Islam is barbaric, says Taranto. Therefore … ?

Here’s the latest installment in my “Open-Borders Conservatives Watch,” e-mails I write from time to time to establishment conservatives who have acknowledged some devastating incompatibility between some immigrant group and our society, yet who refuse to draw any logical or practical connection between that fact and U.S. immigration policy. This one is to James Taranto at Opinion Journal:

Dear Mr. Taranto:

In your item about the 250 people who were trampled to death during the Haj at Mecca, and about many similar disasters in recent years during the Haj, you write:

“Isn’t there something barbaric—in practice, if not in principle—about a religion whose rituals routinely result in such bloodshed?”

If you believe that the religion practiced by Moslems is barbaric, what conclusions do you draw about America’s and Europe’s policy of the last several decades, a policy enthusiastically supported by your newspaper, of allowing mass immigration from Moslem countries—a policy that results in Moslems becoming more and more numerous and powerful in Western society? Do you think this immigration has been a good idea, or a bad idea? Do you think it should be continued, or that it should be stopped?

Sincerely,
Lawrence Auster


Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 03, 2004 07:45 PM | Send
    
Comments

Just out of curiosity, what has James Taranto ever written that would qualify him as a conservative? I only see his name here and at VDare.com, so I only know him as favoring open borders.

As a Wall Street Journal man, I suppose he has favored Republican tax cuts over the years, but simple self-interest can easily motivate that stance. Conservatism is not required. On what other issue has he ever been solidly conservative? Or is he just another liberal who knows to support tax cuts?

Posted by: Clark Coleman on February 3, 2004 8:35 PM

I address him as one in the generic sense. He writes a column at the WSJ, he’s continually attacking liberals and liberal positions, it’s what most people would probably call him. I use it as a conventional description, nothing more. Also, now that I think about it, I didn’t call him a “conservative.” I called him an “establishment conservative” and an “open-borders conservative.”

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 3, 2004 9:02 PM

Thrasymachus Online (Jan. 30) reproduces part of an interview of Gene Wolfe by James B. Jordan, which includes the following:
“JJ: …My wife had one of her professors that taught in a Moslem country for a while and said he woke up one day and saw the children had a bunch of kittens they were throwing up in the air and hitting them with a baseball bat against the wall and the mothers just sat by and watched. He said “I am not a Christian, I am an atheist, but I am a Christian in that I could not tolerate that.”…
GW: We vastly underestimate the importance of Jesus…A friend of mine learned to read Turkish. And he got hold of a Turkish joke book and read it. And I said, “What were the jokes like?” He said it was horrible. They were all about ugly tricks that were being played on blind people and things like that. This is what we have escaped from and we don’t realize that it is there and we came very close to falling into it. We very easily could have and we still may.”

Posted by: paul on February 3, 2004 9:27 PM

And consider the state of the Mexicans and South Americans before the Spaniards arrived with Christianity; think of how the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross transmuted the South American cultures of human sacrifice into something spiritual. Think of the state of Africans before Christianity came to them. The explorer Richard Burton described tribal chiefs who used their underlings as human furniture that the king sat on.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 3, 2004 9:31 PM

He’s conservative in the sense that he’s willing to criticize Muslims. That *should* lead him to some form of embarassment over the complete contradiction in his pro-immigration and anti-Islam views, which is what prompts Mr. Auster’s letter. He is in this way unlike liberals who at least profess to believe that Muslims are even better than ordinary Americans, who can be improved by the importation of ever-increasing numbers of foreigners.

Posted by: Agricola on February 4, 2004 11:54 AM

John Gambino is probably conservative and Ted Bundy might be a liberal, but we don’t think about them in these terms. Gambino first and foremost is a gangster and Bundy is a serial killer.

Taranto might be conservative or might not. But Taranto is journalistic equivalent of a hit man, a keyboard thug. See how he treated his former colleague when he had political disagreements with her husband:

“Unable to take criticism, like all immigration enthusiasts, Taranto reacted to my comments about him in this review by linking to my address and phone number, which at that time VDARE.COMís webhost posted in full, even though he knows perfectly well that I work at home, that we have small children, and that my wife - his former colleague - is gravely ill with metastasized breast cancer.”

Full story is at www.vdare.com/pb/tarantoad2.htm.

Posted by: mik on February 7, 2004 3:53 AM

Peter Brimelow’s wife, to whom mik refers, died yesterday.

WW

Posted by: Wm. Wleklinski on February 7, 2004 10:51 AM


It is not that a native is improved by immigration, but that the immigrant’s life is improved by immigration. That’s the point of immigration. I do not think the immigrant is better than the native.

