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Jul 04 2014

The American Refugee Crisis: It’s Time for the Godless to Speak Up

Tens of thousands of refugee children are massing across the U.S. border. And we’re responding like the biggest assholes on the planet. It’s time to do something about it. At a minimum that means spreading the word, and speaking out. Getting more people to know that this is even happening (because the U.S. media is useless) is the first step toward effecting change. Writing your senators and congressmen (state and federal) is the second step. Tell them human decency and compassion and any sense of justice requires more, and that you approve adequate funding for a humane response to the refugee crisis, and are willing as a taxpayer to forfeit a couple bucks a year for it if need be.

If you want to cut to the chase, and just get started helping spread this message, read Hutchinson’s summary and petition. And sign that. And write all your legislators. But if you need some catching up first…

Here is a quick primer on what’s going on:

  • Tens of thousands of refugees, most of them children, are massing across the U.S. border and are overwhelming the scant federal resources Republicans have stingily allowed to be spent.
  • They are fleeing the effective equivalent of war: gang and cartel violence and oppression in nations like Honduras has reached levels unparalleled almost anywhere on earth in peacetime, with governments collapsing into near total dysfunction. Even certain provinces of Mexico are so lawless and plagued with violence that citizen militias have armed themselves and taken over, fighting back, as the Mexican government has lost all effective control (though even the militias are turning to crime–as militias tend to do…sorry, second amendment fans, this is the history that repeats itself). In Honduras, much of the country is controlled by drug gangs terrorizing the populace, the state authorities driven out or in their pocket. Similar crises are consuming Guatemala and El Salvador.
  • The facilities available to house and care for these refugees, predominately in Texas, are already far beyond capacity and approaching significantly inhumane conditions. So as many as possible are being transported to refugee centers in other states, like California.
  • Several buses carrying over a hundred of these Central American refugees, mostly women and children, to one such facility in Murieta, California were forced to turn around by an angry mob of hundreds of flag-waving racists…or in other words, the residents of the town of Murieta. Including the mayor.

I’m not kidding. That is actually happening. In the United States. In 2014; not 1814. Here is a full account, with photos. Hundreds of Americans (we can be certain they are almost entirely god-fearing Christians) actually angrily and violently protesting humane treatment for refugee children. Seriously. Photo of a woman holding a sign protesting humane treatment of refugee children. Described in the text.I’m most amused by one picture of a protestor carrying a sign that reads: “The WHITE HOUSE called: OBAMA & MICHELE [sic] are WAITING for you there…they love children!” followed by a little heart. Apparently lost on that woman is the fact that she basically just said she doesn’t love children. And proved it not just with words. She physically prevented them from receiving humane shelter. And was fully aware that that’s what she was doing. Despicable. This embarrasses me as an American.

I believe most atheists have values. Unlike the Christians (from the citizens of Murieta to pretty much the entire Republican party) who are almost literally spitting in the faces of tens of thousands of refugee children fleeing dysfunctional war-torn nations. Certainly, an atheist can’t claim to be any better than raving Christian nationalists, if they literally do no better. But I’m sure we can do better, and will. Please join me in signing a statement declaring our awareness of the crisis and our call for more humane action & policy on the matter from our federal and state governments, and the American people.

Our own Sikivu Hutchinson has led the charge and composed a succinct statement I think all humane atheists can endorse: Atheist/Humanist Statement Condemning US Border Crisis & Nativist Attacks on Undocumented Immigrants.

Let’s shame the Christians of this country by demonstrating not only that atheists are more just and compassionate than them, but that there are also enough of us to be a voice to be reckoned with and heard. Let’s show the world that we aren’t the amoral horribles Christians keep claiming we are, but that we actually care about things. Human beings in particular. And it’s high time Christians started caring about human beings, too.

At an absolute minimum, we should be doing all we can to help and care for these refugees. We shouldn’t be forming angry mobs denying them reasonable access to food and shelter and medical care (and justice: the opportunity to apply for resident refugee status, or humane return to their families). We should be opening our shelters to them and donating food and clothes and legal representation. And if citizens can’t do that themselves, our government is obligated to. But to do this, the Office of Refugee Resettlement needs its budget increased substantially–probably by an order of magnitude, at least until the crisis is over. And maybe, I don’t know, perhaps our government should be doing something to help end the crisis, by actually helping our neighbor nations in any way they ask. That also requires money. And giving a damn.

