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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Muslim Immigration and WWWtW

Let me start by saying that I have enormous respect for my WWWtW colleague Lydia McGrew, and I am usually in agreement with her on a variety of subjects. However, I have been thinking about her recent post on Muslim Immigration, and I have come to the conclusion that her approach is mistaken.

Although there are several issues I could raise, there is one in particular that has been gnawing at me. And that is the way that Catholic immigrants, including my maternal great grandmother, Vincenza Domino (d. 1979), were treated and thought of by Protestant America when they began arriving on these shores in the mid-19th century through the early 20th century.

american_river_ganges_a.jpg
( Anti-Catholic cartoon in Harper's Weekly, 30 September 1871)

In the 19th-century a form of strong church-state separationism surged to prominence in the U.S., largely as a Protestant reaction against the influx of immigrants from predominantly Roman Catholic countries. Some of these immigrant groups, which included Irish and Italians, set up their own private religious schools. Many non-Catholic Americans believed well into the 20th-century that Catholic schools indoctrinated their students with superstitions that were inconsistent with the principles of American democracy. Take, for example, these comments by the great Baptist church-state separationist, the Reverend Joseph Martin Dawson (whose entry I authored for the Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties (Routledge, Taylor & Francis, 2007)):

The Catholics, who are now [in 1948] claiming a near majority over all Protestants in the United States, would abolish our public school system which is our greatest single factor in national unity and would substitute their old-world, medieval parochial schools, with their alien culture. Or else they make it plain that they wish to install facilities for teach-ing their religion in the public schools…. Perhaps the burning issue has arisen soon enough to enable the friends of the native American culture to arrest the progress of the long-range plan of those who would supplant it. There can be no doubt about the Catholic plan. Having lost enormous prestige in Europe, the Church now looks to the United States as a suitable stage for the recovery of its lost influence. Here it would seek new ground, consolidate and expand, as compensation for its weakened position in bankrupt Europe, with the hope of transforming this continent, a Protestant country, into a Catholic citadel from which to exert a powerful rule. If this seems exaggerated and fanciful, the reader has only to open his eyes to what the Catholics are doing to achieve this end. (J. M. Dawson, Separate Church & State Now [New York: R. R. Smith, 1948], 96. )

Quite definitely we shall have to except Catholicism from the religious groups which contribute to democratic freedom, and so list it with secularism as a threat to national unity. (Ibid.)

The Roman hierarchy is poisoning the Government of our Nation…. The common belief of candidates is that to be elected President; or, except in the South, that to become Governor, Senator, or Representative, one must make a deal with the Roman Catholics. For a candidate to remain true to American principles in Catholic sections of the United States is to commit political suicide, at least in the belief of candidates. (J. M. Dawson, The Battle for America, p .11, as quoted in James M. Dunn, The Ethical Thought of Joseph Martin Dawson (Th.D. Dissertation, Southwester Baptist Theological Seminary, 1966), 235-36)

Dawson, of course, was not alone. Probably the worst offender in this regard was Paul Blanshard, whose 1949 bestseller, American Freedom and Catholic Power was the "Texas Taliban alert" of his time. (Read, for example, Fr. John Courtney Murray's "Paul Blanshard and the New Nativism").

Because of the fear that the proliferation of Catholic schools through the U. S. would dilute the principles of American democracy, federal and state legislation was proposed that would forbid the use of public resources for “sectarian” (re: Catholic) religious purposes. The most ambitious attempt in the 19th-century to put this understanding into law was a proposed constitutional amendment by Representative James Blaine (R-ME). It read:

No State shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and no money raised by taxation in any State, for the support of public schools, or derived from any public fund therefore, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect, nor shall any money so raised, or lands so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations. (Congressional Record, 44th Congress, 1st session, 14 December, 1875

Called the Blaine Amendment, it never became part of the Constitution. However, 37 states have passed Blaine-type statutes or constitutional amendments that still remain on the books. (For example, the Constitution of Texas states: “No money shall be appropriated, or drawn from the Treasury for the benefit of any sect, or religious society, theological or religious seminary; nor shall property belonging to the State be appropriated for any such purposes.” Texas Constitution, Art. 1, Sec. 7)

Ironically, by arguing that there was a need for these amendments, supporters of the Blaine Amendment and its progeny implicitly conceded that the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, by itself, does not prohibit the use of public resources for religious purposes. Of course, this would mean that separationist jurisprudence, that relies on a Blaine-type understanding of church and state, is likely not a proper reading of the First Amendment. This does not mean, of course, that some modest form of separationism, something like the traditional anti-establishment position of the Danbury Baptists (the group to which President Thomas Jefferson wrote his famous letter), is not correct (as I believe is in fact the case). Rather, what it means is that a doctrine borne of anti-Catholic animus and a desire to declare an American Protestant hegemony as the established understanding of public faith is hardly the “neutral” and “separationist” creed its proponents have led us to believe. Ironically, the underlying principles of this type of separationism were picked up in the 20th century by secularists hostile to all religion in public life who then applied these principles to the cherished practices of 19th century anti-Catholic Protestant separationists: school-led prayer and Bible-reading in public schools.

What I am afraid may be happening now with the discussion over Muslim immigration on this blog and elsewhere is that some Americans--rightly concerned about how some Muslims practice their faith--may be painting with the same broad brush that was applied by Dawson, Blanshard, and others to my Catholic ancestors. This is not to say that the U. S. should abandon all standards by which it assesses potential immigrants. Rather, it means that such assessments should be conducted with an eye toward particular sorts of practices, regardless of religious affiliation, that are not conducive to American citizenship. For example, it would seem to me perfectly reasonable for the U. S. to legitimately reject for citizenship unambiguously committed Klansmen, Stalinists, jihadists, supporters of racial apartheid, Iranian revolution theocrats, "Christian" reconstructionists, or former KGB agents pining to get back into action. But to exclude all Muslims because some engage in abhorrent practices makes about as much sense as excluding all Christians because a tiny minority are, unfortunately, followers of the theonomist and Holocaust-denier, Rousas John Rushdoony

Comments (151)

Forive me if I'm mistaken Dr Beckwith but the gist of Lydia's post seems to be that she fears that librals could potentially use a case, which involves an Islmaic homeschooler murdering thier girl for supposedly violates the family's houner as a pretext for taking her right to homeschool away from her. This is totally different to the case of anti-catholic protestants using the 'subversive catholic' smear in order to justify witholding public funds from Catholic Schools

As hisotrical backdrope Catholics were too poor by and large to set up schools without state aid, and that protestents were trying to use public schools to impose their agendas on the like of you and me, much the same way that librals do today.

Dr. Beckwith,

I am not taking a position one way or another on the larger issue of immigration as of yet, but I did have a question on the comparison that you have made here.

Are not the concerns expressed by Lydia based on the things that Muslims are actually doing in other areas where they have a more controlling interest in how government is run or at least how laws are enforced (mutilation of the sexual organs of young women, honor killings, demanding of special accomodations for their particular worship requirements no matter how disruptive those accomodations might be, etc.) while the fear and distrust of Catholic immigrants was based on ignorance of the intentions of the largely poor immigrants in question?

That distinction seems important to me as I am mulling over some of this.

Beckwith does "immigration policy by personal anecdote." Because Beckwith's Catholic forefathers suffered here for being Catholic immigrants, we must never let anything remotely like that ever happen again, even if we're talking about Muslims.

Let me give you a counter-anecdote. My parents' families, Catholics, came from Lithuania after WWII. Maybe they shouldn't have let them in, maybe they should have ended up in the Soviet Gulag. I could have been the Lithuanian Solzhenitsyn. I am not horrified by the thought.

What I am afraid may be happening now with the discussion over Muslim immigration on this blog and elsewhere is that some Americans--rightly concerned about how some Muslims practice their faith--may be painting with the same broad brush that was applied by Dawson, Blanshard, and others to my Catholic ancestors.

Cry me a river. And in the meantime, I'll ask it: why should Americans have let Catholics in?

Gintas, thank you. It's a pleasure to have enemies to my right. Keep opining, but I understand that typing is easier with the hood off. Just sayin'.

such assessments should be conducted with an eye toward particular sorts of practices, regardless of religious affiliation,

I'm sorry, Frank, but religious affiliation _is relevant_ to those "particular sorts of practices." Facts matter. It would be foolish to pretend that we don't have the evidence that we do have. _In fact_ Catholics did not have anything remotely like the sorts of cultural pathologies that mountains of evidence show to be significantly associated with and supported (in the minds of its followers) by Islam as currently practiced and taught around the world and, now, in neighborhoods and mosques in England, Canada, Europe and in the United States. The problems are numerous and range from severe mistreatment of family to terrorism to moral and material support of the same. The analogy is just a poor one. Analogies are only as good as the facts that support them.

As I say to many friends, I suggest you read Jihad Watch "religiously." :-) Let's not get stuck on Ellis Island. We have to deal with the actual challenges that actually face us now.

...I understand that typing is easier with the hood off.

Fresh from training in Montgomery, AL?

Is it too much to expect that a person in opinion business, even if part-time, troubles himself with studying, just a little bit, of a subject at hand? After 8 years have passed since Muslims, who were excellent practitioners of "Religion of Peace", burned 3 thousand Americans?

As they say in law, interesting cases make bad law.
Nature of Muslims does not depend one bit of what Americans did or did not do to Bekwith grandparents.

Since Bekwith will not bother to learn about Islam, the post is a total waste of electrons.

Frank, Gintas is no threat to you nor to any Catholic, nor would ten thousand people who shared his views be such a threat.

Ilan Halimi, horrifically tortured to death in Paris in 2006 by a Muslim gang reading verses from the Koran

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/026280.php

should have been so lucky as to meet a group of people like Gintas instead.

We need to have a sense of perspective here.

So now Islam is different in no relevant particulars from Catholicism, where immigration to Protestant countries is concerned? That's an unbelievably Pollyannish and incurious denial of the cultural and political impact of religious belief. It's no accident that Muslims have nowhere, ever, under any circumstances, nor will ever, under any foreseeable circumstances, establish constitutional republics of the sort unique to Western Christendom. There are reasons for this which transcend the way "some" Muslims practice their faith, reasons that get to the very heart of what Islam is, irrespective of variations within it. Somebody needs to write a Mere Islam tract to drive the point home that it is entirely possible for a thing to have variations and yet remain a coherent unity which enables a person to generalize about it in highly consequential ways.

And how would Beckwith have responded to the notion that Catholic immigrants needed to be carefully screened for their adherence to political liberalism, in order to weed out any excessively "rigid" or "orthodox" types (mainly Poles or Italians, probably) whose cultural practices were at odds with those of most Americans? That such screening would make no sense speaks to the fact that Christians--in spite of whatever variations we observe--are capable of taking enough for granted between themselves that a free and participatory civil society is possible among them. I'm confident that a massive Muslim influx from Africa would have turned out, shall we say, rather differently from what we got from Irish immigrant groups in Boston, or Poles in Pennsylvania.

(Aside: What is it about evangelical converts to Catholicism and their cloying soft spot for Islam? Peter Kreeft is so ostentatious in his PC-whipped genuflections to the glory of "true" Islam, and even the moral superiority of Mulsim countries to our own, that I find him practically unreadable.)

And as a practical matter, this delusion that our government ever could, or would, find out in any great detail about the individual cultural practices of some Muslims as against others, as a way of screening them out--or would ever establish a really robust system for actually differentiating between types of Islamic practice for immigration purposes--is preposterous on its face. It might not be any less realistic than Lydia's preferred policy, but Lydia's at least has the virtue of being workable here on planet Earth. Frank's preferred policy, meanwhile, is a neoconservative fantasy that refuses to die--trying to split the difference between the highly abstracted, universalist "proposition nation" concept, which is practically a contradiction in terms, and the critical mass of racial and cultural homogeneity which is necessary for any successful democracy. While you're at it you might as well just outlaw war, and mandate prosperity by fiat.

There is no empirical basis for any analogy between Catholics in the nineteenth century and Muslims in the twenty-first century, even apart from the question of whether one society or culture is any any sense obligated to admit immigrants possessed of a different culture. And with that, I return to my self-imposed silence.

Let me just add right here that Frank and I are not only philosophers, we are also friends. I'm proud to count Frank as a friend, and philosophers who are friends can disagree with respect and give and take arguments without taking anything personally, as I hope and intend to do. Okay, end of commercial break.

And that is the way that Catholic immigrants, including my maternal great grandmother,

Oh, oh. The moral disarmament and loss of discernment that comes with the "nation of immigrants" narrative.

some Americans--rightly concerned about how some Muslims practice their faith--may be painting with the same broad brush
Yes, when it comes to our discussions about Islam and foreign policy, Lydia and others anxiously expecting a "showdown" dangerously apply a very broad-brush. However, it is also pretty obvious from looking at both the European experience and what is occuring in some American urban neighborhoods that allowing immigrants from an alien culture traumatized by its contact with modernity is a recipe for social division, cultural discord and the occasional beheading, honor killing and terrorist plot.

A time-out on immigration seems the only moral course to take if we want to avoid carnage later. Let's remember our ancestors chose here, not the Casbah. No need to dishonor their wishes or memories by importing it here now.

Americans had good reason to fear Catholic immigrants. Just a look at the political culture of Catholic countries in the Old and New World was enough to convince intelligent people that such immigrants would do a great deal of damage. And they did. Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe brought a lot of politcal crap with them, too. All the ISMs came and distorted the culture in rotten ways; enormous political corruption, and so forth.

The Constitution meant nothing to the Irish, the Italians, the Scandinavians, and Jews etc. They made the New Deal and all the so-called progressive reforms possible. Now Mexicans come in turning parts of SoCal etc into barrios with politics and behavior no different than Mexico.

Now add Muslims who have no respect for a Judeo-Christian nation, and oh boy, that'll be grand.

I'd like to know exactly what's so terrible about a homogeneous culture such as England was or Japan is now?

It is liberty and free markets which unleash human potential. Not immigration. America was doing fine as it was after the Revolution.

You have to at least offer an alternative narrative for the situation in Europe right now. The piling evidence is too high to disregard. If it can be explained without implicating Islam in general, then so be it, but I haven't even seen an attempt at this.

Further, I still haven't had it explained to me why a country can't regulate its immigration as it sees fit. It seems like the burden of proof should be on proving why American borders should be open, rather than proving why they should be regulated.

All of this being said, I'm still not comfortable with screening based on religion. Religious screening, as part of any American due process, is very dangerous. I would rather the screening be conducted on the basis of geography and region than religion. As a practical reality, the U.S. can't justify discriminating against Islam solely on the basis that it is a radical religion. The U.S. isn't Christian enough to do that.

All,

1) Gintas is a man?!? For some reason I always thought that name (pseudonym?) was female. Strange how the mind associates genders with names.

2) Gintas, Sage and Maximos raise interesting questions, which I think those of us who support the 'neocon' vision of America as a "propositional nation" need to answer. Namely, is it true as Sage says that in order for a republican democracy like America to "work" it needs a "critical mass of racial and cultural homogeneity"? Us neocons are divided on this question, as some of us (or at least me, David Frum, and Mickey Kaus) believe that Steve Sailer and other immigration restrictionists make important arguments about the cultural and genetic differences between human beings which should be considered when thinking about immigration policy. Of course, these same restrictionist also make important arguments about the differences between American society in the 19th and first half of the 20th Century and American society today. In short, it is not clear that our current multi-culti ethos and/or welfare state is doing enough to assimilate and transform immigrants into responsible American citizens (see e.g. Hispanic illegitimacy rates). So given these realities, I am sympathetic to those like Lydia who suggest we should end Muslim immigration to this country.

