Wednesday, February 01, 2017


Slightly edited 2/4. 
My suspicion is that the current moratorium on refugees from certain countries will not actually make us any safer.  Yes, I believe vetting takes time, and changing the pressure from doing things quickly to doing them right strikes me as a good idea.  Still, so few refugees are a security problem that the dangerous ones who get through likely do so because they have disguised their records artfully enough that a second or third look may not help much.  The haste in which the executive order was written and executed, plus its sloppiness - as I am told from people who understand these things better than I - suggest it is largely for show.

However, that's a guess, and I might be dead wrong on that.  A little extra scrutiny might indeed be valuable. It is in theory - it could be in practice.

Additionally, I have every reason to believe that there are indeed some people out there who do not have kindly or even circumspect reasons for supporting the ban.  They hate immigrants in general, but right now especially Muslims, and believe all of them are pretty dangerous and should be kept out permanently.  The distinction between immigrants and refugees is of little importance to them. How much this applies to Trump I don't know.

I had to stop going to my FB page, because there are too many of my friends posting how America lacks compassion (starting with Trump, most would say), as if showing us pictures of cute and sad children and inspiring us to just be a little kinder is all that is needed. Gosh darn it, if people could just do what Jesus told them too, just a little bit, rather than being so hateful and angry we would all see that the refugees would come here and become president of the PTA and go to work and be great neighbors. 

That depth of judgement and insult toward the generality of people who support the moratorium is pretty profound.

Let's review:

One good reason for supporting the ban is to find terrorists among the legit refugees.  To say that people hate sheep because they hate wolves in sheep's clothing is a giveaway that they haven't thought this through.

If you are getting all hot and bothered about the Cause of the Week you are almost certainly rushing to judgment and believing terrible things about the other side. It is also a red flag that you don't actually care about this very much - not enough to do anything about it on either side - but you like being outraged. We've been over this time and time again.

A moratorium is not a ban.

You don't know the motives of your opponents.

90% of people commenting don't have any idea how long it takes to vet a group properly or how difficult it is.  I certainly don't. Suddenly everyone's an expert.

The comparisons are not identical, but this moratorium is similar to the visa ban from these same countries under Obama 2015-16, and to his temporary ban on Iraqis in 2011.  It is not entirely fair for me to say if you didn't complain about one you can't complain about the other - some people only follow the top headlines, people become more aware, people change their minds.  But it's not unfair either. It's a question you should have to answer.  Except I'm pretty sure some of the Christians I've challenged have lied to me in response, so maybe...don't bother.

Refugees are much harder to assimilate than economic immigrants.  While they have considerable helplessness, they also have a higher crime rate and they will not be living in the nice neighborhoods of everyone who is posting accusations, at least on my FB. The danger is largely to those in poor neighborhoods, and we are giving away something that costs us nothing but costs them much.  I have never been a big fan of the morality of giving away other people's stuff. 

In summary, this may be a terrible idea and represent a great moral failing by Americans, but this has in no way been established. What has been established is a rush to judgment and insult.


Boxty said...

A guest on Dennis Prager's show recently pointed out that the refugees are coming from refugee camps in Turkey, not war torn Syria. So their lives aren't in any danger. I don't know if that will make any difference to your FB friends unless you ask if we should take in people who are poor but not in danger?

Roy Lofquist said...

Good policy? Bad? Maybe time will tell although I doubt that we'll be able to - what are the metrics?

The salient takeaway here is that Trump is doing exactly what he said he was going to do - repeatedly, ad nauseum, for the last year and a half. He made the sale and he intends to deliver.