Thinking Clearly in an Age of Madness

Here’s a nice picture of reality:

Here’s the thing to notice about that diagram: Check out the Not 18 Million Acts of Terrorism on American Soil.

Stop. Focus on that. Not 18 Million Acts of Terrorism. Not even 17 million. In fact, not even a million. Or a hundred thousand. Or a thousand. Or, well, hardly any.

Why does that matter? Well, it matters because a blog I used to regard as fairly sensible is having this conversation about fellow American citizens in all seriousness:

We need a new Crusade.

I don’t know about that. We just need our country to be an Islam-free zone. The presence of Mohammedans and the threat of Muslim violence is paralyzing. There is simply no alternative. May I suggest a gentle five point plan?

1. Halt Muslim immigration.
2. Revoke the visas of Muslim students.
3. Offer Muslim families $100K to return to the Muslim country of their choice.
4. Halt the building of mosques.
5. Halt the printing and distribution of the Koran.

Yes, I know, first amendment and all that. But the the first amendment is dead, and Islam killed it. There is no “freedom of speech” or “freedom of religion” with the threat of Muslim violence hanging over your head. Once this “five point plan” does its work you can have your first amendment back.

Posted by Jeff Culbreath September 11, 2010 9:20 PM

And as far as I can tell, you could do points 1 and 2 without any actual First Amendment problems whatsoever, whatever the courts might say.

If you don’t like 3-5, we could try adding–

3′. Pass jihad sedition laws and enforce them by seeding federal agents in mosques and arresting relevant imams.

4′. Local agencies refuse some mosque-building permits on plausible non-religious grounds. (E.g. “That coat factory has such wonderful architecture that we just can’t destroy it.”)

5′. Tear out all Muslim foot basins in public buildings.

6′. Federal and state enforcers of religious non-discrimination laws issue guidance statements to businesses indicating that a heck of a lot of things that have previously been required or thought to be required as “reasonable accommodation” of Muslim religion are actually _unreasonable_ accommodation and that they will get in _no trouble_ if they refuse these accommodations to Muslim employees.

7′. Revoke the passes of all Muslim prison chaplains.

8′. Begin extra screening of military personnel based on risk factors for Nidal Hassan-style violence, where these risk factors clearly include Islamic self-identification.

I believe that not a single one of these creates First Amendment problems. Remember re. #8 that military personnel do not as it is have all the constitutional freedoms, including rights to due process and freedom of speech (they can be punished for criticizing the President, for example), that civilians have. If any one would have to be cut on First Amendment grounds, it might be 7. But all the others should pass with flying colors.

They should cumulatively make Muslims in America feel uncomfortable. Which is fine with me.

Posted by Lydia September 11, 2010 9:43 PM

Am I the only person who thinks that this is, well, barking mad? Does anybody outside the right wing nuthouse really think kicking 18 million people out of America for no other reason than “they’re Muslim” is a great idea, the core of Truly Truly Americanism *and* of Truly True Catholic charity.

The Right is going insane. A hundred years ago, when Chesterton was asked “What’s Wrong with the World?” his answer was succinct: “I am.” Now the answer is from more and more of the Right is, “They are!”

We’ve been hearing for weeks that all people were saying was “Don’t build the mosque at Ground Zero.” Now it’s starting to look more and more like the real message to all Muslim citizens from What’s Wrong with the World is “Don’t breathe American oxygen. Doesn’t matter if you’ve never done a thing. Doesn’t matter if you’ve been an exemplary citizen. Doesn’t matter if you fought for your country. Doesn’t matter if you have been a good neighbor. You are Other and you must leave.” And who says so? Why Americans who are such truly true *real* Americans that they want to shred the Bill of Rights and then blame it on the people they mean to shove into the Atlantic when they are done shredding it.

No thanks. They tried that xenophobic crap 150 years ago:

Oh! But it’s totally different now. There was no basis for the panics about Catholic sedition Catholics were all misunderstood and persecuted model citizens!

Riiight. Nothing to that stuff about the San Patricio Battalion fighting against the US in the Mexican War. Or the Irish rioting against the draft in New York during the Civil War. Or some of the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination being papists. Or Pio Nono sending the imprisoned Jeff Davis a crown of thorns as a gesture of sympathy. Or Sacco and Vanzetti being of that damned Eyetalian stock just like the Pope. Or the Pope himself writing a whole encyclical specifically to condemn Americanism.

Not surprisingly, the received wisdom of the 19th Century was that Catholicism was a foreign religious menace fundamentally incompatible with American liberty and bent on its destruction.

It’s easy as pie to generalize to millions of people the crimes of a few. We Catholics have had it done to us. And we can have it done to us again. So we should be bloody cautious about insane schemes to do it to 18 million fellow citizens.

The grotesque excuse “But the the first amendment is dead, and Islam killed it. There is no ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘freedom of religion’ with the threat of Muslim violence hanging over your head” is rubbish. Cancelling the rights of 307 million people because you are, by your own admission, afraid is neither patriotism, nor courage, nor Christian fortitude. It is cowardice. And it is extra-special cowardice when you are ready to cancel your most precious national heritage because you are afraid of a speck.

Show some backbone! Sheesh! Catholics, of all people–we who have the promise to the Church that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”–should consider the possibility that we have been given a unique opportunity to evangelize Islam here in free and peaceful America, rather than back mad schemes to deport 18 million citizens for no sane reason. Talk about hiding your talent in the ground! What a stupendous lack of vision and failure of faith, hope, and charity!

Quickie update: The venn diagram is from Get Religion, a typically reliable source of religion news. Some people are saying the numbers are wrong. If so, please let Get Religion know. I just took their word for it because they are a typically reliable site. That said, if the number of Muslim-Americans is smaller, that means people are panicking and shredding the Constitution for even less reason.