Saturday, August 14, 2010

Towering Babble Over Cordoba House

What should one write about first and foremost? The “greening” of America? The “socialization” of America? The “de-exceptionalism” of America? Or the “Islamization” of America?

I do not think Charles Krauthammer saw it coming, but in a rare alignment of political planets, he agreed with President Barack Obama by opposing the planned site of the Ground Zero mosque in lower Manhattan for the same reason that Obama endorsed it. Krauthammer claims that Ground Zero is “sacred” and that no mosque should be built on or near it. Obama, on the other hand, claims that it is the right of Muslims to build a mosque on private property as an instance of “religious freedom,” which one guess he regards of “sacred,” as well.

One shakes one’s head over Krauthammer’s confusion, and is tempted to laugh at Obama’s citation of “private property,” an institution he is devoted to abolishing.

Krauthammer disappoints, because he is otherwise so perceptive in his criticism of Obama’s policies. In this instance he practically sides with Obama in the latter’s evaluation and esteem of Islam. In his Washington Post article of August 13, “Sacrilege at Ground Zero,” he repeats the politically correct notion that Islam was “hijacked” by “extremists.”

Ground Zero is the site of the greatest mass murder in American history -- perpetrated by Muslims of a particular Islamist orthodoxy in whose cause they died and in whose name they killed.


Calling the attack on this country by “Islamists” a “mass murder” without any qualifying description of it reveals that Krauthammer is utterly ignorant of the nature and ends of Islam. 9/11 was an attack on this country, a more emphatic declaration of war on America than was any previous terrorist depredation. 9/11 was not merely an act of “mass murder”; it was an attack designed to inflict the greatest number of casualties possible. In the next paragraph, Krauthammer compounds his ignorance.

Of course that strain represents only a minority of Muslims. Islam is no more intrinsically Islamist than present-day Germany is Nazi -- yet despite contemporary Germany's innocence, no German of goodwill would even think of proposing a German cultural center at, say, Treblinka.


On the contrary, that “strain” of Islam is its core philosophical and political nature in action. It is fundamentally viral, vitriolic in its position on non-Muslims, and destructive. There is nothing “extreme” in how terrorists practice it. Their actions are not antithetical to it. It is as Islam is meant to be practiced. Run-of-the-mill, non-violent Muslims who do not practice Islam in its essentials are “sham Muslims,” who wish to have their mysticism and banal anonymity, too, passively content with their “submission.” It saves them from the task and responsibility of thinking.

Islam does not require agreement with its tenets, either with its violent or with its “pacific,“ esoteric ones; it demands mindless agreement with them. It is intolerant of internal dissension (witness the feuding between Sunnis, Shiites, and other Islamic sects), and of other religions. It cannot be “reformed” without destroying it. If it admitted disagreement, “reform” of Islam might be possible. But it forbids disagreement or dissension. So, there are no redeeming elements in Islam whatsoever. It is a moral code for manqués, for men and women who are human but who have voluntarily dispensed with their volition. It is for people who willingly surrender their minds and their identities to mysticism, either from fear of retribution for questioning it, or from a comfortable pragmatism.

This is what Krauthammer does not grasp. Further, he reveals his “conservative” take on property in his concluding paragraphs.

America is a free country where you can build whatever you want -- but not anywhere. That's why we have zoning laws. No liquor store near a school, no strip malls where they offend local sensibilities, and, if your house doesn't meet community architectural codes, you cannot build at all. These restrictions are for reasons of aesthetics. Others are for more profound reasons of common decency and respect for the sacred….

Build it anywhere but there.

The governor of New York offered to help find land to build the mosque elsewhere. A mosque really seeking to build bridges, Rauf's ostensible hope for the structure, would accept the offer.


There are no “bridges” Rauf seeks to build, except those that would more easily allow Islam to cross them to invade, occupy, and conquer America. The governor of New York was wrong to offer Rauf and his backers help in finding land to build the mosque (whose land? State-owned land or land seized by eminent domain?), and was in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments prohibiting federal and state governments from establishing a religion or favoring one religion over another.

As for zoning laws prohibiting liquor stores near schools and strip malls that “offend local sensibilities,” together with architectural codes and the like, these are wholly arbitrary statist laws that violate property rights. “Common decency,” moreover, is what apparently Rauf and his backers lack. And employment of the term “sacred” -- the nub of Krauthammer’s whole argument against the mosque -- is merely an unexamined emotional response to the prospect of a mosque being near Ground Zero.

“Build it anywhere but there”? Krauthammer should be perceptive enough to know that “there” is precisely where Rauf and his backers want the mosque, not for any “decent” reasons, but to erect a victory monument in Dar el-Harb, a country in which Islam is waging a war of conquest.

It is not so curious that some of the most prominent statists have come out in favor of the Ground Zero mosque: Obama, Mayor Bloomberg of New York, Governor Paterson, state Attorney General Cuomo, and others. They are all nascent totalitarians, as well. Of course they would be friendly to a totalitarian ideology, and practice what could be called “infidel taqiya” by posing their arguments for the mosque in terms of “religious freedom.”

Obama’s April 13th endorsement of the Ground Zero mosque is not an error based on ignorance of Islam, nor is it a surrender to political correctness. It is a sugar-coated expression of malice for a country that is resisting his desire to transform it into one huge socialist penitentiary, and a particular verbal middle finger extended to those who died at Ground Zero and their survivors. Continuing a practice begun by his whipping boy predecessor in the Oval Office, George Bush, Obama presided over a Ramadan dinner at the White House.

"Let me be clear: as a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country," Obama said at a White House iftar, the traditional breaking of the daily Ramadan fast.


