The blogger Lawrence Auster (about whom see here and here) has been criticizing me for quite some time for not coming out against Muslim immigration. Yet when he has articulated his position in more detail, it is remarkably similar to mine: he even mentions, in the last post I linked, the immigration application questionnaire that I have been working on for almost a year now and about which I have held discussions with several Congressmen. As for illegal immigration, I am opposed to it across the board, and as for monitoring mosques, I have called for it repeatedly — see, for example, this article from March 2003.
There is more. In an email exchange today which Auster has published in part (he selectively edited it), he adds eight recommendations:
1. Declare that Islam is not just a religion but a political movement aimed at gaining power, and therefore the individual beliefs of individual Muslims matter less than the overall presence of Islam among us which strengthens the Islamic political agenda. Therefore (1) Islam is not a religion receiving protections under the First Amendment, and (2) Islam is not welcome in this country. Also declare that America renounces multiculturalism, the idea that all cultures are equal, and that it intends to go on existing as a distinct country with a distinct culture and way of life and will in the future adopt laws consistent with that purpose.
This declaration is the basis of everything that follows.
2. Cease all further immigration of Muslims, from whatever country, with only special individual exceptions for close relatives, etc.
3. Make resident aliens leave. This could start with singling out resident aliens with jihad associations, but then if deemed necessary be upped to include all Muslims resident aliens.
4. Make all Muslims illegal aliens leave.
5. Examine the beliefs, associations, statements, and actions of all naturalized Muslim citizens. Those who are jihad supporters will lose their citizenship and be made to go back to their country of origin.
6. Leave open as an option doing the same with natural born American citizens who are children of Muslim immigrants, as I discussed in my 2004 article at FP, “How to Defeat Jihad in America.”
7. Outlaw all mosques and Muslim schools and Muslim organizations that preach jihad and sharia or that disseminate literature advancing jihad and sharia.
8. Urge other non-Islamic countries to do the same, with the aim of initiating a vast worldwide Rollback of the Muslim “diaspora” back into the Muslim lands.
It’s curiously inconsistent that he says we should declare that “Islam is not welcome in this country” and then never says a thing about expelling ordinary Muslim citizens — all that follows deals with immigrants, illegal aliens, resident aliens, and citizens who are jihad supporters. What about Muslim citizens who are not jihad supporters in any discernable way? Can they stay? Auster doesn’t say. If Islam is “not welcome in this country,” shouldn’t Muslim citizens be expelled? Why does Auster shy away from following his argument to its conclusion?
There is no doubt that Islam is political, as I have noted hundreds of times in innumerable contexts. In my 2005 book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) I wrote this:
Reclassify Muslim organizations.
Any Muslim group in America that does not explicitly renounce, in word and in deed, any intention now or in the future to replace the Constitution of the United States with Islamic Sharia should be classified as a political rather than a religious organization, and should be subject to all the responsibilities and standards to which political organizations must adhere. (P. 230)
I point this out because Auster and his followers frequently claim that I have offered no solutions to the problem of jihad, when I have included suggested many ways to manage this problem (as opposed to solutions, which don’t actually exist, since Islam and the jihad ideology is not going away) in my books Onward Muslim Soldiers, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), and The Truth About Muhammad. This is just one of them.
But anyway, after Islamic groups are classified as political groups, what then? Some of Auster’s recommendations are good. Others I find fantastic, impractical, unworkable, and inconceivable of ever being adopted, as well as unconstitutional and possibly immoral. In the United States we do not have thoughtcrime (contrary to the overheated claims of the Left). We cannot outlaw Islam as such any more than we can halt Muslim immigration per se, not just because we are multiculturalist wimps who refuse to take hard steps in our own self-defense, but because Islam is a belief.
Beliefs have never been outlawed in the United States. The Smith Act, for example, doesn’t outlaw the Communist Party as such; instead, it says that “whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States…by force or violence…shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both…” It didn’t outlaw believing that Communism is a great idea. It couldn’t outlaw that. But isn’t “advocating” and “teaching” all about belief? By way of an answer, consider how the Communist Control Act of 1954 specified that Communists could be identified:
In determining membership or participation in the Communist Party or any other organization defined in this Act, or knowledge of the purpose or objective of such party or organization, the jury, under instructions from the court, shall consider evidence, if presented, as to whether the accused person:
(1) Has been listed to his knowledge as a member in any book or any of the lists, records, correspondence, or any other document of the organization;
(2) Has made financial contribution to the organization in dues, assessments, loans, or in any other form;
(3) Has made himself subject to the discipline of the organization in any form whatsoever;
(4) Has executed orders, plans, or directives of any kind of the organization;
(5) Has acted as an agent, courier, messenger, correspondent, organizer, or in any other capacity in behalf of the organization…
And so on. Click on the link to read the rest; you’ll see that they are all about actions — about involvement with the Communist Party. None of these points says anything about thinking Marx and Lenin are just great, or that Das Kapital contains the answer to human suffering, being matters for prosecution.
