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Ending Islamic Immigration

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Let's first analyze your knee-jerk reaction to this idea: Aren't the terrorists part of just a tiny, extreme, perversion of Islam? Well, the folks at the Catholic-leaning Chronicles Magazine will tell you that you've just given in to a leftist, multi-culturalist, politically-correct lie. With the lead of Srdja Trifkovic, they claim that most Muslims are at least sympathetic to the terrorist cause and the vision for a global islamic state and thus, in large numbers, they actually pose a national security threat.

Let's look at their reasoning:

Premise 1: Muslims, by and large, are sympathetic to the terrorist cause (even if they may not like their methods) for a global islamic state.

Premise 2: Muslim families have greater birth rates and are immigrating to first-world countries more rapidly than other ethnic groups.

Conclusion: Large populations with terrorist sympathies are national security threats that must be dealt with using an extreme version of ethno-cultural profiling in our immigration policy.

I ask you to do two things:

(1) Comment specifically on the above. Do they have their facts right? If so, would their solution work? (I'm not asking whether or not it would be practical in today's political climate)

(2) Comment more generally on the morality of racial/cultural/ideological profiling. Is it okay to treat groups collectively as threats (knowing that many are innocent)? Was it right to keep known communists out of America during the Cold War, even if only some actually were spies? How is that different than keeping Muslims out of America today, even though only some actually support terrorism?

Articles:

MISUNDERSTANDING THE ENEMY: THE ISLAMIC THREAT AND THE U.S. MEDIA - September 22, 2004

ISLAMIC TERRORISM AND ISLAMIC IMMIGRATION: FIFTH COLUMN WITHIN FORTRESS AMERICA - November 28, 2001

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Anarchists and Communists were prevented from entering the country at the turn of the century, and people who lied or became anarchists or communists were deported. The question though is why should everyone espousing dumb ideas (like religious ones) be prevented from entering the United States? The government should prosecute crimes, not thwart immigration based on assumptions. Native islamists can do just as much damage as islamist immigrants.

Also, this line of reasoning sounds like what Pat Buchanan has been saying the last few years, and it still hasn't been proved or bolstered with any fundamental ideas or principles of ethics.

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The question though is why should everyone espousing dumb ideas (like religious ones) be prevented from entering the United States? The government should prosecute crimes, not thwart immigration based on assumptions.

This is almost exactly what I thought when I came across Trifkovic. However, in his defense, nobody is saying we should block people who hold dumb ideas. It can be argued that all dumb ideas will eventually lead to someone's harm, but it is all abstract conjecture; no crime has actually been committed.

The focus is specifically on dumb ideas that are directly tied to an enemy we are at war with. Since Islam is the one thing our current enemy has in common, can we use it to make one sweeping immigration restriction? Since it is logistically impossible to sort out the moderates from the die-hard militants, why can't we keep them all out? Of course, it would be wrong to round up all muslims on solely a religious basis, but immigration is different; nobody has the right to enter our country.

Native islamists can do just as much damage as islamist immigrants.

The point of this immigration policy is not to directly thwart terrorist attacks; that is the job of law enforcement and military action. The point of this policy is to slow down and eventually completely stop the formation of a large islamic communities that could easily provide safe-haven and other much-needed services to terrorists.

Going even more long-range, this also would prevent the formation of a large islamic voting block that could sway elections or even eventually completely overtake our political system.

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...nobody has the right to enter our country.

I agree. I don't see any good coming from sympathizers of a declared enemy entering our country. It is not a breach of principle, it is a war. Letting them immigrate to the US will just further muddle a black and white issue. If they aren’t a threat we shouldn’t be at war - if they are a threat we shouldn’t be letting them into our country; one or the other.

Usually we are happy to let people in, the more productive people the better. The question is whether the threat presented by that group of people outweighs their value as producers.

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While I'm not pro-Islamist myself, could you kindly validate this position?

The purpose of government is to secure and protect the rights of its citizens. In relation to everyone else, the government's only duty is to leave them alone (assuming they aren't threatening). That is the crucial difference between those inside and outside the government's jurisdiction.

A foreign alien can claim no "right" to immigrate because it necessarily means shifting into the government's jurisdiction. While this should be okay under normal circumstances, the government's duty first and foremost is to protect its current citizens. If that includes forbidding certain foreign aliens from immigrating, it must do it.