Perhaps “anyone else” does have a right to practice his religion in this country, as long as he does not advocate murderous jihad against “anyone else” in this country. Muslims, however, are not “anyone else.” They are the self-effacing ciphers of a creed whose spokesmen boast that Islam will conquer America and urge the rank-and-file to engage in violent and stealth jihad. I cannot help but suspect that Obama knows this.

That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances," he continued. "This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of the Founders must endure.

"
Some “private property,” apparently, is more equal than others, as Obama’s own “jihadist” socialist agenda can testify. The overall “writ of the Founders” has been abused and ignored in the pursuit of that agenda. But, that issue aside, he must also know that Islam’s commitment to religious freedom is nonexistent. What is not there cannot be “unshakeable.” How often have we heard those same spokesmen boast that America is destined to become a Muslim-ruled America, and that the Constitution is an abomination, contrary to “Allah‘s will,“ and must be eliminated?

As Leonard Peikoff noted, rights exist in a context. If a religion or a state has declared war on America, we have no obligation to "respect" its property rights and "point of view," here or abroad. We have every moral right to eliminate them as a threat and stop them from achieving their agenda. Rauf and his ilk pretend to extend the “olive branch” of peace and tolerance and “interfaith dialogue.” What he and his ilk are actually offering is poison ivy coated with arsenic.

Obama spent more time “honoring” Islam and its alleged contributions to America than he did those who were killed on 9/11 with the destruction of the World Trade Center. He tossed this offensively brief fillip in their direction:

Now, we must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of Lower Manhattan. The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. And the pain and the experience of suffering by those who lost loved ones is just unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. And Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.


And,

We must never forget those who we lost so tragically on 9/11, and we must always honor those who led the response to that attack -- from the firefighters who charged up smoke-filled staircases, to our troops who are serving in Afghanistan today. And let us also remember who we're fighting against, and what we're fighting for. Our enemies respect no religious freedom. Al Qaeda's cause is not Islam -- it's a gross distortion of Islam. These are not religious leaders -- they're terrorists who murder innocent men and women and children. In fact, al Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion -- and that list of victims includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11.


Always make sure, one can imagine Rahm Emanuel advising Obama and his speech writers, to mention “innocent Muslims” killed on 9/11, in order to level the empathy. But, so what? Are any Muslims “innocent” who do not for any reason question the tenets of their faith? Those that do, become apostates who repudiate the faith -- and earn a death sentence. And, so what if al Qaeda has killed more Muslims than non-believers? It can boast that it killed 3,000 non-believers in one day, together with a handful of disposable Muslims.

One grows weary of hearing that 9/11 was “tragic.“ Earthquakes, tsunamis, nightclub fires, and head-on train collisions that result in innumerable deaths, are “tragic.” 9/11, London, Madrid, Bali, and the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing were acts of war. The thousands killed were casualties, not “innocent victims.” This is a reiteration of George Bush’s position on Islam, that Islam has been “hijacked.” Islam cannot be “distorted.”

As a political/religious ideology, Islam is the apotheosis of the psychotic. Listen to the speeches of prominent imams and mullahs on YouTube. Better yet, watch Geert Wilders’ Fitna, or Three Things about Islam You Didn’t Know, which clarifies the essentials of Islam. Any terrorist, living or dead, was exhorted by his Islamic religious leaders to do what he did or will do. Al Qaeda’s cause is the Taliban’s cause, as well as Hamas’s cause and Hezbollah’s and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s. And the Cordoba Initiative’s Imam Feisal Rauf’s.

Pamela Geller ruthlessly parses Obama’s pre-Ramadan dinner remarks in her Big Peace article of August 12th, "Obama Ramadanadingdong.”

Islam is more a political ideology than a religion or creed. Its critics, apostate Muslim and expert non-Muslim, know this, for otherwise they would not feel compelled to weigh in on the subject. What politicians ever felt compelled to defend Quakerism, or Amish-ism, or Scientology, for example, the way they do Islam?. I cannot think of any. There is no hidden agenda woven into those creeds' tenets. A totalitarian one is intricately woven through the whole fabric of Islam, in the Koran and the Hadith. Obama, Bloomberg, Cuomo, and other politicians focus on the religious face of Islam, and ignore the far more important political face of it.

This is for two reasons: it earns them brownie points with liberal/leftists (and with Muslims, of course), and because they are nascent totalitarians themselves. Examine their statist careers. Of course they are friendly to Islam. It is their own brand of deception, a kind of infidel taqiya. “I’m for ‘religious freedom’ and private property, too” -- wink, wink.

We are confronted with a tower of babbling rhetoric concerning the Ground Zero mosque, a literal “confusion of tongues” opposing and defending the structure. All of it, so far, ignores or disguises the true nature of Islam. The babble is a consequence of an abandonment of reason.

37 comments:

Jason said...

I’m splitting my comment into two parts, so it fits.

Part 1:
I think the hysteria over the mosque reeks of typical Conservative timidity, as a way to avoid having to confront the fundamental issue and argue for a decisive, bold, overpowering military strike (likely using weapons of mass destruction) on one or two Islamic governments and their ardent civilian supporters.

If the organizers and financiers of the mosque have given material or financial support to Islamic terrorist groups or Islamic theocratic dictatorships (and there is hard evidence that at least one main organizer, Rauf, is part of organizations that fund terrorism, and has friendly dealings with members of organizations that fund terrorism), then such people should be imprisoned.

