This issue is somewhat related to the broader issue of immigration. This post is mostly an emotional appeal for reason and sanity. I think that we should slow down, and reduce immigration from all countries. For an introduction to the topic, I recommend these two short, fact-based videos: Immigration by the Numbers (about rates of immigration to the U.S. and changes that it brings about), and Immigration, World Poverty and Gumballs, (about immigration as a means for humanitarian good).
Trump is also right when he says that our current policies are completely out of control. One lesson we can draw from the first video is that when deciding policy, Congress never seriously considers public opinion. And, the numbers have always trended upwards, despite the fact that the majority of Americans, when polled, prefer decreased immigration.
This is a vitally important issue for our future, and our children's future. Most people who are opposed to increasing immigration and refugee settlement, view this issue as being such a no-brainer, that their preferred talking point is, "Are you fucking kidding me?"
Now, before you accuse me of doing a Trump, let me say, unequivocally, that most immigrants to this country are wonderful. I love immigrants! The topics here are different; so you must remove your mainstream media goggles that turn every mention of a distinct population group into a racist nazi dogwhistle. The main questions addressed by policy are: the number of immigrants per year, and what is the selection process. Now, the selection process, like it not, inherently (tautologically) prefers some groups of immigrant over others. Some might tell you that the 1965 immigration law removed discriminatory barriers. But in practice the result was simply to discriminate in favor of countries closer geographically. That is why a large plurality of today's immigrants come from Mexico.
The question implied at the top of this post is whether or not we should admit large numbers of refugees from countries that are known as the source of terrorists. These are countries that have, by our standards, authoritarian cultures. There is clear evidence, despite the attempts by the German government and media, that the large influx of these refugees made the locales where they settled less safe for the existing residents. Many refugees have committed brutal murders, rapes, other violent crimes. In some public spaces, for another example, pickpocketing gangs have completely taken over, preying on tourists, and making enjoyment of those spaces impossible. There are tremendous problems with integrating these newly arrived people. The decision by Merkel to invite millions of these refugees doesn't seem to have been the result of a rational, deliberative process.
And in fact, I have yet to hear anyone raise a single valid justification for a policy of putting your fellow citizens at risk of being the victims of rape, murder, and other crimes, by forcing them to live next to newly arrived people from authoritarian cultures.
In an online discussion we were having, a friend wrote that the way he sees it, an "arbitrary" (small) increase in crime is offset by the good that is done by freeing people from having to live in the midst of genocide.
There are many reasons why this argument falls short.
First: while this might be true from a moral perspective, it doesn't pass the "democracy test". This is like a religious belief -- there's no way to argue its truth or falsity; either it comports with your morals, or it doesn't. Therefore, it's irrelevant from the standpoint of government policy. Nobody, not any common citizen, nor Merkel, nor any government official or agency has the right to make this decision based on their own sense of moral rectitude, and not even consider the wishes of all of the citizens who would be affected. Government are obliged to serve the citizens.
As analogy, imagine that we lived in a group home with strict rules for vetting new residents. One day, a resident named Bob decided that a particular panhandler's suffering was so bad that we could waive the rules, and invite him to live with us immediately. So, the next day, Bob brings the man, and he moves right in.
[I hated writing this next paragraph, because it's a naked appeal to your base instincts. But after deliberating with myself a bit, I think it's not only fair, but necessary. Events like this do occur, and if the risk is real, and if you're going to opine on a policy question, then it's incumbent on you to have your eyes open. And after all, don't we even teach children to be wary of strangers? To recognize the importance of that, but then deny that it could happen with a refugee, is a dangerous hypocrisy.]
We know nothing about our new roommate, and he might, for example, have a mental illness that makes him dangerous. If, for whatever reason, he were to kill one of my children, then ... I guess you can imagine how angry I'd be at Bob.
I can tell you that it wouldn't matter a damn how bad the panhandler's living conditions were. Humans are animals, and we have instincts, and one of our strongest instincts is to protect our families. I know I am hopeless non-progressive, but that's an instinct I subscribe to.
But, perhaps more importantly, there are other ways to help people that don't involve inviting them to live with us. This is true both for the panhandler analogy, and with most refugees. We should be looking for those, because, if you watched the videos above, you know that we will never be able to put a dent in the humanitarian crises which are looming in front of, by inviting them to live here. It's completely unsustainable.
