Sunday, November 22, 2015

On Syrian Refugees

In the landmark work The Art of War T'sun Tzu said (loosely paraphrased) that to win battles one must know 1) Your enemy, 2) Yourself and also 3) Know the conditions on the field of battle. I submit to you that the reason we are losing battles is because we have not troubled ourselves to do the things required to win battles. Until we do, victory will elude us.

It is almost impossible to find the right answers if one is not asking the right questions. In this case, there is more than one question to consider. One question is a policy question we might ask if we sat in the White House or in Congress. This is the question of "what should we ask our government to do about the refugees?" A part of this question involves determining where the funds might come from to pay for the costs of such a program.

A separate question would be "how should we as individual citizens respond if the government re-locates refugees to our community?" I have heard plenty of people express opinions on the first question, but the truth is, the decision is not up to most of us. That decision will be made by our ruling class. The only choice we will have to make is how we respond to their decision. This is a separate question from the first one, and it is a mistake to mix the two. What I see happening is that many of us are so wrapped up in the first question that we never get around to answering the second question. Sadly, for most of us that is the only question to which the answers matters. Most of us don't make policy. Most of us only get to decide how we will respond to policy made by FEDGOV. I wish to answer  both questions.

Regarding the first question, we know that Muslims have friction with other communities basically everywhere they go. In India, the clash with Hindus. In Israel, they clash with Jews. In Lebanon, they clash with the Druze. In secular Europe they clash with the non-religious. In much of the world, they clash with Christians. In lands where Muslims are from different sects of Islam, they clash with each other.  It does not matter who their neighbors are, once they are present in large enough numbers they tend to bring friction and violence wherever they are present.

Because of all this, as a general principle concerning immigration policy it is rational and in the national interest to actively discriminate against members of all but the most congenial and tolerant schools of Islam. Will there be individual exceptions? Yes, but the rule is still a sound one. For those aghast that I used the word "discriminate" in a positive sense I will keep it simple- grow up and face reality. Discrimination in itself is not bad. It is necessary to discriminate between sound and unsound courses of action and we could not function without being able to do it daily. The basis on which one discriminates can be good or bad, not the act of discriminating between wise and unwise policies itself.

FEDGOV is not pursing that policy of course. Whatever forms or parodies of self-rule we might have, FEDGOV no longer answers to the citizens but only a global ruling class. The immigration policy of FEGOV, Republican or Democrat in administration, has been to admit large numbers of Muslims of all types into America. I can't prove it, but I suspect this to be a deliberate policy of population replacement, or at least an effort to reduce population cohesion. The more we fight among ourselves the more "need" we will have for government to referee our differences. As discussed in the seventh pillar of "Localism", this is an age-old tactic of tyrants.

That said, we are not dealing with immigration policy in general here. We are dealing with a specific situation- Syrian refugees. Most of these people are not ISIS, they are victims of ISIS. ISIS and FEDGOV that is. The reason there are so many Syrian refugees is that FEDGOV has supported a policy of de-stabilizing Syria and doing what it could to create conditions that would bring an ISIS into existence. FEDGOV, and our mid-east "allies" have been handing out aid, weapons and giving training to all manner of psychotics in Syria. They gave crazies the means to turn the country upside down and now its upside down. Christians from Lebanon and Syria are fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Assad regime to drive out the Islamofascist groups, including ISIS, that our government helped create.

As much as Republicans would like to blame Obama for all of this, its not the whole truth. Until we are willing to face that, we cannot "know ourselves" as Tsun Tzu said was necessary to win. FEDGOV planned to meddle in Syria before Obama ever assumed office.   Former General Wesley Clark explains that American foreign policy has been taken over by a secret coup committed to what seems to be world domination. In other words, America is the aggressor.

So the argument can be made that since "our" government provoked this human tragedy that the morally right thing to do is to help ease at least some of the suffering that our government's foreign policy precipitated. I suppose those of us who have been arguing for getting out of the Middle East and for America to stop "policing" the world can at least say we were against foreign interventionism from the beginning. I can't help but notice that some of those most opposed to taking in any Syrian refugees are also loudly in favor military adventurism abroad.