If not guilty of that, Islamic people, or even a Nazi or Communist, can preach any ideas they wish. Our government can wiretap their phones and computers to make sure they are not providing material support to Islamic terrorists or governments, but otherwise they are free to speak (and open up a mosque in which to speak) if it is just speech.

If a person calls for the death of specific people, that is an initiation of force, as it implies that if no one commits the act, the person who made the call will engage in violence. So if an Islamic person in America makes a death threat, he can be imprisoned. However, I think he has the freedom to speak favorably of the concept of jihad and say that “infidels” deserve to be killed, as long as he does not name specific individuals or materially support Islamic terrorists, governments, or their ardent civilian supporters.

But even if we arrested (I think improperly) all those who speak favorably of jihad and Islam as such (given its violent nature), or just picked a few symbolic Islamic buildings or organizations to shut down, it would be completely ineffectual. We can’t win a domestic war whose ideological source is in foreign countries.

Jason said...

Part 2:
We still need to have our intelligence agencies track Islamic Americans, and arrest those who materially support Islamic terrorists, but this is fundamentally a foreign policy issue, with which no further amount of domestic action will solve. We need to declare a real war, and at that point Islamic Americans will have a choice: one, drop Islam or change it into a peaceful, individual-rights-respecting ideology, or two, provide material support to the Islamic cause and be treated as enemies to be imprisoned or even killed if necessary if they prove to be force-wielding.

The goal in the realm of foreign policy now is to explain to Americans the criminality and threat of political Islam (which is a direct result of Islam as such) and to convince them to vote in the proper foreign policy solution.

Stopping this mosque from being built for symbolic reasons does not convince people of the need to arrest material supporters of Islamic fundamentalists, it does not convince people that it is the dictatorships who would be responsible for the deaths of their innocent citizens killed by our bombs if we were to fight a real war, it does not convince people that passive Muslims under Islamic regimes provide moral sanction for their governments and terrorist groups by advocating the same basic ideas. It sanctions timid, politically Conservative ideas, and it takes the focus away from the more fundamental issues I have discussed.

Jason said...

I think I'm fundamentally correct on this issue, and therefore will not will be persuaded otherwise, but I do hope to engage in discussion and change peoples' minds on it, so I welcome feedback from you Ed (whose writing on this site I am am a huge fan of) or anyone else reading this.

Galileo Blogs said...
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Galileo Blogs said...
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Galileo Blogs said...

Astutely stated, Jason.

This whole campaign against the mosque is part of the same "Homeland Security" mentality that turns inward instead of properly facing the enemy abroad.

It also worries me because shutting down the mosque this way would represent a ratcheting tighter of government power to violate the right of free speech (and property). It would empower government to violate our rights instead of fighting the enemy abroad.

Isn't it true that dictatorships always use the threat of the enemy abroad to unleash force against its own citizens? We are not in a dictatorship yet, in part *because* we still have the right of free speech.

Shutting down the mosque because of its symbolism and its location opens the door to more government rights violations, and Muslims will not be the only targets when that happens.

Jason said...

Yes, primarily fighting the war abroad and not domestically is a huge concept to grasp in understanding this issue.

I give credit to Objectivist professor/intellectual John Lewis, specifically his talk on this exact issue, "The Failure of the Homeland Defense: Lessons from History" in my grasping of the need to fight a decisive, quick, principled war "outside [one's] own borders" on foreign soil.

To quote from his talk:
"You need to push onto his land, to defeat his government, and his society, if necessary, on his own soil, if the threat of aggression is to be permanently removed."

I heartily recommend watching the talk:
http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reg_ls_defense

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how anything Jason or Galileo Blogs has said alters a number of overlooked facts:

First, we have had a succession of administrations, Republican and Democratic, that has failed to retaliate against states that sponsor terrorism -- states that have declared war on the U.S. In fact, we have had a succession of administrations of both parties that has actually aided and abetted Islamic jihad via foreign aid. The current administration, as repugnant as it is, is not the guiltiest party in this regard; it is simply cashing in on the pragmatic foreign policies of the past. One could go as far back as the Suez Crisis and the Eisenhower era. Carter is seen as the worst American president; but technically, it was Reagan, who, after the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, did nothing but lead the nation in a maudlin cry-in. The Marines were sent there to act as “peacekeepers,” but with no real mandate to take sides or do anything.

Second, we have had a succession of administrations, Republic and Democratic, that consistently violated individual rights and overseen the implementation of expanding statist social and economic legislation. The current administration, again, is simply the heir to those policies. So to claim that obstructing the Ground Zero mosque would only encourage further violations of rights is putting the Borax wagon train before the twenty-harness mule team. The federal government needs no encouragement in that respect. It should have surprised no one that Obama and other prominent politicians would speak gibberish when stating in support of the Ground Zero mosque they are for “private property” and upholding “religious freedom,” when they are the leading exponents of violating property rights and abrogating all freedoms.

The federal government as it exists and functions now is not going to retaliate against states that sponsor terrorism, states that have declared war on us. The advocates of Islam will not cease encouraging jihad against us. It will not stop violent attacks, and it will not cease insinuating its totalitarian ideology into the cultural and judicial realms of this country. George Bush capped past pragmatic foreign policy with his failure to retaliate against the states that engineered and facilitated the 9/11 attack, and instead settled for fighting the Islamic gangs supported by those states. He failed to name the true enemy, Islam, a political/religious ideology.

So, as Leonard Peikoff convincingly argued, on one hand, the initiators of force against this country have forfeited all property rights. Ideally, our political leadership should be opposing the mosque. But it is not, because that leadership is as statist and irrational as the Islamists. Muslims who do not question the ideology they practice are as complicit in the jihad as their activist brethren, as complicit as all those law-abiding “good Germans” who raised neither a voice nor a finger to combat Nazism, but just “went along” and “rolled with the punches.” Those who did raise a voice or a finger, such as the White Rose, perished.