But the first order of business is funding adequate shelter, care, treatment, protection from abuse, and access to legal due process.

To catch up further on the facts of what is going on and why it has only recently ramped up to a crisis, there are two really good summaries both of which I highly recommend you read, by the LA Times and Vox.

Hutchinson also mentions the humanity of the DACA program, and I concur, it is a sensible and just immigration policy that exhibits a sense of compassion for the plight of suffering children and gives them access to justice, but DACA doesn’t apply to these refugees. Nor has existing refugee policy been written for this case, which was evidently quite unanticipated by Congress (we grasp religious persecution, but rampant, murderous violence from de facto societal collapse is apparently not on people’s cognitive radar as a thing). So far Obama has asked for more money to handle the crisis, but primarily more authority to deport all these kids. That’s hardly the most compassionate option, but so far Congress won’t even act on that request, and it’s moot given that it will take months or years to do that, and in the meantime these kids (and they are mostly kids) need to be treated decently and cared for. Even schooled (think about it; imagine tens of thousands of kids stuck in refugee prison camps for a year, and not even taught anything while there, just twiddling their thumbs in overcrowded, underfunded, abusive prison conditions).

If I were president, I’d put out a national call for American families to adopt or sponsor or donate shelter or food or other aid to as many of these kids as possible, explaining their plight, and then shame every church and equivalent (religious and nonreligious) that didn’t likewise promote the same request to its congregants. But I imagine that’s beyond the boundaries of reality for Obama. Like I said, what he is asking for instead is greater deportation authority–to just make the problem go away. Granted, that is financially the cheapest solution, and the GOP loves saving money at human expense. But that still doesn’t solve the immediate problem. More compassionate would be asking for more funding to scale up the Refugee Resettlement system (Obama has asked for two billion; Congress ought to deliver at least one), combined with oversight to ensure it is executed humanely (as reports are, so far, it hasn’t been).

The (sad) irony is that this is the kind of crisis other nations deal with all the time. But the U.S. has been insulated from it for the most part. The Haitian refugee crisis is the only thing comparable, and that is barely a distant memory for most people now (being almost 25 years ago). Clinton’s response to that could give some guidance (even more so since the Haitian earthquake fifteen years later): our policy may have to include actually intervening in the problem countries to help solve the causes of the crisis in the first place. But that requires Congress to care about people who aren’t white, and entangles us in foreign affairs and possibly military intervention (if that’s what the struggling nations ask for). And we won’t get any oil out of it, so Congress probably wouldn’t give a shit. But that leaves us with tens of thousands of refugees.

What is most shocking, though, is how you might not have even heard that any of this is going on.

Welcome to the uselessness of American media.

31 comments

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  1. 1
    hexidecima

    I agree that these refugees need to be taken care of. But I’ve heard many many stories on American media, from network to NPR about this story. I think people do constantly hear about it; they may not care.

    in the US, we can’t/won’t take care of citizens, much less folks fleeing to our borders. We have our usual suspects claiming their religion commands care and love and then does their best to insist that no one deserves gov’t aid like Medicaid, food stamps, cash assistance, housing, etc.

    I can sign a statement and sent letters to legislators. I’ve done that for years and have seen so very little come of it. There needs to be a better way. Are there any organizations doing anything concrete?

    that verminous woman in the photo is as much guilty as the coyotes who are preying on the parents and children from these dying societies. She is spreading the same lies and what’s worse, she is saying it’s not her problem that she is lying.

    1. 1.1
      Richard Carrier

      Fair enough. Of course, if a majority of the population listened to NPR, we might not be here. But the only stories I’ve seen in the most widely viewed media are about the Perry-Obama political posturing (and that barely at all, next to local fluff pieces and hours and hours of talking heads winging about things like the rhetoric pro and con Hillary Clinton’s possible presidential run), not the actual scale, cause, or nature of the crisis. One has to actually look for media coverage of it intentionally (and thus already know it exists), or immerse oneself in a large quantity of media (so as to run across it), which most people don’t do.

