During the Obama administration, America sustained 26 separate Islam related attacks that resulted…
Joshua Sanders

I counted 133 school shootings during Obama’s administration resulting in about 118 deaths and many injuries (I did not count). Not every attack resulted in fatalities, and they were not all done in the name of religion, but I don’t see how that’s really relevant. If you want to villify Islam by saying attacks were done in the religion’s name, then I would argue that we could equally vilify American culture that catalyzed so many shooters.

You’re right that, at face value without any background check, there is no reason to believe a certain Muslim refugee would be more moderate or more religious. This can pose a security threat, although in reality that threat is pretty small, as the perpetrators of violent action are generally young men who spent a significant amount of time with violent radicals. So even in the sample of more rural, potentially more fundamentalist Muslims, there isn’t reason to believe they will necessarily be more violent than moderate Muslims unless this sample is a group like ISIS.

Put another way, rural Americans tend to be more fundamentalist Christian: more against gay rights, less supportive of sex education and abortion, more theocratic. But are they necessarily more violent? I would argue no for the same reasons as above. Radicalization is a process that needs to happen for people to be ok with and have the resolve to commit a large scale violent act. Soldiers go through boot camp not just to learn how to shoot, but to build the resolve to actually pull the trigger when there’s another life at the end of the barrel. Yes they go for other reasons, too, I’m not trying to be reductive about military training.

“Is there a morality calculator that we can use to determine the fair price of freedom?”

You seem to like to put hard numbers to these equations, but I’m afraid I can’t. I can’t give you a hard upper limit on what would be the balance of safety and moral obligation to take in refugees. Certainly accepting 1,000 refugees would result in fewer deaths than the amount of Americans killed by cars per year. In fact, I would guess that the US could accept tens of thousands of refugees with significantly fewer deaths than American auto deaths. So if your chances of getting killed by a refugee are smaller than your chances of dying in a car crash, that seems a pretty reasonable marker for me.

This chance of getting killed by a refugee gets smaller as precautions are taken, too. I don’t think refugees should just be let off the boat and told “You’re American now”. Taking time and energy to properly set up refugees, in a camp or community, and showing the refugees they are safe will go a long way towards national security. Screening people, if possible, would help too. But to say no Americans should die, but tens of thousands of potential refugees should, is to me absolutely immoral because there is no provably significant chance that tens of thousands of Americans will die if refugees are taken in. Simply put, the perceptions around violence in the name of Islam grossly exaggerate the actual carnage, and when put in perspective of the myriad ways people die in America it is about as likely you’ll get shot by a toddler as a radical Muslim. And you’re much, much more likely to get shot by an American in general than a radical Muslim.

This might intrigue you: I don’t think most of the refugees should be permanent residents. If a country accepts refugees from a place, I think that that country also needs to get involved in fixing that place. It should not be the burden of refugee accepting countries to carve out a permanent place for all the refugees. These refugees have homes, and they should be able to return there in their lifetimes. This is part of why there is so much tension in Israel right now.

As for the Israel-Palestine question, the Left has a perception of Israel as an evil colonist empire so any violence committed by Israel is exclusively wrong. I think I have a little more of a nuanced opinion of the issue than the standard Leftist “Israel is the occupier” mentality, but simply put I think Israel’s step of warning before bombing is one reason I don’t think of Israel as evil. And I do reference this when I talk to other Leftists about Israel. But you really have to understand the Students for Justice in Palestine and their founder’s anti-Semetic views to see how it influenced Leftist ideology on college campuses.

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