I’m seeing a lot of ink spilled by liberals complaining that these banned countries don’t produce very many terrorists and therefore President Trump’s banning measure is invalid. Is this argument legitimate? Let’s take a look.

To start out, I recommend reading Scott Adam’s excellent piece The Odds of Being Killed by an Immigrant:

I keep seeing tweets and articles saying the odds of an immigrant killing a citizen of the United States are approximately zero. Obviously those calculations assume that our past experiences do a good job of predicting what happens next. And this is good news. Really, really, good news. […]

Man-made warming has never destroyed civilization in the past, so that means there is no chance it will happen in the future. That’s how the past works; it tells you what happens in the future. And boy is that handy. Before I learned that secret I was just guessing.

Scott is saying that if you’re not worried about future terrorist attacks occurring from Muhammadan countries, you should be consistent and stop worrying about global warming too, since neither has caused bodily harm heretofore.1 He’s being very sarcastic, of course; the idea that the past can predict the future is flawed. The past can lend a guiding hand for leading us into the future, but it cannot be our sole map.

My first refutation then is this: past performance does not guarantee future results.

Still though, it is curious that Trump is using terrorism as the primary selling point for the ban. To me, it should be the secondary selling point. The first one should be the fact that Islamism comes in two forms, and the peaceful one that works within the system and uses Democracy against itself is just as corrosive as the violent form that uses acts of terror.2 In fact, I would say that the peaceful form is more dangerous. No thinking skills are required to reject an act of violence. It happens, you see it, and you revolt against it. Subtle infiltration, however, requires due diligence and critical observation to detect. This ban is first and foremost a battle of ideas. Perhaps the ultimate manifestation of Muhammadism is in acts of terror, but its ideology spreads more often through deceptively peaceful means. You can conquer a nation by blowing apart its buildings, but it takes more skill to conquer a nation by persuasion. Muhammadism is a master at diabolical persuasion, at distorting reality, at making things appear to be different than they really are.

So why is Trump making his ban’s reason an easy target from a heretofore statistics standpoint? I don’t know. One theory I have is that there is zero controversy over whether acts of terror are ok or not. Even Muhammadans usually say that they think acts of terror are wrong.3 If Trump said that the main reason he wants to ban these countries is because he doesn’t like their ideology, then he has to face the accusation of religious exclusion. I think that accusation needs to be met head on,4 but for now, Trump’s taking the easy way out. I’m in agreement with Adams’ article above that this stance isn’t being fully honest:

I’m not allowed to say that my real fear is that if Islam gets a large enough foothold in the United States we will be transitioning from a situation of assimilation to one of eventual conquest because Islam doesn’t like to play second fiddle.

If that’s really Trump’s position, then he should own it. If Trump is primarily worried about Islamism, then he’s not being clear to the American people. That is a valid complaint.

I’m with Bill Maher though: this isn’t about a few bad apples. The real problem is about much more than isolated acts of terrorism; it’s the entire enslaving worldview that we’re combating.

My second refutation then is this: Islamism comes in two forms. Both of them must be recognized, exposed, and fought tooth and claw.

  1. I would deny that the converse is true: that if you’re concerned about future terrorist attacks from these countries, you should also be concerned about anthropogenic global warming. There’s much better data to support the former than the latter. This is a deep dark hole that I won’t go down here, other than to say that it’s naive in the extreme to say that the case is closed on global warming in either direction. ↩︎

  2. Wikipedia’s entry on Islamism has been muddied in a revision to be more politically correct but my cached version of the page defines it in its true colors. ↩︎

  3. Some of them truly mean what they say and some of them are lying to “infidels” merely to save face until they outnumber. ↩︎

  4. I may write more on this accusation later, but for now the summary is this: religious freedom must only apply to religions that do not seek to overthrow the government. The moment a religion crosses that line, it becomes more than a religion, and it forfeits the protections that our Bill of Rights affords. ↩︎