James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, January 20, 2006

Fascism, Islam, and Immigration

On a couple of e-mail lists I'm on, somebody mentioned this rumor :
President George W. Bush has signed executive orders giving him sole authority to impose martial law, suspend habeas corpus and ignore the Posse Comitatus Act that prohibits deployment of U.S. troops on American streets. This would give him absolute dictatorial power over the government with no checks and balances.

Right now, I'm treating this as just a rumor. If and when Bush does this, I would not be opposed to a military coup. The "American Experiment," which many believed expired a long time ago (such as one of these dates, though you may have your own: 1789, 1861, 1898, 1913, 1933, 1950, 1963, 1987, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004) would really be kaput. After this, all we'd have left are a few more bogus elections, and then finally a cancelled election. At that point it would really, really really be kaput. If this rumor is true, a coup today would stop the charade once and for all. Maybe the engineers of the coup would be patriotic heroes, or maybe they'll just be additional instruments of the globalist conspiracy; either way at least we'd stop living a lie.

Anyway, the rumor prompted some discussion on "fascism," leading one to post a passage from Wikipedia:

In this [superficial] sense, the word "fascist" is generally meant to mean "oppressive," "intolerant," "chauvinist," or "aggressive," all concepts that are at least loosely inspired by the ideology of actual fascism. For example, one might accuse an inconviently placed police road block as being a "fascist tactic" or an overly authoritarian teacher as being a "real fascist."

I use the word "fascist" primarily in the face of oppression and/or aggression. These are so much worse than "intolerant" and "chauvinist" that it baffles my mind why anyone would use the word to disparage real or supposed racists. That is, I use the "fascist" charge against those who would initiate force to achieve their ends. Those who would pass a law banning smoking in restaurants, or deny people the right to keep and bear arms, are much worse than those who belong to males-only clubs or are uncomfortable with inter-racial marriage.

In addition to fascism, immigration, Islam, and the War on Terror are also on my mind. Srdja Trifkovic affirms my own thoughts in his Chronicles article "Can a Pious Muslim Become a Loyal American?" Trifkovic writes,
For a Muslim to declare all of the above [the oath of citizenship] in good faith, and especially that he accepts the Constitution of the United States as the source of his highest loyalty, is an act of brazen apostasy par excellence, and apostasy is punishable by death under the Islamic law. The sharia, to a Muslim, is not an addition to the “secular” legal code with which it coexists with “the Constitution and laws of the United States of America”; it is the only true code, the only basis of obligation. To be legitimate, all political power therefore must rest exclusively with those who enjoy Allah’s authority on the basis of his revealed will. In America that is not the case and its government is therefore illegitimate.

It is equally sacrilegious for a Muslim to swear to “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” That vow, if it means anything substantial, means that he would be prepared to shoot a fellow Muslim, or denounce him to the authorities, in defense of his adopted homeland. That this is not how many if not most naturalized Muslims see it is a matter of record.

So how can a self-avowedly devout Muslim take the oath of American citizenship, and expect the rest of us to believe that it was done in good faith and not only in order to get that coveted passport? A devout Muslim can do it only if in taking the oath he is practicing taqiyya, the art of dissimulation that was inaugurated by Muhammad to help destabilize and undermine non-Muslim communities almost ripe for a touch of old-fashioned Jihad.

Islam is a political philosophy, an ideology at odds with American institutions, law, and culture. Yet, Political Correctness is the Trojan horse in which many Moslems enter the United States, become citizens, and then, as Trifkovic points out, plot against this country.

Immigration policy should be seen first in terms of defense. When foreigners come here in uniforms and with guns, we assume they're invading and that we have every right to shoot them. When they are no so attired and armed, however, many of us assume they have nothing but the best of intentions and should be let in, no questions asked. To do anything else would be "racist."