There are those who assert that we have some kind of right to send in soldiers to take over the Middle East but at the same time have no obligation to relieve the human suffering of civilians that result from such measures. I find such a position to be grossly immoral. It is also ultimately destructive because it needlessly creates dedicated enemies for us. Tomorrow's "terrorist" is today's loving husband and father who lost his wife and daughter in the chaos unleashed in his country as a result of American interventionism. Or maybe fighting for ISIS is the only way left to feed one's family in an economy devastated by the actions of FEDGOV and "allies" like Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The actions of such a terrorist may have a thin coating of "Islam" painted over the top of them, but the fellow would have never considered becoming a "terrorist" absent the terror which befell him. Indeed many terrorists (example, that woman in Paris)  are not particularly religious. It is mental instability and a feeling of helplessness over the circumstances of their lives more than religious faith which is the common thread.

Many Americans have lost the Biblical virtue of patience and so they have no patience for sorting through these nuances before they call for more bombs to fly. It is easier to just believe that all Muslims are evil and that they are eager to put their own lives on hold if it means they can conquer the West for Islam. If that were true then the decision is an easy one: keep them all out. But that is just a case of believing something that is not true in order to avoid the necessity of hard thinking. The reality is that not all strains of Islam share the Wahhabi view of jihad. Even among that part of Islam which does, the reality is that a lot of Muslims are no more committed to Jihad than many Christians are committed to the Golden Rule; being The Good Samaritan; Loving Their Enemies, or living out many other important aspects of the Christian Faith. Like Christians, a lot more Muslims talk a good religious game than actually live it out.

If two things were to occur I would be fine with taking some responsibility for the horrendous mess that "our" government's foreign policy has caused by taking in some refugees. First, the money to pay for it must come from a place that is less just than what it would be spent on. For example reducing money for veterans to pay for resettling refugees would be unjust even if taking in refugees were just. So to fund refugee resettlement on a just basis the money to pay for it might come exclusively from money we currently spend in aid to Muslim nations, many of whom are heartlessly refusing to help any of the refugees. Maybe you can think of another place too, but my point is a government program can't be just unless the place we get the money to pay for it is less worthy of support than what we propose to spend it on. Once we get them resettled and most of them become productive citizens, that revenue stream should not go back to foreign aid. We keep it for domestic aid. We can also enjoy any tax revenues the refugees produce once they get their feet under them. That is the way to do it that makes sense financially.

The other thing to do would be to have reasonable vetting because there is no doubt that terrorists will try to hide among the victims. That is not what happened in France so near as we can tell as the perpetrators were all euro-nationals. Still, if it is easier for a terrorist to slip in among the refugees than to enter a country in other ways then we can expect them to try and hide among them. How thoroughly should we vet them? They should be vetted enough so that we are at least as likely to catch them if they try to enter as refugees than if they attempt to enter on say, a student visa or get smuggled across our porous southern border.

Since bombastic media outlets and personalities are conditioning people to make absolutist and unattainable demands, many reading this may need some convincing that the above should be our vetting goal. They have been trained to demand a no less than 100% assurance that no one who will commit an act of terrorism will make it through the vetting process. If 20,000 refugees have to die to save Americans from the chance of one would-be terrorist coming through, then too bad for them.

Of course, that level of safety is not achievable in a fallen world. I have often said that the left reflects a mind-set of perpetual adolescence, where government is the parent who is to provide for 100% of their needs and clean up all their messes. This mind-set turns a section of the right into the same thing. Instead of a 100% assurance of their needs being met there is 100% assurance of physical safety. Government can't do either one of those things, but it can bankrupt you and make you into slaves trying.