Jason, you say that Americans must be convinced of the peril posed by Islam. Fine. I’ve been doing that for years. So, get out there and persuade them. But don’t claim that opposing and perhaps successfully obstructing the reality of the Ground Zero mosque is somehow asking for a dictatorship. We’ve been heading for a dictatorship for decades, unopposed. Americans are confused by the issue, but they somehow sense that the unopposed existence of such a mosque represents a betrayal. You can score observers like Charles Krauthammer for opposing it for the wrong reasons, as I have in this commentary, and condemn petit power-lusters like Obama for endorsing it, but don’t deny Americans the chance to say “No!” to an unspeakable evil whose roots they do not yet understand.

Ed

madmax said...

It seems to me that the difference between Jason's view and Ed's view is how each classifies Islam.

Ed and those who agrees with see Islam as a political / military ideology and therefore anyone who claims to have allegiance for that ideology is immediately suspect. This view sees ALL Muslims as therefore in a position where they are NOT innocent until proven guilty. That assumption no longer applies to Muslims. Instead, Muslims are in a position of a *rebuttable presumption* with regards to being Jihadists. They must prove that they are not intending to spread Sharia, which under this view of Islam, is an enemy doctrine aimed at subverting the American Constitution. Under this view there would be serious restrictions on Muslim immigration and there would be serious scrutiny on the practice of Islam including the building of Mosques.

I admit that I am very sympathetic with this view.

Jason's view and Diana Hseih's view and other similarly minded O'ists have a different view of Islam. They don't see Islam as in inherently political ideology and they don't believe that Muslims should be viewed with great suspicion. They approach the subject of Islam and Muslims from a perspective that focuses more on religious freedoms and property rights. Thus, they are more willing to allow Muslims to practice their religion and build their mosques so long as there are no direct ties to a terrorist organization or an Islamic state.

I am not so sympathetic to this view.

But I see that this is not an easy issue and it is not readily apparent. I can also see that it requires a thorough understanding of Islam; an understanding that, I think, will require a far greater study of Islamic thought and history than reading Robert Spencer or Pamella Geller. An Objectivist intellectual with excellent epistemological methodology needs to turn their attention to the subject of Islam. The reason I say this is because I have seen left-liberal commentators who are *very* knowledgeable about Islam present a view of Islam that is different than the typical anti-Islam conservative's view. Objectivists should be very certain of the subject before they make pronouncements on the "nature of Islam" or that "Islam mandates Jihad" or that "Islam mandates imposing Sharia on foreign people". This may be true, but it may not be. Islam is broad subject with variations within it and it has a 13 century history. We need to be careful when we try to characterize it.

Jason said...

I don't side with those who frame this as a property rights issue. My concern and view is that the predominantly Conservative opposition to the mosque is completely superficial.

I don't buy that the Conservatives get it at a "sense of life," emotional level, and just need the explicit philosophy.

I've spoken to plenty of Conservatives, and they generally have not a shred of intellectual seriousness. I'd be more confident of being able persuade as irrational liberals as Nancy Pelosi and the average Frenchman or German of rational egoism than I would the folksy, unserious Conservative.

To concretize what I mean, let me refer to some of the characters of "Atlas Shrugged." Though it would be an insult to the fictional character of Hank Rearden to say that Conservatives act like him at all, let's assume that his character is basically what the Conservatives can achieve.

While I love the the portrayal of Rearden in the novel, I don't view a culture of rugged individualists like Rearden as enough to enact major cultural change.

I think we need a culture where basically everyone is an explicitly philosophical thinker, along the lines of a Judge Narragansett, John Galt, or even Robert Stadler (his serious intellectualism, obviously not his pragmatic views).

I admire fiery Founders like Sam Adams, but we instead need an entire culture of thinkers along the lines of Thomas Jefferson--not his genius, but his basic mode of thought.

Anonymous said...

I think the hysteria over the mosque reeks of typical Conservative timidity...

Not at all. In fact, this is becoming a rallying point for a wide swath of Americans. The danger to our country is not just from abroad, but internally. And people see this mosque as a spike being driven into the heart.

Short of something like a nuclear attack against us, or one of our allies like Israel, we will not confront the enemy militarily in any meaningful way. You know the reasons why, such as Middle East oil dependence and our own economic weakness right now.

It's easy to blame religious conservatives for their benevolence, and call it timidity.

The mosque is forcing people to confront the nature of Islam without being able to rationalize the aggression to "a handful of terrorists" like we did after 9/11.

W.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Thanks for your observations. True, conservatives wouldn't have had much to say about the GZ mosque, or I hadn't seen much interest by them in the subject -- until Obama opened his mouth at the Ramadan dinner and endorsed the mosque and made it a "national issue" (he has since denied he was speaking about that particular mosque!). The Republicans then found a reason to say something about it. Up to then, the Republican conservatives were hardly "hysterical" about the issue.

But Anonymous is right: the mosque has become a pro-American rallying point for a broad spectrum of Americans, almost on a purely sense of life level. They haven't "let it go" (I am referring to Rand's essay, "Don't Let It Go"). They are still alive enough to sense how monstrous the GZ mosque is as an idea and as a reality if it is ever built. What they lack, and I've said this many times before, is intellectual leadership that will explain to them why they are right.

We are a long way from the kind of culture Jason imagines that would make this kind of issue impossible to even incubate. But those who are fighting for that kind of culture are laying the groundwork for it today. And this is all I intend to say about the issue here.