Now, I’m not a lawyer, and don’t claim to play one on TV. In the meetings I have had with Congressmen, I have tried to help them see the parallels as suggested legal avenues to explore, and hope that their lawyers will be able to work out something that is Constitutional, workable, and even — although this is a pipe dream with the new Congress — capable of being passed. Using all this as a model, I think membership in Islamic organizations that advocate and teach the desirability or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States and replacing it with Sharia could be criminalized. This is something I have included in my recommendations to the Congressmen over the past year or so. But it is not the same thing as outlawing belief in Muhammad as a prophet, or the Qur’an as a divine revelation. Such things will never happen under the U.S. Constitution, and that’s a good thing for many reasons.
For one thing, I don’t want the U.S. to start outlawing beliefs. If yours is outlawed, mine can be too. I want the officials of the U.S. government to protect the Constitution and laws of the nation, as they swear to do. This means that those who advocate the replacement of the Constitution with Sharia should be regarded by those officials as groups and individuals they have pledged to protect us from. Lawrence Auster realizes this too, which I believe is why he doesn’t follow through on the logic of his saying that “Islam is not welcome in this country” by saying that all Muslims should be expelled. Instead, he focuses in his latter recommendations on jihad activists and sympathizers, because he knows that the U.S. can outlaw actions — activity on behalf of jihad — but not beliefs — the idea that Muhammad is a prophet.
After all, if it somehow became illegal to believe in the United States that Muhammad is a prophet, how would this be enforced? Would nationwide questioning be instituted? And what of false answers? A huge monitoring apparatus would have to be instituted, spying on all citizens. (I’m sure I would come under close scrutiny in such as system, as hardly a day goes by during which I don’t read the Qur’an; the neighbors would get suspicious.)
The problems with stopping Muslim immigration as such are similar. I agree with Auster, although he has done his level best to portray my position as the opposite of this, that we must do everything we possibly can to make sure that jihadists do not enter the U.S. or remain here; and I have pointed out many times, although he has claimed that this is a lacuna in my position, that there is no firewall between moderates and jihadists (see, for example, this post from June 2005).
So what is to be done in the face of that? Well, everything I have outlined above: outlaw Sharia supremacism, monitor mosques, etc. And ban Muslim immigration? This would be the common-sense thing to do, and I favor it in principle, but how it would be done is not an easy question to answer. How would it be done? Ban all immigration from majority Muslim countries? Then Muslims can enter from Britain and France, at least until they become majority Muslim.
Ban all Muslims, from whatever country? That’s what Auster says above. Then you will have immigration officials giving religious tests. “Do you believe Muhammad is a prophet and the Qur’an is divine revelation? Then you can’t come in.” You’ll be keeping out nutty multiculti Christian leaders who believe Muhammad is a prophet along with Muslims, but hey, that might not be such a bad thing. Seriously, however, the practical issues here are overwhelming. What if someone lies? Or converts while in the U.S.? Will you arrest an immigrant for possessing a Qur’an or entering a mosque, while it remains legal for citizens to own Qur’ans and go to mosques? Unless all mosques are closed and Islam is outlawed in this country, ending Muslim immigration as such is completely unenforceable. And Islam will never be outlawed in this country, as America does not criminalize beliefs.
That’s why I have instead focused, in the immigration application proposal I mentioned above, not on Islam per se but rather on elements of Sharia that are incompatible with the U.S. Constitution and American society. Here again one would not expect honest answers, but it would be clear that activity in order to institute Sharia here would be grounds for deportation.
