Who Wants to Die for an Abstraction?
Next time someone says to you that a “Muslim pause” in immigration is bigoted, ask, “If the U.S. doesn’t do so, and among those Muslim immigrants or Syrian refugees are killers, and if -- God forbid -- a Topeka mall food court is shot to pieces, what do you tell the parents of a five-year-old who was out for a Saturday with his grandparents and slaughtered?”
What would you say? If you’re an elite (a leftist, particularly), you might argue that innocents dying is tragic but doing so for a principle is noble. Bigotry is bad; inclusion and diversity are good. Most Muslims in or entering the U.S. aren’t looking to gun down Americans. This is true – as far as it goes. Then why exclude Muslim immigrants based on the bad actions of some? Aren’t there bad players in most every segment of society?
It’s easy to pronounce from on high as the nation’s elites do. In fact, many in the nation’s increasingly out-of-touch political establishment do so, too. That includes establishment Republicans, who are in sync with the left that a halt in Muslim immigration is bigoted.
But the wager is that if an elite’s child was mowed down in a hail of bullets by a Muslim extremist, lofty-sounding principle wouldn’t do much to ease the pain or ever fill the void. Solidarity hashtags on Twitter, candlelight vigils, and ribbons galore amount to a hill of beans when the loss is personal, as those losses have been in San Bernardino and Paris. And lest we forget, on 9/11.
Sure, being killed in a terrorist attack is about as likely as being struck by lightning. Then, again, two major attacks just happened within a short space of time, first in France and then in California. A handful of Muslim fighters in France and California managed to kill 140-plus people and wound scores of others. Moreover, they smashed the lives of families whose loved ones were wrenched away.
The shift to small scale military-style operations directed at soft (civilian) targets by Muslim extremists means an ominous new phase in the bad guys’ war on us.
Doubtless, more attacks are being planned or in some stage of execution. It’s not alarmist to suggest that subsequent attacks on these shores will be directed at venues where Americans shop and eat, attend shows and sporting events, or at places of worship. Or where our kids are educated, be that primary, secondary, or college level institutions. Perhaps all of the above. And sooner rather than later, if the enemy is ready.
Here’s a primer for our elites: the ancient first obligation of government is to defend its citizens. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are sequenced that way for a reason. If a government fails to properly safeguard its citizens, its legitimacy can be called into question -- rightly.
There’s a great danger to elitists prioritizing nondiscrimination and inclusion; such risks the “safety and happiness” (welfare) of the citizenry. If the next attacks here originate -- whole or in part -- from among Muslim immigrants or refugees, expect a backlash among average citizens, many of whom, heretofore, had, at best, a casual interest in government and politics. If a series of attacks occur -- or an attack of greater magnitude happens -- citizens will begin to suspect the national government’s willingness to defend them to the best of its abilities.
Instructive are the Pew Research Center’s surveys of religion around the globe. In the U.S., per Pew, there are about 2.75 million Muslims -- that’s adults and children. Otherwise, there are 1.8 million adult Muslims. Pew uncovered this disconcerting fact about American Muslims’ attitudes toward violence against civilians:
More generally, Muslims mostly say that suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians in the name of Islam are rarely or never justified, including 92% in Indonesia and 91% in Iraq. In the United States, a 2011 survey found that 86% of Muslims say that such tactics are rarely or never justified. An additional 7% say suicide bombings are sometimes justified and 1% say they are often justified in these circumstances.
So only 8% of American Muslims find some justification for suicide bombings (let’s extrapolate that to violence generally) against innocents. The simple math is that 8% of 1.8 million Muslim adults in America translate to 144,000 Muslims whose worldview permits killing innocents at sometime for some reason. The bigger point is that the nation faces the potential for significant threats to citizen safety from within existing American Muslim communities. Allowing new Muslim immigrants and refugees infiltrated with extremist agents compounds the threats.
Excluding Muslim immigrants and refugees for a time makes perfect sense. It may be indefinite, depending on threat assessments.
The attacks at San Bernardino and Paris are easily differentiated from “attacks” that originate among poor blacks, Hispanics, or whites in the U.S., for example. Perpetrators from those populations are criminals. Criminals, overwhelmingly, act without reference to a worldview informed by ideology and religious convictions. Criminals act from a perverse self-interest, at best.
Jihad isn’t a criminal act. Since shortly after 9/11, the left has insisted terrorism is criminal. Terrorism perpetrated by Muslims is a means of jihad. Jihad is what it translates to: war to defend or advance Muslim belief. Most Muslims aren’t jihadists, but enough are. As the Pew findings suggest, too many others are sympathetic, by degrees, to jihad.
From an ABC News report dated December 10:
With the U.S. and other countries on high alert for ISIS attacks, American authorities are warning the terror group’s followers may have infiltrated American borders with authentic-looking passports ISIS has printed itself with its own machines, according to an intelligence report obtained by ABC News.
Americans must wonder why ISIS agents would even bother with counterfeit passports. With the nation’s southern flank practically opened to illegals (the elites’ ironically termed “undocumented” immigrants), infiltration there is a matter of getting agents to Mexico and then across our border. No small feat, but it’s a good bet that enemy agents “sleep” among us now, waiting on orders to attack.
If Americans see that governing elites (politicians, appointees, the courts, and so forth) have inverted moral obligation and discounted their duty to defend the citizenry in order to admit populations that, in all probability, contain enemy agents, this to satisfy a high-toned abstraction, convulsions will follow. Americans are a practical people; mainly, they’re an open and generous people, but most Americans won’t tolerate watching innocents butchered or put their families at risk thanks to the smug, misplaced priorities of elites.
For the nation’s elite, it pays to ponder ramifications. For many reasons, the gulf between average citizens and them grows. Failure by our governing elite to implement common sense policies to exclude, as best possible, enemy agents embedding among Muslim immigrants not only poses an existential peril to citizens but risks national government legitimacy.
The nation’s elite would be wise to understand: Americans will not die for an abstraction.