Ed

Slade Calhoun said...

In a proper culture, one whose dominant ideas were generated by a rational theory class, these tribalistic creeps from the dark ages would be laughed out of existence. Instead, they are given a weird respect of sorts, and their "rights" given weighty consideration by all sides. There are valid ideas expressed here; but just in case it's too little too late, I have invested heavily in a company that manufactures knee-pads.

Grant Jones said...

The source of this particular problem is massive Moslem immigration into the West. Jason's views that all that is necessary to end jihad is to bomb Iran and the Saudi Entity is a typical unproven assertion. Even if those regimes are ended tomorrow, it won't change Islam's nature. And there is no reason to believe that it will end the Stealth Jihad that is now occuring all over the world.

Our feckless government has allowed a large Moslem fifth-column to infiltrate the nation. As Peikoff, Madmax and Ed have noted, all Moslems are suspect given their allegience to a life hating cult that is now (and has been for the last 1400) engaging in vicious aggression in order to destroy what's left of our liberties. So, of course, the Left has jumped into bed with them.

As yet, very few people have the courage to state the obvious need to end all Moslem immigration into the West. One positive thing that may come out of the 9/11 Victory mosque fight is that it will wake up many Americans to this issue. Notice how easily Rauf travels between the United States and this nation's enemies in order to plot sedition. That also needs to end.

Islam is a Death Cult that has no place in America. Why so many O'ist support open immigration from OIC members who are this country's sworn ememy is beyond me, and whose tyranny is supported by the vast majority of passive "moderate" Moslems. Is America suffering from a shortage of religious fanatics?

Grant Jones said...

P.S. Jason, get your facts right. Many who have led the campaign against the mosque are not conservatives. Robert Spencer, John Bolton, Geert Wilders, Pamela Geller and Steve Emerson are damn serious people who can hardly be justly accused of "timidity."

Thomas Rowland said...

Amen, Ed.

madmax said...

The source of this particular problem is massive Moslem immigration into the West.

This is, in my mind, becoming the most important issue in the war against Islamic Jihad. It is restricting Muslim immigration and not international war theory which very well may be the most important part of this battle. Yet almost no Objectivist discusses this subject. Certainly noone at the ARI; they are too busy commenting on war strategy.

But Objectivists seem wedded to the "open immigration" views of a certain prominent Objectivists like Harry Binswanger and Craig Biddle. There was a discussion over at 'The New Clarion' on immigration and the "open immigration" approach was heavily questioned. It is apparent to Objectivists that all economic protectionist arguments for immigration are wrong. But there is a complex area of security concerns which "open immigration" just does not address. Even worse, "open immigration" comes across as suicidal.

Objectivists need to direct their mental energies to the subject of immigration in general and Islamic immigration in particular. If we don't, I think our philosophy will always be perceived as a suicide pact by the anti-Left demographic.

Anonymous said...

MadMax: Is it any coincidence that those who encourage Muslim immigration to the U.S. also call for "open borders" for Mexicans? I've not seen this issue addressed in official Objectivist positions, either. The Democrats endorse "open borders" because they can manipulate the elections to ensure a continued majority in federal and state governments, counting on grateful "illegals" to show up at polling places. They also advocate "religious freedom" for Muslims so the latter can help to undercut what objective law is left in this country with Sharia (Kagan's elevation to the Supreme court is very bad news).

Advocating "open borders" for either group would be fine if we did not have a wealth-consuming welfare state and a philosophicaly rudderless judicial system.

Ed

Jason said...

We already can restrict immigration to Islamists who materially support Islamic fundamentalism--this just hasn't been enforced. This would be consistent with the concept of open immigration.

But restricting Islamic people or Mexicans as such is completely impractical.

If someone really wants to commit a crime, no amount of police, weapon checks, government-mandated paper receipts for purchases to track his every move, or surveillance will stop him--not in the long run anyway. Man has free will and can't be forced to be good and respect the individual rights of others.

And even if you could "discourage" crime in the short run by political means, with the above mentioned tactics, it would come at the destructive price of heavily restricting the freedom of rational men.

Man needs a huge amount of freedom to live properly, for the reasoning mind to function properly--having a permanent government presence over his shoulder or being restricted from dealing with some people because they happen to live outside his country would cripple the mind, as we see it does via regulation today.

The solution to stopping crime is to have a fully free society of selfish, rational men, where exciting jobs, productive achievement, great relationships, and wealth abound, where one has every incentive to think and every-dis-incentive to harm others.

But more importantly, rational philosophy is really the only thing that prevents a man from harming others.

The largest, strongest border fence in the world doesn't mean a thing if you have a society of anything short of heroic thinkers with enormous integrity, egos, and respect for individual rights.

Police and military are essential short-term policies, but the only full antidote to crime, terrorism, and wars, and the only guaranteed protection of freedom is worldwide egoism, hopefully starting in America.

Grant Jones said...

Jason's latest post is a monument to rationalism. No, the government may not be able to stop every terrorist trying to enter the country. But, we can remove and prevent the sea in which the swim.

Moslems don't immigrate, they invade. The real threat from Islam is the stealth jihad and its gutless enablers, not hard-core terrorists. They have no place in a civilized country that wishes to remain civilized.

Grant Jones said...

