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The Expansionist
Monday, December 07, 2015
I Hate to Agree with Trump, But ...
I really, really hate having to agree with Donald Trump about anything, but as the common observation goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Donald Trump is right in suggesting, today, that we refuse admission to the United States of ALL Moslems* for the foreseeable future, that is, until we can establish procedures (including polygraf testing or other measures to find people's true intentions) by which we can be entirely certain that we are not admitting terrorists.
Some ignorant or insincere people have suggested that the Bill of Rights forbids discrimination as regards immigration, business travel, tourist visas, etc. Such people either do not understand the Constitution or willfully distort it. Let us look at the exact wording of the relevant provisions of the Constitution, the Preamble and the First Amendment. Here is the meaningful language from the Preamble.
We the People of the United States ... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
What this Means. The Constitution governs only the territory of the United States, not the world. Perhaps the entire world should be governed by the U.S. Constitution, and it is the stance of the organization of which this blog is a project, the Expansionist Party of the United States, that all of planet Earth should be united under the Constitution, but in fact the U.S. Constitution has NO application outside the borders of the United States, and NOTHING in the Constitution applies to people who are not WITHIN the United States already. There is NO right of anyone OUTSIDE the United States to assert any of the rights or protections of the U.S. Constitution. No one has the RIGHT to enter the United States without our permission, and the laws duly passed under the Constitution do not require us to be neutral as regards ANY aspect of would-be immigrants or visitors, not religion, not race, not disability, not language, not criminal record, not health status — not ANYTHING. Every part of the Constitution must, therefore, be read in lite of that limitation: that it applies only to the government (not even private organizations) WITHIN the territory of the United States.
Keeping that in mind, read on, to the text of the First Amendment, the first provision in the Bill of Rights.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Congress can legislate only for the United States, and only within areas of Federal jurisdiction. Immigration is one such area of Federal jurisdiction, and within that area, the Federal Government is sovereign and supreme. No state can defy nor invade Federal authority in immigration. (Thus, for instance, no state can refuse to permit refugees duly admitted by the Federal Government to one part of the Nation, to move to their state.)
No individual outside the United States has any right to pass the borders of the United States without Federal permission. And that permission can be restricted on any basis the Federal Government may decide. We do not, for instance, permit to enter this country an indigent cripple who is likely to become a public charge. We can refuse permission to a person with a criminal record, or membership in the Communist Party, or a history of advocating violent anarchism, or "moral turpitude", or — the most appropriate comparison — a grave, communicable disease. Homosexuals and lesbians were for many years forbidden to enter the United States. All these and other restrictions on immigration and even tourism are or were perfectly constitutional.
There is thus absolutely no constitutional issue involved in forbidding Moslems — or Satanists, blacks, Orientals, Communists, neo-Nazis, people with ebola or smallpox or bubonic plague, or any other group of any kind whatsoever — from passing thru the borders of the United States. People outside the borders of the United States have NO RIGHTS vis-a-vis the United States nor protections under the U.S. Constitution.
If Congress should decide that the lives of Americans would be in danger if we permit anyone, of any affiliation, to enter the United States, even for a visit, that is the end of it. There is no transnational entity authorized to overrule the U.S. Government and inflict upon the United States, people we don't want here. Period.
We now need to consider the WISDOM of forbidding Moslems entry to the United States. The legality is clear: it is ENTIRELY LEGAL to ban anyone — or everyone, if we should decide that all immigration is subversive of the economic and other interests of Americans, so we will END immigration entirely, and permit NO ONE to move here from abroad. The issue then becomes whether the greater good of the greater number OF AMERICANS is better served by permitting or refusing admission of Moslems.
In this deliberation, we need to draw a comparison to the concept of QUARANTINE. We need to isolate ourselves from sources of terroristic violence as much as we would from biological infections. Just as an entire household, (presently) healthy and unhealthy family members without distinction, can be confined to a residence in which a dangerous infection is present, so too can we assume, defensively, that a dangerous political or religious ideology is present in a group — of any size — of outsiders.
I do not believe for an instant that it is essential to the interests of the United States to admit Moslems. We should treat Moslems as we would people from an area with an active biological plague, such as ebola. It is better to assume an infection than to allow anyone in, of whom we cannot be certain they are NOT infected. An ounce of prevention is indeed better than a pound of cure.
* I refuse the term "Muslim" for a couple of reasons. First, no one knows for sure how to say it. Is it múz.lim or móoz.lim or múez.lim or múes.lim or mues.léem — or what? (The phonetic pronunciation key here abides by the rules at my Fanetik website.) Everybody knows how to pronounce "Moslem": móz.lam.
Second, the mere fact that there is no O in the Arabic alphabet has no relevance to how words should be spelled or said in English, a language entirely separate and apart from Arabic, with which it has no significant relationship. There may be over 900 loanwords (some obscure) from Arabic in English, but the two languages are from different language families, from different parts of the Old World, and do not have any significant overlap in sound system, etymology, nor alphabets. Nor can we even speak of consistent treatment of O vs. U in words or names from Arabic, given that the name of the most famous Arab of recent times was styled in English as Osama bin Laden, not Usama bin Laden.

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