      But I concur with your other points as well…

      Are there any organizations doing anything concrete?

      If there are, I haven’t heard. But I’d welcome it being mentioned here, from anyone who knows.

      But as citizens, our first responsibility is to ensure the public, and our legislators, know where we stand. Otherwise, they will assume where we stand. And their assumptions won’t necessarily align with reality (in fact, they rarely will).

      If there were an organization well enough funded to do anything significant about it, it would be running our country. Instead, we are stuck with only one organization well enough funded to do anything significant about it: our government. If we cannot move it to act, then nothing else will work either. So we should apply all possible pressure to move it to act.

      Although I would also add that there is value even in speaking out when nothing will happen: let it not be said that we didn’t even try. Because if we don’t, that then becomes the government’s excuse.

      Then we vote.

  2. 2
    Enopoletus Harding

    Why not deport them to more stable Latin American countries, such as Costa Rica? The fear is that those kids arriving to the U.S. now could become participants in “gang and cartel violence” in the United States instead of in their home countries.

    1. 2.1
      Richard Carrier

      Those nations are already receiving the bulk of refugees. So they have the same problem we do. (Costa Rica is thus facing the same crisis we are.)

      It’s just that a certain percentage of refugees make it all the way to the US. Arguably driven by the belief that we have better laws and resources than most small nations like Costa Rica, but also by the fact that Costa Rica is already running out of room and means to accommodate them, and it’s easier to melt into and find opportunity in a gigantic country like ours.

    2. 2.2
      Geoff

      It’s interesting that somehow you think Costa Rica has some kind of responsibility for the refugees that the U.S. does not. Costa Rica (I guess because it is a “Latin” country) has no more responsibility that we do for non-citizens.

  3. 3
    EnlightenmentLiberal

    Ending the drug war in the US, and advocating for its end in other countries, might also be a good start. People who use drugs are not “real criminals”, but when you criminalize something which isn’t a “real crime”, you still create real criminals, like the drug cartels.

    1. 3.1
      Richard Carrier

      That’s not entirely correct. I sympathize with the sentiment, esp. regarding the marijuana trade (which should be no different than the liquor trade), and we do have some illogical policies on even the other drugs.

      But cocaine (the relevant drug here) is like oxycodone: it has to be regulated like all toxic substances. It should be regulated in the same way (e.g. doctors should be allowed to prescribe it, whenever there is a legit medical reason–legislators should not be acting like they know medicine), but you still will have an illegal trade in it, just as you do in oxycodone (Rush Limbaugh, anyone?). Cocaine is simply too easy to grow in Central and South America. So there will always be a trade in it that bypasses sensible regulation (if they could “grow” oxycodone, the same would occur).

      The only real way to end the cocaine-funded drug cartel problem is to get people to stop using cocaine. And that starts with shaming them into realizing the horrors they are inflicting on millions of men, women, and children in these countries. Otherwise, there isn’t really any legitimate way to supply cocaine to non-prescription users, without being complicit in the destruction of human life.

      Framing cocaine use as a personal failure I think bypasses the empathy centers of human brains, individuals think they have a handle on their own lives (even when they are wildly wrong) and thus don’t see cocaine use as a personal failure. Such an argument thus looks illegitimate. But the argument that buying cocaine is funding the infliction of horrors on millions of innocent people is not an easy argument to dodge. It will haunt anyone constantly confronted by it. Apart from sociopaths, of course, but they aren’t numerous enough to keep cartels in business.

    2. 3.2
      EnlightenmentLiberal

      I’m sorry. I’m a little confused. Are you arguing that buying cocaine funds cartel related violence? Or are you arguing that using cocaine is a demonstrably bad way to happiness, and because of empathy, it is our duty to use legal force against those that use cocaine, completely independent of cartel related violence? Both?

