Thursday, May 26, 2016

I Am Not My Muslim Brother's Keeper

Now, repeat after me:

I am not at fault.

I am not to blame.

I am not responsible for the behavior of other people. Other people have a right to fail. They have a right to accept responsibility for their failures. They have a right to evade responsibilities for their failures. None of it is my fault.

To put it another way:

I am not my Muslim brother’s keeper.

As the Western world becomes mired in guilt over the condition of the Muslim world, Daniel Greenfield offers a useful corrective. I trust that Greenfield would accept that the West and America have often, with good and not-so-good intentions, meddled in Muslim affairs. For the most part, the results have not been very constructive.

This being the case, Muslims are still responsible for their own behavior, for their own dysfunctional political and economic systems. If you want to guilt trip the West for failing to save Muslims from themselves, you are welcome to do so.

Yet, by setting down the facts of the matter, Greenfield exposes the failed reasoning that has infected Western elites. These elites fail to address the realities of the problems in the Muslim world because they are mired in their own guilt: for colonialism, for imperialism, for misguided adventures, for capitalism, for Israel, for ideal-driven wars. This is to say: anyone whose success makes Muslims look bad by comparison is at fault.

Note the narcissism running beneath the surface of these supposedly noble ideas: if we are at fault, we do not only owe the Muslim world recompense—perhaps by sacrificing a few more Swedish women to their predations—but we grant ourselves—and only ourselves-- the power and the authority to change things. This necessarily implies that Muslims lack that power and authority. 

Writing in crisp prose—the better to draw attention to the facts—Greenfield lays out the issues, or, should I say, the trouble with Islam. One can easily see the correlation between his view and David Goldman’s notion that Islam is a failing and dying civilization, one that has lost out in the marketplace where civilizations and cultures compete:

In Greenfield’s words:

The vast majority of civil wars over the last ten years have taken place in Muslim countries. Muslim countries are also some of the poorest in the world. And Muslim countries also have high birth rates.

Combine violence and poverty with a population boom and you get a permanent migration crisis.

No matter what happens in Syria or Libya next year, that permanent migration crisis isn’t going away.

Later, he will say that the only way that the West can reasonably deal with the crisis will be to close its doors and to build walls.

Muslim countries have failed miserably in economic competition:

The Muslim world is expanding unsustainably. In the Middle East and Asia, Muslims tend to underperform their non-Muslim neighbors both educationally and economically. Oil is the only asset that gave Muslims any advantage and in the age of fracking, its value is a lot shakier than it used to be.

And also,

Muslim countries with lower literacy rates, especially for women, are never going to be economic winners at any trade that doesn’t come gushing out of the ground. Nor will unstable dictatorships ever be able to provide social mobility or access to the good life. At best they’ll hand out subsidies for bread.

The Muslim world has no prospects for getting any better. The Arab Spring was a Western delusion.

Growing populations divided along tribal and religious lines are competing for a limited amount of land, power and wealth. Countries without a future are set to double in size.

Evidently, the people in these cultures do not have what we call a work ethic. In the absence of such an ethic they see only one path out of their economic decline: take what others have earned:

There are only two solutions; war or migration.

Either you fight and take what you want at home. Or you go abroad and take what you want there.

Some blame it all on the Iraq War. After all, it is politically expedient for anyone on the left to do so. Greenfield responds:

Let’s assume that the Iraq War had never happened. How would a religiously and ethnically divided Iraq have managed its growth from 13 million in the eighties to 30 million around the Iraq War to 76 million in 2050?

The answer is a bloody civil war followed by genocide, ethnic cleansing and migration.

The two possible solutions: extortion or invasion:

Plan A for getting money out of the West is creating a crisis that will force it to intervene. That can mean anything from starting a war to aiding terrorists that threaten the West. Muslim countries keep shooting themselves in the foot so that Westerners will rush over to kiss the booboo and make it better.

Plan B is to move to Europe.

