Posted by: N.S. Palmer | November 21, 2015

A Calm Look at Muslim Migration


By N.S. Palmer

A friend in Germany emailed me because he was troubled by two things: First, by the tidal wave of Muslim migration into his country; and second, by some of the hateful reactions it causes from Germans. He asked for my opinion. Here’s what I told him.

Extremists Are A Minority

In every population — Christians, Jews, Muslims, right-wingers, left-wingers, etc. — some people are inclined to fear and aggression. They are always a minority, though the size of the minority depends on the population and its culture.

Most people do not hold strong moral convictions either way, and they just want to get on with their lives. They go along with whatever regime is in power — not because they believe in it, but because they don’t want to get in trouble themselves.

I do not know of any sane person who wants to kill people, Muslims or otherwise, though such people do exist.

Islam: Violent or Not?

Whether Islam is violent or non-violent depends on whom you ask.

Just like Judaism, Christianity, and most other religions, Islam’s tradition is sufficiently complicated and ambiguous that people read their own moral ideas into it.

People who are violent and hateful think that Islam justifies violence and hatred. People who are non-violent and loving see it as a peaceful and benevolent religion. There are plenty of passages in the Qur’an and the Islamic Hadiths1 to justify either viewpoint.

The Jewish and Christian scriptures also contain violent and hateful passages. However, influenced by European political ideals, the rule of law, the Protestant Reformation, and the Enlightenment era, our faiths matured into more humanitarian creeds. Islam, based mostly in backward, barbaric countries, lacked that opportunity.2

It’s also relevant that historically, Arab cultures have used war and fighting almost as a form of entertainment. When not attacking us, they’re attacking each other.

Numbers Matter

Assume for a moment that all Muslims are the most delightful, peace-loving, educated people in the world, without a single criminal, terrorist, or layabout among them.

They are still Muslims, from Muslim countries, with their own histories, attitudes, cultures, and moral expectations. They are not Germans. They are not Americans. They are not Western.

If a few of them immigrate, that’s just fine. If hundreds of thousands or millions immigrate, then by sheer weight of numbers they overwhelm your country and your society — even if they have only the most peaceful intentions, which some of them don’t.

Magic Dirt Is A Myth

Does anyone really believe that transplanting Middle Eastern Muslims into European societies will automatically make them good citizens — neither a burden nor a danger to the locals?

Writer John Derbyshire calls it the “magic dirt theory:” Put Arabs or Africans on European soil and the magic dirt transforms them into Europeans. It’s worse than wishful thinking: It’s enormously harmful and destructive wishful thinking.

Even people who try their best to fit into a new culture know how difficult it is. Hostile migrants who don’t want to assimilate and aren’t required to assimilate will never do it. Instead, they will despise the society that was generous enough to accept them.

Most Migrants Are Not Refugees

And if a country’s government — I’m looking at you, Angela Merkel and Barack Hussein Obama — suicidally offers migrants welfare payments, free housing, and free medical care as soon as they crash the borders and get their feet on the “magic dirt,” then the country will be destroyed by the invasion that inevitably follows.

Germany with a mostly non-German population would not be Germany, any more than America with a mostly non-American population will be America. The main difference between Germany and the United States is that the United States is bigger, so it takes longer for people in power to destroy it by subsidizing immigration from barbaric areas.

Most of the so-called “refugees” are not refugees. Instead, they are either economic migrants or outright invaders bent on destroying what they see as evil non-Islamic societies. Even the Obama administration admits that it interviews prospective Muslim immigrants in Jordan and Turkey, where they are in no danger from the war in Syria.

An obvious question presents itself: Why don’t they stay in Jordan and Turkey? If the U.S. government wants to help them, it can contribute to their support (at American taxpayers’ expense) where they already are.

We don’t need to bring them to America unless Jordan and Turkey simply refuse to take them. In that case, we may justifiably ask, “Why won’t you take them? Is there something we should know?”

Islam Does Sometimes Get Unfair Blame

As any informed person will concede, Islam is not monolithic. There are many peace-loving, enlightened, Westernized Muslims. Some practices for which Islam is criticized, such as female genital mutilation, are part of the societies in which Islam developed and are not dictated by Islam itself.

That said, Republican firebrand Ann Coulter made a good point: Most Muslims aren’t terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims. And you can’t always tell the difference until they kill people.

Large Muslim populations give terrorists a way to infiltrate Western societies and to disappear easily after committing their crimes. It makes sense for Western countries to discourage immigration from Muslim countries. The main responsibility of Western governments is to their own citizens, not to the rest of the world. We should help others if we can, but we have no duty to commit national suicide in the process.

“A country is a like body of men …”

Much of the late 20th and early 21st century has consisted of Western elites rejecting human wisdom that has been proven over millennia in societies around the world.

In the 19th century, British writer Walter Bagehot summarized some of that wisdom:

“A nation means a like body of men, because of that likeness capable of acting together, and because of that likeness inclined to obey similar rules … ‘”3

If you invite vast numbers of unlike people into your country, you are inviting trouble. British poet and social critic Matthew Arnold found the cause in human nature:

“The British Constitution, its checks, and its prime virtues, are for Englishmen. We may extend them to others out of love and kindness; but we find no real divine law written on our hearts constraining us so to extend them.”4

Works Cited

Arnold, M. (2001), Culture and Anarchy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Bagehot, W. (2010), Physics and Politics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.


  1. In Islam, hadiths are rulings about Islamic law. The collected hadiths are roughly equivalent in function to the Jewish Talmud. 
  2. In the early Middle Ages (“late antiquity”), some Islamic countries were highly civilized, more so than Europe. Since then, civilization has progressed in Europe and regressed in many Islamic countries. 
  3. Bagehot, W. (2010 ), p. 10. 
  4. Arnold, M. (2001), p. 79. 

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