Sorry for the long post, but some people need a dose of reality:

Islam is not a religion, nor is it a cult. In its fullest form, it is a complete, total, 100% system of life. Islam has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. The religious component is a beard for all of the other components. Islamization begins when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their religious privileges. When politically correct, tolerant, and culturally diverse societies agree to Muslim demands for their religious privileges, some of the other components tend to creep in as well. Here’s how it works: As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will be for the most part be regarded as a peace-loving minority, and not as a threat to other citizens. This is the case in:
United States — Muslim 0..6%
Australia — Muslim 1.5%
Canada — Muslim 1.9%
China — Muslim 1.8%
Italy — Muslim 1.5%
Norway — Muslim 1.8%

At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs. This is happening in:
Denmark — Muslim 2%
Germany — Muslim 3.7%
United Kingdom — Muslim 2.7%
Spain — Muslim 4%
Thailand — Muslim 4.6%

From 5% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves — along with threats for failure to comply. This is occurring in:
France — Muslim 8%
Philippines — 5%
Sweden — Muslim 5%
Switzerland — Muslim 4.3%
The Netherlands — Muslim 5.5%
Trinidad & Tobago — Muslim 5.8%

At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos) under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Sharia law over the entire world. When Muslims approach 10% of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. In Paris , we are already seeing car-burnings. In Russia, grade-schools were attacked. Any non-Muslim action offends Islam and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam, with opposition to Mohammed cartoons and films about Islam. Such tensions are seen daily, particularly in Muslim sections, in:
Guyana — Muslim 10%
India — Muslim 13.4%
Israel — Muslim 16%
Kenya — Muslim 10%
Russia — Muslim 15%

After reaching 20%, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, such as in:
Ethiopia — Muslim 32.8%

At 40%, nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and ongoing militia warfare, such as in:
Bosnia — Muslim 40%
Chad — Muslim 53.1%
Lebanon — Muslim 59.7%

From 60%, nations experience unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels, such as in:
Albania — Muslim 70%
Malaysia — Muslim 60.4%
Qatar — Muslim 77.5%
Sudan — Muslim 70%

After 80%, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some State-run ethnic cleansing, beheadings, stoning, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim, such as has been experienced and in some ways is on-going in:
Bangladesh — Muslim 83%
Egypt — Muslim 90%
Gaza — Muslim 98.7%
Indonesia — Muslim 86.1%
Iran — Muslim 98%
Iraq — Muslim 97%
Jordan — Muslim 92%
Morocco — Muslim 98.7%
Pakistan — Muslim 97%
Palestine — Muslim 99%
Syria — Muslim 90%
Tajikistan — Muslim 90%
Turkey — Muslim 99.8%
United Arab Emirates — Muslim 96%

It's called cause and effect. Ideas have consequences. Moslems don't immigrate, they invade.

Grant Jones said...

Of course, in the United States with Saudi money the jihadists are already working for islamization.

Jason said...

Grant,
The good cannot be achieved by banning the bad. Freedom and safety from harm cannot be achieved by banning bad ideas from being advocated. The only human action that can be legally banned is the criminal, i.e., physical aggression.

People must be free to preach any ideas, even death and misery for all, as long as they do not make targeted, specific death threats to individuals or act on their ideas by turning to violence.

In America, if someone is practicing Sharia via violent means such as burning cars, sending death threats, stoning and killing people in riots, or beating his wife in the name of Islam, then he needs to be arrested.

So, yes, criminal Islamists need to be treated as criminals by our government and be imprisoned. But this is not enough to stop Islamists from continually acting criminally. As long as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the other Middle Eastern political sources of Islamic aggression and murder are allowed to exist, Islamists everywhere will continue to think that their religious totalitarian ideology has a chance to take over the world, and will continue striving to achieve it.

The intellectual, moral source needs to be extinguished. Political Islam needs to be militarily crushed. So yes, arrest criminal Islamists domestically, but the larger piece of the solution is to end Iran and any other Islamic dictatorship and even the whole Muslim society in the Middle East if necessary.

Likely though, the example of a weapon of mass destruction dropped on Iran or another major Islamic state (and correspondingly America making clear the reasons for it) will be enough to convince the large numbers of passive Muslims to recognize what will happen to them if they continue to practice and passively sanction Sharia law and terrorism. They will likely reform to a semi-free country like Japan after World War II. Most Middle Eastern Muslims do want to live, be happy, and engage in productive work, and would build a semi-free society if they had the chance, but are simply born into a highly controlled, religious society and can’t get themselves out, so they begrudgingly and half-heartedly turn to Islam by default. If they don’t reform after a serious military strike to at least a semi-free society, they become the next military target.

Regarding immigration, there is no out-of-context solution without proper military action abroad. No matter what we do in terms of immigration, the pressing, massively more problematic issue is foreign Islamic government’s state-mandated religious ideology, dictatorial political policy, and their harboring and sponsoring of terrorists.

Even if we ended all Muslim immigration to the West, Islamic theocracies and terrorists would still be desperately working to destroy us. And there is a downside to restricting Muslim immigration, which would be the loss of Muslims who could be persuaded to be rational and secular. As an example, see Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who is morally and philosophically better than almost every American born intellectual, and better than almost every American born person in general for that matter. She would not be in the West under closed immigration, and she has done a tremendous amount to rally the West against Islamic fundamentalism. There are good Muslim-born people that freedom-loving Americans should want to be able to live here. We should ban and arrest all Islamic criminals and those who materially support them, not all Islamic people.

If we fight a real war, and at that time Islamic Americans in large numbers join the side of Islamic fundamentalism by turning to violence, then at that time they will need to be treated as the enemy. The likely scenario though is that basically all Islamic Americans would give up Islam or change it into an individual-rights-respecting ideology (like State Shinto in Japan after their defeat in WWII), seeing that Islamic fundamentalism can’t win.

madmax said...

