17A017 Menace, or Opportunity? by Jim Davies, 4/25/2017    


I refer to Muslim neighbors. There aren't too many, yet, in the US for there's an ocean to cross; the question burns more in Europe and is currently a key issue in the election of a French President. But it may burn here too, soon.

A large influx of migrants of a radically different culture is a serious problem for any society, no argument. In Europe and America, libertarians and others alike have been concerned to limit, stop or even reverse the flow of Muslim refugees for example, because it's too large for peaceful assimilation - and because it's reasonably expected that once Islam has a beach-head in those countries, the immigrant communities will impose their own laws on the natives; laws especially repugnant.

That's particularly hard for libertarians, for we believe in individual sovereignty and hence the right peacefully to live anywhere. Why should anyone be forced to stay one side or another of a line some government has drawn on a map?

Many libertarians have commented that our core principle involves a right to property, not a right to immigrate; and that's not incorrect. Humans have the inherent right of self-ownership, and hence of ownership of anything obtained by exchange for one's labor, including plots of land. Therefore, nobody has any right to occupy someone else's land. I agree. All must bargain for a place to live, offering goods or labor in exchange.

I'm not able, though, to agree with Prof. Hoppe's reasoning that in a country like the USA, the large tracts of land whose title is claimed by the government are truly owned by the taxpayers who were forced to provide the funds to buy and maintain them - and hence, that there is no un-owned or wilderness land here which incoming migrants might, once government has disappeared, occupy. It is news to me that the payment of tax entitles the payer to any rights whatever. Taxation is an act of absolute theft, a dead loss to the victim. Any benefits government may choose to bestow are unrelated to its payment; the two transactions are separate, neither of them is voluntary or contractual, both of them are non-market events. It follows therefore that Hoppe's argument against free immigration to a liberated society is mistaken, and that when government does evaporate, "its" land will be open to anyone, from anywhere, to "mix his labor" with it and claim it as his own. So, we have to take a fresh look at the problem.

Meanwhile, we have (like everyone else) to cope with the absurdity that Western governments are busy intervening militarily in Muslim homelands and so helping drive refugees out, while offering them tax-funded welfare if they reach the intervenors' homelands. This is a big stick and a big carrot, so the donkey's direction is highly predictable and those twin policies are perfectly stupid. Enormous damage has already been done, though fortunately there are signs of popular pressure to end the lunacy; here, in France, in the UK, in Germany and even in Sweden.

Here's the resolution I see: our new Muslim neighbors form an opportunity, not a menace.

First consider the religious aspect. The threatened societies are at least nominally Christian, and for over a thousand years, Muslims have been off-limits to Christian evangelists because of their draconian rules about apostasy and proselytization. It's hard enough to de-program any cultist, but especially hard if the subject has been born into a religion and massively indoctrinated in its tenets all his life, to the exclusion of reason and any alternative world-view; when evangelism and apostasy are also made capital offenses by government law, the task is virtually impossible.

Yet Christians are commanded to "Go... into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15) so those difficulties have to be overcome. And once a Muslim is in our country instead of a Muslim one, the worst of them vanish. For the first time in history, Christian evangelists have the chance to preach to Muslims without being deprived of their heads. What a fabulous opportunity!

Now, I'm an atheist and not a Christian; but it's very clear to me that, judged side by side and point by point, Christianity is enormously superior to Islam, considered just as a religion. If one believes there is a God who holds mankind to certain high standards of conduct, there is simply no comparison; Islam consists of a set of precepts (do these things, and hope) while Christianity consists of free forgiveness for failure, full and certain salvation for the asking. Its theology is magnificent, amounting to a divine intervention and sin-sacrifice, none of which appear in Islam. Mohammad simply didn't have a clue.

I'm therefore quite puzzled, to see hardly any news of systematic evangelization of Muslims in our midst - I found just a little, in Denmark, Canada and the US. There are about 300,000 churches in America, or one for every 1,000 in the population. How many regular members? - this source estimates that 18% attend them at weekends, or around 54 million people. That outnumbers the 6 million Muslims by nine times. Surely, those 54 million earnest Christians can see and take that opportunity when it stares them in the face?

I've even made a tentative contribution myself, outsider though I am; because I want these immigrants to become libertarians (see below) and reckon that task will be easier if they are already shifted from mindless adherence to their religious dogma. I wrote an e-book, Which Church (if any)? that outlines Christianity for any interested to learn.

Then secondly, consider the libertarian opportunity. Here the numbers are not to our advantage - the 6 million Muslims in the US outnumber libertarians - but, like the evangelists, we do have the priceless plus of proximity. Most have a fair grasp of English, none of us need try to learn how to read and pronounce all those Arabic squiggles. So where are the libertarian web sites appealing to Muslims? - Muslims for Liberty is doing good work, and I noticed a press release from LP headquarters telling them that libertarians are their friends, but otherwise not many.

Now, it's true that Islam is a kind of hybrid; traditionally religious terms and tenets about God and worship are intermixed with others concerning government; when Islam is well established somewhere it is in fact a theocracy, and it was always so since it began. There is little by way of a mosque-state dividing line. We recognize in any case that all government is a kind of religion (it's wholly irrational) and Islam muddles the two ideas together. Hence my thought that to interest them in Christianity first may perform the vital prerequisite of shaking loose their long-suppressed ability to reason. But whether it's done in two stages like that or in a single one, we have the chance of a lifetime to do it: to present the ideas of freedom to people who would otherwise never have understood or even heard them.

How is it to be done? - in my view, by one-on-one introduction to a freedom school. I know of know other way, for Muslims or anyone else. When this leads to a revulsion with government in America (to the degree that nobody will work for it, so causing its expiry) the resulting fast-rising prosperity will trigger a similar process in all other countries. Muslim ones will be last in line, because of the savage way their governments control minds, but by taking the opportunity to convert individual Muslims here, and now, that process will be speeded up; for almost every immigrant has friends and family back home, to whom he can freely tell the good news after he has learned it from us.

The take-away is obvious: carpe diem!

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