Tweets trying to avoid the implications of the Paris shootings
It was only in a series of Facebook interchanges with a FB friend on the topic of the Syrian refugees that I really understood for the first time how much liberals hate Western culture. I could not understand why he did not care about the potential damage to host countries. That same ‘friend’ is reposting tweets on FB. “If we don’t use reason in the face of evil and murder and horror, then what good is reason at all?” “Don’t allow this horrific act to allow you to be drawn into the loss of your humanity or tolerance. That is the intended outcome.” “Wanna shatter the Islamist extremist worldview? Show them we aren’t separate or different and don’t hate each and can be eternal friends.” “You know what pissed off Islamist extremists the most about Europe? It was watching their very humane, moral response to the refugee crisis.” “I pray that not all immigrants are lumped into a mass of hatred. Most of them flee this very same kind of terror, not cause it.”
The tweets desperately try to forestall drawing logical, rational conclusions about the wisdom of Muslim immigration to Europe from the Paris shootings.
Philosophers refer to something called “the self-sealing fallacy.” This fallacy occurs when a factual claim is made and a counter-example is provided refuting the original claim. The person making the factual claim then amends his original statement to make it immune to counter-examples by producing a tautology – a statement true by definition.
All children like ice cream.
But Judy is a child and she doesn’t like ice cream.
Judy isn’t a real child at all. Real children love ice cream.
The last statement makes it true by definition that children like ice cream. This forestalls refutation through counter-example. However, one has gone from making a factual claim about the world to producing a tautology that is not saying anything about the world anymore; it is merely an arbitrary and silly attempt to redefine a word for one’s own purposes.
Self-Sealing Fallacy and Muslim Immigration
My claim: welcoming millions of Syrian refugees into Europe is likely to cause problems. One of them is that within that population is likely to be individuals who see it as their mission to destroy Western culture. Another problem is that the refugees in their extremely large numbers are likely to significantly harm that culture in predictable and unpredictable ways. Cultural suicide is a bad idea for immigrants and the host culture. Among other things, in inviting a sizable immigrant population in with a culture incompatible with and hostile to the host culture, one risks creating the very conditions (violent and/or impoverished, “intolerance”) that the immigrant population is fleeing.
The following are quotations from an article published by Quartz supporting my position:
“The prospect of homegrown help in carrying out the attacks is why security experts warn that the kind of violence Paris saw last night will be difficult to stop. Courting followers in the West is one of the aims of ISIL’s formidable propaganda machine. And indeed, the group has had success attracting European recruits to their ranks, particularly from France. The return of these radicals back home after indoctrination in Syria is a nightmare scenario for the security services.”
“Estimates published in January by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence put the number of people from France who have gone to fight for ISIL and like-minded militant groups in Iraq and Syria at 1,200, out of around 4,000 from western Europe. (Another estimate published in June put the ranks of French fighters at 1,500.)”
“The best way to guard against the burgeoning threat of local terror cells is better intelligence at home and abroad…” [!!!]
“France has one of the largest Muslim populations in western Europe. Many disillusioned young men among them live in bleak outer-city estates near Paris with chronically high unemployment and little integration with mainstream French society. These people are prime targets for jihadist recruiters, as shown by the worryingly high flow of indoctrinated locals between France and ISIL strongholds.”
His claim: Jesus does not refer to cultural suicide. He didn’t object to Roman domination of Jerusalem. He promoted the golden rule. The FB friend says if he were a refugee in Europe, “I would like others to welcome me? Celebrate my existence? Treat me as a human being not as a threat?” …”What would it do to my head, being a refugee in a foreign country, scared, alone, fleeing war – and finding that people in my host country look at me as a dark invader, someone with plans to destroy them, or even who could destroy them without meaning to, just by merely existing?”
My claim: we are not talking about a single immigrant. We are talking about millions. A drop of water is harmless, a flood, potentially devastating.
His claim: “The notion of “cultural suicide” is not something I see anywhere in Jesus’ teaching. But I do see a lot of references to leaving one’s family, changing one’s heart and mind, being transformed, and being compassionate to widows, orphans, outcasts, foreigners, and the poor. And many references to embracing all cultures. Jesus’ strongest opposition seemed to come from the cultural conservatives of his nation – a nation whose religion was under siege by secular Rome, but the community Jesus built seemed to deliberately transcend all social and cultural divisions. And his followers, particularly Paul, celebrated that. ‘In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile…’ As Gentiles ourselves, ‘wild olives, grafted into the tree’, how can we claim some special primary religious status for ‘Western’ culture, being such a hybrid as it is?