On the other hand (you knew there would be another hand with a squishy neocon like me), I do believe there is something to be gained by America remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and a society defined by its commitment to certain propositions. And I admire and respect those Muslims who have contributed to American society in a meaningful way. Contra Sage, it seems to me that given American political realities, Frank's idea to screen out radicals has more of a chance of being implemented by the American government than Lydia's proposal to cut off all Muslim immigration. Whether or not it can work, well I admit it will be difficult, but I don't think it is prima facia impossible as Sage seems to suggest.

3) "It's no accident that Muslims have nowhere, ever, under any circumstances, nor will ever, under any foreseeable circumstances, establish constitutional republics of the sort unique to Western Christendom." [My emphasis]. Explain modern day Bangladesh, Turkey and/or Indonesia. All fall short of the standards of a modern-day Western republic, but they aren't chopped liver either. As I never tire of reminding folks, when a Muslim country like Turkey starts exhibiting some of the same liberal pathologies as modern-day America (e.g. Playboy magazine is published there!), I'm not so sure folks are right when they start claiming that Muslim people are that different from Westerners.

I shudder to think how this notion would be applied in the coming formally secular humanist state-to-be, but truth is truth:

The state cannot respect religion in any way, shape or form, if it is unable to distinguish what is religion from what is not religion. Implicit in that capacity is the state's ability to see, and then to say: Moloch worship is not religion, not within the meaning that the state applies. The same should have been done for Wiccked Wicca 30 years ago.

But how can a state say X is no real religion without becoming sectarian, and without violating the very pluralism that gives the state peace between its religious groups? The answer to this is twofold, one negative and the other positive. Negatively: to hold several ideas, or bodies of ideas, to be none higher than the others, is not intrinsically and essentially peace-giving. For doing so guarantees that the one that is actually correct receives less respect than it actually deserves in pure justice, and injustice can never be a ground for true peace. What you see then is not true justice, and therefore not true peace, but an approach thereto - the best we can do while not proclaiming one supreme over all others.

The second is the positive side of the coin, and is stated quite well in Dignitatis Humanae The truth has real and many, many points of support for its reasonableness. Even while the full truth eludes us (us being the whole of the body politic taken together) it need not be the case that every single part of the truth eludes us. We can recognize X to be false and wholly unreasonable even when we don't know whether Y or Z is full truth. To refuse to acknowledge that we know X is false when it really is clear that X is false, on the silly notion that we cannot equally say whether it is Y or Z that is more true, is actually a weakness in the body politic, not a strength. (It is only the secularistic virus that infects our philosophies that even suggests that withholding judgment about X is a virtue rather than a vice, but this virus stems from a philosophy that proclaims that there is no truth in religion to begin with.)

In a state where everyone rightly understands that there is one God, paganism might be tolerated by the state, but only tolerated to the extent that it does not damage either the political or eternal good of the citizens. To the extent that a pagan refuses to live within the boundaries of rightful respect of others' religious freedom (as, for example, using lies about the Church to con others into rejecting her), such actions need not be tolerated.

In a state where nearly everyone rightly understands that Jesus Christ is God, other monotheistic religions may be tolerated, but (under the principles of natural law) need not be granted equal status under the law as Christianity. While it is wrong for the state to force someone to embrace a religion against their will, it has every right to enforce just and right limits to the proselytizing of those who hold a demonstrably false religion. And some religions are demonstrably false even when we cannot demonstrate which form of Christianity is more complete.

In the immediate practical application: certain strains of Islam - particularly the forms that concentrate practices most contrary to reason, are demonstrably unreasonable and those specific practices should not be granted toleration under the law when those practices damage the common good. There will be gray areas, but honor killings is not one of them. Nor is threat of harm for talking to your neighbor's wife.

I don't want America to become sectarian. But unless we accept a duty to uphold basic truth about religion, we are going to lose any status for religion at all, and the first amendment will become (at best) a hollow shell.

With respect to an ideal paradigm, my suspicion is growing that the longer one wishes one's political community to flourish, the greater the religious homogeneity required, perhaps even to the separation of Protestants and Catholics. In this view, the American experiment was doomed from the start in so far as it was premised on the viability of cultural pluralism and the Founders' faith in the co-existence of Christianity and modernity. We had a good run, but perhaps the decline was inevitable.

My doubts concerning the prospects of a pluralistic society notwithstanding, Francis's suggestion to filter on the basis of practices rather than religion itself is the most tenable suggestion to do damage control at this point. Anyone who thinks filtering on the basis of religion has any hope of being enacted in the short or mid-term has, in my opinion, a questionable grasp of reality.

Lastly, I do think we have a responsibility to stem and reverse the decline of the U.S. as much as we can, by God's grace.

Albert, I want to make it clear that I'm not expecting a phone call next week from the White House asking my advice on immigration policy. Of course I was saying what I thought should be done, not what I think is at all likely to be done. The Bush administration itself had no intention of doing anything about Muslim immigration, and after 9/11 deals to recruit Saudi students to university campuses continued just as before.

How do you propose to "screen on the basis of practices" without any reference to religion and religious culture? Let's take just one of about a gazillion possible concrete cases. Female genital mutilation is hugely entrenched in Somali culture and connected with Islam in the minds of the people of that culture. Suppose a Muslim Somali couple--husband, wife, no children as yet--about whom you, as a maker of immigration policy, know nothing more particular relating to FGM, wishes to immigrate to the United States. How do you propose to "screen on the basis of practices"? Do you make them sign a statement saying they do not believe in FGM (we'll leave aside piracy and terrorism for just the moment) and promise not to practice it on any daughters they may have, not to teach others that it is right, and not to screen fellow Somalis within the United States who have their daughters mutilated? Is the mere signing of such a statement, by people from a culture that is completely contrary to the meaning and purpose of such a statement, enough to make it rational to think they will abide by it? How do you enforce it once they are here? And now, about piracy, terrorism, and riots against employers who don't give all their Muslim workers time off at sundown, all at the same time, even if it means shutting down the meat-packing plant or treating non-Muslim workers unfairly...

I foresee a lot of statement-signing for this couple. And I'm afraid that looks like kind of a joke.

"Screening on the basis of practices" has no good concrete meaning if we do not make rational use of the information we have about the connection among practices, culture, and religion.

Thanks, Frank, for linking back to Lydia's post & the following comments.

I've been besieged by visiting relatives, for the last two weeks, and have had only the odd moment or two to keep up around here.

Suffice it to say that, after a couple of hours of wading (most of the way) through that thread, I'm more in awe of our Lydia than ever.

The wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job.

That said, I think your *practical* suggestion, here, has much to be said for it:

"...it would seem to me perfectly reasonable for the U. S. to legitimately reject for citizenship unambiguously committed Klansmen, Stalinists, jihadists, supporters of racial apartheid, Iranian revolution theocrats, 'Christian' reconstructionists, or former KGB agents pining to get back into action..."

At least, it has a lot to be said for it here in America.

In Europe, maybe not so much.

Dr. Beckwith,

I’m glad you wrote on this topic, Dr. Beckwith. Although I was not able to read all of your post, you made some very good points. Those aforementioned points seemed right. It would be sad if WWWTW was viewed in a negative way because of incorrect views on this topic.

Let me say again that I have tremendous respect for Lydia, as both a person and a philosopher. Like Steve, I am sometimes in awe of her insight, patience, and clarity of mind.

Although I disagree with Lydia on this issue, she is a true friend and champion of freedom, and exhibits in her professional and private life Christian charity as well as devotion to the good, the true, and the beautiful.

Frank,
Enjoyed listening to you on Hugh Hewitt this evening. But I couldn't disagree more with this one. Have you ever read the Koran, (not to mention the Hadiths)? The hatred jumps off every page. It was a very effective cure for my Islamophila. You're a smart guy, read Mohammed's own words. Also, check out what actually goes on in places like Turkey and you'll see that these secular superstructures are very unstable when resting on the Islamic base.

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=1213928&blobtype=pdf

"We investigated various cases of the island model with stochastic migration. If the population is infinite, the immigrants have a fixed gene frequency and the alleles are neutral, the gene frequency on the island converges to that of the immigrants."

If you look at maps of ancestry in the US, you will see that Founding Stock Americans were replaced in coastal New England.

There is a stronger theorem, the Immigration Vanishing Survival Theorem. Its not just gene frequency that converges to that of immigrants, but each line of those here has to end. Moreover, this is true of each year's cohort of immigrants.

Old Atlantic,

I just spent some time at your blog and you have some *interesting* ideas. However, since I'm in the middle of reading Greg Clark's masterpiece "A Farewell to Alms", it seems to me that you may be misreading the data. According to Clark, the industrial revolution destroyed the Malthusian Trap therefore smashing the link between income and population growth. So it is inclear to me that your data supposedly showing that immigration = less fertility, has the causation correct. Perhaps it is culture and economics driving fertility, which ALSO drives immigration.

Lydia,

I agree that signing a piece of paper is not enough to screen out undesirable immigrants and ensure they don't commit sins against their families and/or fellow Americans. Sticking with your Somali example, if Americans want to be charitable and help Somali families flee their war-torn country and settle here in America, it then seems like we have to carefully monitor these Somalis and do our best to inculcate American (and Christian)values (i.e. it is not O.K. to kill your sister because she starts dating a guy Mom and Dad don't approve of). Can this be done? It seems like there are enough Somalis in this country that this is an empirical question (the "New Yorker" ran a sympathetic piece about a year ago on a group of Somalis that had immigrated in a large group to some New England town). I actually think the data suggests it can be done -- while I don't deny there are Somali families still practicing FGM and/or honor killings, my guess is that this percentage is much lower than for a similar number of Somali families in Somalia. In other words, I think we still do have the ability to assimilate immigrant populations that are very different from current Americans citizens. So while I don't deny that you are right about specific example of Somali immigrants commiting all sorts of really bad crimes, I don't think you (and the gang over at "Jihad Watch") seem willing to acknowledge the American Somalis who have adopted American culture and values and contribute in a meaningful way to American life (by working, opening up businesses, paying taxes, etc.) In the end, I also agree that this is a numbers game -- too many Somalis and we won't be able to assimilate them, just like too many Hispanics. It is also a question of competing values -- for you the growing number of individual cases of crazy Muslims acting crazy isn't worth the trouble of bringing in more potentially crazy Muslims. I say the large number of moderate Muslims living in the U.S. and adopting American culture and values (except for Christianity...although we'll have a better chance of bringing them to Christ here than in Arabia) are worth the trouble of those crazy Muslims, again because I think America's welcoming home to the people of the world is something intrinsically good in itself and worth preserving even in the face of problems.

Thanks very much, Steve and also Frank.

Kyl says, "It would be sad if WWWTW was viewed in a negative way because of incorrect views on this topic." When there are are disagreements among contributors, those thinking of whether to view a blog negatively or positively just have to decide which contributor to take as their signal for negative evaluation, or whether (which seems to me wiser) to take the disagreement itself as a sign that the blog isn't a univocal entity and that they should save their positive or negative views on this subject for the individual contributors.

I'll have more to say in response to Jeff later on. I think his clear way of putting his own position is helpful.

Americans had good reason to fear Catholic immigrants. Just a look at the political culture of Catholic countries in the Old and New World was enough to convince intelligent people that such immigrants would do a great deal of damage. And they did. Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe brought a lot of politcal crap with them, too. All the ISMs came and distorted the culture in rotten ways; enormous political corruption, and so forth.

This is another elephant in the room. Islam is alien to American culture because it is a totalitarian ideology that combines religion and politics into one cohesive system. The similarities between the Protestant host culture and the Catholic immigrants that existed in the past simply do not exist between America, at any stage, and Islam. Islam would have to become something that it will never be in order to genuinely become compatible with American culture.

This is not a problem with "modernity," but with Islam. Islam would have failed to integrate into American culture as strongly in the colonial era as it would today.

The Constitution meant nothing to the Irish, the Italians, the Scandinavians, and Jews etc. They made the New Deal and all the so-called progressive reforms possible.

Hey, the Civil War was largely a WASP run affair, so not sure how much the Constitution meant to many of the the "Natives". Ooops, you guys aren't natives either. What happened to them anyways?

I'm with Mike T, if you think Catholics and Jews are bad, wait until the call to prayer interrupts your golf game, or a neighbor loses their head over an innocent flirtation.

Or about this one.

Imagine a home you used to deliver a morning newspaper to, knew the people that used to dwell therein, went to school with the kids, played baseball with as well, ------------------- now imagine that exact same home, a home you used to pass by while walking everyday to grade school, to high school, now imagine that exact home on the national news.

The ENTIRE block around it yellow taped off.

The feds poring over everything therein, and the feds all wandering around with those anxiety causing little white smocks, {you know, the types that protect THEM from all kinds of biologicals and chemicals, while you and your neighbors have nary a shred of similar protection...}.

Yea.

Multiculturalism, ain't it just grand!

Religion of peace? Check.

Non-threatening and "mainstream?" Check.

Well-educated and apparently "normal" and "peaceful?" Check.

Home in question actually a base for the concoction of chemical agents, by foreign nationals, who never should have been even considered for entry? Do I even need to finish that one?

But hey, let's all let in millions and millions, and tens of millions of more of those wonderful foreigners. Won't that just be peachy keen?

What's the subtitle of this little here blog?

Oh yea, "Dispatches from the 10th Crusade." Kind of serves to fix attention, doesn't it?

I'd like to know exactly what's so terrible about a homogeneous culture such as England was or Japan is now?

Oh, that's right --

I forgot how England remains such a homogeneous culture even at present -- too bad these days you could hardly tell it's even English!

Much of the atrocious low-brow Catering to the Lower Middle-Class shows on the Beeb would make one think that it was largely a Muslim culture -- not a Judeo-Christian one!


It is liberty and free markets which unleash human potential. Not immigration.

With all the modern innovations and new economies made possible primarily due to immigrant entrepreneurs and inventors, the ignorant pay homage by belittling the very folks who made it possible for America to advance in both technology and the modern enterprise.

Pathetic.

1) Gintas is a man?!?

Must be quite a shock to your system. It was probably all that feminist agitating I've done here.

2) Gintas, Sage and Maximos raise interesting questions, which I think those of us who support the 'neocon' vision of America as a "propositional nation" need to answer.

I don't know what kind of fast talkin' you think can do to convince me of this "propositional nation" notion, I've been working awfully hard on being reactionary and illiberal. I've already pondered it (not as a lawyer nor as a philosopher), and made a decision; it's not up in the air, it's settled: you're wrong.

Fire away.

I'm with Mike T, if you think Catholics and Jews are bad, wait until the call to prayer interrupts your golf game, or a neighbor loses their head over an innocent flirtation.

The only real criticism that can even be said of the Catholics and Jews was their cultural propensity for big, activist government. The Jews at least had the semi-justifiable excuse of being so culturally traumatized by pogroms and state-sanctioned injustice that they were like a nation version of a battered housewife when they came to this country.

With all the modern innovations and new economies made possible primarily due to immigrant entrepreneurs and inventors, the ignorant pay homage by belittling the very folks who made it possible for America to advance in both technology and the modern enterprise.

Pathetic.

We didn't need whole waves of immigration from the old world to get those innovators and entrepreneurs, just like today we don't need wholesale immigration from the third world to get access to the same sort of people from places like India and China or hard-working unskilled labor from Mexico.

We didn't need whole waves of immigration from the old world to get those innovators and entrepreneurs...

Perhaps so, though the fact of the matter remains that certain immigrants were largely responsible for America's rise to power; a fact that continues today especially in the case of Science and Enterprise.

