Following a school’s hysterical overreaction to a Muslim boy’s homemade clock, #IStandWithAhmed is now all the rage. The distressing story of a talented and beleaguered student being detained by cops for the simple crime of being Muslim and brown has galvanized the nation’s liberal talking heads; it has likewise laid bare the tired tactics of leftist activists.
Let me just say that I consider Middle America’s Muslim obsession rather moronic, and I likewise think that Ahmed Mohamed was treated unfairly. However, it’s utterly ridiculous the way the left has been lionizing Ahmed; it’s even more nauseating that they’ve used this misunderstanding as an opportunity to depict white Americans as people seething with intolerance and hatred. The fact that Ahmed and his family have managed to enjoy a prosperous life in the US – with this incident being their worst ordeal – indicates that Muslims are welcomed and tolerated to a degree that most visible minorities around the world aren’t. I won’t even bother linking to an article about anti-Muslim violence in India.
What the case of Ahmed does highlight is the manner in which leftists employ anecdotal evidence to strengthen their talking points. While they have a natural aversion to empiricism, they’re always happy to shove the latest tragedy in our faces in order to browbeat people into reflexively embracing their agenda. One only has to observe the way they’ve exploited the tragic death of Aylan Kurdi in order to shame Europeans for not welcoming further influxes of Syrian refugees.
But just like the various creatures in Animal Farm, some sob stories and anecdotes are more equal than others. Whenever leftists want to promote open borders, they either tout the benefits of immigration by highlighting certain high-achieving immigrants – implying that the West may lose out on the next Thomas Edison – or they harrow us with sad tales about separated families and dead children (and we must always think of the children).
However, not all immigrants are tragic victims of white hostility and neglect; some in fact are the architects of myriad tragedies. Whether it’s Pakistani sex grooming gangs in Britain, terrorists such as the Tsarnaevs, or various high-profile murders committed by illegal immigrants in the US, one could just as easily condemn open borders by positing that unfettered immigration will result in more deaths of women like Kate Steinle – or the next major bombing.
As for me, I refrain from using anecdotes to critique open borders precisely because I wish to avoid this trap. I don’t attack mass immigration because of a single tragic murder committed by an illegal immigrant; I deride open borders because it’s a profoundly idiotic position. I endorse immigration restriction because I wish to see the white West survive for at least a few more generations. I abhor internationalism and its lack of respect for sovereignty.
However, at the same time, I recognize that for most people on both sides, immigration has less to do with facts and more to do with the emotions it engenders. If the left wishes to continue generating kneejerk reactions through distressing stories about children being separated from their families, then the right can counter with infuriating tales about pretty young white womens’ lives being cut short by illegal immigrants – illegal immigrants who were previously indulged by “sanctuary cities.”
(I’m not trying to white knight, but let’s face it: for practical purposes, the deaths of pretty young women will garner a lot more attention and outrage)
Two can play this game.