By the time Thanksgiving arrived, the social media memes pronouncing that for anyone who believes accepting Syrian refugees into the U.S. is less than wise policy it was rank hypocrisy to celebrate the holiday had become too much to bear. Granted, this stupid analogy was marginally less stupid than the “Jesus was a refugee so what kind of Christian are you?” stuff put out by OccupyDemocrats, but it was still pure debate pollution. Did the Native Americans know that the Europeans were refugees? Uh, no. Did they have a refugee policy? Nooooo. Was the territory that became the United States being targeting by terrorists? No. Had there been any previous terrorist attacks on Native Americans in North America? No. If the Indians had known about what the Spanish had already been doing to indigenous people, would they have been so welcoming? I think not. If Native Americans today could go back in time and decide all over again whether to allow the “refugees” to settle here, what would they decide?
Are the beneficiaries of a terrible decision ethically obligated to risk their own destruction by making the same mistake?I guess that’s the theory. Pardon me if I’m not persuaded, but you wouldn’t believe the “likes” this argument got on Facebook in its various forms.
Well, President Obama used this same illicit analogy before Thanksgiving, and the progressives and pundits nodded their heads furiously, like turkeys. Oh, snap, Mr. President! You really stuck it to those xenophobes!
President Obama obviously doesn’t care about his rhetoric any more, or think about it, either. He’s not as flagrant as Donald Trump in spewing irresponsible nonsense, but no ethical President should even spark the comparison.
Well, over at Law and the Multiverse, which is another neat website in the Ethics Alarms links, there is a very informative discussion of the refugee status of Superman, an environmental refugee (a planet exploding qualifies its residents) and Supergirl, another Krypton refugee whose status is a bit more complex. Law and the Multiverse features serious legal discussions of the legal issues that would be raised by the conduct and existence of superheroes in the real world. Here’s a sample, from author Kean Zimmerman’s discussion of Supergirl’s status:
“In effect Supergirl is actually a stateless person. As of now the United States has not signed on to any of the major international conventions which attempt to reduce the number of stateless persons. Currently, the United States is lacking a basic framework to deal with stateless people, so most of its efforts are merely stopgap measures. The absence of a framework often leaves stateless persons in a position of limbo for excessive periods of time, especially if they no longer have a country to return to or no country which will accept them. Supergirl would likely be in a similar position as Krypton no longer exists. After a determination is made that she either cannot return, or that it is too expensive to deport her, the government would probably require Supergirl to make routine reports to the Department of Homeland Security. Although she might be able to receive a work permit, if she were to ever leave the borders of the United States, border patrol could then deny her readmission.”
Yeah, good luck with that.
24 thoughts on “Just To Wash The Nasty Residue Of Those Absurd Pilgrim-Syrian Refugee Analogies Out Of Your Brain, Here are Some Useful And Informative Silly Refugee Discourses”
So in this analogy, is Ham like Kryptonite?
Contrary to popular belief, ham doesn’t really hurt you. Superman, however, couldn’t eat Kryptonite safely even if he wanted to.
Of late, there have been a number of news items – mostly promoted by Drudge, but linked from European newspapers – about how refugees in some parts of Europe are dissatisfied with the services they’ve been given. Got me to thinking.
Syria is controlled by the Alawites, a subsect of Shia Islam. Alawites represent approximately 10 percent of the Syrian population. The splendid irony is that the Shia/Alawite control over far larger numbers of Sunni is almost a mirror image of Saddam Hussein and his Baath party, which represented a Sunni domination of a largely Shiite country.
I’ve done what research I can and it appears no one really knows how many of the so-called Syrian refugees are Alawites who recognize that the jig is up. Alawites did very well economically under the Assad regime. But if there’s any credence to the above-mentioned stories, it would seem that the whiners are Alawites who came down on the ambulatory side of the fight-or-flight coin toss, and are now dismayed to learn that their cushy former government-charmed lives aren’t exactly guaranteed in the West.
The problem is that Syria is essentially a free-fire zone, with so many warring sects and tribes – some nursing grudges that started a millenia ago – that it’s likely to be nearly impossible to distinguish between the true refugee, the economic refugee, the mid-East equivalent of hipsters lacking balls to protect their own interests or jihadis who’d prefer to blow shit up under cooler, wetter conditions.
One thing’s for sure, though. These cats sure ain’t the equivalent of pilgrims.
How about you just let them in because it’s how you would want to be treated if you were risking your life and children’s lives fleeing a brutal regime? It’s just the right thing to do. You know, the Golden Rule. Safety? Well sure, there are no guarantees that a terrorist might slip in somehow. But you stand a lot more risk of death driving to 31 Flavors to get that over-priced ice cream cone (I remembered!). You would do a lot more for your family’s personal safety (and waistline) to just skip the dessert. Life doesn’t guarantee we will all die old and comfortable in our beds, but that is no reason to become an agoraphobic. Bring them on over. You can move them next door to me. I’d feel safer wityh them than the elderly, paranoid, gun hoarder I have next door now.
It’s not a Golden Rule issue—government policy never is. The government has an obligation to protect its citizens that transcends altruism or reciprocity. It’s also not a Golden Rule situation because the issue is fake refugees with bad intentions that cannot be screened out. Does the Golden Rule apply if OJ Simpson wants to go out with your daughter? If Casey Anthony wants to be your babysitter? When individuals with completely different motives and beliefs are involved, the Golden Rule is too simplistic to be of any use.
Sorry. Bad argument. And your last sentence is a classic #22.
Legis plentitudo charitus.
