Today there was yet another terrorist attack. This time, a man in Nice, France, got in a truck, ran over a bunch of people, got out of said truck, shot a bunch of people, and then died. As of the time that I am writing, at least 80 people are known to be dead. Coming just a month after the Orlando shooting, Islamic mass murder probably seems pretty familiar by now, so let’s just cut to the chase.
Muslims have a much higher rate of violent terrorism than non-Muslims do. In the US, Muslims commit about 13 times more terrorist attacks than non Muslims do and kill roughly 62 times as many people. Around the world, the proportion of people in a nation which is Muslim positively correlates with the amount of terrorism that country experiences.
Moreover, many Muslims support a totalitarian, anti-Western ideology. Muslim nations score low on indexes of gender equality. Many Muslim countries are ruled by dictators. Many Muslim nations kill people for being gay. The list could go on.
When Muslims come to Western nations they act like Muslims in Muslim nations do. They have high rates of terrorism. They set up sharia law when they have the power to do so. Even in Western nations, 1 in 8 to 1 in 4 Muslims supports violent jihadist actions against civilians.
Some people will say that this is because Muslims are from poor nations. This is not true. A nation’s rate of Islam correlates with its rate of terrorism even after controlling for differences in national wealth.
Other people will say that this is an Arab problem, not a Muslim problem. This is also not true. Islam predicts terrorism within regions. The more Islamic a Arab/Asian/African nation is the higher its level of terrorism tends to be.
Still, others will say that this is all blow-back from Western imperialism. Our foreign policy may not have made the problem any better, but it is not the root cause. Imperialism is not why Muslims commit terrorism at such high rates in Asian, African, and, especially, Arab countries. Most Islamic terrorism is aimed against other Muslims. The problem is not Western foreign policy.
Finally, some will say that Muslims may be problematic now, but if we wait a generation or two they will assimilate and everything will be fine. There are two things to say about this. First, asking thousands of children to grow up without parents on the hope that things will even out after a few decades is no small price to ask. Secondly, young and second generation Muslim immigrants are actually more radical and more violent than older and 1st generation ones are. This has been shown in multiple countries and should give serious pause to anyone counting on assimilation.
When Muslims come to Western countries they make them look a lot less like Western countries and a lot more like Muslim countries. This is not surprising. In fact, it would be shocking if anything else happened. Culture does not come from dirt or the sun, it comes from people. When people move they take their culture with them.
So, what should we do about this? Donald Trump has famously proposed that we ban Muslim immigration. Some people have said that this is un-American and that it is unconstitutional to ban a group of people from immigrating. This is not historically accurate. The naturalization act of 1795, enacted by the people who wrote the constitution, limited immigration to Whites. The Chinese Exclusion act of 1882 banned Chinese immigrants. In 1924 we limited immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe. The McCarran-Walter act of 1952 set up 33 separate reasons for which an immigrant could be denied access to the United States. Included among those denied a right to immigrate to the U.S. were criminals, people judged to be stupid, people whose labor was deemed unneeded in the U.S. economy, and anyone who practiced a “subversive” ideology, such as communism or anarchism. Reagan banned refugees based on their views on Palestine. The list could go on. People who say that it is somehow un-American or unconstitutional to limit immigration are simply wrong.
In America, another solution sometimes offered is gun control. France has shown us once again that this plan will not work.
Another option is to be extremely accepting of Muslim customs. The idea is that they won’t attack us if we get them to like us. This option stems from a fundamental confusion: Muslims do not attack us because they don’t like us. Again, the most common group for Muslims to attack is other Muslims. They attack people because their religion teaches violent expansionism (even against other sects of Islam). Their feelings about us have nothing to do with this and there is nothing we can do to change the teachings of Islam.
(Which is not, by the way, to say that nothing can be done to change Islam. Many things could be done, but they would have to be done by Muslims, not us.)
Trump’s plan is the only solution which we know will work. However, some people will point out, correctly, that not all Muslims approve of terrorism or shariah totalitarianism and these Muslims will be better off if we allow them in our countries. This, fundamentally, is a question of whether or not we should sacrifice the West for the sake of a minority.
Personally, I think that nations have a right to protect their own self-interest and so, for me, this is an easy question. I wish peaceful Muslims the best, and I hope that their nations can progress out of the hellish religion that has consumed them for the last two thousand years. But I am not willing to sacrifice my home for their comfort which will, after all, just last as long as it takes from non-peaceful Muslims to turn the West into an Islamic region.
Maybe you disagree and you think it is a humanitarian good to sacrifice our nations to Islam. I can’t imagine explaining to the parents or children of the dead why their loved ones had to die for the greater good, but maybe you can. However, I think there is an even harder reality that proponents of this idea need to confront: destroying the West will significantly harm not just Westerners, but all of humanity.
The West has led the world in many important moral, scientific, political, and economic, developments.
Despite being blamed for slavery the most, the West led the way in its abolition. Free speech is an essentially Western idea, as is political and social tolerance. Democracy is a Western ideal, as is equality before the law.
Despite common mythology, the longer and more strongly a region was colonized by Europeans the richer it ended up being. Before the industrial revolution, world wide population size and wealth was stagnant. We were stuck in a rut for almost all of history. The West changed that with the industrial revolution and has since exported that wealth all over the earth. World poverty rates declined dramatically in the 20th century despite a huge increase in world population size.
The West has created and shared with the world institutions and ideas which have led to the greatest increases in prosperity in human history.
This is a truth that many people around the world implicitly admit with their own actions. It is why we have endless debates about the countless people who want to move to the West.
However, the West cannot continue this tradition of enriching the world if it becomes engulfed with ethnic and religious conflict and, eventually, Islamic rule.
If you believe in national self interest, the West needs to close its borders to Islamic immigration in-order to save itself for itself. If you are a die hard humanitarian, the West needs to close its borders to Islamic immigration in-order to save itself for the world. Either way, the answer is ultimately the same.