I have been asked if there were a bowl of 10,000 M&Ms before me, ten of which contained a deadly poison, if I would be so foolish as to eat from the bowl. I would not. Nor would I be so foolish as to think that is a fair analogy of our question here. I am not contemplating what level of risk is moral and reasonable in order to eat a handful of candy. I am contemplating what level of risk is moral and reasonable in order to save human lives. Lives which have been turned upside down in part by the insane actions of what purports to be my own government. So if you saw a girl drowning in a river would you say "there is a one in 10,000 chance if I jump in and try to save her that I could die too. I better just watch them drown."? Is there anybody out there who thinks that is a moral and reasonable choice?

But with all of that said, few people with good sense trust the Obama administration to properly vet refugees. I certainly don't. Even the launch of his landmark program, with his own name on it, was a rollout disaster. That is why Governors have made various demands. They range from demands to see details from the files on the vetting FEDGOV has done to demands to do their own vetting before any refugees are relocated to their states. Many Governors have simply come out against taking any refugees, Arkansas' Asa Hutchinson included.

I think they have every right to do so. FEDGOV keeps telling them that they can't refuse to take refugees. Governors point to the fact that the federal law says that Governors should be consulted. I would go farther- the 10th Amendment was included in the constitution for just such instances as the one we now face. The states don't work for FEDGOV, FEDGOV is a creation of the states. States have a right to refuse refugees from federal programs. This is the only position consistent with the localist philosophy of government which I embrace. So to answer the question of "can states refuse them"; yes.  Should states refuse them? It depends. It depends on where the money to pay for it is coming from and the quality of the vetting process.

How can they be vetted? With over 11 million Muslims already in America a decent share of them might already have friends or relatives over here. We could probably take as many as France has agreed to take (20,000) just by getting their own relatives in America to vouch for them, with the understanding that they would be in trouble too if the relative later committed an act of terror. Not that this is even necessary, because even though not all of the refugees can be adequately vetted, a lot of them can be and some probably have been already. We take the ones who can and have been vetted.

But all this so far only addresses the question of what we should do if we were in charge. You and I are not in charge. The only decision in this sad affair that we might be faced with is how we should react if refugees are relocated to our area. Suppose we come face-to-face with Muslims from the Mid-east, right there in our American home town. How are we to react?

Despite how much longer I spent on the first question, I will say little as to this question even though it is the more important of the two. I will say little on it because, if you are a Christian, the question has already been answered for us by our Lord and Savior. I dare not give my opinion on a subject on which He has given His. Rather, my obligation is to agree with Him. Here is what He instructed us to do (Matthew 5):
443 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

By following His precepts, our spiritual ancestors did more than bring down the Roman Empire, they made it their own. When we were nothing, pure Christianity beat paganism and state-worship (though that vile spirit is striving to sit upon Christ's throne even to this day). If our faith is in our military rather than our God then we will surely lose. We cannot obliterate over one billion people without becoming the same kind of monsters that we imagine them to be. But where our guns cannot even truly conquer Muslims, the Gospel will convert them. It can change them from our enemies to our brothers and sisters. Islam will be kept at bay by the sword, but it will only be defeated by the Cross.

Now you may say that even if we do this, FEDGOV will not, for it is hostile to the gospel. I agree. FEDGOV has become a bigger threat to America than ISIS (which it helped create). The wicked creatures who run ISIS would love to precipitate the murder of fifty million Americans, but they cannot. Yet FEDGOV, through its wicked abortion rulings, has done so. ISIS would love to force a redefinition of marriage on America, but they cannot. Yet FEDGOV has done so. ISIS would love to turn us all into debt slaves while they spend the money created through the debt, but they cannot. Yet FEDGOV has done so.

These refugees are not so big a threat to your liberties as the out-of-control federal government which will let them in. Yet the power and mercy of God is so great that if His people seek His face and walk in His ways, then very instrument intended to divide and negate us can be used for our deliverance. Let us show the love of God to these people, and to one another since many are Christians, that whoever might come to Christ will come to Christ. Let them in no way be hindered from believing the gospel on account of us. I can see the day coming where the sons and daughters of those immigrants stand shoulder to shoulder with our sons and daughters to help us to finally bring the excesses of Washington to heel.





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