Rebirth of Reason


Syriaphobia: the Newest Fad in Collectivism
by Michael E. Marotta

It is an axiom of criminology that "crime knows no neighborhood." In other words, no place, no population is especially criminogenic. Crimes are committed by individuals who make bad choices. That is why Dr. Martin Luther King's dream was a world where a person is judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. The basic error, the fundamental fallacy, in dealing with the current influx of refugees is considering masses of people as collectives. Including or excluding groups, tribes, ethnicities, etc., is the wrong way to analyze the question. In point of fact, US immigration policy requires each legal immigrant to prove their case on their own merits. That is appropriate. 


Yes, some may be criminals, as were the boys at Five Points, the Purple Gang, and the Mafia. It is a fact of human population distribution, however, that among the immigrants there must be at least as many Kennedys, Reagans, Einsteins, Fermis, Scalias, and Ayn Rands. And the creative works of good people outlast the destruction of evil people. 


Ayn Rand used the term “muscle mystic” (likely invented by Nathaniel Branden) to explain people who worship brute force. They thought that seizing factories would make them productive. They saw goosestepping rows and columns followed by arrays of tanks and mobile artillery, and accepted that whoever brandished them must be strong. In fact, reality and reason required that the Nazis and Communists would fail. So, too, is ISIL's program ultimately unworkable. Still, otherwise good people who advocate for reason and reality react emotionally to the threat of the muscle-mystics. It is one thing to quote Benjamin Franklin and say that those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither. It is another thing to choose liberty when your security is threatened. Not everyone has the courage of their convictions.


According to the news reports now about the Paris bombings, this murder of 180 people was carefully planned and executed over months.  Over 700 million people live in Europe, about 68 million of them in France. A million years will not be enough time for the terrorists to kill everyone they dislike.


Meanwhile, immigrants to Europe and the USA bring valuable human capital away from ISIL. Immigrants bring enterprise, ingenuity, and initiative.


In the 1930s and 1940s, both Nazi Germany and Communist Russia maintained huge networks of supporters. It is also quite likely that the USSR insinuated its agents into the stream of European refugees from World War II. Similarly, communist agents probably were among the Vietnamese. We know that China sends its operatives in as students. Disturbing as that is to consider, actual harm is harder to prove.


Among the spies for the USSR was Samuel Dickstein, a US Congressman and New York Supreme Court justice. Meanwhile Prescott Bush, scion to the presidents of our time was able to get out of being implicated in a Wall Street Coup against President Roosevelt.  The German-American Bund pushed the Nazi Party line here at home. It only resulted in more anti-German sentiment.  Unlike the Japanese, the Germans were not put in concentrations camps, though it was a possibility. In the movie Wings, about World War I, when the comic German, Arnold Schwimpf enlists with his buddies, the recruiting sergeant (an Irishman) says, "If you ask me, all you Dutchmen ought to be locked up until this thing is over." Those were heady times.  And America survived. 

In our time, the political leaders charged with defeating ISIL actually share many of its philosophical foundations: mysticism, revelation, altruism and collectivism, and ascetisim.  Radical conservatives claim that President Obama's loyalties are suspect, though they themselves also embrace the same values as the jihadi Muslims. 


Civilization will survive ISIL, but only if and to the extent that we embrace a full, consistent liberty based on minding one's own business, living with a laissez faire attitude. That, of course, requires deeper commitment to reality and reason.  

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