If you will forgive my poor memory, but to my mind, prior to WWII, it was England that was the dominant World Power and not America, no?

I scarcely imagine that America, by its own originally isolationist-bent self (what was that about our Great Father, a person I personally hold in the highest respect, having said something concerning entangling ourselves unnecessarily with foreign alliances?), would have ever managed the feat alone.

Perhaps so, though the fact of the matter remains that certain immigrants were largely responsible for America's rise to power; a fact that continues today especially in the case of Science and Enterprise.

I never disagreed with that point. I maintain, however, that the US never had to accept wave-after-wave of immigrants in order to become successful. Personally, I would rather live in a poorer America that has a direct line of continuity in its culture to the colonial America than the rich multicultural hodge podge we have today.

I scarcely imagine that America, by its own originally isolationist-bent self (what was that about our Great Father, a person I personally hold in the highest respect, having said something concerning entangling ourselves unnecessarily with foreign alliances?), would have ever managed the feat alone.

Going into the 19th century, the United States was already a wealthy country by world standards. By the middle of the 19th century, after only a modest amount of immigration, we were an economic world power in our own right, and were not the sort of country that any European power would wish to fight in the Americas, especially not on our own soil.

We would still be a world power today. In fact, we would probably be healthier as a country because we'd have a more Anglo-Saxon popular culture with which to support our Anglo-Saxon political system. The roots of our political and legal traditions are not shared by most of the European immigrants.

WRT immigration policy, a rational one would have the following characteristics:

1) No mass immigration.

2) No political power for immigrants. It should be a deportable offense to even give a campaign donation or donate to a PAC.

3) No birthright citizenship. We only have this due to a politically-motivated misinterpretation of the 14th amendment.

4) Open discrimination in favor of single immigrants first and then childless married couples. Unless they have a critical skill, immigrants with large families should always be the last in line, and if most of their children are over the age of 7... forget it.

**5) No welfare benefits.

What's the subtitle of this little here blog?

Oh yea, "Dispatches from the 10th Crusade." Kind of serves to fix attention, doesn't it?

I've been workin' on it, Q. :-)

But it also says, first and foremost:

What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom
...

...which, really, isn't much considering the Might & Power of that once United Christendom that governed an entire World (at least, as far as Old World Europe was concerned).

Now, to respond a bit more to Jeff Singer. (But I don't want to go on and on, because this is Frank's thread.) Jeff, you pinpoint quite rightly the matter of priorities or "utilities," as they call it in decision theory class. What is worth doing, what is important, etc. And you rightly pinpoint an area of disagreement between us concerning the importance you place on the sheer fact of America's being "open" in the immigration area. I place very little importance on this simply as such. It seems to me that what America _is_ or _becomes_ is a far more important matter, and I am unwilling to take risks on that front just in order to be "open." It seems to me that you are willing to take fairly high risks. In the Somali example, it seems (correct me if I'm misunderstanding you) that you admit the very real probability that the couple come from their country believing in FGM, and you simply hope that living in America will change their minds. I can't understand why you would consider that sort of gamble worth taking. (Consider, too, the poll in the UK that showed next-gen immigrants _more_ radical than their parents!)

But here's an interesting point. If I'm understanding you correctly, Jeff, you agree that there is a problem with the _number_ of Muslim immigrants we have had in the past and continue to have coming in, because of a real danger that you recognize that this number cannot be assimilated. What this means, I think, is that if you and I were both Congressmen, we might very well be able to craft compromise legislation that both of us would consider legitimate to limit the number of Muslim immigrants! But notice: That still amounts to taking into account the cultural worries about Muslims. In other words, it still amounts to some variety of "religious discrimination" in immigration policy!

It seems to me that some such discrimination at some level, even in a proposal far less radical than mine, cannot be avoided if a policy is to show any sanity on this issue whatsoever, which is to say if the policy is to take cognizance in any way of the facts presently known about Islam and immigration.

Forgive me if someone has beaten me to saying this (I haven't time to read all the comments at the moment), but there is a key flaw in Dr. Beckwith's analogy, to wit: Catholicism is true; Islam is false.

Catholicism is true; Islam is false

Finally, someone says it.

Lydia,

I like the idea of you and I crafting legislation in Congress...it would be fun to work with the "right honorable member" from Kalamazoo!

I basically agree with everything you have to say in response to me, including the fact that it is right and sensible to discriminate against *some* Islamic immigrants (just as it is right and sensible to craft an immigration policy that discriminates among all potential immigrants).

I take exception only with this: "you simply hope that living in America will change their minds." I am arguing that it is not hope, but actual fact that given the number of Somali immigrants who have come to this country, and given the known cases of FGM (taking into account we probably don't know about all the cases), it seems logical to conclude that many Somalis have given up this hideous practice once they came to the U.S. and assimilated into American society. I think American culture (for good and bad) is much more powerful in its power to quickly assimilate immigrants than English culture (and just about every Western European country). This is part of the reason that Hispanic family values we hear so much about from my Catholic friends, liberals, and other assorted Bush-style Republicans have been falling apart as Hispanics assimilate to ghetto norms.

One more thing, since I'm not afraid to admit ignorance...I don't get that cartoon Dr. Beckwith posted. Are the Catholics coming to America supposed to be those alligators? Are those alligators? And whatever they are, why are they associated with Catholic immigrants?

...we'll have a better chance of bringing them to Christ here than in Arabia...
and;
I think American culture (for good and bad) is much more powerful in its power to quickly assimilate immigrants than English culture (and just about every Western European country).This is part of the reason that Hispanics...assimilate to ghetto norms.

The Cross or the Crypts. Sounds like a plan. Insane, but a plan nonetheless.

Forgive me if someone has beaten me to saying this (I haven't time to read all the comments at the moment), but there is a key flaw in Dr. Beckwith's analogy, to wit: Catholicism is true; Islam is false.

Yes, and everyone in America agrees with this making it relevant to the discussion.

We didn't need whole waves of immigration from the old world to get those innovators and entrepreneurs, just like today we don't need wholesale immigration from the third world to get access to the same sort of people from places like India and China or hard-working unskilled labor from Mexico.

Who exactly is "we?" This becomes increasingly important in proportion to the unrealistic homogeneity assumed by the comments in this thread about America.

I should say that Mike T's 1-5 are practical, even if some of his defense has strayed into make-believe.

I would like to see more politically sound suggestions. It doesn't seem too unreasonable to assume that the "10th crusade" is going to have to face up to American political realities (a diverse political body among them) and operate within a constitutional framework. Discrimination based solely on religion isn't workable; nor is it right. Government isn't allowed to acknowledge heresy; it promises to be blind to it. Government can only acknowledge effects. For better or worse, it elevates the secondary causes and the secondary effects and divorces them from their parents. I think that the political question needs to revolve around these, even though we must sometimes grind our teeth in going along with it. "Islam is evil" and kindred arguments aren't going to cut it.

Discrimination based solely on religion isn't workable; nor is it right. Government isn't allowed to acknowledge heresy; it promises to be blind to it. Government can only acknowledge effects. For better or worse, it elevates the secondary causes and the secondary effects and divorces them from their parents.

I don't get it. On the one hand you seem to be saying it's _unjust_ to notice the connection between cause and effect in the case of Islam and various negative effects _obviously_ of legitimate relevance to a secular government. On the other hand you seem to be saying this is just a "for better or for worse; deal with it" kind of thing. So which is it? I'm happy with the government's acknowledging effects, but I'm certainly not going to say that there is something unjust about the perfectly sane activity--which the veriest secularist can engage in--of acknowledging the overwhelming evidence connecting a particular religion as presently practiced and embedded into cultures around the world and a whole _slew_ of secularly relevant negative effects. There are more of them than any given conversation can even seem to keep in view at any one time.

Ari, I think you're missing the essential point here, which isn't an argument about immigration per se, but about whether all immigrants from all places in all times are totally interchangeable. While I disagree with your broad assertion that large-scale immigration is what made America great--and while I certainly disagree that our immigration policy ought to consider its net effect on American great power status as a guiding principle--I do agree that it wasn't necessarily destructive of America either, and there might even have been some substantial benefits.

The error that you and other "invite the world" types make is assuming that such immigration--which had to be, and was, tightly controlled by quotas and which occurred only in a few, very short bursts rather than as a long-standing national policy--is perfectly analogous to the current policy, or that the immigrants of yesteryear were not different in any relevant respects from today's. If you tried to make the argument, during the early 20th century influx of Irish immigrants, that importing millions of Muslims was a positively excellent idea as well, nobody at the time would have understood what in Heaven's name you were talking about, and would have dismissed the idea as completely preposterous. The fact is that the glorious waves of immigration you're referring to came almost exclusively from Western Christendom, and your attempt to cite them as evidence that mass Muslim immigration from the Third World will be a major benefit to America (we still await an explosion of technological advances from those populations here in the US) merely begs the question. Bottom line, you're comparing apples and oranges, and more or less totally ignoring the essential point of the thread, which is whether all immigrant populations are created equal.

You assert in essence that all immigration is good, and the more the better, period, end of story, irrespective of any particular details about the immigrants themselves or America's present circumstances. This is because, to hear you tell it, immigrants invent lots of things. Presumably, then, if we doubled the current rate of immigration from Mexico, we should suddenly start seeing lots of brilliant inventions popping up all over the place with Mexican names holding the trademark. And if that's not what you think, and you believe there are reasonable limitations on whom and from where we ought to admit various persons, and if you also believe that different immigrant populations will have different affects on the host society, and that those affects need not necessarily be good ones, then not only have you conceded Lydia's operative assumption, but your point is entirely opaque.

even if some of his defense has strayed into make-believe.

Examples?

Jeff, that cartoon is an old anti-Catholic strip that ran here in the States. The alligators' heads, you will notice, are shaped like a Bishop's mitre. The idea is that they're crawling onto America's shores and attempting to devour her.

On the one hand you seem to be saying it's _unjust_ to notice the connection between cause and effect in the case of Islam and various negative effects _obviously_ of legitimate relevance to a secular government. On the other hand you seem to be saying this is just a "for better or for worse; deal with it" kind of thing.

I'm not sure where the contradiction is here. In a free pluralistic society, government is not allowed to decide what sort of thinking or belief is dangerous. Period. Even if it means the destruction of that plural and free society (i.e. voting socialism) the U.S. does not act this way; and the instances where it has are considered its failings.

Yes, I am in fact saying that acknowledging the cause and effect between Islamic belief and its negative effects will never be publicly acknowledged by the U.S. government, or be implemented on that basis as public policy. It is fanciful to believe that immigration policy will ever be passed on a religious basis. Aren't you in Michigan??? Places like Dearborn already exist in the U.S. What happens to all of those who are already U.S. citizens when we publicly pronounce that all Islamic immigration shall henceforth be stopped, on the basis that Muslims make bad citizens and are dangerous? What happens to all of those Muslim communities across America, like Dearborn, when their own government (and yes they are already citizens) impugns them before their neighbors?

Lydia,

Thanks for responding and looking over some of this data at my blog. (I put forward a variety of hypotheses for testing, even if I don't always indicate it. I consider them provisional. I try to state hypotheses diametrically opposed to PC so that hypotheses can be tested. That may not always be indicated. Quite often the data strongly supports the contrary to PC hypothesis over the PC hypo.)

Below is fertility from c. 1800 to 1990. Fertility falls except during immigration restriction, when it rises. That was from 1940 to 1957 it rose. It peaked before the pill, which was a few years later. Then it fell heavily to the end of the 1970's.

http://www.elderweb.com/home/node/2919

As long as there is an upper bound to population, immigration will cause complete extinction of every single gene here and every one that comes here each year.

Suppose population stabilized at 300 million per year. Influx is 2 million. Suppose people live 75 years so 4 million die a year. Then there are 2 million births. 2 million births over 4 million deaths is 1/2. So the survival ratio per generation is 1/2. 25 years from birth to parent, means in 75 years, one has 1/8 of the starting genes, except in older generations moving off.

If population rises to 450 million and 1 million enter, the survival ratio is 5/6 per generation which still leads to extinction.

Men's median wages are the same as in 1973. See graph page 19:

www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p60-235.pdf

Examples?

Innocent things, like wishing America remained a small homogeneous culture when it was founded as only thirteen small colonies in the northeast and had an entire continent to populate. And also defending nativism by using "we" as if even the colonists were somehow native americans. Also, even the colonists came from places other than England.

As long as there is an upper bound to population, immigration will cause complete extinction of every single gene here and every one that comes here each year.

I don't think that's a justified assumption Old Atlantic. In so far as population holds steady I don't think it has anything to do with our having reached a population ceiling.

So, Brett, you're saying it would be unjust to stop Muslim immigration because it would make present Muslim citizens feel bad? Is that what I'm hearing?

Tough. They should deal with it. I've never proposed kicking them out, but we were exceedingly stupid to land ourselves with such a huge Muslim population. It is rankly irrational to say we have to keep on going on a foolish course of action because the beneficiaries of our previous foolishness would have their feelings hurt if we didn't do so.

_Of course_ I know the government is not going to listen to me. I've said that repeatedly now. But we need to have the courage to say what *should be done* if we are not to be suicidal in this country. Saying, "Nobody is going to do it and besides it would make present Muslim citizens mad" is not an argument against articulating the truth about what makes sense. Moreover, we could drastically reduce Muslim immigration without stopping it altogether. Those who see the perfectly obvious connections between Islamic teachings and culture and all these other negative things should at least speak up and get the supposedly unthinkable and unsayable ideas out there before they truly become unthinkable and unsayable. Why should we muzzle ourselves now, even before our Muslim population has increased to the point where, as in Europe and Canada, we are not allowed to say unpalatable truths about the dangers of Islam? Talk about surrendering pre-emptively.

Edit: Yes, I am in fact saying that the cause and effect between Islamic belief and its negative effects will never be publicly acknowledged by the U.S. government, or be implemented on that basis as public policy.

An extra acknowledge was in the orgiginal.

It seems like an important enough sentence to correct.

Lydia,

You can't complain about having to repeat yourself, when you didn't even read what I originally wrote. I don't think there is any further need to demonstrate the causal connection between massive islamic immigration and problems in the countries that have allowed it. I've been with you on that, but this discussion can't seem to get past that fact. The question is how to stop it. And all that you seem to suggest is screening based on religion. I would be remiss if I allowed you to believe you were doing any good by harping on this as though it were a realistic solution. Repeating it over and over again would in fact be suicidal, because nothing would be done.

It is rankly irrational to say we have to keep on going on a foolish course of action because the beneficiaries of our previous foolishness would have their feelings hurt if we didn't do so.

Please extend your readers the courtesy they extend you when they assume you are mildly intelligent. How you jump from me saying that I don't like your screening solution to me arguing somehow for open borders is beyond me. I can only assume that you think I am an idiot.

But we need to have the courage to say what *should be done* if we are not to be suicidal in this country.

I agree, except that you aren't saying what should be done. What should be done has to be something that can be done. Those of you who can't get past your initial revulsion of Muslim immigration to suggest practical immigration reforms are as suicidal as the liberals.

Brett, I wouldn't mind the practical advice if it weren't for all of this stuff about connecting the dots in immigration policy being _wrong_ that you have said in other comments, and apparently (as best as I can figure out) wrong because we already have so many Muslim citizens, and they would find it insulting if future policy implied that there was some problem with their religion. But that doesn't make it wrong!

Lydia,

If you honestly think that connecting the dots in a public policy is right, then we have an honest disagreement. But I hesitate to think that even you, if sitting in a position of authority right now, would implement your proposals in the manner you suggest.