The group home is a good analogy, because Merkel's million, last year, completely overwhelmed the Germans' system for vetting refugees, so they let thousands in without much vetting at all. Now, put yourself in the shoes of a father of one of the girls who was raped last New Year's Eve. Or, imagine that one of your children got murdered by a refugee. Then, let's say, in your grief you finally decided to read some different websites, and you learned that not only
are the crime rates of Muslim refugees significantly higher than the average population, but also that your government systematically hides the truth and
covers up their crimes. How would it make you feel that your own government thinks that the new Muslim arrivals' right to not feel insulted outweighs the right of your child to live?
It's fine and good for anyone to feel a humanitarian urge, and a desire to help the people of the world who are less fortunate than we are. Those are wonderful sentiments, and I feel them too. But our government's first duty is to the citizens of the country. There is no "human right" to immigrate, and our government has no mandate to put the interests of foreigners above the interests of our citizens. And, while you would certainly call them bigots, not all of your fellow citizens share those humanitarian urges, and that is their right. Call it xenophobia if you want, but (so far) xenophobia is not a crime. Who are you to say that your moral framework is superior? And, so superior that you get to dictate the policy that affects everyone. Isn't that the worst kind of hubris?
Finally, I believe that history is on my side. Countries and borders exist for a reason. Our species has a gruesome and violent history, and walls were built by our ancestors for defense. Nation states all have borders, primarily to keep their citizens safe while they toil, struggle, and raise children. I can recommend the book "Better Angels of Our Nature", by Steven Pinker, to learn something of the appallingly cruel and violent history of our species. You would get a clearer understanding of how amazingly lucky we are that we have been born and live in a time and place of extraordinary, unprecedented peace. Just the fact that common people like us can walk around and play outside, with our children, without having to fear for our lives, is unique in almost all of history.
Our ancestors suffered, worked and fought to build a civilization, and countries with borders to protect that civilization, and they bequeathed this precious, fragile gift to us.
There's no doubt that some of them committed crimes against other people or races, but I categorically reject the notion that we should atone for sins, real or hypothetical, that some of our ancestors committed hundreds of years ago, by destroying the best, most valuable thing that they created.
We have lived out our lives on a tiny island of peace in a vast ocean of cruelty and blood. None of us has any idea what that ocean is like. Those pushing for more immigration are engaging in a colossally irresponsible experiment. They have good intentions, and they have faith and hope, but that's all. Good intentions, faith, and hope, quite simply, do not justify putting this priceless, shared heirloom in danger. That's what this experiment does.
A chorus of angry voices is begging them to stop and think, but they insist that it's everyone's moral duty to go along with them.
This heirloom has been handed down for hundreds of generations, improved and protected by millions of lives, and without it, mankind has no hope. In fact, it was not a gift; it was merely loaned to us. We have been entrusted with it, to keep it safe until it's our turn to pass it to our children.
I know it sounds old-fashioned, but we, especially those of us with children, have a sacred duty to guard and protect, with all of our will, strength and effort, this thing that we have been entrusted with. Because it's a shared responsibility, all of
us must have humility and a bit of deference to history.
Instead, liberals imagine themselves to be so enlightened that they've suddenly discovered, after all these centuries, that borders were a bad idea. With breathtaking hubris, they have determined to break our shared treasure asunder,
while muttering contempt at our ancestors, and spitting in the faces of us and anyone who urges caution. We, their fellow citizens, are forced to watch in mute horror while they destroy the thing that we love the most, and that protected and nurtured all of us, and most of our friends and family, for our entire lives.
John Stewart upbraids us, telling us we don't own the country. It's not ours to keep. There never was a real America.
He is right that it's not ours, and we never claimed it was. But he couldn't be more wrong in his next utterance: it is ours to keep. We must keep it, protect it and defend it until it's our turn to pass it on. Stewart would have us believe that this fictional America not only isn't ours to keep, but is his to destroy.
It's hard for me to imagine a deeper betrayal than this reckless experiment. I'm sure a lot of readers won't agree with me, but I hope that I've been able to communicate why we get so angry about this issue. If so, please keep this in mind the next time you hear the lying media disparage Trump for his "heated rhetoric", and follow that with a smug, contemptuous politician lecturing us on morals, and scolding us with "That's not who we are."