      I generally have a knee-jerk reaction against anything which violates J S Mill’s Harm Principle, and so I have a knee jerk reaction against someone who says that we should use violence to prevent informed adults from using cocaine, and we should do so solely because of their own personal well-being.

      I agree that buying cocaine directly supports the drug cartels, and that is a legitimate harm under the Harm Principle which we can have a discussion about. (My preferred solution is to make it legal, and thereby destroy the drug cartels by removing their profit source and motivation.)

      Now, if we decide to ditch the Harm Principle here and be paternalistic, I think I still have problems.

      Let me get this out of the way: It is fallacious to simply argue that because there will always be murders, it is useless to prevent murders. However, a similar argument is not fallacious. For example, if a proposed plan to stop a few more murders could be shown to have such an exorbitantly high marginal cost which greatly outweighed the marginal benefit, then obviously it’s a bad plan. Example: Removing fourth amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizures.

      So, even if I accept that we should ditch the Harm Principle, be paternalistic, and use violence under the color of law to tell someone how they should live their life (an unlikely proposition), my understanding of the facts is that the attempt at criminalizing use of cocaine has completely and miserably failed at its goals, just like alcohol prohibition, and it’s created a massive amount of new violent crime and violent criminals, just like alcohol prohibition. Cocaine is available in every major city. IIRC, it’s cheaper than alcohol, and drug dealers don’t check ID to check if people are underage. Further, rather than helping those which the plan purports to help, it seems that we do much greater harm to the poor people addicted to cocaine.

      It does seem futile to try and restrict the availability of cocaine to prevent new additions. However, if we were serious about helping people with cocaine addictions, we should take radically different steps. Perhaps something like the following. Legalize possession and use for adults only – possibly requiring a signed waiver. Take the stupendous amounts of money going down the current rate hole and instead spend it on public awareness campaigns, education, and rehab. It would certainly cost less money. It would remove the market for cartels, which would then simply die off with their revenue source gone, and thus drastically improve the quality of life where this crop is grown. We would actually help people who are addicted to cocaine. Part of this program could involve a public shaming campaign against those who promote the use of cocaine and those who grow and sell cocaine.

    3. Richard Carrier

      Are you arguing that buying cocaine funds cartel related violence? Or are you arguing that using cocaine is a demonstrably bad way to happiness, and because of empathy, it is our duty to use legal force against those that use cocaine, completely independent of cartel related violence? Both?

      Both, although that’s somewhat of a false dilemma–it is not necessary to criminalize users to criminalize cocaine; nor does criminalizing use have to entail prison.

      These are the same reasons “it is our duty to use legal force against” those who drive significantly faster than posted speed limits (also not entailing prison–if no one else is harmed) or enforce helmet and seat belt laws (as without them we incur significant costs to society, just as cocaine use does, in terms of emergency room visits and other costs to society dealing with the abuser).

      If there were no costs to society, only to the end-user, then there would be no reason to criminalize the user, although there might still be reasons to criminalize the supplier (as in that case the one causing harm, like a drug company selling poisonous drugs to the public, or a sky diving company that observed no safety protocols).

      But this is not the case for drugs, which produce societal costs, and are not just the user’s own lookout. This is why we regulate all dangerous poisons and pharmaceuticals, and thus fight to regulate companies that cause widespread harm by bypassing the FDA to distribute harmful drugs, or good drugs to patients they will do great harm to.

      …if a proposed plan to stop a few more murders could be shown to have such an exorbitantly high marginal cost which greatly outweighed the marginal benefit, then obviously it’s a bad plan…

      I quite concur. One reason that prison time for drug users makes no sense. There are smarter penalties that do less harm, and actually have demonstrated better effects on recidivism. Drug suppliers might be a different question, depending on the harm they are causing.

      But I also don’t think the “it’s cheap, so we can’t criminalize it” is a wise thought. 3D printers are already near capable of printing any drug imaginable. Do you really think a society whose members, even kids, can cheaply print up any drug it wants without medical advice, is going to turn out well? There comes a point when you have to put experts and safety regulations between people and the dangerous things they want to do. We might not like the paternalism of it, but the alternative is a horror movie. Or pretty much any third world country you can think of.