Yes, your proposals would create enormous harm to the domestic situation. If you honestly think that "deal with it" amounts to a position then I am happy you are not a politician. "Deal with it" would include acts of domestic terrorism brought on by your policy; acts of domestic terrorism both by and against domestic Muslim citizens, caused by the U.S. government maligning its own citizen's beliefs in total, and jeapardizing the very religious freedom we supposedly cherish. As a philosopher I would expect you to be able to muster some sort of response to these legitimate concerns--glibness doesn't cut it here. While religious discrimination in immigration might be possible without jeapardizing religious freedom for citizens in theory; in reality it is difficult to have religious freedom when churches and mosques are likely to be bombed as a result of your policies.

churches and mosques are likely to be bombed

Really? Who is going to bomb the mosques? I mean, that's a joke, right? Or do you really believe that the skin-heads are just out there _waiting_ for the U.S. government to take Islam as a religion into account (negatively) in immigration as some sort of excuse for bombing mosques?

And I think your hodge-podge of negative consequences is exceedingly odd. Any statement to the effect that such a policy is imprudent because the presently residing Muslims are so unstable that they would launch into bombings as a result only confirms the need for us to get a grip on the dangers of Muslim immigration. "Keep letting more of us in and pretending that our religion is peaceful, or we'll bomb you." We've seen this kind of thing in England already. It's supposed to be seen as an irony by conservatives, but evidently not always.

Given heresy tests are unacceptable some questions:

1) What distinguishes "moderate" Islam from Qutb, al-Bana and other Islamists?

2) Can Islam be a religion of personal conscience with no aspirations for unity of Church and State?

3) If the answer to (2) is "no," why do you live in a country whose Constitution specifically forbids the establishment of a religion? Do you propose to throw out this Constitution?

4) If Muslims cannot in conscience support a Constitution forbidding Establishment, should they be excluded from official posts that require an oath to support the Constitution?

5) If the answer to (2) is "yes," do Muslims have the right to apostasy?

6) Should representatives of other religions have the right to proselytize in Muslim countries?

7) Will you personally take a public stand to support the right of Muslims to convert to other religions and for the right of other religions to proselytize Muslims?

8)Western democracy arose from a fight for freedom of religion and personal conscience. Do you believe that democracy can exist in the absence of freedom of religion?

Given the level of literacy, most muslims don't understand what their religion teaches which is a good thing. So cultural muslims are OK but not the orthodox and committed.

Is it realistic to expect traditional orthodox Sunni muslims to virtually apostatise after entering the country? And what of Taqiyya to enter? Could we discriminate legitimately between the obviously committed and the merely cultural? The latter would be a boon because they could provide language assets, and cultural intelligence to help in the push for world wide reform of Islam.

In my opinion to allow immigration to proceed there should be acknowledgment of the need for Islam to reform #1 and therefore the creation of cultural space for muslims who will proceed with this free from the orthodox who would slate them for execution as apostates #2 and to be truly charitable (we couldn't drop them into nihilist secularism) there should be concerted Christian evangelism #3. If the committed multiculties can keep their religion private long enough to engage in this level of debate then OK. But what are the chances?

Judeo-Christian immigration into Judeo-Christian country isn't a fair comparison.

What is fair to respect the uniqueness of our muslim brothers and sisters, listen to what they say about their religion and therefore help those who are genuine religious refugees. We should listen to experts in Islamic Jurisprudence like Sam Solomon (an acclaimed graduate of Al-Azer in Egypt and convert to Christianity).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxjpqOOaxdQ

In a free pluralistic society, government is not allowed to decide what sort of thinking or belief is dangerous. Period. Even if it means the destruction of that plural and free society...

My hope is that this is complete balderdash. If it isn't, free, pluralistic societies are built for suicide.

Innocent things, like wishing America remained a small homogeneous culture when it was founded as only thirteen small colonies in the northeast and had an entire continent to populate. And also defending nativism by using "we" as if even the colonists were somehow native americans. Also, even the colonists came from places other than England.

If those of us whose families have been here for 200-400 years cannot call ourselves natives, then neither can most of the nationalities of Europe call themselves natives to their lands. Only the Greeks and Italians can make a good argument for why they are "natives" to their lands since they have continuously occupied their lands for thousands of years. Even that is tenuous given the radical shifts in language by foreign invasion. So perhaps only a few nations, like the Chinese, can really call themselves natives on their own lands.

Whatever origins the other colonists may have had, the political system was based on the English system, and the culture was significantly more Anglo-Saxon than it is today. Most of the cultures today have no connection to our cultural heritage which made 1776 even possible. For most of them, including most European immigrants, that is completely alien since they'd have no need for the rights of Englishmen.

One of the reasons I have brought up issues of treatment of family is that they are relevant to "cultural" Muslims. Someone's being religiously literate and highly religiously committed to Islam apparently is not necessary for him to think, in the true fashion of the tribalism on which Islam is based, that it is his right and responsibility to kill his sister or that all girl children must be circumcised. Jihad isn't the only legitimate concern here, though it certainly is one.

Martin,

I suppose I should be glad that someone else around here thinks letting Muslims come to this country might be a good thing, but your arguments on this idea's behalf are strange. To wit:

#1) My answer to #2 is yes, which also answers this question. By the way, apropos of nothing, it is worth noting that Albanian Muslims (and Christians) saved thousands of Jews during WWII and some Muslims are even acknowledged as "Righteous Among Gentiles" at Yad Vashem. It seems like the Balkan strain of Islam (especially those who consider themselves Sufi) is what we in the West would consider moderate.

#3)Huh?! Why ask this question of Christians, who have no problem living in an America with no official State religion.

#s 4, 5 & 6) Yes.

#7)Yes.

#8) This is historically inaccurate and I don't understand the point you are making -- Western democracy has existed in the past and could exist in the future without freedom of religion. Whether it should end "freedom of religion" is another matter.


Mike T.,

I think Brett was alluding to the Indians. As for our Anglo-Saxon past, I agree it was important, although there were many strains of Anglo-Saxon thinking that went into the creation of America. It also seems as a historical fact that many other Western Europeans were influential in settling America and adopting to its Anglo-Saxon cultural norms (early on think Germans and Scandinavians; later think Irish, Italians, Jews; today think Asians). And what is your evidence that most of the "cultures today have no connection to our cultural heritage which made 1776 even possible"?

Lydia,

Yes that statement was meant to be provocative. But it is probably in the ball-park with statements to the effect that the government coming out tomorrow and deriding one of the three "great" world religions in its totality is something we should want.

Mike T,

I didn't mean to be quite so tart with you, I was in a bit of an impatient mood yesterday and on a slow public connection. But I see that we do still disagree about the role immigration has played in the U.S. Fair enough.

On a practical note, that might introduce some agreement back into the conversation.:

Introducing quotas back into immigration policy, as it used to be, would be the right first step. Quotas should be set by

1) cultural differences which lead to difficulty in assimilating
2) level of reciprocity in the foreign government.

I am told by authorities that 1) is how the U.S. conducted its immigration policy for years. 2) would go a long way toward correcting the problem without even having to stray into religious discussions. Reciprocity would include religious freedom in the parent country, meaning that countries which currently limit the practice of religion/building churches in middle east would incur corresponding limitations from their quota.

And I'm sorry Lydia, but we wouldn't be able to denounce our own citizens in public using these measures.

My earlier comment

"As long as there is an upper bound to population, immigration will cause complete extinction of every single gene here and every one that comes here each year."

Brett's reply

"I don't think that's a justified assumption Old Atlantic. In so far as population holds steady I don't think it has anything to do with our having reached a population ceiling."

Posted by Brett | May 27, 2009 9:48 PM

1) Its not an assumption its the conclusion of a mathematical theorem to which I have posted the proof on line and gave a numerical example.

2) "In so far as population holds steady I don't think it has anything to do with our having reached a population ceiling."

Population holding steady is a ceiling in math terms. If the population holds steady that is a maximum of the population. Think of population graphed on a line with population on the y axis and time on the
x-axis. The graph holds steady means the graph does not rise above some point. That point is the ceiling to the graph of population.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bounded_function

The proof of the Immigration Vanishing Survival Theorem is at the link at my name. You might want to reread the numerical example I gave above. In that case, the population holds steady.

Think of this example. One country, target, has a steady population of 300 million as does another country next to it, source. Families in source have 3 children, in target have one. The extra person goes from source to target. This gives target a survival ratio of 1/2. Source has a survival ratio of 1 of genes. The population in both countries is steady at 300 million each. All genes entering target go extinct in the sense of following their individual line.

Yes, Brett, we would be thus "denouncing." Because the "cultural differences" relevant to this discussion, however dressed up, would also apply to people already here, including citizens. Suppose you dressed it up as regional instead? We have no citizens already from those regions? We have no people already here who expect (as of right) that they will eventually become citizens from those regions? The truth is, we already have way too many people here _at least_ on a path to citizenship and beyond doubt (especially with birth citizenship) citizens too, who do indeed have serious cultural differences which lead to difficulty assimilating. You can't start addressing this issue--even if you word it in terms of "cultural differences" and do not refer expressly to Islam--without seeming to insult people here already. That's because of our foolhardy open immigration policies in the past. And there is no doubt, as well, that a quota system that took into account cultural differences concerning jihad, sharia, honor killings, and FGM (and any sane person should agree that these are problematic cultural differences that lead to difficulties assimilating!) will "disproportionately burden" Muslim immigrants. You just don't have to worry about these things with an ethnically Danish Lutheran! And the Muslims already here would, of course, notice. They are not so dumb that they wouldn't notice and call it "religious discrimination." And in a sense, they would be right. Because these cultural differences are found in Islam disproportionately. We must either ignore that or take it into account. And if we take it into account, our own citizens with these cultural inclinations will feel insulted and "denounced." But the alternative is to say that it is already too late and throw up our hands. And that merely means that measures to curb Muslim immigration, so far from being immoral, should have been undertaken long ago.

Brett,

I just want to echo Lydia's wise comment that we shouldn't worry about offending people and/or insulting people when making public policy. This applies to a lot more than immigration. By your own logic, conservatives could advocate for a traditional definition of marriage because this would "offend" gay people. Ditto for all sorts of conservative policies on the welfare state, families, foreign policy, etc. Obviously, we have to deal with public opinion in a democracy, but it is sort of axiomatic that all public policy will wind up offending some subset of the population at some point. And the Left is in the business of objecting to just about every single conservative public policy by crying that it will offend someone or someone will be insulted by adopting policy X.

Now Lydia,

You have to be pretending if you can't see that there is a difference in kind between a government screening a religion and a government screening its consequences. If Islamic countries tend to deny freedom of religion to their citizens, and we screen based on that fact, then we have denounced the hindered freedom of religion and not Islam in total. If Islamic countries tend to deny women's rights, and we screen based on this fact, we are denouncing the hindered freedom of women and not Islam in total. Should people be upset that the result would be limited immigration from Muslim countries, then they can get upset; but it can't be because the U.S. has issued a blanket denunciation of their religion, or because the U.S. has insinuated that current Muslim citizens are somehow second-rate solely by the fact of their being Muslim.

The one is not tantamount to the other.

This goes back to what I originally said, and has been common sense up until this point: government cannot, nor should it, designate belief itself as dangerous or illegal. It has to be blind to it so far as its procedural due process is concerned. This doesn't seem controversial to me.

Is this forcing the government to jump through hoops to achieve its ends? Yes, and we rightly do that when the government is tempted to outlaw belief and thought.

Here is a little puzzle:

1. Who thinks that abortion is not only morally wrong, but "murder"; that is according to normal usage: "intentional, purposeful, malicious, premeditated, and/or wanton"?
2. Who sincerely believes that advocates of free choice policy are "moral monsters", including the actual, freely elected US president?
3. Who favours an old fashioned role model for women: as "a wife, homemaker, mother, and teacher of my own children"?
4. Who thinks that "women have done for most of human history--cleaning, cooking, and caring for children (for the most part, pace the feminists, happily)"?
5. Who believes that homosexuality is a kind of sodomy, deeply immoral and subject to just social and legal discrimination?
6. Who thinks that there are very good reasons to keep children (especially girls) from the evil secular influence of public schools and universities?
7. Who thinks that beliefs which are "only religiously defensible" should NOT be excluded from the public square?
8. Who thinks that most evils in the world have been caused by "liberals and their ilk", resp. by people who favour some kind of well-meant appeasement policy against this liberal brood?
9. And finally: who thinks that people should be barred from immigration just because they have a certain religious background (and not because of there being some SPECIAL, person-related evidence for their ineptness)?

Your first guess might be some Saudi Arab patriarch or illiterate taliban. But that's wrong. It's Lydia McGrew, talented (I honestly mean that!) epistemologist, Michigan, USA, blinded by her prejudices and her hatred. Have you ever met a real Muslim (or homosexual...), Lydia? Even spoken to him/her?

My thanks to Francis Beckwith: for his lonely voice of reason and decency.

Have you ever met a real Muslim

I've lived with one, and spent a year mostly hanging out with other Muslims. I know from experience that there is a lot of truth to the stereotypes about their cultures and their religion.

You have to be pretending if you can't see that there is a difference in kind between a government screening a religion and a government screening its consequences. If Islamic countries tend to deny freedom of religion to their citizens, and we screen based on that fact, then we have denounced the hindered freedom of religion and not Islam in total. If Islamic countries tend to deny women's rights, and we screen based on this fact, we are denouncing the hindered freedom of women and not Islam in total. Should people be upset that the result would be limited immigration from Muslim countries, then they can get upset; but it can't be because the U.S. has issued a blanket denunciation of their religion, or because the U.S. has insinuated that current Muslim citizens are somehow second-rate solely by the fact of their being Muslim.

The one is not tantamount to the other.

You forget that we live in a society which says that you cannot point out the fact that most men who commit violent crime are black or hispanic without being called a racist. One of the many areas where modern Americans are largely dumber than a box of bricks is on picking out the characteristic differences between a set of issues and positions. Invariably, people will be incapable of separating the effect from the cause because most Americans are so maleducated that they possess little capacity for abstract reasoning.

After saying Catholics are not muslims and vice versa, what's left to say? Does history have to be cited.
The "tiny minority" phrase in the original post is touching, an appeal to what is commonly referred to as our better selves, an emotional chord waiting to be struck. A comment on the "peaceful muslim community", did I leave out "majority", would be appropriate along that saccharin if to optimistic line.

Well we are following, racing, after a dying Europe. Why stop with politics, economics, environment, and the rest. Let's add a dollop of islam to the deleterious brew, just for culture's sake.

WorriedaboutLydia,
I too am beginning to wonder whether this blog is supposed to SAY what's wrong with the world, or SHOW what's wrong with the world.

Mr. Worried, it is those kinds of shallow parallels that make me say that Islam and liberalism are incommensurable evils (as I've said repeatedly in comments and posts). It is those shallow parallels that motivate me to warn conservatives about the dangers of making common cause with Muslims. It's far too easy for conservatives to look at that kind of thing and think, "Oh, these are our allies." But it is not so.

