Natalist Bullshit, Redux

In an ideal world, people would read all of my posts and not make any stupid remark I’ve refuted. In the real world, Christian fundamentalists are divided into two groups: those who think the world will end because Muslims are outbreeding them, and those who think they’re going to win because they’re outbreeding atheists.

James Pinkerton belongs to the latter group, whose arguments are even more irrational than the former group’s.

[Link] So Christmas has survived yet another year.

Yes, there has been a war on Christmas, fought by a few lefty lawyers who managed to buffalo some multiculturalist bureaucrats and politicians. But it’s been a losing war:

First, and most obviously, there’s the steadfast religiosity of the American people; polls routinely show that 90 percent of Americans believe in God. Secular progressives have done their best to knock the faith out of people, but it doesn’t seem to be working.

Part of the problem is that those who are most inclined to accept “modernity” are oftentimes the least inclined to have children. So “converts” to atheism have a way of disappearing without heirs, while those who stick with their faith, including the injunction to go forth and multiply, are more likely to have kids who inherit at least some degree of devotion.

As I keep saying, if that were true, then we’d all be poor, since the poor have been outbreeding the rich in the developed world since the 19th century. That rich people exist and that the economy keeps growing should hint that people like Pinkerton have no idea what they’re talking about. Not that I expect rationality from people who believe the War on Christmas is real, but it’s still annoying.

The article gets worse. Pinkerton then says that part of Christianity’s success is due to fear of Islam. That’s partly true: the increase in religious displays in the US in the last five years has been partly caused by the idea that this generation’s struggle is between Christianity and Islam. A similar increase happened in the 1950s, when everyone in the US concurred that there was a struggle between Christianity and atheism. But Pinkerton can’t help fanning the flames of bigotry himself:

Do you want more Muslims moving to America? Do you look forward to more Muslims in Congress – you know, with access to classified national security information, including counter-terrorism plans? If the answer is “no,” then it’s likely that you are moving closer to Goode’s immigration position – and that, in addition, the sturdy observance of Christmas looks like a better and better bulwark.

Actually, I do want more Muslims moving to America. It will serve a number of political purposes. First, it will enrage the religious right; when radicals are angry, they engage in policies that are especially counterproductive. Second, since Muslim immigrants will likely settle in areas where nobody cares for Pat Robertson, they’ll likely integrate fairly quickly, providing a second example of a country where Muslim immigrants aren’t ghettoized the way they are in Europe.

Presumably, Pinkerton thinks everyone is as bigoted as he is, hating foreigners while giving a pass to local fascists. While a large number of people are indeed like that, most of them will never say so explicitly; his making it about hating Muslims will help the right-wing cause to the same extent as Trent Lott’s comments about Strom Thurmond.

(Via UTI)

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4 Responses to Natalist Bullshit, Redux

  1. [...] James Pinkerton’s bigotry is again on display, and Alon Levy catches him engaging in some natalist tomfoolery as well. [...]

  2. Steve says:

    I agree with the spirit of your post, but I have to comment on something. I have one particular problem with many of the Muslim immigrants I know. They suffer from the same insanity as fundamentalist Christians, on the whole. It doesn’t matter how ‘moderate’ they seem (from my sample of about fifteen high-tech workers, educated and competent in their specific discipline of the computer industry and apparently integrated into American society) or how ignorant they seem to be of Islam/Middle East history. Unanimously they told me that it’s not an ‘invasion’ when Muslim forces invade a country, because they are spreading the Light of Allah. Unanimously they told me that making fun of Muhammed should be made criminal; they offer, by way of reason, the fact that they don’t make fun of Jesus. I said that they deny the Christian claim that Jesus was deity incarnate, and asked them how they would feel if I said I didn’t think Muhammed was a prophet. I was told, quite condescendingly, that the difference was inherent in the fact that they were Right(tm), and the Christians were Wrong(tm). Ten of them believe Jews flew the planes into the WTC to cause the US to attack Islam. The other five believe that “Bush did it”. Every one of them says that Israel should be destroyed. In other words, the only thing that makes them ‘moderate’ is that they, personally, aren’t willing to go do anything about their beliefs (like kill jews, for instance). Admittedly, this cannot represent all Muslims, but I’m having real problems finding counter examples.

