1. Before getting to the specifics, I'd like to start with an illustration: Suppose a brewery makes beer for export. 99 out of every 100 cases of beer are just beer. Cans of beer. But every 100th case contains a time bomb. Not accidentally, but intentionally. Suppose another brewery makes nothing but beer for export. No hidden time bombs.
Suppose the captain of the cargo plane refuses to let the plane be loaded with cases from the first brewer. He says it's too dangerous.
But critics counter that most of the beer cases aren't dangerous. Just a small fraction.
He replies that we can't detect which is which. And why would we take the risk? Given a choice, moreover, why not ship beer from the brewery that doesn't pack time bombs in any of its cases?
2. I notice that critics who support Muslim immigration always seem to preface their discussion with the same prologue. They say there was a public backlash against "refugees" after the Paris attack. Another variation is to say there was a backlash against Muslim immigrants after the rise of ISIS. This has created a climate of "fear."
i) Now, suppose, for the sake of argument, that that's the catalyst. For months now, Americans have been bombarded with horrific images of ISIS. And not primarily from news outlets. Rather, ISIS itself takes diabolical pride in producing videos in which its victims are beheaded, burned alive, buried alive, &c.
Then, a few weeks ago, Obama unilaterally imposes a quota of "Syrian refugees" on US soil. Given the background, it's hardly irrational for Americans to revolt against that policy, even if that's all there was to it.
ii) At the same time, it's very patronizing to presume that American opinions about Muslim immigration were formed this year. Muslims engage in nonstop terrorism. We're treated to stories about that on a periodic basis. This stretches back for years. In my own lifetime it goes back to Muslim hijackers.
3. Now let's turn to some recent things I've seen on Facebook:
[SML] Are there terrorists infiltrating the mosques in our country? Are the "moderate" Muslims able to track them and report them to authorities?
[Rich Pierce] If a terrorist sat next to you this morning in church, how would you know? The fact is that you would have no idea if the next Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols came in and sat down next you. None. The Imams are no more able to track 'undesirable people' any more than your pastor is.
i) To begin with, it's not so much a question of whether American Imams are able to track terrorists in their midst, but whether they facilitate terrorism.
ii) The McVeigh comparison is straight out of CAIR's playbook. The obvious problem with that comparison is the quantitative difference between a McVeigh and jihadism. According to one source, there've been 27,351 jihadist attacks (and counting) since 9/11. The source says that's actually underreported. And the figure is regularly updated:
And here's a list of attacks on American soil:
Keep in mind that that doesn't include plots and attacks which the authorities intercepted. The quantitative difference between a McVeigh and jihadism makes the comparison statistically inane. Needless to say, the quantitative difference is highly germane to risk assessment.
4. On Facebook, James White recently said:
Ignorance and bigotry is ugly, no matter who the ignorant bigot is. Here's a video of what happens when you combine ignorance, bigotry, fear, and with one guy it seems, way too many roids.
White later said:
You see, when someone can look at the video I posted and listen to a man who is clearly not interested in anything but rage and anger, surely not thought or interaction, and think that condemning that is the same thing as defending Islam---well, that's just plain irrational. It again is an abandonment of the necessary element of rational thought that allows for proper categorization and context. Next, you gave the kind of illustration that could be used in a logic class in the "errors of logic" portion: you took the identification of plain ignorance (when some fellow is saying, "Muslims is evil," well, the poor fellow can't even speak the English language, let alone back up what he is saying with any in-depth reasoning) and obvious bigotry (when you do what the big weight lifter dude was doing, yelling loudly, refusing to let the other man, who is NOT yelling loudly, to even interact with you, and then shouting, "Shut your mouth!"), and confused that with folks who are "concerned about the threat of Islam." Seriously? So, anyone who is concerned about the "threat of Islam" will refuse to reason, but will shout, be insulting, etc.? Really? See, it is this kind of irrationality, this kind of emotion-fueled illogic that starts wars and gets lots of non-combatants killed. But more to the point, it is simply NOT A CHRISTIAN WAY OF THOUGHT.
He's alluding to a public meeting about plans to build a new mosque in Spotsylvania, VA, where one man said: “Shalaby, you can say whatever you want, every Muslim is a terrorist, period!” and “Shut your mouth, I don’t want to hear your mouth!”
