Lovecraftian horror has often fascinated me, for the notion that humanity is but a speck in the universe, the tiniest mote in a sea of things much greater than us. That, were God to reveal himself to human eyes, truly, and not in the form of His Son, we would not be able to comprehend him. The sight might drive us to insanity, might burn our flesh away.
God is beyond our universe, and our understanding of Him will always be limited.
So I know that God can, somehow, care for all of us. You. Me. The crazy suicidal Muslim couple that shot up San Bernardino. Everybody.
But, here’s the kicker. I cannot. I am human, and my caring has limits. My empathy does not extend across the width and breadth of the universe. I am not God. In essence, this is what Progressives claim they can do. They claim to care as much for their mother as for a nameless Somali child fighting in some warlord’s private little cesspit. Everyone is equal. Everyone is the same. Thus, we must care for all equally.
I don’t. And I’m not ashamed to say so. Were I asked to choose between the life of that nameless Somali child and that of my own son, I would choose my son every time. I would choose him over 10 Somalis. I would choose him over the entire nation of Somalia.
In essence, this is what the debate about Islamic immigration means to me. If Muslim immigration will result in more deaths, more terror attacks, disproportionate to their number, then the risk to my family, to my friends, to my neighbors and all those in my life increases accordingly. I have yet to see anyone convincingly argue that they won’t result in an increase in these things.
Given that, I would rather restrict their immigration than accept the risk to my people. The Syrian refugees (and the non-Syrians among them) are not my people. Don’t misunderstand me, I am capable of feeling something for them. If I were on a boat, and saw one drowning, I would try to save him in the interests of common humanity. But if my wife were drowning, also, and I could only save one… well, sorry, sir, but I love my wife and I don’t know you.
I am not God. I cannot save everyone, nor should I be held responsible for doing so. But Progressives do hold us responsible. When a Syrian boy dies, it is somehow our fault. When the Israelis shoot a Palestinian, or vice versa, it is somehow America’s fault. And then to pay for our guilt, we are required to take as many of them in as possible.
It’s all bullshit. Some people mean more to me than my own life, but not everyone does. There are limits to the reach of human empathy, and a soldier who is willing to die for his country is not necessarily willing to die for someone else’s country.
After the Peace of Westphalia, it became generally understood (as it once had been in ancient times), that the nation-state was about the highest level of common connection humans were able to meaningfully sustain. Honestly, I find it hard to even manage that. Tom Kratman kindly provided me with a piece to read that discussed amoral familism. It is a major theme in his Carerra series books (great series, by the way). I guess I’m guilty to some extent. I’m honestly not sure I would die for my country. For my child, certainly. But for the country that includes celebrity idiots like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton? I don’t know if I could do that absent some overriding threat to my family.
However, there are those who can stretch their empathy that far, somehow. People might die for the glory of Rome, or in the pursuit of American freedom. But, the point is, there are limits even for those brave souls. They are not God.
But Progressives demand God-like empathy from us, nonetheless, and accuse us Christians of hypocrisy when we fail to deliver. Since most of them scorn Christianity, they don’t seem to understand that the Bible tells us that man is a fallen creature. It explicitly tells us that we categorically cannot live up to the code, even for God and Christ himself. Christ, in essence, had to pay the debt for us, for we could never balance the scales on our own.
And if we cannot do it for Christ himself, how less likely are we to achieve it for Progressives and SJWs?
For me, political policy can be reduced to what is best for me, for my family, for my friends and neighbors. Most of the time, what is best is to be left alone. For most of those in my life share a common attribute with me: they are self-reliant, independent-minded folks. But, on occasion, we expect that a government fulfill that which we cannot do for ourselves.
For example, we could not repel an invasion on our own. So we have a military. We have a Congress to declare wars, and a President to lead them in such times. We also expect such a government to protect the borders in time of peace.
I’ve been accused of being anti-immigration, and I can assure my readers this is categorically not true.
But, immigration, like all things, has to pass the cost/benefit test. If a group of immigrants will increase our risk of death, or increase ethnic tensions, or even just consume a lot of entitlement money, the question must be asked: what do they give us in return for this? After all, I won’t let random people stay in my house for free. But I might rent a room to somebody in exchange for payment.
Is there something these Muslim immigrants can do that we cannot, some overriding reason to accept the costs in return for a payoff? If not, then why are we taking them in? Scott Adams and Vox Day debated the costs and benefits at length, so I won’t repeat them ad nauseam here. But the summary is, there is almost nothing the Muslims can give us in return for the increased risks we incur by taking them in.
So why are we doing it?
My father-in-law is of Cuban ancestry. So why was his family let in? Well, let’s analyze that. Fidel Castro exiled a great many middle and upper class Cubans, especially those who were staunch anti-Communists. This was during a time in which America was engaged in a Cold War with International Communism. The risk of Cuban terrorism was negligible (even laughable, compared to Islamic terror). We obtained a great many staunch anti-Communist allies. Many of them were highly educated people who, like my father-in-law, started businesses and contributed materially to the economy.
As anti-Communists, they were less likely to wind up on welfare or other entitlements on general principle, whereas the general consensus is that Muslim immigrants are more likely than the average to be entitlement recipients. There were costs, too, even for the Cuban anti-Communists. Language was a barrier for some, at least for awhile. There were cultural differences, too. But America and Cuba had common roots in Western civilization, and were not that far apart. Overall, the benefits of accepting the Cuban anti-Communists outweighed the costs, especially at the time.
But, interestingly enough, my father-in-law explained that the subsequent Cubans were different. At a later time, Castro opened up his jails and sent common criminals (not political criminals) our way. He sent us murderers, rapists, thieves and drug addicts. Eventually, Cubans who had grown up under the Castro regime began leaving for America because they believed they could get more welfare benefits from us, than from Castro’s government.
My father-in-law calls them the “New Cubans,” and he hates them as freeloading Communists. So, even from the same country, race, and culture, some groups of immigrants were desirable, and met the cost/benefit test. And other groups, categorically, were not and should not have been admitted.
So the question is, what do the Muslim immigrants propose to give us that compensates for the cost on our already-stretched entitlement programs, for the cultural and ethnic tension bound to happen, and for the likely increase in terrorism?
Or, in simple terms, is my family better off with the Syrian refugees next door, or 5000 miles away? My compassion for my family exceeds that for any number of refugees. I’m not going to apologize for that.
That is the question Americans must ask themselves, not just with Muslim immigration, but all immigration. And they must understand that some will pass the test, and some will not. We have no obligation whatsoever to admit those who do not.
We are not God. We are specks. Motes adrift in the universe.