Brett, how would you go about "screening" based on the probability of mistreatment of women, attempts to institute sharia law, hyper-aggressive demands for religious accommodation and refusal to assimilate, jihad support, and various other problems without taking _belief_ into account? Surely you understand that belief motivates action. Take my Somali couple example and FGM if you wish. This is a couple without children. If they have ever personally been involved in FGM, this isn't going to be on a "record" somewhere, because it isn't the kind of thing that is prosecuted in their country. Moreover, if they are young, the woman may be only a past victim of FGM, though by no means would that mean she is not determined to have it performed on her own future children. But they may never actually have had it done to anyone else. You know for a fact that by their cultural background they are likely to _believe_ it is a good and necessary thing, perhaps even that women should not be married without it. How do you "screen" for the probability of their having children and doing this to them without getting into beliefs? I'm rather tired of all this vague talk of "screening" for practices. Either it means that the burden of proof is on the government to find that the person has already engaged in such practices in the past--which is going to be very hard to fulfill and is not actually going to "screen" for the change in our culture connected with the practices in the future--or it means that the government is allowed to take into account statistical information showing the probability that people from certain cultural backgrounds are likely to engage in such practices in the future. And in that case, Islam is enormously relevant.

I'm not sure where the contradiction is here. In a free pluralistic society, government is not allowed to decide what sort of thinking or belief is dangerous. Period. Even if it means the destruction of that plural and free society (i.e. voting socialism) the U.S. does not act this way; and the instances where it has are considered its failings.

I am probably the most doctrinaire libertarian that comments here and I say that this is academic bullshit. There is no such thing as a true free, pluralistic society. None has ever existed. It's just an academic construct used to explain the sociological makeup and political practices of the Western world. As such, it is like the bohr model of the atom: useful for teaching kids, but of almost no use to real physicists or people in the political system.

One of the real facts about government that matters is that a free society cannot accept a large migration from a non-free society because of the cultural pollution that will naturally follow.

Mr. Worried, it is those kinds of shallow parallels that make me say that Islam and liberalism are incommensurable evils

Not to mention the shallow thinking involved on ones like abortion. Liberals are the ones who believe that a baby's location in space relative to its mother's womb is sufficient to determine whether or not it's human. That's the only way to explain why liberals still defend even partial birth abortion as permissible.

it is sort of axiomatic that all public policy will wind up offending some subset of the population at some point.

Jeff, of course. But the proper analogy isn't the gay marriage debate; the proper analogy would be if conservatives wanted to somehow outlaw advocacy of gay rights on the basis that such thinking can lead people to disrupt church services with protests and assault beauty queens.

I am probably the most doctrinaire libertarian that comments here and I say that this is academic bullshit. There is no such thing as a true free, pluralistic society. None has ever existed. It's just an academic construct used to explain the sociological makeup and political practices of the Western world. As such, it is like the bohr model of the atom: useful for teaching kids, but of almost no use to real physicists or people in the political system.
My hope is that this is complete balderdash. If it isn't, free, pluralistic societies are built for suicide.

Mike and William, either there is the risk for national self-suicide, or you have paternalism. I don't have a problem with certain paternalisms--for instance, a constitution. If you want your additional paternalism in governemnt then there are plenty of restraints on so-called national suicide. "the people don't know what is good for them" and all the rest has justified aristocracy and oligarchy for ages. If you want libertarianism, then yes national suicide will always be a possibility.

So far as freedom of religion goes, I suppose this is just another piece of academic bullshit Mike? Can we say anything is out the window in reality then? Sure, life begins at conception in theory, but in reality no one sees it happen and there aren't any human characteristics at that point. Sure, murder is murder is murder, but in reality no one wants to advocate for someone on death row, so we'll toss that one out too and execute them all. If all of the principles break down under the mildest stress of reality, then what's the point? Since the whole in reality pragmatism comes off as wisdom in your circles I'll let you keep it, I'm not particularly fond of it myself.

Lydia,

Screening for practices on an individual basis isn't practical for all of the reasons you cited.

I would like regional/national quotas and the quotas filled on a basis like Mike's 1-5. Further, the actual quota would be set based upon the characteristics of the nation. In proportion to its human rights violations as a country we limit the number who can come. This is part of the reciprocity principle. The protection of FGM by a foreign government under its law would warrant our limiting the number of immigrants from that country without placing the burden of proof on the individual immigrant. Political asylum should still exists as a separate thing from immigration.

Mike and William, either there is the risk for national self-suicide, or you have paternalism. I don't have a problem with certain paternalisms--for instance, a constitution. If you want your additional paternalism in governemnt then there are plenty of restraints on so-called national suicide. "the people don't know what is good for them" and all the rest has justified aristocracy and oligarchy for ages. If you want libertarianism, then yes national suicide will always be a possibility.

It isn't necessarily paternalism for the federal government to be restrictive in how and when it accepts immigrants. In fact, a free society should never welcome illiberal immigrants into it as citizens. On a work visa, perhaps, but not in a position where they or their kids can gain access to political power.

So far as freedom of religion goes, I suppose this is just another piece of academic bullshit Mike?

I think it depends on what you mean here. In principle, it isn't. Anyone should have a right to practice a religion that doesn't entail coercion or violation of reasonable laws. For example, it's fine for Muslim men to have up to 4 wives, but it's not OK for them to marry them at 9 like Mohammed did.

Can we say anything is out the window in reality then? Sure, life begins at conception in theory, but in reality no one sees it happen and there aren't any human characteristics at that point.

Au contraire. Its genome is fully characteristic of being human, and is an organism that in the course of its natural existence will divide and multiply until it is a full human.

Sure, murder is murder is murder, but in reality no one wants to advocate for someone on death row, so we'll toss that one out too and execute them all.

Any reasonable person will advocate for those who are not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

If all of the principles break down under the mildest stress of reality, then what's the point?

Dealing with groups like the Communists in the Cold War was not a mild stress, but a clash of civilizations wherein those in the Communist movement were willing to violently overthrow our system once they reached a particular level of power. You're comparing apples to oranges.

Since the whole in reality pragmatism comes off as wisdom in your circles I'll let you keep it, I'm not particularly fond of it myself.

It is wisdom. Conservatives are fond of saying that a libertarian society has never existed in the past, and that is true, but for the same reason that no society has ever conformed to an ideology or philosophy. Societies are naturally too heterogeneous to allow for that. So, instead of focusing on models to exclusion of reality, one has to be mindful of the fact that the models don't actually fit the full, real picture anymore than the Bohr model of the atom accurately describes atomic structures.

To me, libertarianism is not a cultural suicide pact. If we find that our principles don't work under certain circumstances, we change them to meet reality. That is a sign of maturity, not gutless pragmatism. Russia is a perfect example of what happens when you allow ideology to become a suicide pact. I'd rather admit an idea is wrong, than cling to it in the face of reality preparing to kick me in the teeth.

Is islam even a "religion," or is it a political creed with a religious veneer, a religious overlay, which veils its true essence.

Which is a totalitarianism.

Before we start running off on "freedom of religion," shouldn't we specify what exactly a "religion" is, and whether or not islam passes muster.

Aquinas, {Saint, genius, Doctor of the Church, and a guy who forgot more about theology than all of us combined} said that islam was NOT a religion per se, but a political system.

Shouldn't his judgement on the matter inform ours. Shouldn't his considered conclusion, inform this little "dialogue."

Just because millions of the adherents of islam say it's a religion, doesn't make it so.

It is true that people have rights, but it needs to be recalled, ESPECIALLY IN THIS MOST POLITICALLY CORRECT OF ERAS, that ERROR HAS NONE.

How are we to judge them?

Is it not "by their fruits," that "ye shall know them." Gaze then at the "fruits," bitter and bloody that they are, of islam. And allow yourself to "know" them.

Mike T writes: "I am probably the most doctrinaire libertarian that comments here..."

I reply: wanna bet?

;^)

Q,

Is islam even a "religion," or is it a political creed with a religious veneer, a religious overlay, which veils its true essence.

Which is a totalitarianism.

I agree wholeheartedly. Islam is totalitarian, and dangerously so because it integrates political and religious life into an inseparable mix. Replace "Lo stato" with "La Moschea" in "Tutto nello Stato..." and you get a really good idea of how Islam sees the world. It's also an expansionist, imperialistic ideology that seeks to consume the entire world and bring it under its dominion.


Steve,

I reply: wanna bet?

I could hold my own against even most people at Reason :)

The only areas where I really disagree with most libertarians are abortion and immigration.

If we find that our principles don't work under certain circumstances, we change them to meet reality. That is a sign of maturity, not gutless pragmatism.

I'm starting to get confused. So are these principles or not? I'm sorely tempted to quote the opening of Ethics of Elfland for you, because you sound like one of the philanthropic old business men.

Principles stay fixed and guide your response to new realities. That's why they are principles. There is of course room for them to change, but it is accompanied by something like a revolution of the heart, not the easy maturity you sound off. I for one don't applaud those forward thinking individuals that give up sacred truths, like the dignity of life, or freedom of thought, because it suits them. Nor do I find them particularly mature.

Au contraire. Its genome is fully characteristic of being human, and is an organism that in the course of its natural existence will divide and multiply until it is a full human.

So that's your defense of life? A biological answer based on the creation of the genome? If you take the debate there, I'm afraid you will get annihilated. So why should the genome be sacred anyway, if it has nothing to do with principle?

Also, as a friend to the pro-life movement, I would suggest you remove talk of "full" human. You're betraying with a kiss here.

Russia is a perfect example of what happens when you allow ideology to become a suicide pact. I'd rather admit an idea is wrong, than cling to it in the face of reality preparing to kick me in the teeth.

No, Russia is a perfect example of what happens when a government begins ruling on what is dangerous/acceptable thought; exactly the sort of thing I have been arguing against from the start. Communism would never have lasted as long as it did if a monolithic society hadn't been enforced under military threat.

On reflection I don't agree with the Bohr comparison. I think we have to operate under the assumption that our principles are a correct description of the world, which the Bohr model is not. I think the appropriate analogy of the difficulty of translating principles into practice would be trying to apply quantum mechanics to describe all macroscopic physics.

None of this is particularly relevant to the rest of the thread, however much I enjoy our back and forth. I think we agree more than you think. But we can keep at it if you wish.

If we find that our principles don't work under certain circumstances, we change them to meet reality. That is a sign of maturity, not gutless pragmatism.

In other words, we must abandon our Christian morals and, in their place, adopt that Baconesque practicality centered solely on Machiavellian Principles.

Brett,

Principles stay fixed and guide your response to new realities.

Au contraire; did not even Paul of Tarsus himself teach us in Ephesians that we should henceforeth be no more but children tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of new doctrine that comes along our way?

In another age, Christian morals dictated taking up the sword, and burying it into as many a muslim as you possibly could, so as to try to hold the line against their breaking forth out of the Iberian peninsula, or breaking out of the Balkans.

Why was it that Spain came finally to understand that muslims couldn't be tolerated at all on the Iberian peninsula?

Does anyone here care to go through that little history?

Want to help poor muslims? Fine. Help them in their homelands, and assist them there, but let's not try a demographic movement UNPRECEDENTED in human history.

The population transfers we're seeing, we need to recall, are WITHOUT PRECEDENT in not just the West, or the East, but all of human history.

Only a radical, only someone intent on remaking, rebranding, reinterpreting, reordering, and otherwise reducing everything to accord with his radical political agenda, would even consider the demographic policies currently in place.

And all of history tells us that the only thing that will result is blood, blood, and more and more blood, until even the bloodthirty and the bloodlusting weary of it.

It isn't going to end well. And rest assured Satan was behind it.

Brett, if I am an abolitionist, you, with the proposal to have quotas from countries based on their cultures (I assume this is part of what you would base it on) are like a person who wants to regulate and harass the slave trade. It is at least a move in the right direction. If your quota system would end up miniscule for countries like Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Somalia, and if your asylum would not simply be a joke and a side-door to get around the quota system, I would probably vote for your legislation in Congress as an improvement, at least, over what we presently have. But given the facts and reality of sharia, Muslim countries would definitely be disproportionately impacted, and it would be said, with some justice, that this was discrimination against Muslim immigrants by another name. If so, so much the better from my perspective. If there were Muslim riots in Minnesota and Dearborn as a result, you would have to decide if this merely confirmed the wisdom of your plan or if it meant you were wrong to pass it. I should add that it would certainly be said that you were punishing people for the actions of their government, that this was "bigotry" against people from particular regions, that it was unfair to your "Christian brothers" from those regions, and that it was insulting to those who have already come here from those same countries. I can see the interviews with former Somali immigrants on TV right now. You could yell that it was about actions and culture all you wanted. And in a sense you would be right. But in the end, perhaps you would realize that actions, culture, and religion are not separable _for them_ and therefore that your own separation among these is the merest legal fiction and one that gets you no brownie points with the Muslims already among us. Then maybe you'd come to agree with me after all. :-)

Does anyone here care to go through that little history?

Apologies, but I yield to an entirely different Lord Chancellor; that Baconesque Christianity leaves much to be desired and, in addition, to engage in more elaborate detail what ultimately led to that specific failure which you've alluded to in your comments (and, in fact, has conclusively come to haunt us in the present day) would have me going into particulars not only tangential but, more importantly, particularly uninviting to a certain reputable readership whose respect I actually hold dear, even if divergent, if not, an entirely foreign creed.

Lydia,

It does happen to be important to me that my government seperate actions, culture, and religion, even if the people that are affected do not. As long as I can cleave to my legal fiction and my government abides by it, even occasionally, I'll count myself lucky.

I'm starting to get confused. So are these principles or not? I'm sorely tempted to quote the opening of Ethics of Elfland for you, because you sound like one of the philanthropic old business men.

Principles stay fixed and guide your response to new realities. That's why they are principles. There is of course room for them to change, but it is accompanied by something like a revolution of the heart, not the easy maturity you sound off. I for one don't applaud those forward thinking individuals that give up sacred truths, like the dignity of life, or freedom of thought, because it suits them. Nor do I find them particularly mature.

And I, for one, don't consider immigration policy sacred truth. Most political principles are not sacred truths, but rather are a framework by which we guide politics.

So that's your defense of life? A biological answer based on the creation of the genome? If you take the debate there, I'm afraid you will get annihilated. So why should the genome be sacred anyway, if it has nothing to do with principle?

You're going off in left field here bringing in an unrelated issue. Basic science has crushed philosophy on this matter. The moment that two gametes come together to form an organism with the human genome, they have created a new human life. In its purest sense, at that very moment, a new human life has begun and all philosophy then is either candy-coating on top of that or an attempt to weasel out of accepting that basic biological truth.

Also, as a friend to the pro-life movement, I would suggest you remove talk of "full" human. You're betraying with a kiss here.

Now you're just nitpicking.

No, Russia is a perfect example of what happens when a government begins ruling on what is dangerous/acceptable thought; exactly the sort of thing I have been arguing against from the start. Communism would never have lasted as long as it did if a monolithic society hadn't been enforced under military threat.

Russia is also an example of what happens when you run society according to an ideology without regard for even the most basic observation of what is happening to society. The reason the PRC is getting a lot better than the USSR is because the Chicoms started realizing that Communism doesn't really work, and embraced that rather than fighting it.

On reflection I don't agree with the Bohr comparison. I think we have to operate under the assumption that our principles are a correct description of the world, which the Bohr model is not. I think the appropriate analogy of the difficulty of translating principles into practice would be trying to apply quantum mechanics to describe all macroscopic physics.

And yet there are demonstrable flaws in all ideologies. Give me any ideology, and I can probably stab it to death with reasonable criticism of where it falls short of reality.

None of this is particularly relevant to the rest of the thread, however much I enjoy our back and forth. I think we agree more than you think. But we can keep at it if you wish.

It's probably best to keep it on track. My main issue with obsession over principle is that I don't regard political principles as being the same as moral truths. The former may be manifestations of the latter, but often, they aren't. I see no shame in admitting that a principle is simply not based in reality and abandoning it.

Au contraire; did not even Paul of Tarsus himself teach us in Ephesians that we should henceforeth be no more but children tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of new doctrine that comes along our way?

