Shortly after Trump was elected,
I remember reading an article describing the Muslim ban he had suggested during
his campaign as a proposed policy to ban over 1 billion Muslims from
immigrating to the U.S.
Now, literally a
ban on Muslims would potentially apply to over 1 billion Muslims, but
practically there are fewer than a billion Muslims seeking entry to the U.S.
In that regard, the claim seemed
purposefully inflammatory, intentionally trying to put Trump’s reticence on
allowing all comers from the Middle East into the country as a policy that
practically shuts the door on 1 billion would-be immigrants.
No doubt the author regarded any proposed
Muslim ban as motivated by some combination of racism (even though Whities like
Beau Bergdahl can join with Allah!) and discrimination against a marginalized
religious minority (which is also mistaken, as most Muslims live in Muslim
The description of the proposed
ban in that extreme way suggests a useful thought experiment that I believe
gives the lie to the knee-jerk accusation that setting limits on immigration
from certain demographics is somehow morally reprehensible.
The experiment is simple – suppose that all 1
billion plus Muslims outside our shores sought to immigrate to the United
Are you for it or
If you are for it, let’s take the
example one step further.
that every single person of those billion immigrants has a preference for
settling in your home state.
Still for it?
What if they all want to be in the same county as you?
And if you have in mind slyly moving to another
state while professing your love of immigrants, suppose still that wherever you
seek to move within the country, they will similarly see as a greener pasture
and be on your heals.
Now, clearly putting 1 billion
people of one religious faith in your 50 square mile county makes you an
exceedingly small religious (or non-religious) minority within that
Maybe your county had as many as
1 million professed Christians (which is probably higher than any one county in
Your religious group just went
from a dominant and tolerant majority in the county to 0.1 percent of the
population, with 99.9 percent Muslim presence.
Are you still OK with this?
Let’s say that you are.
Can you name for me any country in this world
where an exceedingly small religious minority of Christians is able to freely practice
their religion without persecution in a Muslim dominated country?
Can you name for a dominant Muslim country
that Christians currently seek to immigrate to?
Or is it the opposite – are Christians generally fleeing such countries
Does the fact that no
Christians are immigrating to Muslim dominated countries suggest something
about the nature of living in Muslim dominated countries?
If you think it is OK for one
billion Muslims to move next door, but have no desire yourself to move to a
Muslim country, what makes you think the end-result politically and culturally
would not be the same?
Anyone uncomfortable with these
questions has been so indoctrinated by the concept that America’s diversity is
its strength that they are blind to the obvious limitations of that
And it is propaganda.
The Borjas book was largely about the economic
effects of immigration, but he did touch on issues such as assimilation.
Discussing the research of a Harvard
sociologist who was loathe to draw these conclusions from his research:
ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital. New
evidence from the US suggests that in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods
residents of all races tend to “hunker down.” Trust (even of one’s own race) is
lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer. Putnam goes on
to provide a long list of the seemingly harmful effects of increased ethnic
diversity: lower confidence in government, lower voter registration rates, a
lower probability of giving to charity or volunteering, and a lower chance of
participating in community projects.
I’ve read about Putnam’s
conclusions before in a funny little book called We Are Doomed
described Putnam’s article as having a curious structure with three main
and Benefits of Immigration and Ethnic Diversity (three pages)
Diversity Foster Social Isolation (nineteen pages)
Comfortable with Diversity (seven pages)
He then suggested a similar
structure for a publication in a health journal with comparably self-contradicting section
of drinking green tea
Green tea causes
switch to green tea
Putnam, after all, understands
the implications of bucking the diversity mob in academia, and so had to go
through the hand wringing of drawing normative conclusions or recommendations
that were clearly at odds with the positive findings of his research.
The diversity concerns are not
separate from the underlying economic aspects of immigration.
This decline in social capital is happening
in the low-rent neighborhoods where poor immigrants are forced to settle by
And it is not merely
a racist reaction from whities wishing it was 1950s Happy Days again, as all
groups – even the immigrants - find themselves hunkering down.
All rich liberals want diversity in very small
doses for themselves, if at all, but in large doses for others whether they
like it or not.
The costs of diversity
all fall to a specific group.
that incurs none of those costs meanwhile safely preens about its high-mindedness,
when in reality the issue doesn’t touch them.
I think it would be absurd for
anyone to argue that the importation of a billion Muslims would not
fundamentally change the country for the worse.
Our Constitution wouldn’t protect us in a democracy
where one billion culturally distinct people have common political interests
that are antithetical to most of our best political and cultural
It is not wrong to keep
people who view such traditions as obstacles and major flaws out of the country
in the first place.
It’s not racist, it’s
not oppressive, it’s common sense.
cultural differences imply the best approach is to keep such cultures separate,
or otherwise to prudently manage the degree to which you allow immigration from
Muslim countries to occur.
We should all
agree that 1 billion is not the right number.
I would say 100 million or 10 million is still too high.
Whatever your number is, having a number
beneath 1 billion doesn’t make you a racist.