Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Defining/Defiling America for European Past

Hat tip to Vote in their poll whether Congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim convert, should be allowed to hold the Qur'an in the swear-in ceremony. As you might expect, this has caused immense outrage among talk-show hosts (can't tell the difference between conservative and liberal these days) and fellow Congressmen. We had just got over Dennis Prager's preposterous comments that make a subtle comparison between the Qur'an and "Hitler's Mein Kampf". Now we have Virgil Goode, another ignoramus, attacking Mr Keith Ellison:
Goode wrote that to "preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States," an immigration overhaul was necessary to avoid "many more Muslims elected to office demanding the use of the Quran."
CNN reports that Mr Keith Ellison replied that Mr Virgil Goode "would be wise to learn more about Islam". Quite true. But I don't want to just leave you with updates (with which you might already be familiar). What I found common in the comments of both these critics is the trumpeting of what America means: stuff like "American civilization" and "America's culture" and "what America decides". Well, I'm going to take these two at their own game.

1. The Native American culture is the true representation of the US and if we're going to have a single book or text, it is the Native American text people should be holding. David Rovics recently wrote on how "the Arizona Snowbowl Corporation is making plans to build a 14-mile pipeline from the city of Flagstaff to the nearby San Francisco Peaks. They want to expand a ski resort there, and make snow out of the wastewater. These mountains are sacred to 13 different local tribes..." No outrage against sacrilege there.

2. Christians in the US are no more "Americans" than Muslims, chiefly people of African origin. The European origin is simply an equivalent of the African origin unless one subscribes to the theory of the master race. Hence, Mr Ellison is as much as an American with Islam as his religion as the Christian Virgil Goode.

3. Do the American Christian people, the majority, value a Muslim who sincerely takes oath on his religious book and means what he says on committment or a Muslim who for-the-sake-of-it swears on the Bible and makes proclamations which he may carry out but not be committed to?

Conclusion: People like Virgil Goode and Dennis Prager need to read their history. They could start with Alex Haley's Roots and Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The bottomline is that the days of the plantation owners and aristocrats and British imperialism in the Americas are long over.

1 comment:

scottynx said...

Straw man. Virgil explicitly states that he would not bar Ellison from using the koran:

Rush Limbaugh Show

"....ASMAN: Well, that I may well be true, but again just to put a fine point on it: You are not, then, for prohibiting Mr. Ellison from bringing in a Koran?

GOODE: No, but I am for restricting immigration so that we don't have a majority of Muslims elected to the United States House of Representatives. "

A cost-benefit analysis, with lives being weighted the most, is the best way to approach Virgil Goode's sole policy proposal, which is a halt to muslim immigration.

Whatever the outcome of a cost benefit analysis, it will only be valid if it is actually acknowledged that muslim immigration, student studying, and tourist visits has a cost in treasure and lives, which September 11th, the Los Angeles El Al ticket counter shooting, the first WTC bombing, the London bombing, the Madrid train bombing, and numerous averted terrorist attacks show. Nearly every ledger has two sides to be acknowledged, and this is no exception. The outcome doesn't have to be all or nothing either. I believe that the optimal policy is reduced muslim immigration from the current ~40,000 per year to something like ~10,000 per year. We'd keep most of our international prestige and the psychic gain which a non-discriminatory immigration policy gives us, but we'd have a far slower rate of growth in the sea in which terrorists swim and recruit. If we made sure that the reduced flow was more proportionately the cream of the crop than the current flow is, then we'd have less economic losses than pure reduced numbers of muslim immigrants alone would indicate. - pjgoober