This may have made sense when America had empty space to homestead, and the immigrants understood and appreciated American laws. Not so much, however, when immigrants, legal and illegal, drive rents up and wages down, which must be the case when all the land is privately owned or off-limits to settlement. And open borders hardly makes sense when many of these new immigrants have a worldview at odds with the continuance of American law and culture as we presently understand them.

As Thomas Fleming, also of Chronicles, wrote wrote two months ago:
What if, I used to ask, we could import 500 million Martians with an average IQ of 150 and terrific work habits? Would that be good for the country, and, if the answer is “Yes,” then what do you mean by country?

America has an obligation to protect the lives, liberties, and property of her own people, and, for the sake of liberty and peace, to respect the sovereignty of other countries. But it has no more of an obligation to let foreigners into our country, than you have an obligation to open your house to any stranger on the street. Moreover, just as you have every right to "discriminate," letting in people you know and like into your home, and not letting in people you don't know or don't like, so it is true of the country. And we particularly have every right to exclude those we have good reason to believe have contempt for our laws, institutions, and culture. It doesn't mean we should kill them or torture them, or do anything to them. They can do whatever they please; they just can't do it here.

Which brings me back to fascism. These thoughts may indeed be "intolerant" and "chauvinistic." But I don't have any interest in curtailing the liberties of Americans. Beefing up coastal and border security, and reforming immigration laws to prevent immigration from terrorist states, will not infringe on the rights of Americans. And I'm not interested in immigration enforcement, like national ID cards or snooping into employee records, that would infringe on the freedom of Americans. Nor do I have any interest in "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here." Instead, I'm for leaving there and not letting them come over here. That's the best way to protect Americans from terrorism while at the same time preserving liberty at home and peace abroad.

9 comments:

  1. While I agree with your distinction between fascism and intolerance, I have a few counterpoints to your argument.

    It occurs to me that beefing up coastal and boarder security could keep us in the country as well as keep others out. Consider if the scenario you described above occurs, in which the President declares marshal law, suspends habeas corpus and ignores the Posse Comitatus Act. Many Americans would just go about their business as if nothing happened; some would fight the regime, while others refusing to live under such conditions would try to leave. However, upon arriving at the border, those who chose to flee would find an electric fence and other beefed up security measures preventing them from leaving. The State already has control of most of the guns; do we want to give it more control over the exits?

    Without freedom of movement, government gains more leverage. Tyrannical governments understand this better than anyone does. For example, the USSR severely restricted immigration, because the Soviet elites knew that if their productive citizens left the country, the system would fall apart. Government elites need productive citizens to subsidize their power, without subjects the State is nothing.

    Regarding Thomas Fleming’s question, whether it would be good for the country to import 500 million Martians with IQ of 150 and terrific work habits, the answer is it does not matter. If these Martians exist and Americans are incapable of matching them, the Martians will supplant American industry and workers regardless of where they live. Americans earn higher wages only by providing more value. If they cannot provide more value, companies will find less expensive labor either in the US or in other countries. Attempts to slow this process lead directly to subsidies, high tariffs and other protective policies (closed borders qualify as a protective policy).

    Why are naturalized devote Muslims such a threat, but American born devote Muslims are not? Why do American-born Muslims not face the same issue? Can a truly devout Christian accept “the Constitution of the United States as the source of his highest loyalty?”

    I agree that the US is not responsible for people in other countries and that the US should not try to save the world. However, borders are merely artificial boundaries of civic jurisdiction. People on the other side of the border are no more or less trustworthy than people on this side. Closing or regulating our borders inevitably infringes on the liberties of Americans by curtailing our freedom of movement and association. In my case, when I wanted to marry a woman from another country, I had to ask permission from the US government. Mine is only a small (albeit demeaning) example of the restrictions to liberty brought on by regulating borders.