A few observations:
i) Sure, that's a hasty generalization. To say all Muslims are terrorists is clearly an overstatement.
ii) However, White knows as well as anyone, and better than most, that the alternatives are not confined to either terrorist or nonterrorist. There are lots of gradations:
a) Some Muslims are jihadists. Although that may just be a fraction of the total, given the sheer number of Muslims, a fraction of a huge absolute number is still a very large number.
b) Many Muslims who are not jihadists support jihadists in different ways. It may involve material support. Or it may involve tacit or explicit approval. Jihadists come from Muslim families and communities. If jihadism was stigmatized, if jihadists were ostracized, that would deter many would-be jihadists.
c) Many Muslims support terrorism against Israel. And it's hard to separate that from terrorism against the US. To the extent that US foreign policy, as well as many private American citizens, support Israel, that makes America complicit.
d) Many Muslims support sharia. But that makes peaceful coexistence intolerable. If the infidel is constantly doing things that are anathema to Muslim social mores, that's lighting matches in a gas station.
iii) We need to be careful about simply dismissing some protesters as "ignorant." For instance, some homosexual apologists, like the late John Boswell, can argue circles around most Christian laymen–or most Christians pastors, for that matter. Same thing with transgender apologists. These debates can get very technical very quickly. The average Bible-believing Christian is no match for a professional homosexual or transgender apologist who devotes full time to their pet issue.
But that doesn't mean we should dismiss a Christian who's defending Biblical ethics, even if he's not very articulate or sophisticated. A homosexual/transgender apologist can win the argument and still be dead wrong. Picking on a poor spokesman demonstrates the weakness of the spokesman rather than the weakness of the position.
iv) A recipe for vigilantism is when the authorities refuse to protect the public. When that happens, some private citizens take it upon themselves to police the streets. Instead of criticizing vigilantism, we should criticize the root cause of vigilantism, and rectify the problem at the source.
iv) What are the theoretical options?
a) Expel Muslims
b) Continue to let Muslims immigrate, but do demographic profiling. Monitor the demographic niche at high risk of domestic jihadist plots and attacks (e.g. young Muslim men).
c) Have dragnet surveillance. The gov't spies on everyone.
c) Have dragnet surveillance. The gov't spies on everyone.
d) Don't monitor Muslims. Just accept the fact that jihadist attacks are now an inevitable and increasing part of life in America.
This is an unforced error. The problems caused by Muslim immigration are both predictable and preventable. They only become entrenched and irradicable through passivity, procrastination, and wishful thinking. It doesn't have to be this way. We've seen this play out in the Europe and the UK.
ii) One question I have is why White is more charitable towards Muslims than "the big weightlifter dude." Clearly the weightlifter dude is not an intellectual. But what about addressing his concerns, even if he's a poor spokesman?
What does it accomplish to refer to concerned citizens like him as "ignorant bigots," making stereotypical comments about his appearance, &c.? Is White's objective to persuade people? If so, how does using antagonistic language accomplish that purpose? Suppose he's a bar bouncer. Is that a reason to make fun of his social class?
Does White really think "weightlifter dude" can't speak English? Many people get flustered when they speak before an audience. They stumble over words. Especially in a confrontational situation, they may use bad syntax and say dumb things.
In addition, his putdown boomerangs, for White himself commits a grammatical error of the very same kind (number agreement) when he says "Ignorance and bigotry is ugly." But that requires a plural verb.
Does that mean White "can't even speak the English language"? Obviously not. These are little slips that anyone can make.
What if the "weightlifter dude" is not a Christian. If so, how does White address nonchristians? Why be so respectful towards Muslims, but so disrespectful towards redneck unbelievers?
Suppose "weightlifter dude" were a member of Hell's Angels, and White had a chance to witness to him. Would White begin by making fun of his tattoos, biker regalia, and working class vernacular?
Many Americans are understandably frustrated because the political class disregards their concerns–legitimate concerns. We've had a string of jihadist attacks and close calls on Obama's watch. After each attack or near miss, nothing happens. No policy change.
I'm sure White knows far more about Islam than the "weightlifter dude." But one thing even the "weightlifter dude" knows is the correlation between Islam and terrorism.
Does White think Americans don't have legitimate concerns about our immigration policy vis-a-vis Muslims? About Islamist values encroaching on a free society? About the importation of sharia and jihad onto American soil? What is White's alternative solution?
"Weightlifter dude" is an easy target. But after you knock him down, then what?
Inducting ever more Muslims into our country means importing ever more time bombs into our country. Ticking time bombs.
And, unfortunately, that's not just a metaphor. Consider the attack that Muslims had planned for Paris. They bungled it, but the plan was to have one or more suicide bombers detonate their explosive belts inside the stadium to cause mass panic. Other suicide bombers would be stationed outside the stadium so that when spectators stampeded out of the stadium, they'd be killed or maimed. Explosive belts are designed to eject shrapnel, causing horrific injuries. You'd have spectators killed and maimed inside the stadium. Some trampled to death. And a repeat performance outside the stadium.
Should we just accept that a trip to the shopping mall or sporting event now carries this risk? The more Muslims you induct into American society, the more inevitable that becomes.
Immigration policies have irreversible consequences. Once you reach a demographic tipping point, there's no going back anytime soon–short of civil war. The entire country becomes a hostage situation. Even if you slam the door on further Muslim immigrants, it's like a lockdown in which you trap the students with the sniper.