Judging by your last sentence, you’d probably be willing to take away a particular constitutional right from the tax-paying citizens of this country in the name of safety, though. Ironically, that probably wouldn’t make you a bit safer, and might make you a whole lot less so. Opening the sieve to Syrian non-citizens can only increase the odds of deadly mischief.
Never mind her elderly paranoid gun hoarding neighbor will probably be the first to help her in a real emergency. What a judgmental
As he is quickly slipping into dementia since his bypass surgery, he has decided his sweet 80 year old wife is sleeping with every man on the street. He became abusive and threatening to her and her kids moved her out. He has also threatened to shoot neighborhood kids who have ridden their bikes across his rock lawn. He says he doesn’t have long to live so it doesn’t matter, but they do and he’ll take one or two of them with him. Police have been called, but he refuses to answer the door and they just leave. His wife and kids are afraid to take the guns because they think that will trigger a true violent rampage, so everyone just hopes he dies before he hurts or kills someone.
Legis plenitudo caritas, right?
From the one book I read in childhood titled “Superman:” Eben and Sarah Kent were farmers chronically on the edge of bankruptcy. They were of the common clay – to borrow a line from a movie, “you know…morons” – so they did not know, and could not have been expected to know, that their adopted “Clark” was an “environmental refugee.” (GAD! I would prefer a daily ear-cram of “cisheterohierarchy” to a whole new vocabulary of status discriminators for “refugees.”) Kal-el was, simply, an orphan; the Kents had always wanted their own child. Here was their chance, a gift from heaven. So they decided to keep the baby, make up some story about how he came to be their custodial responsibility, and kept a bunch of secrets, at least until earthly Dad was on his deathbed. The teenager Clark could just as easily (and quite reasonably) have presumed that Dad’s final words were beyond incoherent, and were merely fantastical ramblings of a man completely out of touch with reality. No matter how much Dad’s last words might connect dots to match Kal-el’s actual past and roots, Kal-el would have to decide what to do with his powers, take full responsibility for the ethics of his use of his powers, and accept the total mystery of his own origins.
The more I read that book, and the more I watched that first season of Superman on TV, the more impossible it became for me to suspend disbelief. There was absolutely NO reason for Kal-el to continue his double life. He could never assimilate into the homo sapiens society; he had nothing to gain by continually mingling with them as if he was one of them. He could overhear any conversation from afar; could see through any obstacle the mind of man could devise for obscuring and camouflaging, and was immune to being poisoned by anything on earth except Kryptonite. He was the purest manifestation of a permanent resident alien, at best. Kal-el’s secret identity became an absurdity that ceased being entertaining, and eventually, annoyed me to the point of becoming strongly anti-superhero.
We know a lot more about the kinds of “refugees” the coming waves of Syrians are, than Eben and Sarah knew about “Clark.” We know who the Ebens and Sarahs of our time are, too. The only secrets they want to keep are about themselves. They know better than any previous generation how to give hell to everyone else around themselves, making a living hell for all, with their self-serving, buffet-style selections of pieces of the truth. They want me, and everyone like me, to suspend disbelief (in the form of our skepticism); we know the absurdity of doing so. The coming aliens ain’t superheroes; nor are they even close to being the saviors of the society that most of them, but moreover their offspring, will never assimilate into.
I love the Eben and Sarah analogy!
Would that we be more concerned about housing our homeless veterans.
That’s not hip and trendy. I’m gonna wish you into the cornfield!
How does Billy Mumy keep coming into these things?! Or zombies and cartoon characters?? The reality of hordes of unvetted Middle Eastern men rampaging through Europe and America as they have is bad enough. If only there WAS some cornfield in the Twilight Zone to place them in. As there isn’t- and as Saudi Arabia has more than enough prepared holding areas for all their Arab “brothers”- I suggest we merely set them ashore at Mecca.
Is the meme supposed to be that the Pilgrims were refugees too? How did that work out for the Natives?
Yes. That’s what the meme is supposed to be. It’s utterly asinine to reduce complex systems to snarky two part memes.
Remember George Carlin’s bit about symbols being for the symbol-minded?
“If the Indians had known about what the Spanish had already been doing to indigenous people, would they have been so welcoming?”
I don’t think that question can be asked with the term “Indians” as the subject. There wasn’t some national organization of “Indians”. There were several hundred distinct tribes and the tribes in contact with the Spanish just saw the Spanish as another tribe, just a tribe that seemed better organized and equipped. Same with the English settlers. Part of the complexity of the situation then that makes it completely unable to be analogized to the current situation.
“If Native Americans today could go back in time and decide all over again whether to allow the “refugees” to settle here, what would they decide?
I donno about that.
I’m part Native American and I’m very content with how things turned out.
I’m sure if pressed, no modern AMERICAN of Indian descent who has assimilated would want to give up A/C, Cable, and cars to have a non-utopian, bare subsistence life where around the next bend a cluster of Mescalero Apache may be waiting to pull their intestines out.
And to clarify, in addition:
I’m sure if pressed, no modern AMERICAN of Indian descent who has not fully assimilated would also not want to give up A/C, Cable, and cars to have a non-utopian, bare subsistence life where around the next bend a cluster of Mescalero Apache may be waiting to pull their intestines out.
(outside of a few wayward activists left over from the 60s)
But then again, they don’t really care about returning to some utopian native pre-white Eden…they turn out to just be communists when pressed.
When one considers the nature of the Aztec Empire- surely one of the most vile and insane regimes ever to pollute the earth with its presence- one can readily understand why the other native nations of Mexico allied themselves with the Spaniards against them, despite their sparseness of numbers. Likewise, a number of tribes allied themselves with the Massachusetts colonists against marauders of their own kind.
Which just reiterates the assertion that Indians merely viewed Europeans as just another tribe to contend with.