Via Positive Liberty I came across this interview with Ron Paul on John Gibson’s radio show. It was nice to hear him explicitly repudiate Alex Jones and the 9/11 “Truthers”, but I was also interested when he said after the attacks he introduced a bill in the I.R committee that would restrict immigration from terrorist countries (after it passed the House the Bush Administration got rid of it).
I had proposed just that myself a while back, figuring it would be a lot simpler and more effective than all this Homeland Security boondoggle. Like John Stuart Mill I recognize the penalizing of people (those who wish to immigrate here) as a cost that we would be putting up with for the greater benefits with regard to terrorism. I admit I don’t know all that much about the role these specific immigrants play in American society, but it would seem to me the loss from that would be swamped by the benefits of scrapping all the nonsense that has ensued following the attacks (I don’t think we would have invaded Iraq or be discussing attacks on Iran if they had not happened). It’s not like terrorists are uniformly distributed across the globe, so that makes it a lot easier to target them. I think the idea of a “War on Terror” isn’t helpful because a lot of terrorist groups we aren’t really worried about, like the Tamil Tigers. I think just terrorists that attack America, which might even make Hezbollah kosher these days. Lawrence Auster advocates something he calls “separationism”, which initially sounded good to me until I read it involved Us going Over There to keep away from Them, which just seems like a means opposed to its ends. I can understand and be in favor of the invasion of Afghanistan to disrupt an organization (al-Qaeda) which had declared war on the United States and repeatedly attacked it, but Auster’s “separationism” is a long-term strategy toward the entire muslim world which he views as a threat as long as it exists. I don’t think our activities around the world are all that helpful and I don’t see the necessity of them if we don’t let terrorists into our country. Fortunately, unlike Britain, we do not have a homegrown terrorist problem, and I think we should be able to keep it that way.
I suppose one aspect in which I differ with Auster is that he wants to keep out Muslims just because they’re Muslims and he has a big buggaboo about “foot baths“. For me it’s simply about terrorism and the idiotic policies that result from it. I’d be willing to let in Muslims from countries that don’t tend to produce anti-American terrorists, though I’d also consider discriminating between immigrants on the basis of religion (Lebanese Marionites, Coptic Egyptians and Hindu or Sikh Indians would be much less likely to carry out attacks on us). After the latest Clash of Civilizations dies down I’d be willing to relax restrictions. We eventually got over our animosities with Germany, Japan, Russia, China, Vietnam and other places, so I expect after a generation or so jihadism won’t be a big deal.