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  2. Any means of protection, and any "public good," can potentially be used against the very people they were initially designed to serve. Armies can kill their own people. Police can block the public roads. And, I admit controlling the borders can also potentially serve to keep Americans in, not just foreigners out. These are all problems with The State, and I appreciate this concern being raised. In fact, I don't really have an answer for it, other than that The State is the means we have at our disposal. If you ask me if we'd be better off with private fire departments, I'd say yes. But I'd also say that in our day and age the State should put out fires because it says it will, and it better do a good job of it too. What I'm suggesting would actually reduce the role of the State in our lives, rather than increase it. It would shift away from the military offensive and regulation of American lives, to one of actual defense.

    The point Fleming was driving at was, "what do you mean by country?" Is there more to it than economics? Does shared history, geography, and culture count for anything? What if these Martians wanted to impose Sharia law? Does that still not matter?

    The backdrop to the Moslem question isn't just one of terror, but of demographics. It is very plausible that by the end of the century Europe will be majority Muslim. Muslims make up under 1% of the American population and most of that is from recent immigration; in much of Europe the figure is well over 10%. Europe's gamble is that before they become politically dominant, their faith will dilute, they will culturally assimilate, and they will become good liberal democrats. The problem, it seems to me, is that the contradiction between Islam and Western liberalism is glaring, whereas most devout Christians do not see the contradiction between Western civil law and their faith. Trifkovic's argument is that pious Moslems can not embrace both.

    I only advocate a pragmatic immigration policy that takes into account a)the Islamic terror threat and long-term cultural threat, and b) mass migration of economic refugees from south of the border, who drive up rents and depress wages for the native population. I don't have a problem with open migration for non-Moslems from economically free countries. That's the frustration. Your case, and I know several others like it, should have been very easy to process. But I don't see a problem with using immigration law to protect America and Americans.

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  3. Terry Bressi did an excellent job of documenting the side effects of beefing up border security here:

    http://www.terrybressi.org

    Specifically see the sections entitled "Homeland Security?" and "TOPD Roadblock".

    I'd be interested in hearing how government could be used to beef up border security without curtailing the liberties of Americans.

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  4. The link Kirsten gave itself points to some answers:

    Given that SR86 is well over 40 miles North of the border, you may ask yourself why so many Border Patrol resources are directed against the traveling public miles away from the nearest border absent individualized suspicion of wrongdoing. Why aren't these resources being used on the border instead where there's little question as to who is entering the country unlawfully? Given that the Border Patrol spends so little time actually patrolling the Border and so much time promoting unlawful searches and seizures along public highways - the name 'Border Patrol' no longer appears representative of the agencies mission.

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  5. No, James, that does not answer my question. That IS my question. Given that this is how government operates- that by its very nature it expands beyond what it was meant to do without regard for people's rights- how can government be used to secure the border without curtailing the liberties of Americans? What sort of program could government conduct that was inherently self-limiting to avoid the very sorts of expansions that Terry has documented and that I experience everyday when I drive to and from town?

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  6. Well, federal judges should put a stop to these harrassments taking place. Congress should provide actual oversight and prevent money from being spent on border patrols so far away from the border. Admittedly imperfect measures, but as I said in my reply to August, these are problems with The State. Even so, if we stuck with The State, I'd rather it focus on things its actually supposed to do, like protect the country. If that happened, on balance rights violations will decline.

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  7. Well, federal judges should put a stop to these harrassments taking place.

    They should, but they don't. Why not?

    Congress should provide actual oversight and prevent money from being spent on border patrols so far away from the border.

    It should, but it doesn't. Why not?

    And what parts of the answers to those Why nots? are not inherent flaws of those institutions?

    I wish a steady diet of chocolate ice cream and rootbeer wasn't bad for me, but it is. And just saying that icecream and rootbeer should reform themselves and become nutritious hasn't really gotten me anywhere so far.

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  8. The State can violate our rights when investigating a murder, too. And The State can violate our rights when it tries to clear an area form an environmental disaster.

    While we'd be better off without the State, there are also things that are necessary for our protection, and The State prevents other agencies besides The State from doing them. So, I suggest that the State should do them.

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  9. What would happen if 500 million Martians wiith IQs of 150+ moved to earth? The average IQ of both planets would go up.

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