I must have missed the verse(s) where Paul said that it is imperative that we adhere to our political views as though they were revealed by the Spirit. Though I do remember Jesus getting a mite upset at putting the traditions of men on par with revealed truth...

As long as I can cleave to my legal fiction and my government abides by it, even occasionally, I'll count myself lucky.


This comment reminds me of this particular dialogue:

ROPER: Now you give the Devil benefit of law!

MORE: Yes, what would you do? Cut a road through the law to get after the Devil?

ROPER: Yes. I'd cut down every law in England to do that.

MORE: And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned on you...
...where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?
This country is planted with laws from coast to coast...

ROPER: Man's laws, not God's,
MORE: and if you cut them down...
...and you're just the man to do it...
...do you really think you could stand upright in the wind that would blow then?
I give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety's sake.

I must have missed the verse(s) where Paul said that it is imperative that we adhere to our political views as though they were revealed by the Spirit.

Who said anything about "political views"? I was strictly referring to those long-standing principles that we should unwaveringly cling to.

Though I do remember Jesus getting a mite upset at putting the traditions of men on par with revealed truth...

I know; how incredibly unfortunate (and ever devestatingly abysmal) that there have been those who have unwittingly created what amounts to basically a monstrous man-made fiction of Christianity rather than something that genuinely springs from a much ancient Tradition that ultimately flows from the Divine Saviour Himself, entrusted to his Heirs on earth, the Apostles, and unto their Successors.

As for matters concerning Caesar & Christ, I would have thought that both Paul & Christ Himself made it remarkably clear as regarding how we should treat these.

No Mike, I wasn't nitpicking. That you can't see that is enough.

And this bit

Basic science has crushed philosophy on this matter. The moment that two gametes come together to form an organism with the human genome, they have created a new human life. In its purest sense, at that very moment, a new human life has begun and all philosophy then is either candy-coating on top of that or an attempt to weasel out of accepting that basic biological truth.

is a study in irony.

I take back that talk about us agreeing more than we appear to; it was foolish optimism and misplaced diplomacy on my part.

Basic science has crushed philosophy on this matter. The moment that two gametes come together to form an organism with the human genome, they have created a new human life. In its purest sense, at that very moment, a new human life has begun and all philosophy then is either candy-coating on top of that or an attempt to weasel out of accepting that basic biological truth.

Science is a daughter of philosophy; without its parent, it is essentially lost and without the wisdom of its parent.

Much of the rhetoric employed here has either created, at best, aesthetic Christians and, at worst, the atheists.

I'm not sure where the contradiction is here. In a free pluralistic society, government is not allowed to decide what sort of thinking or belief is dangerous. Period. Even if it means the destruction of that plural and free society (i.e. voting socialism) the U.S. does not act this way; and the instances where it has are considered its failings.

Brett, your views are a bit unclear to me. Your statements imply the perverse belief that, while it is acceptable, nay necessary, that a free pluralistic society allow the reduced, abstract logic of its political philosophy to be carried to the absurd end of its own destruction, it is unacceptable for a free pluralistic society to prudently adapt the abstracted ideal of its political philosophy such that a realistically achievable free, pluralistic society can be maintained on the earth as the earth actually is. I infer a maniacal and inhuman utopianism, not the stand of principle against a relativistic pragmatism that you're claiming.

Nor is it clear by what criterion you distinguish acceptable and unacceptable methods for undermining our (may I say "our"?) freedom and pluralism. If, per your example, it is not a violation of our principles for citizens to vote themselves into conditions that destroy their free, pluralistic society, why is it a violation of principle to allow them to vote merely to restrict, not destroy?

So you accept that citizens who were allowed in under your non-discriminatory religious policy may, via growing numbers and using the existing procedures of our free, pluralistic society, subvert, say, the First Amendment, and impose shari'a law. That, you insist, is the risk that free, pluralistic societies always run, and we must accept that. But it would be wrong - not unlikely, or impracticable, or based on misinformation, but wrong in principle - for the existing citizenry, using the same electoral power and procedure as in the former example, to amend the same law to exclude people whose beliefs they consider to be incompatible with the principle of religious pluralism.

Destroying the free, pluralistic society in a procedurally correct fashion - acceptable. Limiting the freedoms and pluralism of this society in procedurally correct fashion - not OK. Because limiting those freedoms erodes and finally destroys the free, pluralistic society.

You see my confusion. That it is arguable that your preferred criterion of "non-discrimination" has the priority you claim for it, or that we have any obligation, moral or legal, to apply it to non-citizens at all in matters of immigration, or how a government applying the preferred immigration policies of its citizens qualifies as "paternalism", I'll leave for now. Ditto for the fact that the criteria for immigration you propose are as religiously discriminatory as any other and violate your own stated principles. I'll add only that most arguments about earlier Catholic immigrants generally revolve around trying to demonstrate that the nativists' fears about the consequences of Catholic immigration were unfounded, not that the descendants of earlier settlers had no right to set immigration policies in their own interest. (And frankly, though I have some of those Catholic immigrants among my own ancestors, I'm beginning to wonder if the Know-Nothings didn't have a point after all, considering the arrogant way the Catholic Church presumes to flout U.S. immigration law, and collude with American labor-exploiters and corrupt Mexican elites.)

What this disagreement boils down to, I think, is that Americans are going to have to confront the possibility (fact, by my lights), that American "universalism" is no such thing and can only flourish in the context of a specific, shared culture that, while historically far from static, rigid, and closed, is most certainly not infinitely elastic. To think otherwise is the essence of our peculiarly American folly and hubris. And hubris, as we know, always ends in tragedy.

Aristocles,

Pray detail the nature of the "haunting" to which you alluded. Spain was pacified at the conclusion, was it not? And Spain no longer had an islam at its throat, and agitating for supremacy. Which of us could count the souls that were saved thereby? And by contrast, which of us would not tremble at the fate of those souls that would have been lost but for such measures.

And then again, explain why you would need wander into things "tangential" to embark upon such a discussion? If they bore upon the issue at bar, wherefore your use of the term "tangential," for they would have been at least relevant, if not entirely material. And if they did not bear upon, why then the need to insert them into the discussion at all. Why not simply forebear from remarking upon things you, yourself, deemed "tangential."

Whatever.


"Basic science has crushed philosophy on this matter."

That's a non-scientific claim about the relative merits of science and philosophy on a particular question. Thus, you have offered a philosophical insight, albeit crudely. Philosophy, again, wins, as it always will.

Meaning science depends on philosophy? In that sense, identifying an unborn puppy as a member of the canine species is also philosophy. Okay, no problem. Call it philosophy. But most people call it science. I wasn't going to assist a threadjack here, but I'm a lot more on Mike T's side. And I don't see what value it is to pro-lifers to deny that science is on their side, since it manifestly is as regards the nature of the unborn child as an individual member of the species homo sapiens from conception. Why the negative view of Mike T? He's pro-life. Is it because he said he's a libertarian or something?

Lydia:

I was making a technical point. Mike is certainly correct that science is on the side of the prolife position. But I don't like the claim that once science "proves" something philosophy must move on. After all, I am certain that if you had showed Hitler that non-Germans had the same anatomy as Germans that it would not have given him pause to engage in atrocities.

Frank

One more thing. What you did was a threadjill, not a threadjack. :-)

Mike and William, either there is the risk for national self-suicide, or you have paternalism.

It's not paternalism for the federal government to fulfill it's constitutional mandate to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and provide for the common defense.

If you want libertarianism, then yes national suicide will always be a possibility.

I don't want libertarianism.

...government cannot, nor should it, designate belief itself as dangerous or illegal. It has to be blind to it so far as its procedural due process is concerned. This doesn't seem controversial to me.

That's the problem, that you don't think it controversial. It's even more of a problem that you don't think the assertion preceding it quite obviously wrong.

Jeff Singer. Perhaps I should have been clearer - those questions would be addressed to Muslims to ascertain their level of “propensity to jihadism” and therefore as a means of restricting access to certain of them. The Kolakowski described 'Self Poisoning of the Open Society' demands this kind of urgent policy thinking IMO. It is good policy for the US and for those Muslims who are religious refugees and want to overcome their ethnicity described here by Spengler http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/KA06Aa01.html .This mechanism would help to assimilate the cultural muslims Dr McGrew wrote about. If there was a will.

Pardon me William, I thought you were aware that we were speaking about American constitutional questions, for which that isn't a controversial statement. You may disagree with free thought, you may agree that government should prohibit all sorts of precipitous thought to pre-empt the actions it might lead to; you may even read 1984 as a utopian tract for all that I care, but you and the book burners are speaking of something other than the American experiment at freedom. You are perfectly correct, I am sorry that I didn't take it into account that I might be speaking to a Greek anarchist.

I also find it astounding that you and others can't seem to understand the barest fact of all: if you are to have true freedom then you must be allowed to fall. I really shouldn't have to explain this on a Christian blog. It isn't a theory. It is a fact. It is THE FACT. We find it there as the first monstrous paradox of existence. It was there in the beginning. It was with the Word. It was there in the mind of God when He foresaw that He should have to send His Son even before the creation of the world.

And that paradox dogs all of creation. In finance, in government, in love--in exact proportion to how you much you hedge your chances against failing, that is how much you have given up your freedom. Your freedom to invest, your freedom to live as you will, your freedom to love unreservedly have been given up to play it safe. And it is reasonable to do this in government, though the American genius was that they realized it should be done as little as possible. If you can't understand this, I am done. I beg your apology, I have lost my wits. If I do not understand this, then I have understood nothing. Nay, I recant my apology. I would rather be mad than renounce this.

Much of the rhetoric employed here has either created, at best, aesthetic Christians and, at worst, the atheists.

Indeed.

I took issue when this conversation strayed, nonchalant--truly as care-free as children playing upon a ledge--into saying that government should arbitrate ideology. When it became clear that effects should spill over from immigration into domestic federal issues, I was astounded to learn that none of you had a problem with this. Not even Beckwith, the original author of this post, spoke up in warning. Only Aristocoles, with his cryptic encouragement(?) even appeared to see something wrong. I find myself in the insane position of proving to Americans that the U.S. constitution exists. I find myself in the further absurdity--how many hells does this nightmare have?--of defending the fact that I actually believe the government should operate within these constraints.

Virtually everything in this post reeks of such noxious sophistry and self-deception that I am thoroughly disillusioned with it. I mistakenly thought that I heard the rallying cry of brothers in arms and arrived in a camp of barbarians.

And yes, that was hostility toward Mike T concerning abortion, because he was apparently completely unaware of any connection between philosophy and science. He who has no understanding of the relationship between science and philosophy has no business wielding science as he does. They bring their own house down upon themselves and injure those nearby. Francis and Ari had to point out the irony to him. Yes, God is not contradictory and all truth serves him; but the man who dances with biological consequentialism without understanding philosophy is not to be trusted, he can go along with the people who monitor pulses and oxygen stats to test the efficacy of prayer, and the ID people that hold their breath waiting for the "God particle" to be discovered. They are no friends of the faith; and I have plenty of justification to be wary of them and loose talk of science.

I mistakenly thought that I heard the rallying cry of brothers in arms and arrived in a camp of barbarians.

Geesh Brett, that is a poor rebuttal to the question before us; is our society morally or Constitutionally obligated to welcome a people who will abolish religious pluralism as soon as they are in a demographic position to do so?

Thank you Mr Beckwith and especially Brett for having this conversation

I am very wary of the Muslim bashing. I am concerned about massive Islamic immigration into Europe and how they are assimilating.

The question is do we have a realistic chance of having that problem in the USA. I doubt it. At least at that level.

The proble I have with Jihad watch etc etc and other groups is they spend all there time on horror stories and not he "success" stories.

My suggeston is for ISmamic immigrants(and they are not all the same) go meet them, invite them to you house, get their kids involved with your local sports team. Build a community

I think Brett is very right here in his comments he has made

Pardon me William, I thought you were aware that we were speaking about American constitutional questions...

Yeah, I even quoted the constitution.

...for which that isn't a controversial statement.

Only to a mind that has bought into the radical, liberal understanding of the constitution as a document that prohibits the government from taking any interest whatsoever in "ideas" or "beliefs" so pernicious in their effects as to warp, poison or even destroy the very culture that brought that government into being. Are you aware of what the government did to the Mormons to crush the practice of polygamy? Have you ever heard of HUAC?

if you are to have true freedom then you must be allowed to fall. I really shouldn't have to explain this on a Christian blog. It isn't a theory. It is a fact. It is THE FACT. We find it there as the first monstrous paradox of existence.

So behind your tolerance for Muslim immigration and constitutional know-nothingism is a theology? Shouldn't the government take notice of this, so that at least they'll have divine justification for what they're doing? You get to use religion to justify non-discrimination on that very basis, but I don't get to use it in the other direction? (These are rhetorical questions. Please don't answer.)

I find myself in the insane position of proving to Americans that the U.S. constitution exists

You were probably typing too fast. What you meant to say was "of proving that my left-liberal interpretation of the U.S. constitution exists." And guess what. It does. The government that shares your theology seems to see it that way. A prophet is usually not heard in his own country, but you are. So buck up.

Speaking as a barbarian, a book-burner...(hang on, I'm searching for all the names you called me), a noxious sophist and a barbarian, I have boldly concluded that I'm the one who actually believes in freedom, and that the "freedom" you claim to champion - the one that makes no distinctions and never discriminates (except when it's calling people names) - doesn't go by that title at all, but rather license, anarchy and chaos.

I also thought your caricature of Mike T's position a little unfair. I took his target to be those airy, academic exercises in unreality that try to deny with a philosophical facade the personhood of a conceived human being, not the sound philosophy which might be found in, oh, Frank Beckwith's recent book. I promise to read it before I burn it.

Kevin asked you a good question, but I don't think you can answer it to a barbarian's satisfaction.

I'm not sure what the significance of all this is in the immigration debate. Certainly the US has been more welcoming of Catholics than say, Spain was of protestants.

I also thought your caricature of Mike T's position a little unfair. I took his target to be those airy, academic exercises in unreality that try to deny with a philosophical facade the personhood of a conceived human being, not the sound philosophy which might be found in, oh, Frank Beckwith's recent book. I promise to read it before I burn it.

That was exactly my target. I may not have worded it delicately, but I tend to be skeptical of philosophers as most of the ones I've met are the sort who will use logic like it's a cheap hooker who'll do anything for $10.

I stand by my position above that science has answered all of the important questions about what humanity is and when human life begins and ends. A human being is an organism of species homo sapien, and a justifiable case can be made for any species of genus Homo. A human life begins when two gametes form a new organism, and ends when the body suffers irreversible brain death. The only relevant question of when a life form is a human being and thus a rights-endowed being is whether or not it possesses the human genome and in the course of its natural development will attempt to form a new human adult organism.

Virtually all philosophical questions about what human life is are either complements to those basic truths, or they are little more than airy, academic bullshit used to allow someone to do that which is morally unacceptable. One of the sick ironies of this particular argument is that most of the people who use philosophy to assault the aforementioned definition of human life are self-professed lovers of science who bemoan "religious assaults on science."

From my perspective, mainstream philosophy stopped having anything to do with a philos for sophos a long time ago.

I was making a technical point. Mike is certainly correct that science is on the side of the prolife position. But I don't like the claim that once science "proves" something philosophy must move on.

In cases like this one, science certainly did establish hard parameters that philosophy must acknowledge and obey when discussing. If a philosopher says that an organism of species homo sapiens is not human for reason X, then the philosopher is automatically wrong because we know from observation that any

After all, I am certain that if you had showed Hitler that non-Germans had the same anatomy as Germans that it would not have given him pause to engage in atrocities.