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The purpose of government is to secure and protect the rights of its citizens. In relation to everyone else, the government's only duty is to leave them alone (assuming they aren't threatening). That is the crucial difference between those inside and outside the government's jurisdiction.

A foreign alien can claim no "right" to immigrate because it necessarily means shifting into the government's jurisdiction. While this should be okay under normal circumstances, the government's duty first and foremost is to protect its current citizens. If that includes forbidding certain foreign aliens from immigrating, it must do it.

But what if immigration is the only way to secure the inalienable rights the person does "obviously" possess (to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)?

What does the person do? Sacrifice himself to a set of "airy" laws? What about reality? What about the Western-Civilization sympathizer in Iran brimming with a need to fully live all of his benevolent-universe-guaranteed 70+ years on earth? He's been a pro-freedom activist in Iran, and he's seen Western pragmatism fuel the mullahs; he admires America and Americans but sees that they suffer from bad leadership relative to their historical context just like the rest of the world does. He's surmised that, looking out for yourself, so long as it doesn't hurt others, is all that's important in one's limited time on earth; and so, he's decided to immigrate to America and die in the process if need be. (Just like Kira in We The Living.) What about this fellow?

If his record is clean and he knows that life is all you have and that you can't eat legal principles, should he ignore all the possibilities open to him regarding immigration just because America has banned all Iranian immigrants? What if America does not bring down the mullahs? Is he to dwell in despair for eternity (i.e. his life)?

-----

Note that, in the above, I'm trying to draw out proper principles for immigration. Many people today speak about immigrants and immigration in such a way that one sometimes forgets that immigration is one of the country's building blocks. It is easy to fall prey to this "patriotism," so I think it's a good idea to validate the principles by starting from concretes.

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But what if immigration is the only way to secure the inalienable rights the person does "obviously" possess (to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)?

The government is not obligated to protect the rights of foreign aliens.

What does the person do? Sacrifice himself to a set of "airy" laws? . . . What about this fellow?

It is the fault of his native oppressors for putting him in this situation; you cannot fault the free nation for wanting to protect itself. It is you who demands sacrifice -- that the free nation sacrifice its security to let the poor man in.

Note that, in the above, I'm trying to draw out proper principles for immigration. Many people today speak about immigrants and immigration in such a way that one sometimes forgets that immigration is one of the country's building blocks. It is easy to fall prey to this "patriotism," so I think it's a good idea to validate the principles by starting from concretes.

I have nothing against immigration as such. However, I do have a problem with the air-headed libertarian open-border approach.

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The government is not obligated to protect the rights of foreign aliens.

You have not here specified context. Do you mean if an immigrant within the United States is attacked by rogues in a parking lot and cries for help within the hearing of two cops, the police officers should calmly tell him while he's being stabbed that "government is not obligated to protect the rights of foreign aliens."

No-one is talking about sending soldiers to Iraq to fight "for the Iraqi people" which is the context your proposition addresses.

It is the fault of his native oppressors for putting him in this situation; you cannot fault the free nation for wanting to protect itself. It is you who demands sacrifice -- that the free nation sacrifice its security to let the poor man in.

How is it a sacrifice to let a Western-Civilization sympathizer into a rational society? Let us even say that he were not pro-Western-Civilization. Is the true battle against him or the states that sponsor him? Now, I'm not arguing against keeping out men with known ties to terrorist groups. However, if a person has no ties to these groups, it would be fruitless to keep him out (one might be keeping out an Ayn Rand or an Aristotle, just to name two very important immigrants). End the evil states, not the good men.

And note that the man has no control over his "native oppressors" - reason is an individual faculty.

I have nothing against immigration as such. However, I do have a problem with the air-headed libertarian open-border approach.

I do not believe in open-borders either, and I'm sure you are not referring to me when you use the word "libertarian." However, my views are much less jingoistic than many people I have met. I have a strong aversion to jingoism (or any kind of rationalistic feeling), and it's not just because I'm foreign.

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I agree.  I don't see any good coming from sympathizers of a declared enemy entering our country.  It is not a breach of principle, it is a war.  Letting them immigrate to the US will just further muddle a black and white issue.  If they aren’t a threat we shouldn’t be at war - if they are a threat we shouldn’t be letting them into our country; one or the other.

Usually we are happy to let people in, the more productive people the better.  The question is whether the threat presented by that group of people outweighs their value as producers.

I don't see anything good with liberals entering either, they undermine America's position in fighting the war. Infact, all religious people of any type wouldn't support the necessary steps to defeat terrorism, and nearly all secular humanists would agree with them. Why don't we drop this immigration thing all together?

