Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Syrian Refugee Question

Let's start with an observation. Conservatives are afraid of their own shadows. They seem to have a psychological need to be afraid of something.

They're afraid of going to hell. A place for which there is zero evidence that it exists.

They're afraid of racial diversity.

They're afraid of gays marrying.

They were utterly terrified of Ebola.

They're afraid of immigrants.

They're afraid of Muslims.

And now they're apparently afraid of Syrian refugees including 5 year old orphans.

Look, you can come up with nightmare scenarios easily enough. The question becomes how realistic are those scenarios? Are your fears rational or irrational?

Life has risks. You can't eliminate every risk. You can mitigate them and you can take reasonable precautions but if you allow yourself to give in to irrational fears you'll paralyze yourself.

Some of the analogies have been utterly ridiculous. Mike Huckabee asked if 3% of the peanuts in a bag were poisonous would you let your children eat a peanut out of that bag?

The answer is obviously no but, and this is the big but, the odds presented by Huckabee are several orders of magnitude higher than the risk of a terrorist sneaking in with refugees and, while Huckabee's example results in a certain bad result, even if a terrorist got in it doesn't mean he's going to successfully cause a problem.

In other words while 3% poison peanuts is a rational fear, the fear of 5 year old Syrian orphans is just plain irrational.

I saw a video of a Republican politician whining about not knowing the vetting process. Well John Oliver on HBO appears to know what it is and gave a summary of it the other night. I'm not sure I could pass that process.

Tell you what. Why don't you "big," "brave" (*cough, cough) gun nuts go hide in the closet and shiver in terror. We'll protect you and tell you when it's safe to come out. That will probably be a week or two after the next election.

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