And Plan B is a great plan. It’s the only real economic plan that works. At least until the West runs out of native and na├»ve Westerners who foot the bill for all the migrants, refugees and outright settlers.

For thousands of dollars, a Middle Eastern Muslim can pay to be smuggled into Europe. It’s a small investment with a big payoff. Even the lowest tier welfare benefits in Sweden are higher than the average salary in a typical Muslim migrant nation. And Muslim migrants are extremely attuned to the payoffs. It’s why they clamor to go to Germany or Sweden, not Greece or Slovakia. And it’s why they insist on big cities with an existing Muslim social welfare infrastructure, not some rural village.

Large loans will be repaid as the new migrants begin sending their new welfare benefits back home. Many will be officially unemployed even while unofficially making money through everything from slave labor to organized crime. European authorities will blame their failure to participate in the job market on racism rather than acknowledging that they exist within the confines of an alternate economy.

It’s not only individuals or families who can pursue Plan B. Turkey wants to join the European Union. It’s one solution for an Islamist populist economy built on piles of debt. The EU has a choice between dealing with the stream of migrants from Turkey moving to Europe. Or all of Turkey moving into Europe.

Greenfield concludes that we are not guilty. And we are not responsible for the dysfunction that is destroying the Muslim world:

The West did not create Muslim dysfunction. And it is not responsible for it. Instead the dysfunction of the Muslim world keeps dragging the West in. Every Western attempt to ameliorate it, from humanitarian aid to peacekeeping operations, only opens up the West to take the blame for Islamic dysfunction.

Muslim civil wars will continue even if the West never intervenes in them because their part of the world is fundamentally unstable. These conflicts will lead to the displacement of millions of people. But even without violence, economic opportunism alone will drive millions to the West. And those millions carry with them the dysfunction of their culture that will make them a burden and a threat.

As for the airy-fairy notion—most recently proposed by the government of Angela Merkel—that the West needs to do more to help refugees assimilate, Greenfield rejects it:

If Muslims can’t reconcile their conflicts at home, what makes us think that they will reconcile them in Europe? Instead of resolving their problems through migration, they only export them to new shores. The same outbursts of Islamic violence, xenophobia, economic malaise and unsustainable growth follow them across seas and oceans, across continents and countries. Distance is no answer. Travel is no cure.


Ares Olympus said...

Human migration, Muslim or not, seems to be the big issue of the 21st century, and will keep getting bigger until we figure something out.

In Minneapolis there's a local organization called World Population Balance, started by David Paxton, and I first heard his talk around 1996. I remember he had a metronome that ticked for net births minus deaths, now apparently 140 net births per minute.

I also remember he talked about immigration, and he had a large jar of small marbles and said each marble represented 1 million people, and then held a handful of marbles and said that's how many new ones were added every year. If we're increasing 74 million per year, that's 74 marbles added to a jar of 7300 marbles. Anyway, so he said the U.S. has about 1 million net immigrants per year, which was one marble. Here's an interesting graph showing we're right at 1 million now.

I don't know what the number of refugees are now, this says 60 million 2014, but if people don't find a home in a year, perhaps refugees stay in the count year after year?

Then we can remember the poem at the base of the statue of liberty, ending with
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

So as a country, we have two divergent standards for immigrants. We try to have the world's best educational system and invite the top students here to study and many will want to stay, and we can attract and keep the best and the brightest to add to the greatness of America, in the elitist sense.

Or we can consider more of the pro-life standard, that all life is sacred, and that we can afford to take all the unwanted baby girls of China, or Africa or the poor in general around the world, and give them an opportunity to have a life here that they'd never have in their native land. And we can justify that in part because our many of own ancestors came from Europe's poor, and other lands, and many like my farmer ancestors were given cheap farm land in Iowa and Minnesota, and no one worried that most only had an elementary school education or lower. We had time to grow in our new land. And many came for freedom of religion as well.