      It does seem futile to try and restrict the availability of cocaine to prevent new additions. However, if we were serious about helping people with cocaine addictions, we should take radically different steps. Perhaps something like the following. Legalize possession and use for adults only – possibly requiring a signed waiver. Take the stupendous amounts of money going down the current rate hole and instead spend it on public awareness campaigns, education, and rehab. It would certainly cost less money.

      I concur. And other nations are already doing this. It’s the same thing we do with other pharmaceuticals. There isn’t any reason to treat cocaine differently than oxycodone or ritalin or sniffing glue.

      It would remove the market for cartels…

      That’s not necessarily true. As long as cocaine is cheap to make, there will always be profit in selling it under the price levels entailed by a legit system. But it’s pretty certain the cartel profits in that case would be dismal by comparison to the present–essentially, the same as any other honest business facing real competition. So the effect would be to greatly disarm the illegal industry–the huge floods of money will be gone, and they’ll actually have to start acting like smart businesses who can’t afford violent turf wars, as being fatal to the bottom line.

      Part of this program could involve a public shaming campaign against those who promote the use of cocaine and those who grow and sell cocaine.

      I agree, but the latter requires providing alternatives. The main reason growing occurs is that it’s in impoverished nations who don’t have or aren’t even allowed to profit on other cash crops (e.g. U.S. import tariffs protecting American agrocorporations are among the main causes of international poverty, since they destroy the profitability of third world cash-cropping by locking out the US market to unprivileged suppliers: as the WTO reports, “Unfair First World barriers have cost developing countries US$700 billion a year in lost export earnings—some 14 times the amount that poor countries receive in aid”). Yeah. And we’re surprised illegal coca farming is a thing?

    4. 3.3
      EnlightenmentLiberal

      Thanks for your time.

      I agree with most of what you say, and you reminded me about the problem of alternatives and US trade policy contributing to the problem.

      However, about this:

      But I also don’t think the “it’s cheap, so we can’t criminalize it” is a wise thought. 3D printers are already near capable of printing any drug imaginable. Do you really think a society whose members, even kids, can cheaply print up any drug it wants without medical advice, is going to turn out well? There comes a point when you have to put experts and safety regulations between people and the dangerous things they want to do. We might not like the paternalism of it, but the alternative is a horror movie. Or pretty much any third world country you can think of.

      Really? Got citations? I am impressed by the current level of technology. I missed the memo there.

      However, I’m not quite as … “terrified” … as you are by the possibility that maybe some people will create illegal drugs for personal consumption.

      On the other hand, I would be quite terrified of Star Trek style replicators. Seems the first thing that would happen is someone replicates a nuclear bomb, and we all die. If 3d printers could be similarly dangerous to others, such as by creating highly dangerous chemicals or biologicals, then we would need to heavily regulate that technology and prevent widespread deployment. Woe is the day when someone can create a Star Trek replicator with readily available parts.

    5. Richard Carrier

      3D Printing Drugs. We can expect the tech to be in households within ten years.

      “Drugs,” of course, includes such things as nerve agents (e.g. ricin), cyanide, and at least ten other nightmarish things.

      You don’t need to replicate a nuke or a germ to be able to manufacture nightmares.

      BTW, 3D printers can already print DNA. Manufacturing designer viruses and bacteria from a household desktop is maybe twenty years away (if we’re lucky; a lot sooner if we’re not). Nukes require rare radioactive elements, so 3D printers won’t be building those anytime soon. It’s far easier to just, you know, build one. The only thing stopping anyone is access to sufficient quantity of the right isotope. All the other tech you can buy online through RadioShack. Element printers, i.e. machines that can manufacture atomic elements and isotopes from other elements, are certainly a very long way off (and would probably require energies too great to ever be a desktop or household apparatus).

    6. 3.4
      EnlightenmentLiberal

      Yeah. You win. I’ve always wondered if / when we reach the day when we have to start actively suppressing certain “household” technologies to prevent a single dude from kicking off armageddon / large scale death. This definitely sounds like we’re close if not already there.

    7. Richard Carrier

      Close. It’s within my expected lifetime anyway.