This is eminently practical and enforceable. Ask on the immigration application if the applicant understands that the U.S. prohibits the beating of a disobedient wife, which is allowed for in the Qur’an (4:34), and that if he beats his wife this will be grounds for deportation. Knowing what we want to hear, the applicant answers no. But then he beats his wife. Instead of treating this simply as a case of spousal battery, it would now also be grounds for deportation. The arrest stems from the action, not the belief, but the deportation occurs in recognition of the fact that wife-beating is sanctioned by Sharia, that the wife-beater in question accepts Sharia, and that Sharia is inimical to Western society and law. Believe Muhammad is a prophet all day long, but if you act to institute Islamic law here, you are not welcome.
But what about Norwegian Lutheran immigrant wife-beaters? Would they be deported too? Sure. (I mean, who wants wife-beaters here, anyway?) It’s preferable to focus on the actions of Islam that are inimical to American society and law, rather than beliefs. We don’t care why you beat your wife, but the punishment must be ratcheted up as part of a larger effort to prevent Sharia supremacists from having free rein in the United States.
Anyway, Auster has suggested that I actually hold to some multiculturalist belief in mass immigration, which is and always has been false. Since I have asked him for retractions and corrections on several points and he has refused, I characterized his portrayal of my positions on several matters during an email exchange today as dishonest. He has published my emails to him today; he is offended that I call him dishonest, although he has never bothered to explain why he apparently thinks he knows what I believe better than I do, and has thus brushed aside my requests for retraction. I stand by the substance of those emails.
Mr. Auster has repeatedly written that he has maintained a high-minded focus on principles and ideas, while I have descended to personal attacks. That is apparently the purpose of his posting my emails today. Some snippets of Auster’s high-minded commitment to principles, rather than personal attacks, appear in emails he sent me last September:
You’re out of your effing gourd, pal.
If this reasonable e-mail so offended you that you decided never to mention again any writings of mine at your site, then you are indeed a collossal jerk.
What a hopeless jerk you are. You’re so bent out of shape you can’t even remember what you’re saying from one minute to the next.
You have exposed yourself before many readers as a major league jerk.
The record of your idiocy and immaturity will be on the Web forever.
Since you will have shown yourself as beyond civilized behavior, I will not want to hear from you again.
I take your response to mean that you will refuse to post my response to your sleazy out of context quotations of my private e-mails to you.
The last one is especially piquant in light of his post today. It refers to this, in which I referred to some of the same emails. I posted them then to show the hollowness of Auster’s posturing about taking the high road, and I do so again now for the same reason.
John Derbyshire and others have tangled with Lawrence Auster in the past — as Derbyshire explains here with a keen oberver’s eye. I am sorry that our exchanges have been so rancorous; it is a pity that he has decided to direct so much energy to discrediting those whose positions do not tally with his 100%, rather than directing his energies to awakening Americans to the magnitude of the jihad threat.
UPDATE: Auster’s reply predictably fulminates and plays pot-kettle-black games, displaying an impressive talent for projection and accusing me of “dirty tactics” — while taking no responsibility for his own actions, and still addressing nothing of substance that I have written above, except to say that he expects his plan will involve the mass voluntary departure of Muslims from the U.S. Well, carry on, sir; I’m through.
SECOND UPDATE: With an Orwellian talent for inversion of reality, Auster and his acolytes continue to claim that I have declined to meet Auster on the level of ideas, and that instead I have engaged in personal attacks — while calling me “pathological,” claiming I suffer from a “victim complex,” and more. Sure, Larry, no personal attacks from you. Auster claims that he has “given the entire history of why I stopped speaking with Spencer.” He doesn’t mention, however, that he only published this explanation long after he stopped speaking to me, and that in it he never addresses my simple question, which was why he characterized my inviting Gadahn to accept the Bill of Rights as “purely liberal” — an appelation which, provided without explanation, his readers were certain to misunderstand. In a very long explanation he asserts several times that my defense of the West is entirely on liberal grounds, but never explains why the Bill of Rights is a liberal thing. Yet it is I who am not dealing with substantive points.
This is a man who has seized upon words here and there to imagine and magnify slights, while rudely sneering at and brushing aside my kindness toward him: he says that I sent him “e-mails larded with the same expressions of good wishes for my success, health, and happiness.” Oh, horror! Good wishes! What a horrible fellow I am!
That his followers continue to believe that he is only interested in discussing principles in light of things like this, and that I am the one personally insulting him, is testimony to his persuasive powers, but to little else. I would be happy to discuss and debate the issues of immigration at hand with Lawrence Auster or anyone else, but note that in the aftermath of my original post above, he has focused with relish on attacks on my character, with only the scantest attention to the points I have raised.