Sunday, December 27, 2015

If words could kill

If Trump announcing his plan to restrict Muslim immigration into the US is an effective ISIS recruitment tool--as the establishment suggests it is (and Hillary Clinton claims it has been)--isn't that an argument in favor of Trump's plan? Trump should ask the rhetorical question--or just assert it, as is his style--whenever an interviewer brings it up.

"Islamic extremists" are not outliers, they're just at one end of a distribution. As Randall Parker explains:
Terrorists lie at the tail of a distribution of people with varying degrees of sympathy, shared values, shared beliefs, and willingness to help or ignore. If you can understand that then a bunch of liberal beliefs about terrorism look absurd.
And cuckservative beliefs, too.


Dr. Allen said...

So, if I understand correctly what you (and the establishment) are saying, excluding Muslims from entering the United States would cause a chain of events to recruit new ISIS members. Basically, ISIS would say to a peaceful Muslim, "Look at the US. They are supposed to be the land of opportunity and they won't even accept you. Join us, and we will. Blah blah blah." They play it up, say it's not what the media makes it out to be. And they get new recruits.

That makes sense. But think about how many people there are out there who aren't as educated on these issues as you or me. I'm pretty sure there's a lot of people in this country that would live their whole lives without joining ISIS solely because they've never looked into the "pros" of it. I want to make it clear that I don't support ISIS in any way, but the media is very subjective in it's depiction of ISIS.

By keeping all Muslims out of the US, sure there may be a spike in ISIS recruitment. But how many of those recruits are actually passionate about what the group does? How many are staying in because they're trapped?

Not sure how much you know about the Church of Scientology, but I've done my fair share of research to know how easy it is for them to recruit people. I was listening to a podcast where Aziz Ansari, Paul Scheer, and Rob Huebell, three well known comedians and writers went to a Dianetics center as a joke, knowing how crazy Scientology is. They went in assuming the Church couldn't sway their views. But by the time they left, they all looked at each other and were really surprised at how much second guessing the Church got them to think of themselves.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that it makes sense to want to keep out anyone who could potentially be persuaded into joining ISIS. But with so many people in the world who could be persuaded of anything, it's important to do what we can to prevent people from making the wrong decisions. I'm not sure what the immigration vetting entails, but hopefully there's some kind of mandatory education on terrorism. Hopefully there's something that a potential terrorist trying to enter the country can see or read to help prevent radically violent actions and thinking.

Dan said...

Dr. Allen,

September 11th came basically out of the blue. Nobody was criticizing Muslims in the run up to Sept. 11.

The Israelis learned long ago that treating their enemy well achieves nothing. They pulled out of Gaza and handed it over to the Palestinian Authority which then went with Hamas.

If anything, weakness encourages ISIS. ISIS has avoided Saudi Arabia and Israel. They walk into Germany.

Audacious Epigone said...

Dr. Allen,

Our priors are different. Your question seems to be "what approaches can we take to ensure--or at least increase the chances--that we get refugees who aren't problematic for us?"

My question is "what compelling reason is there for us to allow Muslim immigration into the West at all?" There is a litany of reasons not to--their consanguinity (inbreeding/tribalism), illiberalism, low levels of educational attainment and skills, language barriers, strain on social services, on and on.

On the other hand, there is apparently no reason other than a self-sense of moral satisfaction to allow settlement. If we're talking about a population pool--whatever their circumstances and whatever their motivations, be they desperation, religious zeal, sense of adventure, or whatever--that can be potentially persuaded to join ISIS, they are unfit for residency in the Western world.

Audacious Epigone said...

Perfect illustration of the dearth of compelling self-interested reasons for Americans to be force fed Syrian refugees as neighbors:

Sarhan walked off the plane and stopped to wash his face and wipe his shoes. His three sons were dressed in winter jackets donated for their trip by the United Nations. His oldest daughter was carrying an American flag she’d been given during a pre-departure cultural orientation for refugees. They had been taught that Americans believed in wearing seat belts, that girls and boys attended school together, and that recent terrorist attacks in Paris and California had caused a backlash against Muslims. They’d been told about Donald Trump, and how his supporters talked of shutting down mosques, banning Arabic and creating a government registry of Muslims. These were some of the things Sarhan knew about the United States.

What the United States knew about him was collected in his refugee case file. “Reason for resettlement: Physical protection needs.” “U.S. ties: none.” “Prior occupation: Shepherd.” “English ability: Reads none, writes none, speaks none.” “FBI screening: Cleared.” “Department of Homeland Security: Approved.”


He said nothing at baggage claim while the church congregants grabbed the family’s suitcases and carried them out to an awaiting van. He had no idea where the van was taking them. He didn’t know where they would live, or if he would find work, or whether anyone needed an experienced shepherd in Louisville.