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You have not here specified context. Do you mean if an immigrant within the United States is attacked by rogues in a parking lot and cries for help within the hearing of two cops, the police officers should calmly tell him while he's being stabbed that "government is not obligated to protect the rights of foreign aliens."

That wouldn't be a half-bad idea for an illegal. In reality, though, the cops would help him out, discover his identity, and send him away.

How is it a sacrifice to let a Western-Civilization sympathizer into a rational society?

Note what I said earlier: it is logistically impossible to sort out the moderates from the die-hard militants. To extend this, it is also logistically impossible to sort out the genuine pro-Americans from the fakers. However, I'm open to being convinced otherwise.

I do not believe in open-borders either, and I'm sure you are not referring to me when you use the word "libertarian." However, my views are much less jingoistic than many people I have met. I have a strong aversion to jingoism (or any kind of rationalistic feeling), and it's not just because I'm foreign.

No, I don't know enough about you so I couldn't have been referring to you. However, I will add that you will find the same "immigration is one of the country's building blocks" argument on lp.org.

As for jingoism, that term only applies to those who have blind loyalty to their nationality.

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While I'm not pro-Islamist myself, could you kindly validate this position?

Just curious, thanks.

Since all property will be private property in a capitalist society, it will be totally up to the current citizens within the country whether to allow immigration or not, how much, by what means, on what terms, etc... After all, NO ONE has a right to enter anyone's property without permission AND on the property owner's terms.

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I don't see anything good with liberals entering either, they undermine America's position in fighting the war. Infact, all religious people of any type wouldn't support the necessary steps to defeat terrorism, and nearly all secular humanists would agree with them. Why don't we drop this immigration thing all together?

This thread is about ethno-cultural profiling -- the usage of one's ethnic and cultural background as a factor in whether or not we let them immigrate to our country. This concept cannot be streched to all liberals or all religious people; it is reserved for eliminating the immediate threat of Islamic subversion.

I am, however, willing to flatter the thought of requiring a patriotism test for everyone else. But that is beyond the scope of this topic.

Since all property will be private property in a capitalist society, it will be totally up to the current citizens within the country whether to allow immigration or not, how much, by what means, on what terms, etc... After all, NO ONE has a right to enter anyone's property without permission AND on the property owner's terms.

Zeus was asking about the government immigration policy, which can override even the wishes of the private property owners. After all, a group of Muslims could easily get together, buy property, and fly other Muslims in to live here.

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What if the would-be immigrants from islamic countries are immigrating precisely because they like western values better?

The fact that they are a declared enemy makes it a lot more probable that open immigration will be exploited as a defensive weakness. As for the good people that get turned away, they should realize (contrary to what Bush says) that we are not so much interested in helping them as we are in preserving our own lives, and it is not our fault that we are in the position of having to defend ourselves.

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Since all property will be private property in a capitalist society, it will be totally up to the current citizens within the country whether to allow immigration or not, how much, by what means, on what terms, etc...  After all, NO ONE has a right to enter anyone's property without permission AND on the property owner's terms.

Let me put this scenario to you. A man is shipwrecked on an island. The island is completely in the control of one man who insists that the stranded fellow must return to the deep blue sea. His justification? He has private property rights to the island and will not part with his property in any form or manner.

What should the stranded man do? Return to sea or kill the landed gent?

------

Immigration is not simply a case of physical movement of a human entity across national boundaries devoid of context. Immigration, like rights, presupposes an entire metaphysical, moral, and political context. The immigrant must be able to sustain himself in his new home. If he is unable to find work and there is no welfare state, then he will starve and perish. If he is employed, does not pose public health issues, and agrees to abide by the laws of the state, he has every right to stay.

A man who has violated other mens' rights, or is party to such violation (such as a card-carrying but non-violent member of Hamas), has negated his own rights. A man with a clean record, however, retains his rights. This applies in the immigrant's native society or his adopted one. Individual rights are universal.

If one is restricting the rights of immigrants just because they harbor the wrong ideas, then one might as well throw out most of the philosophy professors in America's universities.

If one is restricting the rights of immigrants just because they are immigrants, then it is a case of who smashes the other first. Morality ends where a gun begins; the immigrant faces the gun in his native land; so, why not face it here where he might be able to appeal to reason? The rights of the non-immigrant property owner who is looking for someone with the immigrant's skills cannot be abrogated to suit a poor foreign policy -- a policy that appeases enemy states but is concerned to deter moral individuals.

