How very odd that, for the second time in the public arena, Hillary Clinton has immediately jumped to the conclusion that Muslims will react to criticism with acts of violence and terrorism. Note that this is the same reasoning she used when initially (and incorrectly) blaming the Benghazi attacks on a Youtube video – that criticizing or marginalizing Islam in any way will necessarily result in increased recruitment of Muslims into terrorist organizations, and will incite said organizations to carry out more attacks. It’s worth noting that Hillary was not alone in following this line of reasoning – several other GOP candidates echoed similar thoughts at the most recent debate, suggesting that “security experts” have claimed that Trump’s proposals “make America less safe” (but unlike Hillary, they left it at that and refused to outline just how or why it would do so).
Yet somehow, despite using this determinist sort of logic, she is portrayed as the enlightened one, while Trump is an evil racist for suggesting that Muslim immigration be temporarily halted. But let’s outline the logic of Trump’s plan as opposed to Hillary’s. As far as I can tell, Trump’s logic is as follows:
- The majority of terrorist attacks are carried out by Muslims.
- Currently, we do not have the ability to adequately determine which Muslims are likely to become terrorists and which are not.
- Until that ability is acquired, prudence dictates we should not allow any additional Muslims into the country.
Now you can dispute any one of those three points if you’d like, but IF each of those three points are correct, then Trump’s logic is sound and is not racist in any way. He is fully acknowledging that many Muslims are not terrorists, and puts the blame mainly on inadequate screening processes.
On the other hand, Hillary’s logic seems to be missing a step:
- Trump has made statements that are offensive to Muslims.
- Muslims are now more likely to join violent organizations, and those within violent organizations are more likely to carry out attacks.
But what could it be that fits in there to #2? Why, nothing more than a bigoted assumption that some relevant percentage of Muslims react to criticism with violence. While that might seem like a reasonable assumption (depending on how you define the “relevant percentage”), it seems odd that Hillary (and the rest of the left) do not apply this same standard to any other group they dislike and/or consider dangerous.
Let’s leave Hillary behind for a moment and go back to Point #1 in Trump’s logic – that the majority of attacks are committed by Muslims. There happen to be many on the left who dispute this point. In fact, here is one of many articles on Salon suggesting that the “real” danger in America is white, male, extremists. The author states “This is why we must begin to understand whiteness as a kind of violent fundamentalism…” This sort of opinion is not rare among the far left – it is repeated on a daily basis at Salon and other such websites.
And yet, nobody, on the left or on the right, criticizes Salon for saying things like this. Somehow, the logic that Hillary invoked above in regards to Muslims – that saying unkind things about them will necessarily lead to more violence, is never applied to the supposedly more dangerous “right-wing extremists.” I challenge any reader to link me to a single piece of writing that strongly criticizes anyone who has insulted white males under the logic that it will cause additional violence from said white males. It may be out there somewhere, but I’ve never seen it. As dangerous as Salon says right-wingers are, they don’t seem to actually believe it. Where is the fear that articles on Salon about “white fundamentalism” will be used as recruitment material for the KKK? Where are the security experts insisting that criticism of pro-lifers “makes us less safe?”
Salon and the radical left can rant and rave all they want about how Muslims are kind and peace-loving and how social conservatives are the real threat – but their behavior indicates a completely opposite position. To conservative white males, they admit a certain degree of agency, rationality, and moral culpability. They don’t seem to believe that white males will inevitably respond to criticism with increased violence (or if they do believe it, they don’t believe the effect is significant enough to dissuade them from engaging in such criticism). But this agency, rationality, and culpability is not granted to brown people living in the middle east. They are treated as mindless drones, who react to certain stimuli with a degree of inevitability – and as such, it is our responsibility to not provide the stimuli, rather than to expect them to behave like civilized and enlightened individuals.
Which gets me back to my headline. In regards to how they treat Muslims, Hillary is a bigger racist than Trump and it’s not even close. Trump’s plan deals with an operational problem – we can’t tell the terrorists from the non-terrorists, therefore it’s better to error on the side of caution. You can dispute this if you’d like, but the logic itself is not inherently racist. Hillary, the left, and the neo-cons, present the problem as one of religious and/or racial determinism – echoing the sentiments of 19th century slaveowners. They insist that given X, Muslims will do Y, but fail to apply that same reasoning to any other group, even groups they seemingly dislike just as much (if not more). This is textbook bigotry, and should be called out as such.
I do not fear that Trump’s statements or policy proposals will make us less safe – because I view Muslims the same way I view everyone else: as rational, intelligent, moral human beings who choose to be violent or non-violent for a wide variety of factors. I believe that acts of violence and terror should be denounced – regardless of where they exist or what color people are committing them. I apply this standard equally to radical jihadists, neo-nazis, and black lives matter protestors. Can Hillary Clinton and Salon say the same?