It’s very hard for me to translate any part of the Gospels, frankly, into, ‘we must keep immigrants out of our country’.”
My claim: we regard cultural murder as wrong. People have a right to determine the manner in which they live. Cultural diversity makes the world a more interesting place. Moving in, taking over and effectively destroying another culture is a crime. Cultural suicide is self-murder. Thus it is wrong. The liberal immediately recognizes that harming Maori, Papua New Guinean, Amazon rain forest tribes is wrong and that the world is made poorer when these peoples disappear as peoples.
A belated understanding – the consequences of liberal self-hatred
This is when I had my belated epiphany and truly thoroughly understood the liberal dynamic for the first time. Our Christian heritage with its roots in Greece and Rome is what makes Western civilization distinctive and helped the emergence of modern science through its belief in truth as an important value and the notion that the universe is fundamentally intelligible. Even an atheist should not disavow the culture of which he is a product, especially a science-loving one. If one wants a reason to be proud of Western culture, one can look at the literary canon for examples. Dante’s Divine Comedy, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Shakespeare, nearly all Dostoevsky, some Tolstoy, etc. However, liberals have attacked this canon as supposedly sexist and immoral products of the patriarchy. Some think because the canon has been used in some cases as a kind of test to divide the educated from the uneducated it is oppressive. Hating one’s history and one’s culture is to wish that one had never been born. But this hatred only applies to Western culture. To reject all Chinese culture on the same grounds would be seen as ethnocentric and intolerant. As René Girard says, in the liberal view, all cultures should be nurtured and cherished except our own. Cultural self-hatred is one’s ticket of admission to liberal self-righteousness. Liberals want to destroy themselves in the name of morality. It is similar to students who think that to be truly moral and tolerant they should tolerate evil. The more evil they tolerate, the more they demonstrate their moral rectitude.
This hatred of Western culture and supposed love of every other cultures makes rational discussion difficult or impossible. Analogies between the harm caused by Western imperialism and modern Western immigration policies mean nothing to the liberal. We are evil and deserve every harm we may encounter. Only the Other is good and deserving of preservation, sympathy and tolerance. This perversity has become a major characteristic of Western culture. Self-hatred leads to self-annihilation.
My claim: many of the immigrants are likely to be hostile to multiculturalism, tolerance, the nonpunitive treatment of women and all the things the liberal espouses. You are hostile to those who oppose these things in your own culture. Why are you so friendly and welcoming to those hostile to your ideals from another culture?
Do I have evidence for this?
See his retweet: “The Paris terrorists didn’t hit tourist sites, but places that epitomize the city’s vibrant multicultural life.”
This is supposed to support his position somehow but in fact it supports mine.
My claim: the mass importation of immigrants is a bad idea. The Paris shootings support my claim.
His claim: He sees the shootings as evidence that we must continue to promote multiculturalism in Europe and mass immigration of Muslims to historically Christian European cultures. We must definitely not change our minds about the wisdom of this immigration. The shootings must not be taken as proof that mass immigration is a bad idea.
As far as I can tell, his claim that multiculturalism is a good idea and that accepting millions of Syrian refugees is a good thing is immune to counter-example. He regards it as a moral truth and as a tautology. It seems that the more atrocities occur, the more entrenched his position, judging from the retweets; the more we must support multiculturalism. It is important to remember, however, that tautologies are not statements of fact about the real world. They are just playing with words and matters of (re)definition. “All bachelors are unmarried men” is not a statement about the world. We did not discover this inductively; by doing a survey. It is true by definition.
A test as to whether something is a factual claim or not is whether one could postulate a hypothetical counter-example. In other words, one must be able to think of a purely counterfactual hypothetical state of affairs that would mean that one’s factual claim had been proved wrong. For instance, one would be wrong that Usain Bolt was the fastest sprinter on Earth if one found someone else who was faster.
If however one says that everyone is selfish (factual claim), one need only provide one counter-example of altruistic behavior to refute the factual claim. One can “save” the claim that everyone is selfish if one then says “even when people are acting altruistically, people are still getting some pleasure or other out of their actions so their actions are in fact self-serving” then one gets a tautology. To prove that the claim is instead a meaningful factual claim one must be able to describe a counterfactual scenario where an action would not be selfish, otherwise one is saying that all actions whatsoever are selfish by definition.
What is happening is that the word “selfish” is being redefined to include anything from which one may profit. But in fact the word “selfish” means an exclusive concern for one’s own welfare. One is allowed to benefit from being unselfish. If one is not allowed to benefit from being unselfish one is led to the contradiction that unselfish people are selfish.