The reason why immigration raises such a big problem today is the rise of the welfare state and the mortal dangers raised by a mixed foreign policy.

Whatever conclusions one comes to on this matter, I would propose that we temper our arguments against unrestricted immigration appropriately, so as not to land in the lap of xenophobes who are looking to turn the nation to Fascism.

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(1) Comment specifically on the above. Do they have their facts right? If so, would their solution work? (I'm not asking whether or not it would be practical in today's political climate)

Hell, there is an American ex-President who is sympathetic to the cause and many Americans share his view. It would not surprise me if peaceful Muslims were sympathetic in some way, but unless that can be verified I don't know that we can act on such a supposition.

Give my former point I don't see how we could base any restrictive action on birth rates.

Also, are Muslims who are born in the US more or less (or at all) sympathetic to the cause of militant Islam?

(2) Comment more generally on the morality of racial/cultural/ideological profiling. Is it okay to treat groups collectively as threats (knowing that many are innocent)? Was it right to keep known communists out of America during the Cold War, even if only some actually were spies? How is that different than keeping Muslims out of America today, even though only some actually support terrorism?

Restricing known communists is perfectly justified for a couple reasons. 1) they are known to be communist and 2) they are communist. That is, they have pledged allegiance to an organzation that explicity seeks the downfall of America.

As for profiling I think to a certain extent it is unavoidable. If security more closely scrutinzes those coming from Islamic nations or those individuals who are known to be Islamic (i.e. Cat Stevens) then that is the price those individuals pay for living in a region or associating with those who are hostile to the US. The agents assigned to protect American borders must use what information they have to do their job- if that includes stopping and questioning every passenger from Iran or Saudi Arabia then that is what they must do. That is a far cry however from restricting anyone who looks Arab (or Persian) from entering the US. Unless an individual has expressed a violent sentiment or belongs to a group bent on actually harming US citizens I don't see how you can turn them away. Those people may not yet be under the protection of the US Constitution, but automatically turning them away is a sorry way to invite those seeking its protection to our shores.

That may let a few bad seeds in, but just as in our own court system in which it requires only a reasonable doubt to find a man not guilty, it is better to let a criminal go than to punish the innocent.

Besides, the freedom America represents, even in her current state, must be a powerful tool of persuasion against anti-American sentiment for those who have never experienced such freedom.

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What if the would-be immigrants from islamic countries are immigrating precisely because they like western values better?

We've already gone over this.

If one is restricting the rights of immigrants just because they harbor the wrong ideas, then one might as well throw out most of the philosophy professors in America's universities.

This thread is about immigration. I've said nothing about throwing Muslims out, so to extend that to professors of American universities is erroneous.

Whatever conclusions one comes to on this matter, I would propose that we temper our arguments against unrestricted immigration appropriately, so as not to land in the lap of xenophobes who are looking to turn the nation to Fascism.

I don't care what stigma an idea comes with, as long as it is well-reasoned.

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It would not surprise me if peaceful Muslims were sympathetic in some way, but unless that can be verified I don't know that we can act on such a supposition.

I can agree that the government must protect the rights of its citizens from "suppositions", but immigrants are not yet citizens. Why should we give them the benefit of the doubt?

That is a far cry however from restricting anyone who looks Arab (or Persian) from entering the US.

We're talking about ethno-cultural profiling, not racial profiling.

Those people may not yet be under the protection of the US Constitution, but automatically turning them away is a sorry way to invite those seeking its protection to our shores.

I worry more about the safety of American citizens than the impression I'm making on would-be immigrants.

That may let a few bad seeds in, but just as in our own court system in which it requires only a reasonable doubt to find a man not guilty, it is better to let a criminal go than to punish the innocent.

Then you've revoked the purpose of the government -- to protect its citizens. Again, I can agree that we shouldn't punish American Muslims on the basis of suppositions, but non-citizens are far different. It is not the duty of the government to protect them, save them from oppression, or any number of other things.

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We're talking about ethno-cultural profiling, not racial profiling.

Then you've revoked the purpose of the government -- to protect its citizens.

The purpose of government is to protect individual rights. Obviously it can only do this for its citizens but I bring up the distinction because you seem to be willing to accept some level of collectivism in determining immigration policy. If there, why not in other instances? Would-be immigrants may not be citizens and may not qualify for the protections of the US, but does not the anti-collectivist ideal of America (never mind Objectivism!)still apply? Ethically can you justfy categorizing everyone of a certain ethnic backound as being an enemy of the US?

