A shorter version of this appeared yesterday at the Daily Caller.
Despite the opposition of the majority of the nation’s Governors, President Obama is determined to import, at taxpayer expense, hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, who despite his administration’s assurances, they are totally incompetent to vet. Like most Democrats advocating suicidal policies for America, Obama attempts to seize the moral high ground, accusing critics of selfishness, racism, and turning away from American traditions like the sentiments engraved on the Statue of Liberty.
Progressives have generally fallen right in line with this. Only one lone voice, Kevin Drum at Mother Jones
, has called for not mocking people worried about terrorists entering the country through the refugee process, but instead for designing a tighter, better regulated process.
Sadly, as with the Iran Deal, a number of prominent libertarian writers are supporting Obama, quoting boilerplate about the “tired and huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Although if one reads the replies they are getting from their own libertarian readers, they are being told they are full of it. And the most libertarianish of the presidential candidates, Senator Rand Paul, has called for a moratorium on accepting Syrian refugees in the United States.
Libertarians have been defending open borders and freely given green cards, work permits, work Visas, and even permanent residency (most don’t defend easy citizenship and voting rights) for some time. The libertarian CATO Institute has one nice, bright young man, Alex Nowrasteh
, a recent graduate of the London School of Economics, who does nothing but publish op-eds and policy papers advocating freedom of immigration. I’ve never looked closely at his work, which I assume is mainly the standard completely valid arguments about the gains of trade, in this case free trade in labor. I suspect Milton Friedman
‘s thoughts on free immigration are truer – that you can’t have completely free immigration when you have a welfare state. While Mr. Nowrasteh is no doubt correct that immigrants increase the GDP generally, lowering the price of software or landscaping or motel cleaning for the population as a whole, I suspect they impose high costs on specific communities where their children fill up the public schools and the whole family fills up the emergency rooms. Sacrificing some communities and the taxpayers in them to the GDP of the nation seems to me collectivist and utilitarian – the greatest benefit for the greatest number – not individualist and libertarian.
But that’s about immigration generally. Not immigration in a time of terrorism. This week other libertarians – my fellow libertarians – made two sets of howlingly idiotic arguments about Syrian refugees.
Sarah Harvard is a young Muslim libertarian writer lots of people are going to hear about one suspects. Barely out of American University, where I knew her as an undergraduate, she decided to become a political journalist despite a stereotypical Asian tiger mom’s desire that she be a medical doctor. In her early 20s, Ms. Harvard has already interned at Slate, and now is a staff writer at The Atlantic and Teen Vogue. In the wake of the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, Ms. Harvard shared her fears about Islamophobia on social media:
After seeing all the anti-Muslim attacks and to the extent of how far racialized Islamophobia has gone in this society, I’m reminded — once again — of my privilege as someone who is racially ambiguous. #AmbiguouslyMuslim
Since I don’t wear the hijab and I don’t “look” Muslim, I don’t hold the same fear as my friends who do. I don’t have to worry about being stabbed when someone asks me if I’m Muslim. I don’t have to worry about someone threatening to behead me and throw a metal trash can in the street of New York City. I don’t have to worry about someone shouting slurs at me while riding on the subway.
Whether you identify as Sikh, Muslim, Arab, or South Asian, please be careful in our fragile and hostile world. Your bravery and resilience inspires me.
When I told Ms. Harvard I thought she had lost touch with reality (asking her where it was that a Muslim had been beheaded recently by a non-Muslim), she provided me with three links to stories – of which I was unaware – of Muslims or Arabs being stabbed in the U.S. Three stories. Over the past couple of decades. The first of which, a Daily Beast article on a Muslim immigrant killed in Dallas, said “Now there’s no specific evidence yet that he was murdered because he was Muslim.” As he had, like many immigrants, moved into a violent, crime ridden neighborhood. Which makes it sound to me like gun control, not Islamophobia, killed him.
Likewise, the almost always brilliantly balanced house libertarian at the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf, chides conservative writers for whipping up anti-Muslim sentiment. We wouldn’t want a racist backlash, now would we?
One marvels at the lack of cognitive contact with reality. There was no anti-Muslim pogrom after 9/11, when 3,000 people were killed in the U.S. by 19 Moslem terrorists. Where do Democrats, progressives – or libertarians – get off on guilt tripping Americans for being concerned about letting floods of people into the country among which terrorists may be hiding, given the amazingly tolerant and liberal attitudes of Americans so far? Given that only a few decades ago a Democrat President progressives still worship as a deity was turning away boatloads of Jews fleeing Nazism while he was also putting Japanese Americans in internment camps, they have no moral right to even speak.
The other line of ludicrous libertarian argument this week is that no terrorist has ever entered the U.S. as a refugee, made by two different very nice people, both very bright, reason magazine’s science writer Ronald Bailey, and also by Niskanen Center policy analyst Dan Bier in The Freeman. (Bier then also appeared Wednesday morning at a meeting of D.C. conservatives pitching his argument, and again received hostile questions.) Both were slapped by their libertarian readers, who pointed out that the Tsarnaev brothers were the children of asylum seekers. Amazingly, Bailey replied with some semantic hair splitting about what the meaning of is “is,” as did Bier at the conservative meeting. Being children of a Moslem refugee, who as children were never “vetted” by Obama’s State Department, proves to Bier that the vetting works. Their readers, recognizing that in this case the blood stains on the blue dress will be blood, not other precious bodily fluids, were not persuaded.
Elsewhere some libertarians made some perfectly valid points both about ISIS having as aims that the West reject Moslems seeking freedom and that it separate Moslem refugees from Christians and other Westerners and about Arabs being radicalized when (American, French, or Russian) bombs or drones fall on them without them having any idea why.
But none of those points explain why we should accept people who might want to kill us as neighbors, especially at taxpayer expense.
In 2007 I was a refugee – from Washington, D.C. and its godawful Department of Motor Vehicles, to Annapolis, Maryland. My driver’s license was suspended and the DMV ‘crats could not tell me why or what to do, and that tipped my decision to rent a (second) apartment in Annapolis, and attempt to get a Maryland driver’s license. Being a home owner in D.C. I had not rented anything in years, especially from a large corporate landlord. I had to complete a background check so the landlord would not later face litigation from my neighbors if it turned out I was a rapist, pedophile, etc.
The Obama administration is now importing refugees who it will place in public schools other Americans are actually legally forced to attend, and house on public property in many cases, and transport on public infrastructure everyone has to use (as it’s a monopoly with no alternatives). These refugees aren’t people brought in by local churches and synagogues or mosques who might be held accountable for their behavior. You can’t sue the federal government easily. If even one tenth of one percent of a 100,000 refugees are terrorists, that’s 100 terrorists – five times the number who committed 9/11 and ten times the number who just killed 120 people in Paris.
The U.S. gives Israel and Egypt each a billion dollars a year to follow America’s foreign policy agenda. Rather than spend tax money to import refugees – which is bizarrely what these libertarians are defending – we could just as easily pay Turkey, or Jordan, or Pakistan – or Madagascar – to accept them.