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Is the President Right?

Entry 1835, on 2017-01-30 at 22:07:35 (Rating 5, Politics)

It seems that every day Donald Trump launches another onslaught on the sensibilities of many people around the world. Well, when I say "many people", I should probably say that these people probably occupy a relatively small niche of those who care enough to comment or act, and who are sufficiently to the left or sufficiently PC that they reject everything Trump does.

I need to say at this point that there is plenty in regards to Trump which everyone should be concerned about. In general these issues stem from a disregard for what is true (or what is sufficiently well supported by evidence that it could be reasonably assumed to be true), such as climate change.

But let's look at the latest controversy: the tighter border controls, especially for those from certain, majority Islamic countries. Many people are totally against this action, and the inevitable protests and condemnation have been ongoing since it was announced, but how bad is it, really?

Well, like most things Trump does, it is pretty bad, but nowhere near as bad as many people seem to think. My main objection is not the underlying idea, but the implementation.

The main reason for the president's action is ostensibly to prevent terrorism in the US. It has been pointed out in many places that Islamic terrorism isn't really a major issue in the US (at least, not since 9/11) and this makes the underlying justification invalid, but does it?

There is little doubt (at least amongst those who look at the facts) that terrorism around the world is primarily carried out by Muslims. The best list of international terrorist attacks I can find indicates that Islamic extremists perform far more attacks than every other group put together. So, from an international perspective it is reasonable to be cautious of Muslims.

Of course, very few Muslims actually pose a threat, but it is still a factor which can't be ignored. The religion itself also seems to incite violence more than most. Of course, this will be debated by those who claim (with very little justification) that Islam is a "religion of peace", but there are many places in the Koran and Hadith where violent actions seem to be encouraged - more so than the New Testament, for example, although maybe not as much as the Old!

So I don't think simply being a Muslim or coming from a country where Islam is the dominant religion should be enough to deny someone rights to visit or immigrate to the US, but it should be a factor which is considered. Unfortunately, anyone who belongs to this religion should expect to be more closely checked than others.

And that isn't racist or xenophobic, it's just common sense based on statistics. Muslims are more likely to be involved with terrorism. It's that simple.

In a recent debate on this subject I was challenged with an argument like this: "you (that is me) say that Muslims are more violent, does that mean men should be more closely scrutinised too because they are more prone to violence?" I'm sure my questioner expected me to say "no, that's different", but it isn't and I said "yes, and I'm sure that happens already".

But the PC brigade seem to accept that as OK. They love to point out how women are less violent then men and therefore should be given extra trust, but don't seem to be able to apply the same logic to different religious groups.

And I don't think the idea that all groups deserve the same level of trust can be justified. If a person belonged to a neo-Nazi group they would be unlikely to be trusted much, so clearly varying levels exist. And all religions have different beliefs so it's hard to defend the idea that they are all equally positive. So clearly some religious groups must be less trustworthy than others. And, as I said above, the evidence clearly shows that, in the current era at least, a group which probably deserves a bit less trust is Islam.

So President Trump's specific actions don't make sense, so from that perspective he is wrong, but I think the underlying sentiment makes some sense, do maybe, just maybe, he's a little bit right, too.

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Comment 1 (4651) by GadgetDon on 2017-01-30 at 23:16:19:

Actually, living in the US, I am far, far more likely to be killed by a white Christian than an Islamic Jihadist. I'm far more likely to be killed by lightning than an Islamic Jihadist. I'm even more likely to be killed by a TODDLER than an Islamic Jihadist.

True, in the US, terrorist attacks are almost always done by Muslims. Because, if a non-muslim does it, it's not terrorism. It's a "mentally disturbed individual", a "guy with a personal grudge". Again, I'm likely to die in a non-Muslim so non-terrorist white mass shooting than a Muslim one.

But true, in the US, there have been some people killed by Islamic Jihadists. Number killed by those who came over as refugees, 0. Number killed by those who came over from the countries covered by the order, 0. I'm not sure of the statistics, but it seems most of these plots are hatched by people born IN THE US - and those not born here, have lived here for a long time.

The refugees trying to escape Syria are the ones being KILLED by the terrorists. Many of the Iraqis affected are those who assisted US troops as translators (wait, didn't the US leave Iraq in 2011? Yup, the vetting takes that long).

But yes, in absolute numbers worldwide, there's a lot of terrorism being committed by Muslims. Maybe that's because Muslims are the groups whose countries get bombed. Maybe because they're the ones called animals, barbarians, inherently violent - tell someone they're violent long enough and treat them as a threat, and they'll probably prove you right.

Is there justification for vetting? Sure. That was being done. 18-36 months of investigation before one could get on a plane to the United States. And the vetting seems to have been effective - given that there have been 0 terrorist attacks by refugees.

Meanwhile - we're got families with green cards (permanent residency) where one member was on an overseas trip, and unable to return because of the ban. Does that make the members of that family more susceptible to ISIS propaganda or less? ISIS >LOVES< the ban, they recruit based on the argument that there's a war between the west and Islam. Meanwhile, you have those who assisted US troops at great personal risk, promised the ability to immigrate to the US. That promise is now broken. If the Orange Guy sends troops in to take on ISIS, how likely are they to get locals to volunteer to help.

The order is stupid, incompetently handled, and immoral. The Orange Guy is very good at pulling that hat trick.

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Comment 2 (4652) by OJB on 2017-01-31 at 10:16:20:

Yes, just remember those "stats" going around pointing out how little Islamic terrorism there is are deliberately chosen to minimise the problem (there are major events deliberately ignored just out of the date range they chose).

But I agree that terrorism is a minor problem in the US. But it isn't internationally and I guess you could make a case that this policy attempts to reduce the risk spreading to the US.

I do agree that this is bad policy for many reasons, and I said that in the post. I just wanted to say that Islam is one of the biggest sources of threats in the world today so it's not unreasonable to be more suspicious of Muslims.

I also agree that this is likely to achieve the exact opposite of what it intends because it will marginalise Muslims and probably create more terrorism. Again, I think the policy is bad, just not in the superficial sense most of the left believe.

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