Is there some risk in judging individuals as individuals? Yep. There is some risk and cost. But judging individuals based on the enthic or cultural collective to which they belong costs us our principles as a nation and in my view is an unacceptable and a pragmatists approach to the problem.

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Would-be immigrants may not be citizens and may not qualify for the protections of the US, but does not the anti-collectivist ideal of America (never mind Objectivism!)still apply?

Of course it does! That's why we shouldn't be treating the safety of Americans as expendable to the higher cause of open immigration. It is precisely the individualist concern for the lives of Americans that gives rise to this idea.

Ethically can you justfy categorizing everyone of a certain ethnic backound as being an enemy of the US?

No, but fortunately that's not what I'm suggesting. Not being allowed in is not equivalent to being declared an enemy. It is done out of uncertainty, and that's how anyone affected by it should take it.

Is there some risk in judging individuals as individuals? Yep. There is some risk and cost. But judging individuals based on the enthic or cultural collective to which they belong costs us our principles as a nation and in my view is an unacceptable and a pragmatists approach to the problem.

Principles that sacrifice lives aren't principles at all.

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This thread is about immigration. I've said nothing about throwing Muslims out, so to extend that to professors of American universities is erroneous.

But you have written positively, even if tentatively, about not letting them in, an opinion on the current law which rests on a deeper premise: the idea that a position held by an individual, or by a group of individuals, can be, or is, a threat to national security. If all immigration law is based on the need to maintain national security and immigration is only one side of the regulation of the national demographic, why not extend the same principle to emigration, the other side of the coin? Migration, if you are not aware, occurs in two ways: emigration and immigration. Just as Albert Einstein was an American immigrant, so could a rational Germany have forcibly emigrated Immanuel Kant, a progenitor of evil ideas, who was remarkably law-abiding.

After all, what makes a native more special than an immigrant? Is it simply a function of being born on American soil? How does that confer metaphysical importance by itself? Human beings are not plants. A is not non-A.

I don't care what stigma an idea comes with, as long as it is well-reasoned.

But, with all due respect, your position on this issue is not particularly well-reasoned, even if some conclusions may be consonant with reality. Many of your propositions are unsupported by concretes, which is a point I have tactfully tried to convey throughout this thread. You came out with: "noboody has a right to immigrate to our country", an unfortunately jingo-esque statement, even if you did not intend it so.

Although I have not worked through the argument thoroughly, for lack of time, I am almost certain that one could make a case for the following position: Unless evidence of a person's threat to a nation is produced, any person has a right to immigrate anywhere.

Note that it does not matter what nation's security is being threatened: a man whose ideas and associations are a threat to America is a threat to any man anywhere -- a threat to individualism and all it entails, as such.

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After all, what makes a native more special than an immigrant?

I've already answered this: The purpose of government is to secure and protect the rights of its citizens. In relation to everyone else, the government's only duty is to leave them alone (assuming they aren't threatening). That is the crucial difference between those inside and outside the government's jurisdiction.

But, with all due respect, your position on this issue is not particularly well-reasoned, even if some conclusions may be consonant with reality.  Many of your propositions are unsupported by concretes, which is a point I have tactfully tried to convey throughout this thread.  You came out with: "noboody has a right to immigrate to our country", an unfortunately jingo-esque statement, even if you did not intend it so.

Did I not give reasons to back up that jingo-esque statement?

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I've already answered this: The purpose of government is to secure and protect the rights of its citizens. In relation to everyone else, the government's only duty is to leave them alone (assuming they aren't threatening). That is the crucial difference between those inside and outside the government's jurisdiction.

No, you haven't answered it. What makes a citizen a citizen? not legally but objectively. This is what you have to show.

Is it simply by virtue of being born here, or by a knowledge of the history of this country and its objective foundations? Or both? Or for other reasons which I have not stated here?

And why is this - or are these - the case? Please provide concretes.

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The purpose of government is to secure and protect the rights of its citizens.

"Citizen"?

There's a mexican being beat up in the parking lot. He works hard. He's being robbed by a native who has never worked in his life. You have argued the the passing squad car should simply move on. (A famous objectivist once said that he'd prefer to dine with a concrete-oritented truck driver , rather than with an abtractly, floating modern intellectual ... I paraphrase from weak memory).

By what right is the Mexican *not* a citizen?

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