I don't think philosophy or science would have convinced him of that. Only God or the barrel of a gun would have changed his mind.

Forgot to complete a thought...

If a philosopher says that an organism of species homo sapiens is not human for reason X, then the philosopher is automatically wrong because we know from observation that any organism that has a human genome, and that fits the basic profile of an organism spawned by two gametes and proceeding directly from that developmental path will produce (or as I said, attempt to produce) a full human adult. Thus science and good philosophy say that Hitler and other murderous nuts are wrong. That won't convince them, but that's because humans are rationalizing, not rational, animals.

into saying that government should arbitrate ideology

Brett, you propose to use the undesirable nature of the government of some other country as a proxy for the probable undesirable nature of its citizens. As I said, any immigration restrictionism that takes seriously, say, the absence of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia and the probable _ideas_ of its citizens on that subject is certainly a move in the right direction. But *that is still a case of immigration policy's taking ideas into account and deciding that some governments are better than others and therefore that some prospective immigrants are better for our country than others*. You cannot get away from that. If you are going to make any stab whatsoever, in however a roundabout fashion, at keeping out people who are going to change the face of our society negatively, you have to admit that ideas have consequences and take that into account in public policy--immigration policy specifically. If that seems to you like the government's "arbitrating ideology," then you are going to have to take all prospective immigrants (or at a minimum, all those against whom no _past actions_ can be individually proved that would be against U.S. law), put their names in a hat, and pick which ones to admit entirely randomly.

I can't believe you don't realize this.

Geesh Brett, that is a poor rebuttal to the question before us; is our society morally or Constitutionally obligated to welcome a people who will abolish religious pluralism as soon as they are in a demographic position to do so?

Of course it isn't bound for either reason. The Constitution is not a suicide pact. We admit that even freedom of speech cannot be used for a means that is intended to cause a risk to life, limb or property for others such as revealing state secrets or causing a panic like yelling "fire" in a crowded place. I wonder if Brett has an issue with the government classifying sensitive information...

Brett's position requires us to say that there is no difference between a liberal in the Democratic party who is on the left, and a member of the Communist movement during the Cold War. The latter is part of a movement that was an actively violent and radical movement that often used freedom to build up a domestic base from which to attack the host society. The Constitution can be reasonably interpreted as to allow the federal government to assault such groups as they are de facto insurrections, and the federal government has an explicit war power in the Constitution to suppress insurrections.

As I said, any immigration restrictionism that takes seriously, say, the absence of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia and the probable _ideas_ of its citizens on that subject is certainly a move in the right direction. But *that is still a case of immigration policy's taking ideas into account and deciding that some governments are better than others and therefore that some prospective immigrants are better for our country than others*.

Lydia, for people like Brett, liberty means that we must allow our opponents to use their liberty to amass forces with which to topple liberty and enslave us.

Lydia McGrew,

I do respect your thinking abilities. If my comment sounded too critical, I apologize. Have a good day.

In cases like this one, science certainly did establish hard parameters that philosophy must acknowledge and obey when discussing. If a philosopher says that an organism of species homo sapiens is not human for reason X, then the philosopher is automatically wrong because we know from observation that any ...

Virtually all philosophical questions about what human life is are either complements to those basic truths, or they are little more than airy, academic bullshit used to allow someone to do that which is morally unacceptable.

My goodness, man, have you no knowledge of the history of Philosophy whatsoever?

Maybe you might try and familiarize yourself with the so-called Enlightenment and the period of decadence that susbequently resulted thereafter.

My goodness, as if there were no such figures as a Bacon or even a Spencer.

Pluralism cannot be an end in itself, for that would mean that if the acts of free rational agents resulted in unanimity or near unanimity that we would have to conclude that an injustice occurred. So, pluralism qua pluralism could be the result of an injustice.

Pluralism is a fact. It is neither good nor bad. It just is. Think about it, if pluralism were really good in-itself, those who advance the cause of "diversity" would not require that all institutions look alike in their ethnic and gender composition. Even "pluralists" drift toward hegemony. Liberals invite everyone to the party, but when they arrive the party winds up looking like the Borg.

Brett, you propose to use the undesirable nature of the government of some other country as a proxy for the probable undesirable nature of its citizens.

Sure, although "undesirable" is an excellect rhetorical word choice for you and a rather poor one for me; I will go with it. I propose it, apart from anything it might say about the individual citizen (and it might say quite a bit about undesirability), because the government of the other country is the one mediating the immigration. We can depend on the legitimacy of criminal record information, birth certificates, education, ect. based upon the legitimacy of the government we are dealing with. We can also account for the likelihood of assimilation, in an imperfect way, based upon this fact. I also made my proposal because the criteria shifted the focus to effects, which you called a legal fiction, but which I find necessary for my own safety at home.

But *that is still a case of immigration policy's taking ideas into account and deciding that some governments are better than others and therefore that some prospective immigrants are better for our country than others*. You cannot get away from that.

I thought that this would be pedantic to point out originally. Yes, any policy whatsoever requires a value judgment to be made. This even includes innocuous things like laws against murder. But the more pressing question is if the criteria will put government into a position to pass value judgments on those ideas it is expressly prohibited from judging by its own constitution. It isn't a push to say that religion is among these.

Lydia,

You are advocating that the government discriminate solely upon religion, that it be allowed to pass judgment on the worthiness of belief, and you also think that it just stops with immigration. That's it. The government can do it there, but no where else. And because you think that it will be used to keep Muslims out! The very thing you are advocating, if implemented tomorrow, would lead to your children being forced into public schools Lydia. And isn't that what your original post was out to prevent? Wasn't that where it started?

You are proposing that government be allowed to breach the one thing protecting Christians these days. I have never seen so many intelligent people turn the gun upon themselves. You hold a gun to your own head: you say many things about Muslims and something called the American government that doesn't fit the description of anything I have ever heard of; you advocate that the government not only should be allowed to, but is obligated to pass judgment calls about religious belief; and you continue talking about the Muslims, as though the judgments will be passed to discriminate against them and in your favor. Don't you see that the bullet is much more likely to hit you? Don't you see that today's government is more likely to take your kids away from you as a Christian home schooler, justified by your own arguments, than it is ever to employ your arguments in discriminating against Muslims?

I maintain, as much as I ever did, that we need to regulate our immigration. It has only lately become apparent to me how divergent the means of achieving this are.

And I rest my case with Mike T. He has done a more capable job than I ever could have managed in the way of self-exposure. I rest my case against him. His last posts concerning philosophy are evidence enough to consider my comments concerning him as perfectly justified.

And lo, I spotted the traitor before any of you. What oddity is this! that the blind should see in this case.

His comments are also an excellent example--please, only waft a small amount towards yourself at a time--of that self-pleased sophistry which is much happier with its own cleverness than any proximity to truth.

The greater irony lies principally in this statement:

[S]cience certainly did establish hard parameters that philosophy must acknowledge and obey

The fact of the matter being that this is amongst the very premises that historically served as actual justification for all the sordid immorality we find in modern society.

When the later philosophers bent the knee to the cold dictates of Science so that, indeed, the prerogative became that "philosophy must acknowledge and obey" that new dogma which served at the behest of Science (which ultimately gave rise to the new ekklesia, the athiests); mankind was catapulted from a once Christian society into that very decadence popularly hailed as our Modern Age.

It is no wonder why those subsequent philosophers had to engage in such abhorrent nihilism; for just as Mike T himself had proposed, we shall have no more of that once cherished fecal matter that the ancient philosophers had espoused that required man adopt a certain wisdom and a guiding sense of ethics; nope, Science is the god of all that even Christians themselves must bend the knee to -- though, as we can plainly see from even the regular headlines that adorn the pages of our daily newspaper, the result of which has given birth to an entire host of wholly repugnant human actions that have consequently been hailed not only acceptable but, worse, even necessary by the New Commandment.

For regardless of whatever uninviting pagan element that was pervasive in the philosophy of the ancients which (however unfortunate) seemed an affront to those given to a certain Christian puritanism; I would think its Christianized progeny is a far better guide for man than that deplorable bastard that arose from it which made Science into a new religion, where immorality (indeed, even evil itself) ultimately became an obsolete notion that, as the modern philosophers who rushed at Science's altar call, deemed & preached such things as nothing more than superstitious fiction that must be dispensed with altogether, where Nietzsche himself has become unto us the New Christ and this age's New Scripture being Thus Spake Zarathustra!

The very thing you are advocating, if implemented tomorrow,

Well, no, it's not "the very thing." But two very different things can always be described in some weird way to make them sound like the same thing.

You are advocating that the government discriminate solely upon religion

Actually mitigating against the risk of a Balkanized Tower of Babel and preventing the already strained social fabric from tearing completely apart drive the policy.

,that it be allowed to pass judgment on the worthiness of belief,

The government is being asked to look at the European experience, the exodus of Christians from Moslem lands and devise a sensible policy that prevents a war of civilizations anywhere in the world, but especially within our own borders.
Immigration restriction is just one of several necessary steps we must take to minimize the danger when 3 conflicting belief systems - Liberalism, Islam and Christianity meet in a crowded and dark alley.


and also think that it just stops with immigration.

Christians in this country will have to assert themselves to avoid being further
marginalized and ultimately persecuted, thay is true. How does expanding the Moslem population from the estimate 2-7million here today aid in that cause?

Your slippery slope argument is trumped by the reality of human nature. A Moslem settlement of 0.5-2%is one thing. Under such a social arrangement Moslems receptive to the goods of an open society can adapt to it without fear of reprisals from Islamist enforcers. That dynamic fades as the Moslem population increases.

Carving out a space where competeting civilizations can dailogue to establish a
peaceful coexistence and stable world order requires time and a prudent distance.
We're running out of both.

The topic is too broad for any single thread.

You could isolate on the issue of whether allowing insane levels of muslim immigration is moral or not, or you could decide to zero in on the constitutionality of such a policy.

But the subject is too large for any single thread to encompass both subjects. Trying to hold both themes on a single thread tends to blur and blend the issues, to the detriment of any true deepening of our grasp of the issues.

To deal with the issue through the lens of law requires a review of the history of immigration in our country, requires a review of the history of interaction between the West and islam, and requires too a FULL understanding of the tenets, teachings and what is more, the history of islam/jihadism.

As for morality, it requires a discussion on Natural Law, whether Natural Law bears on the subject, and requires too a discussion on what powers vest in a state.

Notice how the issue of morality drifts towards a discussion of the power of the state to speak to the subject, and notice too how the issue of law would immediately move to the history of islam's interactions with those adjacent to it.

These are enormous subjects.

Oh and ARISTOCLES, I'm still awaiting your response to the nature of the "haunting" to which you referred earlier. As I'm awaiting your answer to my second question as well.

Your slippery slope argument is trumped by the reality of human nature.

Now Kevin, whom as I have said before I hold in nothing but high regard and amicable esteem, re-read this sentence. If you don't see it, then read it again. Ponder it in light of why we have a constitution at all. And if you still don't see it, then ponder it as a Catholic and our assumptions about human nature.

I think you see it : )

As for the rest of it, I can't see a single thing I disagree with. The law is supposed to serve the citizens of the nation, not the world. A nation has an obligation to itself to preserve its prosperity; the only justification for government's existence is to serve the citizens of that nation. I think most of us here agree on this and that the denial of this is one of the political heresies of liberalism.

In achieving this end I would rather not see us betray ourselves by introducing a malignant principle for the sake of expediency when we have other machinery for accomplishing that end. I see it as employing a principle in our foreign policy which would utterly destroy us as a domestic policy.

Q,

Yes it is too broad a topic for full consideration here. That is why I would like to see a little more trepidation when we advocate something which might even be perceived as a suspension of religious freedom. I don't mean to debate anymore if it is or isn't such a suspension: but anyone can see at least that it might be such and that they would need to study it considerably first. And this is enough to strike considerable anxiety into my heart when I speak about it. To talk about religious freedom, even if only in a neighboring room to it, one should not proceed if there isn't a considerable quickening of the pulse; for they don't understand what they are doing. When we talk about such things we are children in the company of terrible instruments of pain and delight.

the only justification for government's existence is to serve the citizens of that nation...the denial of this is one of the political heresies of liberalism...

Well, Brett glad to find the surly impostor who posted under your name last night has yielded control of the keyboards back to you.

You manage to disavow one of Liberalism's design flaws on one hand, while madly clutching it in the other. The freedom we enjoy is secured by moral, political and physical boundaries and the limits of nature. One does not "liberate" a canary by opening its cage. Yet your argument suggests you think such a risk worthwhile in the name of an abstract principle and for the sake of our national self-image. Kind of a "Death before dishonor" stance for open borders types.

we have other machinery for accomplishing that end [national self-preservation]

Now, go ahead. Elaborate on the "other machinery" available for preserving what is left of our cultural heritage and identity, while shielding us from the internal strife building in Europe.

Specifics, please. And welcome back.


The fact of the matter being that this is amongst the very premises that historically served as actual justification for all the sordid immorality we find in modern society.

When the later philosophers bent the knee to the cold dictates of Science so that, indeed, the prerogative became that "philosophy must acknowledge and obey" that new dogma which served at the behest of Science (which ultimately gave rise to the new ekklesia, the athiests); mankind was catapulted from a once Christian society into that very decadence popularly hailed as our Modern Age.

As you are wont to do, aristocles, you miss the point. When science proves beyond a reasonable doubt that something is true in nature, or provides a hard, observable definition for something like human life, it has a credibility and relationship with nature that pure philosophy can rarely match if it attempts to fight with science as an equal. Philosophy, in some form, did provide science with a foundation, but science is, in most respects, a different field entirely for quite some time. Science may rest on certain assumptions, but then we also assume things like we are real, and not simulations in some alien's turing machine.

In cases like "what is human life," the biological definition of human life is authoritative. We know from observation what material parameters are required to create the foundation of a human life form, and all attempts to deny them are pure sophistry on the part of a philosopher--usually to justify murder or some other crime.

I would remind you too that it was philosophy, not science, which gave birth to the Enlightenment. Philosophers were the ones at the forefront of assaulting Christianity during this time, and that makes sense considering that philosophy has generally been militantly hostile to Christianity. There is a reason that Paul held most human philosophy in loathsome contempt, and that's because even 2000 years ago, philosophers, not proto-scientists and engineers, were at the forefront of assaulting and/or perverting Christianity.

I am not advocating throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but I will not give philosophy the same level of respect due to Christianity and genuine science.

And I rest my case with Mike T. He has done a more capable job than I ever could have managed in the way of self-exposure. I rest my case against him. His last posts concerning philosophy are evidence enough to consider my comments concerning him as perfectly justified.

And lo, I spotted the traitor before any of you. What oddity is this! that the blind should see in this case.

His comments are also an excellent example--please, only waft a small amount towards yourself at a time--of that self-pleased sophistry which is much happier with its own cleverness than any proximity to truth.

Philosophy rare is concerned with the truth. On issues like the definition of human life, philosophy is almost always a tool by which evil men justify enslaving, raping or murdering their fellow man because they build intricate arguments about what human life must be, since the biological definition is "too simple." It is too simple to say that spirituality itself is not necessary to define a foundation for when one becomes human. All decent people, from atheists, to hindus, to Christians, can agree that the human genome is the purest LCD for humanity, and that an organism that possesses it and that will naturally attempt form a new human life is undeniably as human as they are.

Then, the typical philosopher steps in, usually as a prophet for the tyrant, and declares that lo and behold, humanity is also based on autonomy of action and thought, or a certain stage of development when they can perceive pain, or some other half-cocked explanation that is just a thinly veiled license for "send in the jackboots to liquidate the untermenschen." The only philosophy that men truly need is in the Bible.