Grant has raised what can be called the problem of aggregates with regard to Muslims. I have seen no good counter-argument to this by Objectivists. That being said, I wonder how a blanket prohibition of all Muslim immigration could square with rights. Would we only allow in explicit apostates like Ayan Ali Hirsi? Would there be a test to differentiate Sharia supporters from non-Sharia supporters? Is that even possible? Blanket proscription of Muslim immigration is a position that, also, has not been adequately defended by those who support it.

madmax said...

Even if we ended all Muslim immigration to the West, Islamic theocracies and terrorists would still be desperately working to destroy us.

The argument given is that if there were no Muslims in Western Nations, then there would be no way for Jihadists to harm us in the confines of the West. The goal is to keep Islam quarantined in its historic lands (ie the Middle East) and conduct non-nation building warfare as needed to put down any material threats to the West. I think it is a legitimate argument to make that if there were no Muslims in America then there would have been no 9/11.

As for Ayan Ali Hirsi and Wafta Sultan and similar persons, they are not Muslims, they are apostates. Immigration policy can be structured to allow apostates in, but see my questions regarding this in the comment above.

Andrew Dalton said...

"I think it is a legitimate argument to make that if there were no Muslims in America then there would have been no 9/11."

This is a fantasy, not a policy.

If we ban non-apostate Muslims from entering the country, and the Islamic world remains committed to harming the United States, then they will enter through illegal means. It doesn't matter if we cut down Muslim immigration by 99%. The ones who get through will be more than enough to commit terrorist attacks. And I haven't yet mentioned our homegrown fanatics who can be recruited into launching attacks without any foreigners having to cross our border at all.

I haven't yet decided if, or to what extent, restrictions on Muslim immigration ought to be part of a larger war against Islamic aggression. But it strikes me as a paleocon error to entertain the idea that immigration restrictions can protect us from attack, or obviate the need for war against the enemy overseas.

Jason said...

I agree with Andrew's points on those who will come in illegally and on homegrown fanatics.

There is a domestic policy which can be implemented regardless of what we do abroad militarily, and which our government has completely failed to do for decades: let our intelligence agencies do their jobs.

Basically, our government should be monitoring a lot more Muslims than it does for contact and involvement with terrorist groups. The CIA and FBI need to be able to much more freely question, track the finances, and bug the computers and phones of Muslims.

There was substantive intelligence on the 9/11 hijackers gathered before the attacks that was simply ignored by the Clinton administration.

A specific intelligence failure example is the serious intelligence warnings of an upcoming attack in July 2001 that the Bush administration, specifically National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, ignored.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/30/AR2006093000282.html

[Washington post article, "Two Months Before 9/11, an Urgent Warning to Rice," October 1, 2006]

Grant Jones said...

I see that those who are undecided about Moslem immigration are entirely focused on terrorism. If Moslems were not allowed to immigrate - this would also pertain to Saudi money - then the terrorists would have a smaller ocean to swim in.

However, this evades the real issue of jihad by means other than terrorism as usually defined. Islam mandates that sharia be imposed upon everyone via the state. All Moslems by definition agree on this. If they don't, they keep their mouths shut about it in order not to be labeled an apostate and killed. As Madmax said, aggregates matter, culture matters and whether Moslems can ever assimilate matters.

I have not said that immigration restrictions should replace active campaigning against Islam. Islam has been at war with the rest of the world for 1400 years. Letting in large numbers to settle always leads to violence and sharia law or least the attempt to impose it. Objectivists are suppose to take ideas seriously. So, try taking the ideas of the koran and hadith serious. Moslems do. They mean it.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't let this one pass: What is a "non-apostate Muslim"? It's an oxymoron (a non-A "A"), unless Andrew Dalton was referring to Semite Muslims from the Middle East or an Indo-European from the Indian continent. There are countless Caucasian Muslim converts now in Britain and the U.S., of both sexes. Not to mention countless black converts in both countries. Black Muslims in Africa are, to the "superior" Mideast ones, are despised "abds," meaning inferior Muslims, stupid and easily enslaved. Muslims ran the biggest slaver operations in history out of Africa, for nearly 1,400 years, not Britain or the United States or the British colonies. Blacks who survived the "crossing" to the Americas usually have descendents; blacks who were enslaved by Muslims have very few descendents. They were usually castrated, or their children killed at birth. This is another wonderful legacy that Obama failed to mention in Cairo or at the Ramadan dinner.

Next time, don't use a term like "non-apostate Muslims." There is no such thing.

Ed

Jason said...

As long as the dropping weapons of mass destruction on an Islamic theocracy is treated by advocates of reason and freedom as something that is likely not going to happen any time soon, then we've given up.

It can happen, the right foreign policy, in a matter of years, if we consistently present the policy over and over, and take on and explain the deepest questions, concerns, and intellectual issues involved, such as the deaths of innocents as being the fault of the dictatorships and of the passive Middle Eastern Muslims as being guilty of morally sanctioning terrorism by agreeing with the basic ideas.

Essentially any time we talk about foreign policy to people or write about it, we should be mentioning the need to use weapons of mass destruction to militarily crush Islamic dictatorships.

Scarcely is this policy mentioned in Objectivist writing and talks on Islamic fundamentalism and what to do about it. It usually does not even get mentioned in most articles (or gets one or two lines), and gets fifteen seconds in an hour long talk and lengthy Q&A.

The point needs to be the centerpiece of any conversation or piece of writing and needs to stated over and over.

It can be nerve-racking to advocate using weapons of mass destruction and overwhelming military force, but the more people that do advocate it the safer we are from any potential violent people who oppose this policy. There is strength in numbers.

