pieces.

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say that “Islam” is the problem. There are a about 1.6 Muslims on the planet and most of them are just like the rest of us. They want to live their lives in peace and prosperity. They practice the religion they were brought up with because it’s the religion they were brought up with. Some of them are devout or pious, most of them make it to mosque on Fridays, pray five times a day if they’re being watched, and sneak behind something to have a cigarette during Ramadan (yes, I’ve seen it happen), maybe they even drink alcohol if they’re in a country where it’s permitted.

      Political IslamISM does tend toward harsh authoritarianism, regardless of whether it’s of the Salafist/Wahabbist varieties (e.g. al Qaeda and the Islamic State) or Shiite Twelver variety (e.g. the Iranian regime).

      What empowers radical Islamism? What causes normal Muslims to rally to its flag? What allows it to raise money and recruit troops for its violent activities? US intervention. Like I said, most Muslims are just regular people, and regular people don’t much care for foreigners funding their enemies and tramping about in their backyards carrying machine guns.

  12. […] The underlying reasoning for such policies of exclusion is this: First, I repeat that there is no ethical system that obligates American society to commit suicide, fast or slowly; second, probabilistic calculations of danger and of usefulness both are the only practicable ones in the matter of admitting different groups and categories. (I don’t avoid jumping from planes with a parachute because those who do die every time they try but because they die more often than those who don’t.) Based on recent experience (twenty years+), Muslims are more likely to commit terrorist acts than Lutherans. (It’s also true that there is a very low probability for both groups.) Based on common sense and the news, most Mexicans must have acquired a high tolerance for political corruption. Based on longer experience, many Western Europeans have extensive and expensive expectations regarding the availability of tax supported welfare benefits. Based – perhaps- on one thousand years of observation, the Chinese tend to favor collective discipline over individual rights more than Americans do. (See my: “Muslim Refugees in perspective.”) […]

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