Posted by: Nitin Batra on February 8, 2004 4:54 PM

Of course the immigrant’s life is “improved” by immigration; that’s why half the world would come here if they could. A Chinese official was asked a few years ago how many Chinese would emigrate to America if they were able to. He answered: “Everyone, including the lampposts.” So, since since a good part of the six billion persons on planet earth would improve their condition by coming to the U.S., does that mean that it is our obligation to let them do so? Only someone who was UTTERLY INDIFFERENT to the welfare and the very existence of the United States as a distinct entity, whether that person were a foreigner or an American, would think so.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 8, 2004 4:59 PM


Yes, I believe in bentham: the greatest good for the greatest number. At this point, the good that it does for the immigrant far exceeds any inconvenience for the native. So, by Bentham, yes we should allow immigration.

Posted by: Nitin Batra on February 8, 2004 5:04 PM

“Yes, I believe in bentham: the greatest good for the greatest number. At this point, the good that it does for the immigrant far exceeds any inconvenience for the native. So, by Bentham, yes we should allow immigration.”

Thanks to Mr. Batra for laying out so clearly the real thinking of the open-borders people. If a billion third-worlders could improve their opportunities and life experience by, say 100 percent by coming to America, while the opportunities and life experience of 300 million Americans would decline by, say 90 percent as a result of such an experiment, then the total amount of happiness in the world would increase as a result of the mass immigration and it ought to be allowed.

I thought this kind of massified, reductionist, nightmarish thinking were discredited in the 19th century, or at least by the time of the fall of the Soviet Union. But bad ideas never go away. They just go into remission.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 8, 2004 5:15 PM

When it reaches a point of reducing standard of living, then yes, the immigration caps are too high, and so you lower them. But that is not the case, there is no reduction in standard of living. There are inconveniences, and they are small and trifling.

Posted by: Nitin Batra on February 8, 2004 5:19 PM

“When it reaches a point of reducing standard of living, then yes, the immigration caps are too high, and so you lower them.”

This is what the late Julian Simon used to say. When challenged in debate on the harm that the open borders immigration policy that he advocated would do to America, he would answer: “If we find that immigration is harming America, then we can lower it.” But by then it would be too late, wouldn’t it?

Simon’s and Mr. Batra’s reasoning is used only by modern people who are not rooted in a concrete society that they care about, but who look on their society as if it were a chemistry set, as something to have experiments with, not as something precious to preserve and protect.

What is Mr. Batra’s nationality?

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 8, 2004 5:30 PM

I’m Indian-American, and I do love America and Americans. Okay, yes, open-borders would be suicide. No doubt. It would be too late, since there would be such a large influx. But our current immigration policy, in which we have definite figures, and we do the math BEFORE setting those figures to determine the economic impact, then it certainly would not be too late. Gallup shows that not only do people say their standard of living has improved, but that they see it improving in the future as well. So, if people either feel differently (that they think their standard of living is going to go down, OR that it has gone down) OR if the objective economic indicators (again, before calculating the correct numerical cap) show that a given cap will cause harm or not, then we adjust the caps. It is not too late when you set the numbers yourself year by year. It is guided, not anarchy.

What you do is good, because you prevent open-borders, a real possibility. Don’t take my opposition to some of your views, as a lack of appreciation for what you’ve done in your books and in alerting everyone to the dangers of moving in the open-borders direction (which then makes congress scared to do it because it’s an alive awareness of the danger, in the public and press).

Posted by: Nitin Batra on February 8, 2004 5:53 PM

I doubt Mr. Batra even views these United States as something to experiment with. What we see with most of his fellow countrymen, who have come to this country via H-1B and L-1 visas, is that they are here to loot the economy, do an IPO (and invite family members over to populate the company that will go bankrupt after it burns through its IPO cash) and take their pickings back home. If Mr. Batra opposes open borders, it’s probably because he wants to keep Chinese competitors out. But, then, Mr. Batra is an Indian-American, isn’t he? He’s in the same boat as the rest of us, right? Which is why he has the perspective of someone detached from this country and its people. Who but someone who identifies with another country and people would qualify his post with the sentiment that he “do[es] love America and Americans”.

Posted by: Paul C. on February 8, 2004 8:41 PM

Lots of people who identify with another country love America and Americans. Not only India, but Italy, Ireland, Africa, China, Korea, Mexico, Peru, Japan, Sweden, Egypt.

Posted by: Nitin Batra on February 8, 2004 8:43 PM

“Lots of people who identify with another country love America and Americans. Not only India, but Italy, Ireland, Africa, China, Korea, Mexico, Peru, Japan, Sweden, Egypt.”

Precisely, Mr. Batra. And, like you, I’d think whatever American identity they claim is one of pure convenience, something that gives them access to “American” marketplaces, welfare, medicine, educations, subsidies, and governmental racial preferences.

Posted by: Paul C. on February 8, 2004 8:50 PM

You and your junk science.

Posted by: Nitin Batra on February 8, 2004 8:54 PM

Please don’t feed the trolls and they will go away, eventually.

Posted by: mik on February 10, 2004 2:03 AM

I’m sorry to hear of Peter Brimelow loss.

Posted by: mik on February 10, 2004 2:04 AM
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