Kevin,

Now, go ahead. Elaborate on the "other machinery" available for preserving what is left of our cultural heritage and identity, while shielding us from the internal strife building in Europe.

Specifics, please. And welcome back.

If it's anything like how we "successfully" integrated immigrants in prior generations, it'll naturally be coercive and vaguely totalitarian. Border control and trying to weed out the undesirables who have no intent on naturally integrating into America beforehand is just too "dangerous."

Mike T,

I see you’re being criticized for suggesting that empirical science is not dependent on philosophy. But I do not see any of your critics attempting to explain to you why and in what way this is so. I’m beginning to think that they do not know themselves.

Allow me to give it a try:

Empirical science is the acquiring of knowledge of the causes and essences of things through the study of perceptible phenomena. Agreed?

But the judgment that by studying perceptible phenomena one can arrive at the knowledge of the causes and essences of things is not part of empirical science, but is rather a principle upon which this science is based. And principles are necessarily prior to those things that proceed from them. Therefore, the above-stated judgment must belong to a science that is prior to empirical science, and upon which empirical science depends. This science is philosophy.

However, it I believe that any philosophy that denies this principle is false, and that you are closer to the truth than your critics.

You manage to disavow one of Liberalism's design flaws on one hand, while madly clutching it in the other. The freedom we enjoy is secured by moral, political and physical boundaries and the limits of nature. One does not "liberate" a canary by opening its cage. Yet your argument suggests you think such a risk worthwhile in the name of an abstract principle and for the sake of our national self-image. Kind of a "Death before dishonor" stance for open borders types.

Yes, this isn't too far from it. Although, I hope that the freedom of religion, apart from its modern aberrations, isn't a liberal doctrine. Otherwise *blush* I'm a liberal. The "death before dishonor" charge is rightly leveled at me. There is a good amount of that to my position, although I balk at thinking only open border types are capable of sympathizing!

I am honest enough to see that I flirt with contradiction. But that's part of my dialectic, I tend to wrestle violently with something to avoid giving up any good, especially when two goods appear contradictory--for I hesitate, even in politics, to admit that this is ever the case. Also, I tend to react violently when people propose things with awesome ramifications in a calm and matter-of-fact manner. See my address to Q above. I felt someone had to wrestle with you to draw some blood; or at least make the stampede shudder for a moment in humility.

Maybe the machinery I have proposed above is a fiction. But at this point it is the best mediation that I can arrive at. I need to study this further so as not to skirt your deserved specifics.

Mike T,

I am happy you are pro-life. I have made a promise not to be surly at all today in deference to my friend Kevin. So I'm afraid I can't come out and play. You may have the last words on the matter.

I hope that the freedom of religion, apart from its modern aberrations, isn't a liberal doctrine.

You hope in vain.

Otherwise *blush* I'm a liberal.

Start blushing, comrade.

Also, I tend to react violently when people propose things with awesome ramifications in a calm and matter-of-fact manner.

This is not a good trait.

Maybe the machinery I have proposed above is a fiction. But at this point it is the best mediation that I can arrive at. I need to study this further so as not to skirt your deserved specifics.

That's pretty good.


Mr. Bekwith,

Your article was excellent. Articles like this are why history is so important and I wonder how well our kids are taught it these days. Often a coach will be made the history teacher at a high school, and more often than not, that coach's main emphasis is worrying about winning a game on Friday. Thanks again!

George,

Welcome to the tussle. I'll probably need a few hours to stretch, but feel free to lay into Kevin in the meantime. He's not as innocent as he sounds, and I have it from his own mouth that he's a man-child. : )

Although, I hope that the freedom of religion, apart from its modern aberrations, isn't a liberal doctrine.

Brett,
Being marinaded in the Liberal Tradition you have unconsciously accepted its assumptions and structures. You believe that Freedom of religion means a functionally atheistic polity that treats all religions as equal in their respective truth claims, and best relegated to the status of private preoccupation lest the seriousness of those claims disturb our sleep patterns and and deter us from our purely material pursuits.

Modernity inflicts a degrading dhimmitude too; "you can practice your faith, just don't bring it into our economics and politics".

It is madness, of course. That kind that produces this mental tic; I rather allow a demographic transformation of my culture that results in the loss of all its institutions and goods, than be branded a bigot.

You should know Brett, the Liberal creed you've reflexively signed up for, cherishes the right to die , and is always finding novel and often subtle ways to exercise that "right". Toughen up man and take the i.v. drip out of your arm. It pumping in hemlock.

Being marinaded in the Liberal Tradition you have unconsciously accepted its assumptions and structures. You believe that Freedom of religion means a functionally atheistic polity that treats all religions as equal in their respective truth claims, and best relegated to the status of private preoccupation lest the seriousness of those claims disturb our sleep patterns and and deter us from our purely material pursuits.

Imagine my surprise to come home from mass, in from a sunny day, to find it raining calumnies on my laptop!

When I read your post I sat in horror for about 42 seconds. Then I said "no" fifteen consecutive times while writing these words:

Today our government institutes religion in ten thousand ways, none of them holy. This is the aberration, that to the god of social justice, subjectivism, materialism, and entitlement our government builds its alters, and it does so in perfect contradiction to its established authority; while at the same time this government clings oddly to the notion that it shall not establish any godly religion. It performs the former in perfect contradiction to its established authority while at the same time raising doubts for believers about the usefulness of the latter. But is government any more justified to establish religion just because it has mistakenly done so already? It might be favorable to us, in considering our present malaise, to think so; but I think it would be rash. We should have perfected our principles as they were established before having cast them aside without seeing their realization. Freedom of religion did not fail us; our government failed us by trampling upon it. I say we lop off the arms of that beast called government, and reclaim God's possession from him. As it was written three hundred years ago, so let it be done.

And, my friend, this is a far different thing from the liberal infatuation you accuse me of. I have very few illusions about the present understanding of that terrible "right." But I am curious, what exactly is your alternative to this right? If religion shall not be free, what shall it be? Should we have been England? Should we have been northern Europe, Scandinavia, or the other reformed countries? Those places where institution of religion has directly translated into atheism today?

Give to Caesar what is Caesar's; but pray, do not give him also what is God's. You wish to give him God's possession so that he shall keep it safe, so that he shall keep it holy; but I promise you, if you give it to him, it shall remain neither.

I have very few illusions about the present understanding of that terrible "right."

Then why do you accept the illusion that holds all religions are equal, even one that holds the separation of Church from State an abomination?

But I am curious, what exactly is your alternative to this right? If religion shall not be free, what shall it be?

I hold that neither our Founders, or anyone sane and alive with us now, would think it a violation of religious freedom if we were to adopt immigration policies that denied access to those who would, once their numbers reached critical mass, deny the free exercise of religion to their blinkered hosts. They would view it a commonsensical means of preserving their own particular, unique social order.

I cede nothing to Ceasar by insisting he fulfill his obligation to protect the realm and not give too Allah that which belongs to Christ.

I hold that neither our Founders, or anyone sane and alive with us now, would think it a violation of religious freedom if we were to adopt immigration policies that denied access to those who would, once their numbers reached critical mass, deny the free exercise of religion to their blinkered hosts. They would view it a commonsensical means of preserving their own particular, unique social order.

Now Kevin, I don't know if you entered the conversation late, but I'm the only one who actually suggested an immigration reform that might be practical. So now I'm confused and I don't know what we've been talking about. Because this (above) is a gross misconstrual of anything I've suggested allowing. I'm the one who thought that it was an important enough question that sitting around saying "keep all Muslims out" wasn't going to cut it. The above was just a defense of religious freedom in general, which you and others seem to think is just another liberal dupe since its inception.

And, the whole thing about us losing our right to religion because of Muslims is a lie. You are better than that I'm sure. Yes, it will be the Muslims Kevin, the ones that constitute

Furthermore, yours and Lydia's solution, "keep all Muslims out," is shooting at phantoms. La Raza will have taken over our country long before Mohammed. And immigration discrimination based on religion isn't going to help you there partner.

So please don't insinuate that I'm the naive fool holding the door open for Muslims. You're the one wrestling with the midget.

EDIT: It seems that the less than sign erases what follows it.

I hold that neither our Founders, or anyone sane and alive with us now, would think it a violation of religious freedom if we were to adopt immigration policies that denied access to those who would, once their numbers reached critical mass, deny the free exercise of religion to their blinkered hosts. They would view it a commonsensical means of preserving their own particular, unique social order.

Now Kevin, I don't know if you entered the conversation late, but I'm the only one who actually suggested an immigration reform that might be practical. So now I'm confused and I don't know what we've been talking about. Because this (above) is a gross misconstrual of anything I've suggested allowing. I'm the one who thought that it was an important enough question that sitting around saying "keep all Muslims out" wasn't going to cut it. The above was a defense of religious freedom in general, which you and others seem to think is just another liberal dupe in total.

And, the whole thing about us losing our right to religion because of Muslims is a lie. You are better than that I'm sure. Yes, it will be the Muslims Kevin, the ones that constitute less than 1% of the population right now; they are going to take over our government and force us all to bow down to Allah. Stop setting up targets to swing at. Our secular government is going to take your rights away from you long before the Muslim immigrants do. And yet you think now is the opportune moment for government to get into the business of religious discrimination (I don't care if it is only immigration). That is very, very foolish.

Furthermore, yours and Lydia's solution, "keep all Muslims out," is shooting at phantoms. La Raza will have taken over our country long before Mohammed. And immigration discrimination based on religion isn't going to help you there partner.

So please don't insinuate that I'm the naive fool holding the door open for Muslims. You're the one wrestling with the midget.

Yes, it will be the Muslims Kevin, the ones that constitute less than 1% of the population right now; they are going to take over our government and force us all to bow down to Allah.

Brett,
At 1% of the population that won't happen. However, that number won't remain static. Hence the problem.

In the U.K. Moslems make up 3% of the population and you see the results; "no-go zones" for local law enforcement, Sharia courts and fertile recruiting ground for Islamists not content to wait for the battle to be won in the maternity wards or prison yards.

The CIA World Factbook places the Moslem population at 5-10% of the total in France. There you have the spectacle of bans on wearing hijabs, yarmulkes and "visible" crucifixes in French schools. To the Liberal, religious freedom means treating the faith that gave birth to his own civilization just like the one that seeks to supplant it. Can't discriminate; all religions are equal and all are threats to social harmony.

So, what percentage of our total population should Moslems comprise before you rethink your position? Be mindful too that those Moslems who reject Sharia law and are at peace with much of our laws and customs will be the first to feel the pressure of the less congenial, more zealous new arrivals. You do them no favors and suspect you have not thought out many of the real world implications of your I can't bear to say no to anyone position.

As an aside, are you saying you want to stop Mexican immigration? Does that make you racist and guilty of discrimination? Or did you just raise it to change the topic?

Oh and yes, I know Liberalism is a more daunting foe of the faith than Islam, at least for those of us who live in the West. Your tired; "first they shut the door on Moslem immigrants then they came for us" canard is goofy. Political modernity was built to efface God's presence in the world, but I fail to see how increasing the Moslem presence here helps us in any way. Do you see something that is invisible to the rest of us?

Mike T (and George R.):

As you are wont to do, aristocles, you miss the point. When science proves beyond a reasonable doubt that something is true in nature, or provides a hard, observable definition for something like human life, it has a credibility and relationship with nature that pure philosophy can rarely match if it attempts to fight with science as an equal...

I would remind you too that it was philosophy, not science, which gave birth to the Enlightenment...


On the contrary, it seems it is you and your insufferable comrade, George R., who seems to miss the point entirely.

However, if it pleases you to pride yourself in such ignorance; please, enjoy the bliss that such an ignorance affords.

Yet, pray tell, what exactly do you think led up to the most perverse philosophies that you yourself happen to deplore and ubiquitously inhabit the modern age?

You seem to be neglecting (and even ignoring entirely) the fact that when philosophy started to exalt Science (what once was -- and should have remained -- simply its hand-maiden) and substitute it over that traditional search for ancient Wisdom, that is when the decadence began.

Empirical science is the acquiring of knowledge of the causes and essences of things through the study of perceptible phenomena. Agreed?

Absolutely

But the judgment that by studying perceptible phenomena one can arrive at the knowledge of the causes and essences of things is not part of empirical science, but is rather a principle upon which this science is based. And principles are necessarily prior to those things that proceed from them. Therefore, the above-stated judgment must belong to a science that is prior to empirical science, and upon which empirical science depends. This science is philosophy.

I don't disagree with that either. However, I think the philosophy which forms the fundamental basis of science is only a minor subset of the total works of the field of philosophy. You could burn away all traces of most of the field of philosophy and leave science and "good philosophy" unaffected.

However, it I believe that any philosophy that denies this principle is false, and that you are closer to the truth than your critics.

That is why I am skeptical of the value of most modern philosophy, especially when it touches politics.

I'll use Peter Singer here as a perfect example of why I am skeptical of much of philosophy. He has acknowledged the biological definition of what a human organism is, but then he pulls a sleight of hand by throwing in a philosophical distinction between "being human" and "being a person." That distinction was created, whole cloth, to justify killing the unborn. That is why I said that philosophy must yield to science when science has settled a matter based on observation and evidence. "Higher philosophy" must submit in cases like that because it is just an exercise in mental gymnastics to justify an irrational, prior desire.

And as I said, reason is the devil's whore precisely because reason is just a tool, like fire, in the hands of man. Just as we use fire to cook when hungry, we use reason to justify higher desires, and that's where a lot of philosophy goes astoundingly wrong.

Yet, pray tell, what exactly do you think led up to the most perverse philosophies that you yourself happen to deplore and ubiquitously inhabit the modern age?

You seem to be neglecting (and even ignoring entirely) the fact that when philosophy started to exalt Science (what once was -- and should have remained -- simply its hand-maiden) and substitute it over that traditional search for ancient Wisdom, that is when the decadence began.

Thank you for conceding my point. It was, in fact, philosophers who gave birth to the Enlightenment.

Back on topic, for Lydia's benefit...

Yeah, and it's apparently only some news outlets that are reporting the whole story there, Mike T--in other words, the Muslim connection. If we had a more robust culture, more truth-telling, no PC, we could handle Muslim immigration better. But then, if we had all those things, we would also know that Muslim immigration needs to be, at a minimum, carefully limited.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A man with "political and religious motives" killed a soldier just out of basic training and wounded another Monday in a targeted attack on a military recruiting center, police said.

A major argument against Muslim immigration is what they find when they get here. A society where "political and religious motives" account for murder - including a recent assassination in a church - is in desperate need to find Christ first before it can possibly hope to convert others.

It is pretty obvious, that Islam is not the only faith that produces ideological derivatives and wierd adherents. Mix them in with our own homegrowm yahoos and you have a toxic cocktail waiting to explode.

Thank you for conceding my point. It was, in fact, philosophers who gave birth to the Enlightenment.

No; more precisely, it was those who thought thus: "[S]cience certainly did establish hard parameters that philosophy must acknowledge and obey when discussing."

Why don't you at least educate yourself with who seems more likely your highly exalted patron saint, Bacon, and his Utopia of Science and observe just how thinking such as yours concerning how one must bend the knee to Science was amongst those principle factors that led to this horrendous decadence, where Science was to be preferred over Dogma and, finally, where religion itself was ultimately demonstrated to be nothing more than lies that all educated, scientific men should ceased immersing themselves in, wherein only those subject to empirical verifiability should be amongst the only things given credence over age-old superstition.

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