  4. 4
    Enopoletus Harding

    Mr. Carrier, from your link above:

    Of the 3,705 applications from Central America’s Northern Tier in 2012, the majority were sent to the United States (65%), followed by Canada (17%), Costa Rica (6%) and Mexico (5%).

    Doesn’t this mean we’re receiving the bulk of the refugees?

    1. 4.1
      Richard Carrier

      Legal applications for visas aren’t even at issue here–there are some 50,000 refugee children who entered the US this year without even applying for a visa (that’s just the count of children, a majority of them unaccompanied). You are looking at less than 4000 cases, and those are of people who didn’t enter illegally but applied legally for refugee status, in which actual due process has proceeded. That hasn’t even happened for the other 50,000 who have entered illegally, nor is it likely to at present funding, since we don’t even have the court personnel to process even a sizable fraction of that. Accordingly, they are going to be stuck here, in the equivalent of prison camps, for years. Unless we adequately fund the system processing claims.

      Those legal applications you are referring to are not reflective of the illegal refugee migration. But the issue anyway is per capita, i.e. refugees overwhelmed Costa Rica’s capacity very quickly; they actually can’t take any more. That is why these kids keep walking all the way to the U.S. Thus, shipping them to Costa Rica is not a solution. The inability of countries like Costa Rica to absorb more refugees is actually what is causing the problem at our border.

  5. 5
    Tinyal

    I am in California, about 60 miles away – and other than 1 small LA times article, no one here knows anything about it – certainly no one at the 2200 person campus I work at is saying or doing anything.

    Oh, I take that back – my boss and the damm republican club (student club) is calling for the Marines to haul them all back.

    Sick Sick Sick!!!

    I don’t know what I can do – I have an extra 1bdrm/1bath house with no one in it I’d offer, if I knew who to offer it to – but that won’t make a dent. That city (and mine) are full of republican thugs and fox viewers (the coasts of CA are rather liberal, but here – in the interior of CA – there are millions of useless conservative, rush-listening, ‘the UN is out to take our guns’ idiots. It’s a plague on humanity, and I’m surrounded :(

    I’m too sad to write more just yet :(

    1. 5.1
      Richard Carrier

      I can vouch for the impression that California is only a blue state west of the mountains, the tiny sliver that hugs the coast. Everything east (most of the state by acreage) is red. Of course, most Californians live in the sliver. That’s the only reason we vote–mostly–blue.

  6. 6
    oldoligarch

    What is it with you Lefties? No sense of special obligation to your own? Who is your own,you ask? See: Kin Selection.

    “I have sought to prove … that the code of enmity is a necessary part of the machinery of evolution. He who feels generous towards his enemy, and more especially if he feels forgiveness towards him, has in reality abandoned the code of enmity and so has given up his place in the turmoil of evolutionary competition. Hence the benign feeling of perfect peace that descends on him.”
    -Sir Arthur Keith, A New Theory of Human Evolution, (London: Watts & Co., 1948), 82.(courtesy Wikipedia)

    1. 6.1
      Richard Carrier

      Did you just pull a crazy uncle?

      Or is this an obscure sarcasm?

  7. 7
    oldoligarch

    I am serious as I can be Mr. Carrier. The idea that we have a moral responsibility to every member of our species is in itself questionable,after all nothing in either human history or the ethology of any social species indicates this as a norm.Competition and conflict are as much a part of the behavioral repertoire of social animals as is altruism and reciprocity. Group vs.group.Tribe vs tribe.

    Do you believe you would receive as warm a welcome if the situation were reversed and you were fleeing to Latin America?

    The contemporary West under the ‘Progressives” has embarked upon a path of ethnic/racial/national and cultural suicide.Europe in particular has to import that most basic of resources -HUMAN BEINGS! just to maintain their Liberal Welfare States.In other words Western ‘Progressive’ societies are parasitical upon the more traditional societies of Africa,Asia and Latin America.

    The traditional values of such societies and the traditional values of the West are superior, in a Darwinian sense,to those of ‘Progressives’,after all ‘traditions’ become traditions because they work.