So if we assume we still have room to grow, we can be selfish, taking the best, and be altruistic and take the poor, but we can't take ALL the poor, guilt or not, there is a cost involved in integration, and change is scary too for the older generations seeing strange people with strange customs.

Libertarians might support "unlimited free immigration", while they might also consider language and skill requirements for residency.

And in regards to Muslims, its easy to see both sides - the fear that their culture is degenerate and they won't integrate or the promise that freedom of travel would allow the more moderate Muslims to fit their culture within a larger one, and would be less susceptible to propaganda of the fundamentalists.

Anyway so we know mass migration is not a good long term solution to conflict, and in times like now refugees can overwhelm goodwill from all the more peaceful nations, so that reality has to be faced.

I started with population because that's the easiest and the hardest problem. And my main answer is to see (1) Family planning is vital (2) Status of women is vital beyond motherhood. And after that its a mess, and while that's still not enough to solve the problems in government, it seems vital to see how each culture value value limiting birth and status of women. And then future refugee problems will be smaller.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

The problem is not immigration, per se. Immigrants have been coming to America for centuries.

The problem is the motivation of the immigrants themselves. America has a lot of benefits, especially economic opportunity and individualism... the right to pursue your desire. To succeed or fail on your own merits, not because of who your father was.

When immigrants are coming to America for economic opportunity -- to succeed or fail -- that's fine. But to come to America for the opportunities, and never assent to other key American values (E Pluribus Unum), we have a problem.

My assertion is that Muslims are coming to America because their country of origin sucks. There are many reasons their home country sucks, and I also assert the undesirable part of what they are fleeing is the way Islam itself operates in their culture (read: there is no separation of religion from state -- Islam is everything).

That's okay, people have been coming to America from every nation on earth for centuries because their countries of origin sucks, for all the usual reasons that trace back to the human condition. That's fine. What is different now is the immigrant's expectation that America will bend to their cultural desires. It isn't a request, it is a demand. And we've tolerated it for 50 years now, and it doesn't work. Immigration is not a right, immigration is a privilege and WE get to decide what the standards are. I'm not going to feel guilty about it. This is OUR country.

Demanding that Americans conform to immigrant wants/desires/preferences is insane and ought not be permitted. Forget the "Ugly American" of tourism lore who is pushy, arrogant and loud because Americans themselves are pushy, arrogant and loud. That's fine. They're visiting, and tourism is an easy way to make some cash from people who are curious to see your country. But it's different when someone chooses to LIVE in your country. If an American goes to Costa Rica, he/she had better figure out how Costa Rica works, and align with the culture. This is the expectation around the globe. You don't go into a culture and demand THEY change. You change.

We have to separate those who don't want Muslims in the country because (a) undocumented aliens with no background checks are a security risk from those who (b) just because they are Muslims. We should have a process that deals with the security risks, and I cannot understand why people do not understand this. If people don't want Muslims in the country, I think we have to get clear about why. Is it because they're different? Well, if that's the case, that's silly... we're all different. But if we have Muslims moving into our society and do not want to become a part of American culture and assent to the values of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights, we have an entirely different problem, indeed. That's the problem in Europe. I don't much care how it got to be that way, it IS the problem. You don't just move to France and become French. France has a culture, and you're not going to be welcome or accepted if you don't conform. Muslims live in ghettoes.

In the United States, we require you assent to our values. If you have no intention of conforming, we don't want you around. If your daughter wants to become a nuclear physicist and has demonstrated she can do the job and an employer hires her, I don't give a $&%# what your culture says, she's an American... she can do what she wants. And we don't do the whole "infidel" thing here, either.

Multiculturalism doesn't work. E Pluribus Unum works. We just have to enforce it. Deportation is a tool. That's not chauvinist or smug, that's reality... everywhere. I'm sick and tired of Lefties pretending they're above it all, while acting like the most pretentious, dogmatic people alive.