Contra Mozilla

Friday, November 20, 2015

Refugees Redux

As I noted yesterday, "Welcoming the stranger and housing the homeless are works of mercy. Refugees would certainly fall under this, and so we should seek to do what we can to help them: but not at the cost of allowing a flood of terrorists easy access to their targets. Unfortunately, these seem to be the two alternatives: turn away the stranger in need (not a good option) or allow in a flood of people who are a mix of refugees, legitimate asylum-seekers, and opportunistic terrorists."

 Me, I think we should consider building livable (but high-security) refugee camps, which gives us time to screen these people while also providing them temporary asylum in the meantime. I would also recommend expediting aide to Christians (the group actually being persecuted), widows, and orphans, or at least to these latter two groups if the first cannot be done feasibly. I would place these camps in relatively remote areas so that they do not have easy access to potential terrorist targets.

I think we should supply these camps with the basic necessities of food and water, shelter and clothing, and medical attention as needed and available. We should also allow for visits by clerics, be they Imams of priests or whatnot, according to the requests of said refugees--I think that religious freedom also applies to foreigners. It also occurs to me that the Christian refugees should be separated from the Muslim ones as much as possible if they request it--there is a reason why Christians are fleeing the area.

In short, I basically agree with the assessment of Dr. Taylor Marshal, and of the CATO Institute's Mr. Alex Nowrasteh. The latter notes that
About 4 million Syrians were forced out of the country by the conflict. Since October 2014, the United States has let in just 800 Syrian refugees. There are security concerns with Syrian refugees and the government needs to thoroughly review their individual backgrounds before allowing them to settle here, but more should be allowed to do so.

Settling here is just the first step; assimilation and integration are also important. Fortunately, past success bodes well for current groups....

The goal of the Office of Refugee Resettlement is economic self-sufficiency — refugees working and supporting themselves without public assistance. That is a worthy goal, but more strict denials of means-tested welfare or blocking it entirely for refugees can speed up integration.

Fewer welfare benefits mean that refugees more rapidly enter the labor market, search for jobs and work with Americans on a daily basis. Work boosts self-confidence, which increases refugee satisfaction and contentment with their new homes. A growing economy combined with smaller welfare benefits in Richmond, Va. helped to rapidly integrate that city’s refugee population in the 1980s and 1990s.

American taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill. Refugees have access to some means-tested welfare benefits before other immigrants do; that should end. Churches, charities and mutual aid associations should fulfill that responsibility.

There are over 150,000 Americans of Syrian descent, with a median household income of over $65,000, compared to about $53,000 for native-born Americans. They can help ease Syrian refugees into life in the United States. It’s enough for the U.S. government to allow more peaceful Syrians who have passed through national security, criminal and health checks to settle here — the government should not, and does not, need to support them.
There is a crisis in Syria, thanks both to the revolution and its exasperation of and by the rise of ISIS. We should help as we can: this is charity, mercy. We should go about it in a manner which minimizes the risk of allowing terrorists to slip through and commit an attack against us: this is prudence, justice.

UPDATE: Why are there so few (yes, few) Christian refugees from Syria? Given that they are the heavily-persecuted minority, you would naively believe that they should be over-represented rather than heavily under-represented among refugees. With my emphases:
Many Americans would happily have us take in some nice Syrians who have nowhere in the Middle East to turn, who are hunted, plundered, raped, sold and sometimes murdered. And since we have limited capacity in a world of more than 7 billion people, it makes sense to focus on those who have nowhere safe in the Middle East to turn. Yes, Sunni and Shiite Muslims persecute each other in the Middle East, but each group has Sunni or Shiite enclaves they can retreat to in the region. The Christians, meanwhile, aren’t even safe in the refugee camps.

So dangerous are the camps for Syrian Christians that they mostly avoid them. And the UN does its refugee head-counting in the refugee camps. If the Christians aren’t there to be counted, desperate as they are, then they don’t end up on the asylum lists the U.S. State Department uses for vetting potential refugees.... 
As bad off as the Muslim refugees are, they aren’t without politically well-connected advocates in the Middle East. Many Muslim powerbrokers are happy to see Europe and America seeded with Muslim immigrants, and would surely condemn any U.S. action that appeared to prefer Christian over Muslim refugees, even if the effort were completely justified. By and large, they support Muslim immigration to the West and have little interest in seeing Christian refugees filling up any spaces that might have been filled by Muslim refugees.

The deck, in other words, is heavily stacked against the Christian refugees.... 
And, by the way, while some have tried to equate Jewish refugees back then with Muslim refugees today, that argument doesn’t work. Muslim migrants have many places to turn to in the Middle East. But like the Jews under the shadow of Hitler, today’s Middle Eastern Christians under the shadow of radical Islam have precious few options. For many of them in this vale of tears, America is their last best hope for refuge.
This further underscores why I think that just opening the borders to Syrian refugees is the wrong approach, and also why I think that the Christian refugees should be separated from the Mohammedan ones as much as possible.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

TMM: Syrian Refugees

My heart goes out to the persecuted people of Syria. This does not mean that we should be allowing them to come here en masse. The Mohammedan Jihadis are using the same tactic they always use, which is to use human shields. Allowing them into the country will guarantee that a few of ISIS' terror cells gain easy access to here.

I think that a strong amount of screening is necessary--I don't mind allowing them asylum in a a contained area while screening is completed, even if this idea sounds like a scary concentration camp. There's a bit of a difference between rounding up people who are already here and placing them into such camps while confiscating everything they have, and creating temporary centers of this sort for people who are trying to enter the country. It accomplishes the goal of getting them out of harm's way, while giving us a better chance of protecting our own.