    The ‘Progressive’ phase of Western civilization is I suspect it’s final phase.

    At least the West of 2114 will be as conservative as the West of 1914 or maybe 1814.That’s something, I guess.

    1. 7.1
      Richard Carrier

      All demographic data confirm the exact opposite trend. Conservatism has been in steady, and recently even steeper decline per capita.

      So I can only assume you are living in a bubble of anti-reality.

      Also, Central and South America has a unified and humane policy and system in place for handling refugees. It was established by the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees signed in 1984. Its report card in 2014 looks embarrassingly good considering how poor those countries are (they have a shared budget for refugee management of around 90 million dollars). Yet we have vastly more money than they do, and even spend more on this issue (1.5 billion on refugee management so far), yet are doing less well at it. Costa Rica alone (just that one single super tiny country) has given residency to 20,569 refugees. The entire population of that country is less than 5 million. That’s half the population of our single county of Los Angeles. And yes, Costa Rica gives its refugees legal residency (here and here and here). BTW, Costa Rica’s GNP is 60 billion dollars. They have national health care. And their poverty rate is the same as Mississippi, that infamous bastion of progressive politics.

      So, your anti-reality bubble must be keeping you from access to, like, you know, facts.

    2. 7.2
      oldoligarch

      So you’re saying that Secular Humanism/Liberal Socialism (i.e. ‘Progressivism”) is growing faster than say, Islam( A ‘traditional’ worldview with more conservative values)? What data supports this conclusion?

      Do the refugees to these Central and South American countries differ culturally or racially from the natives?Are they changing the fundamental character of these countries,as is the case with immigrants to Western societies?

    3. Richard Carrier

      What data supports this conclusion?

      All data. Like, all of it. Just go and try to find any data to the contrary.

      Even international Islam has been trending toward secularization and liberalization–that’s why the conservatives are getting more violent and extreme: they are losing; Fareed Zakaria has written quite a lot about this, for instance.

      Do the refugees to these Central and South American countries differ culturally or racially from the natives?

      What would that have to do with anything?

      (Maybe you think the U.S. population has always consisted of a “native white population” since the dawn of time…rather than, in actual fact, consisted almost entirely of widely diverse refugee and immigrant cultural and racial groups since there were “states” here. Because the latter is the reality. And it’s worked out pretty darned well for us so far.)

  8. 8
    Steve Watson

    Military intervention? Your country has a long history of doing that well, especially in the Western Hemisphere. Not.
    If there are no US organisations doing anything, stand up those you (pl.) are a part of or have any influence with. Petitions and such are all well and good, but the American citizen should be rolling her/his sleeves up and making the American Idea mean something again. I will put up $1,000 to any such practical and concrete effort.

  9. 9
    oldoligarch

    R.C.All data. Like, all of it. Just go and try to find any data to the contrary.

    Military intervention in Algeria and Egypt has been necessary to protect secular regimes from Islamist who won popular elections .If secularism/liberalism had majority support this would not be necessary.

    R.C.What would that have to do with anything?

    You were praising Central and South American countries for their “humane” treatment of refugees (at least on paper) in contrast to your obvious contempt for the protesters in the United States.But it is far easier to accept/assimilate refugees and immigrants who are similar ethnically/racially/culturally to the dominant population of the host society than those who are different ,alien.
    Given humans are a social and territorial mammalian species this is not surprising.Racial and cultural cues are indicative of relatedness.Most of the refugees/immigrants to these countries are Hispano-Indian and similar to the dominant population in this respect as well as in language and religion.This is not so in the U.S.A.
    Multiculturalism is not a new permanent socio-political reality destined to be permanent but rather a transitional period to a new cultural and political reality.
    The U.S. is attempting to combine three social characteristics I don’t know have ever been successfully combined: Racial/cultural pluralism+democracy+strongly centralized state.

    1. 9.1
      Richard Carrier

      You do know that “Islamist regimes” are minorities, right? That’s why they have to be armed regimes. You don’t need to hold the public off with guns, if the public is on your side.