    I can find Christians that don’t believe that the US should be run by the Church (pick one). Quite a few, in fact. But I can’t find a single Muslim that will say that he or she truly believes that the government should not be Muslim in nature. To be fair, there are eight Muslim women (that I can tell – there might be more) in the location where I work, but they refuse – every one of them – to discuss such things. Being an ex-christian Taoist, (In the Lao Tsu mold, not the Chinese Ancestor worshipping form), I find such single minded obsession disturbing.

    I support free speech, but I’m not sure I think that direct threats should be considered free speech. I’m also not sure that I think immigrants that are not yet American citizens necessarily have the same protections as a citizen. I’m still wrestling with the whole idea of whether I think it’s reasonable to offer the right of immigration to someone who believes that the government of the country he’s moving to should be overthrown violently. I’m interested in your view, either way.

  3. Alon Levy says:

    Well, the Muslims I know are anything but that. The people I know on 3quarksdaily are liberal, by both Islamic and Western standards; I know Abbas is a bit more pro-Palestinian than me, but he doesn’t advocate the destruction of Israel or anything like that, and within Palestine his position would be considerably left of center (where “left” is defined in foreign policy terms, i.e. dovish rather than hawkish).

    Interestingly, in general the main problem in Europe isn’t with immigrants, but with their children. One of my wage gap posts has a link to statistics about Britain, which include both race and gender gap data; they show that second-generation immigrants have even higher unemployment levels than first-generation one. This also correlates with the fact that first-generation Muslim immigrants to at least Britain often came fleeing religious fundamentalism, only to see their children embrace it.

  4. Axel says:

    Alon, Islam and the (European) integration of Muslims are topics where I partly disagree with you, but religious fundamentalists like Pinkerton always spoil the party. “Christianity is more than a religion of peace; it includes also a doctrine of self-defense. And sometimes, that’s a fighting faith.” What is he talking about — “Left Behind: Eternal Forces”? I quake with fear.

    So I just want to concentrate on one aspect only: Contrary to the popular impression in the US that the French Muslims are worse integrated than Muslims in “multicultural” UK and that the idea of a French citizenship has failed, it’s Britain who actually has much more problems with Islamic terrorism and its Muslim citizens than France. And that despite the fact that British Muslims have done better economically than their coreligionists elsewhere in Europe.

    Look at the Pew Research Homepage. There’s a striking poll about Muslims in Europe. One result ist that 81 percent of British Muslims said they were Muslim first and British second. And then look at France, where only 46 percent of French Muslims say that they are Muslim first and French second.

    http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=254

    Stéphanie Giry has written a worth reading article, titled “France and Its Muslims”, published in Foreign Affairs, September/October 2006. She points out that the integration of Muslims into French society has proceeded fairly well, that most Muslims in France have adopted French cultural norms and that they enthusiastically endorse republican values, including the French aggressive official secularism. Actual problems are problems of cynical politicians and the clumsy elite. It is mainly the economic stagnation that has turned existing problems into burdens like the suburban riots.

    And, according to her, that’s the secret of (relative) success: The laïcité encourages assimilation and discourages ethnic or religious identification and Islam. A consequent secularization which insists on assimilation creates a strong barrier against the rising tide of group-identity politics that characterizes political Islam. Unfortunately, the expert report for the German government written by one of my former profs is only available in German. He came to similar conclusions and explained en detail how diverse relevant social mechanisms work, why a naive “multiculturalist” approach won’t get better integration results at all and why experiences from the US as a gigantic country built on immigration are hardly transferable.

    You will find confirming empirical results in a new book authored by Jonathan Laurence and Justin Vaísse. The title is “Integrating Islam: Political and Religious Challenges in Contemporary France”. According to their study, the great majority of the Muslims in France want to be integrated and demand not separateness — multiculturalism — but to be treated as equals. The greatest obstacles to integration, the authors argue, are unemployment and the ghettoized big housing developments in suburban areas.

    And for a general assessment of political Islam I highly commend the SPIEGEL interview with French Professor Gilles Kepel “An Ideological Bulwark against the West” http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,454062,00.html

    A personal note: Don’t waste your bare time with abstruse books about Europe like Mark Steyn’s “America Alone. The End of the World as We Know It” or Claire Berlinski’s “Menace in Europe: Why the Continent’s Crisis Is America’s, Too”. Berlinski’s articles dealing with Germany and the group “Rammstein” are nothing but ludicrous. Oh, girl…

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