The lack of focus on the issue by the few people who understand it is one of the main reasons why Americans don't take it seriously.

If we treat the use of weapons of mass destruction as something that can happen soon, if we treat the full ideal as the only practical policy, Americans will be much more receptive and put serious thought into the policy and into the philosophical base for it as well.

Jason said...

I have to add this one more point dealing with jihad and the false notion that Islam is fundamentally different from all other religions and death-advocating ideologies.

Jihad just means murder, murder of non-believers of an ideology. In a sense, Christians during the Dark Ages and the Inquisition were jihadists, with non-Christians being infidels. Nazis were jihadists, with Jews, Europeans, eventually Russian Communists, and all non-Aryans as infidels. Japanese Shinto soldiers were jihadists, with Westerners being infidels.

There is noting unique about Islam. It is fundamentally the same as Christianity, Nazism, Communism, Japanese Shintoism, etc., which all demanded that its supporters kill non-believers and set up a worldwide dictatorship that forces people to practice that religion or ideology.

There are a few small groups amongst Islamic Americans who are doing the same thing Christians have been doing for some time--saying terrorism is wrong and ignoring the murderous decrees Islam dictates. In the same way, Christians have ignored the Bible's demands to kill by stoning those who disobey their parents, those who worship non-Christian Gods, and woman who have sex before marriage.

You don't defeat Nazism, Shintoism, or Islam by banning the promotion of it. You defeat it by banning murder and targeted death threats, condemning it, and militarily defeating any government that implements the ideology and harbors terrorists guided by the ideology.

Anonymous said...

Rather than go ‘round and ‘round on the subject of Islam and the peril it poses -- together with the peril posed by our own government -- I am going to get off of this merry-go-round that Jason keeps pushing in a campaign to have the last word. He keeps citing the obvious and then contradicting himself, and also bringing in irrelevancies in a tone one can only call hysteria. I think calmer minds have called it quits, as well. So, Jason will have the “last word,” which doesn’t necessarily imply that he “won.”

Jason said...

Let's not resort to intellectually belittling each other, everyone in this discussion has shown they are better than that.

Saying "I disagree," "I have better things to do with my time than discuss this," "Jason is dead wrong about Islam," or just not responding to my comment would have all been more civil than making a snide comment alleging that I'm not here primarily to discuss ideas but rather to have people agree with me for the sake of agreement in order to build up a pseudo-ego.

My use of the term "hysteria" was aimed at Conservatives, though maybe I overstated this a little. There is some hysteria amongst them, but for the most part they have not been hysterical, just timid and evasive. So if any Conservatives are reading this, my apologies for the hysteria comment.

And I'll amend my comment on the folksiness and unseriousness of Conservatives. There is some of that exhibited by Conservatives in general in terms of personality, especially in the South and Midwest, but I'll more maturely blame them for their timid ideas.

Everyone in this discussion has shown to be serious about ideas, and in my view not hysterical.

My only goal was to explain (and yes, persuade) my views to people who use and value their intelligence, which everyone here has shown to do.

Not responding to a comment does not make you look "weak" or imply agreement, if those are concerns of yours.

madmax said...

This is a fantasy, not a policy.

The argument against this, and yes it is given almost exclusively by PaleoCons (the only area I agree with them), is that terrorism is not the only or the most dangerous weapon that the Sharia faithful have. Part of Islam's war against the non-Islamic world is through immigration and cultural conquest.

Grant is right that this is an explicitly defined tactic of war that Muslims use to take over infidel lands. The best way to prevent that is to keep Muslims out of the Euro-American world. If a Near or Middle Easterner wants to come to the West, then they must become apostates and abandon Islam. The argument is that by treating the Islamic world and Muslims as pariahs we will send a message to them that they are not tolerated in Western nations and we will be defending ourselves from them at the same time.

As Grant said, aggregates matter. Pro-Islam immigration Objectivists need to show that this is not so. So far, I have seen no Objectivist come even remotely close to making that argument.

Andrew Dalton said...

So far, I have seen no Objectivist come even remotely close to making that argument.

I don't see the anti-Muslim-immigration argument as wrong so much as unimportant. I'm not pro-Muslim-immigration; rather, I'm dubious of the amount of argument and passion being invested in advocating a border policy that I see as, at most, an accompaniment to an actual war that needs to be waged.

Right now, our government refuses to even identify our enemies, let alone fight them. We are, in fact, retreating further from the already timid position of the Bush administration. If the Islamic world is waging war against us, then the inevitable position to advocate is war against Islamic states.

The problem with paleocons is that they are pacifists in all but name, and so they put the defense of the nation almost entirely in the hands of law enforcement. So of course they put a huge emphasis on the threat of invasion by immigration. What are we going to do instead, fight them overseas? You already know the paleocon answer to that.

madmax said...

The problem with paleocons is that they are pacifists in all but name, and so they put the defense of the nation almost entirely in the hands of law enforcement. So of course they put a huge emphasis on the threat of invasion by immigration. What are we going to do instead, fight them overseas? You already know the paleocon answer to that.

This is a really good answer. Its true now that I think about it. Paleocons are never for warfare. Calling them pacifist is entirely accurate. Everything is an immigration issue for them. I still don't know if the Islam problem can be entirely solved through bold, offensive warfare but treating it as purely an immigration issue is wrong.

Jason said...

As Andrew says, it's not that Muslim immigration is a non-issue, but that a real war is the fundamental, overarching policy (with the goal being to defeat the ideology of Islamic totalitarianism by crushing the will of its supporters at the source) that needs to be focused on and advocated, and at most border policy is an accompaniment to a real war.