Second, I think that the Syrian Christians are the ones in real danger (and they will largely tend not to be ISIS operatives), so fast-tracking them for asylum resettlement as refugees and perhaps eventually citizens makes more sense than indiscriminately opening the borders further. Plus, there is a much greater chance that Syrian (or, for that matter, Nigerian) Christian refugees can assimilate to (or better yet, become leaven in) our culture than could Islamic refugees (longer term). It makes much more sense to try to resettle the Islamic refugees in areas where Islam is a substantial part of the culture, or where the population is sparse enough for religious difference to not matter, just from a "longevity-and-assimilation" standpoint.

For that matter, there are a number of virtually unpopulated places around the world in which they could be settled easily, be they unpopulated islands or wilderness areas as in parts of Canada and Alaska and Siberia, or even the Falkland Islands. They may not be desirable places to live, but in a pinch they should function adequately until we can find more suitable permanent homes for these people. Even rural areas in the US mainland are fine, as temporary holding locations until a permanent solution is found.

It can function as "home" for a time.

Of course, that will never fly in the politically correct thing which once was Christendom.

Welcoming the stranger and housing the homeless are works of mercy. Refugees would certainly fall under this, and so we should seek to do what we can to help them: but not at the cost of allowing a flood of terrorists easy access to their targets. Unfortunately, these seem to be the two alternatives: turn away the stranger in need (not a good option) or allow in a flood of people who are a mix of refugees, legitimate asylum-seekers, and opportunistic terrorists.

The right response is to accept Christian refugees (after some screening to verify that they are whom they claim to be), but to be a bit more skeptical about accepting Islamic refugees. ANd then to send what aide we can to all the refugees:
As Dr. Taylor Marshal notes:
Justice and charity demand that I care for the less fortunate and it is a Catholic belief that our salvation depends on how we treat the hungry, the naked, the homeless, and the sick.


I am not obliged to take the homeless into my house and have them sleep in my daughter’s bedroom at night. I am not obliged by justice or charity to give the homeless a vote over my financial decisions. He does not have the right to choose what’s for dinner. The homeless man does not (by my charity) receive a right to my continued support. The homeless man cannot share a bed with my wife when I am traveling. Nor may he presume a right over my children’s belongings....

The common good is the peace of society so that life and faith can thrive. Babies can be born and have a happy life. Grandparents can grow old together. Anyone who seeks to destroy the common good should be, according to Thomas, destroyed....

Have no doubt that Thomas Aquinas would have stated that Christian nations should receive Christian refugees but refuse Muslim refugees for the sake of national justice and the common good. The Muslim’s official declaration of faith denies natural law (eg, polygamy), religious liberty (eg, Sharia), and implicitly Muhammad’s doctrine and example of political violence....

We Christians should be generous with humanitarian aid toward Muslims and all people. We should send money and resources to those who have been dispossessed. We should be loving and generous with Muslims. Kindness brings about conversion and understanding. We should also try to topple the Islamic State and eradicate terrorism in our lands and in the Islamic lands.

Remember the Good Samaritan! He did not take the roadside victim home with him. Rather, the Good Samaritan put the victim up in a hotel and paid for him to get better. The Good Samaritan was good and commended by Christ. The Good Samaritan did the right thing: humanitarian aid.

We are not required by Christ to take victims that oppose our faith and our way of life and make them into our political heirs. We are not required to take them into our homes.

But we are obliged to help them. And if terrorists use our charity as a pretense to hurt us, then, as Thomas Aquinas says, they should be swiftly destroyed.

Well put.

Monday, November 16, 2015

More About #BlackLivesMatter Protests

It is beyond me why it is racist to say that "All Lives Matter." In other news, the #BlackLivesMatter protests are (not surprisingly) turning violent, especially against whites (NSFW).

The barbarians have long since breached the gates.

Define Hypocrisy

Planned Parenthood has a tweet in support of the Mizzou Mob which is the very definition of hypocrisy:

Hypocrisy means holding others to a different (harder) standard than what one holds oneself to. It means insisting that everyone live up to and follow a moral code which one does not actually believe in. This is what Planned Parenthood has done here. They don't believe that every child has any particular right to live--denying this right is their current purpose for existing.

 They also were originally founded to specifically prevent black lives from mattering.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Another Rebuttal

Ross Douthat has published a letter in rebuttal to the previous letter by allegedly Catholic Academics who are hailing from a variety of allegedly Catholic Universities:
the development of doctrine is supposed to deepen church teaching, not reverse or contradict it. This distinction allows for many gray areas, admittedly. But effacing Jesus’ own words on the not-exactly-minor topics of marriage and sexuality certainly looks more like a major reversal than an organic, doctrinally-deepening shift.

At which point we come to the third argument, which makes an appearance in your letter: You don’t understand, you’re not a theologian. As indeed I am not. But neither is Catholicism supposed to be an esoteric religion, its teachings accessible only to academic adepts. And the impression left by this moving target, I’m afraid, is that some reformers are downplaying their real position in the hopes of bringing conservatives gradually along.

What is that real position? That almost anything Catholic can change when the times require it, and “developing” doctrine just means keeping up with capital-H History, no matter how much of the New Testament is left behind.

Ross Douthat is one of the few actually good writers working for the New York Times. By this, I mean that he is intelligent, if not always right, and typically makes as good a case for his position as can be expected in a thousand words or so. And he usually seems to have some grasp, not only of the issues and his own position on them, but of the other side's position. Unlike a number of the other writers for the New York Times, he rarely demonizes his intellectual and political opponents, and he is the only one who seems to actually understand conservative Christians in general, and in particular orthodox Catholics.

He's the only one there who takes seriously the claim that the Christian religions are based on someone, let alone something. Those who do not take this claim seriously have no business commenting on what these religions should or shouldn't do.