      Egypt is a case in point: the Brotherhood is shrinking (the rise of seculars and liberals there is scaring them), and that’s why they threw the constitution out the window as soon as they got a man elected. And then the people rose up. And a war machine was deployed to silence them. Then the secular military waged a coup. And the Egyptian public endorsed the coup. Until it, too, got out of hand. But even then the public wants the democracy they fought for in the first place. They do not want a Caliphate.

      That’s all because the conservatives are declining in numbers and power. A few more decades and they’ll be done for.

      As for your xenophobic fear of alien cultures and your bizarre pseudoscientific understanding of anthropology and sociology, no comment needed. Take a chill pill and actually learn some shit about other people for a change. Trust me. The Spanish aren’t coming to get you.

      Oh, BTW, Quebec (English and French bilingual state); the United Kingdom (Welsh, Gaelic, and English multilingual state); Spain (the Basque and Catalonian separatist movements have faded and integration has been steadily on track); even Belgium (only 15% favor separatism; otherwise, multilingual, and even the capital of the European Union). And yet we are not looking at anything even remotely like these states. Here immigrants reliably learn English within two generations and integrate with American cultural values. In fact, in terms of cultural and political values, Southerners differ from Notherners significantly more than Caucasians do from Hispanics.

  10. 10
    oldoligarch

    You seem to believe the younger generation in Islamic countries will be more liberal and secular, but as far as I can tell the men in the extremist groups we see on the news are young and wiling to fight for their views. Where are the armies of secularist?Why don’t we see young men flocking to the standard of a secular regime?In the Spanish Civil War an international brigade of leftist fought for the Republic,why aren’t we seeing these extremist groups face a secular army? Are there simply not enough secularist?Are does Secular Humanism just not inspire self-sacrifice?

    As far other cultures,I think there is something of beauty in every culture, to include Euro-American, and thus worthy of preservation. So I’m not xenophobic.

    The countries you listed as examples of successful multicultural democracies have not only faced separatist movements but devolution , a transfer of political power from the center.Something I expect we will see in the U.S.A.., as I believe the three social characteristics I mentioned above cannot be successfully combined.
    In multicultural societies the central gov’t. must avoid even the appearance of favoritism,a not always easy task.

    1. 10.1
      Richard Carrier

      Where are the armies of secularists?

      You mean all the actual armies?

      Um, dude, the combined forces of NATO, NORAD, the UN, the British Commonwealth, the African Union, the Pan-American Union, South Korea and Japan vastly outnumber the small renegade militias you are talking about (ISIS: 10,000; the US alone: 145,000,000).

      And I didn’t even include Egypt, which has the largest secular military in the Middle East, or the secular armies of India, Turkey, and Israel.

      Why don’t we see young men flocking to the standard of a secular regime?

      You mean like the vast crowds of hundreds of thousands protesting in favor of secularism in Turkey and Egypt? Or the nearly hundred million Americans who vote Democrat? Or…well, you know, nearly every voting person in the first world? Or the entire Egyptian Army (= secular). Or the Turkish or Israeli or Indian armies (= secular). Etc.

      Dude, get out of your bubble and live in reality with the rest of us. For all its problems, it’s a lot less scary out here than inside your private Willy Wonka Factory Gone Wrong.

      as I believe the three social characteristics I mentioned above cannot be successfully combined.

      That sounds like you have a religion there.

      I mean, you believe it. You don’t have any evidence of it. But gosh golly, you believe it.

  11. 11
    Tarkington

    A true moral deficit in Washington. Now haven’t we heard enough to already. There are only greedy assholes running our country with no ethics. I’ve no faith in Obama anymore…what a jerk.

  12. 12
    Tarkington

    A true moral deficit in Washington. Now haven’t we heard enough to already. There are only greedy assholes running our country with no ethics. I’ve no faith in Obama anymore…what a jerk. But I guess when he said he was good a killing people with drones, the coverups, NSA, and going after whistleblowers and cozying up to wallstreet, we kind of already knew it already. What a sham of a presidency. There are much better men who would have been a much better job. Jesse Jackson would never have let this happen for one.

    1. 12.1
      Richard Carrier

      There are even better women, I dare say. Gasp!

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