At the weekend Donald Trump authorised a 90 day temporary ban on people entering the United States from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, and an indefinite ban on Syrian entry. This is similar to when Barack Obama imposed a 6 month entry ban on Iraqis in 2011, except that Obama received no vilification. The purpose of the current ban is to ensure security while the new administration reviews the vetting process for incoming refugees. Many observers argue that this isn’t reasonable justification. Others say the opposite. As it happens, America just held a free and fair election to determine who makes the decision.
As always among the anti-Trump wing the reaction has been a lot of shouting, no clarity, and a misrepresentation of the facts. It’s exhausting to witness, and a problem is that with Trump being so unpredictable there might actually, beneath the social justice rhetoric, be something worth objecting to. But when there’s so much deafening yelling going on, it becomes difficult to tune out the static and identify the important points.
A troubling part of the events which unfolded were reports that people who’ve already been vetted strictly enough to have green cards were among those detained at airports. This is unjust, unnecessary, and unlikely to win over skeptics who dislike Trump but are willing to give him a chance.
However, the official line is that the ban doesn’t apply to green card holders, and there’s provision in the Executive Order for cases to be dealt with on an individual basis as required. This is something that needs scrutinizing, along with the treatment of travellers with dual nationalities. In these regards, the White House has created an unacceptable amount of confusion.
Had those who oppose Trump calmly pointed out such problems, they’d receive greater support along more of the political spectrum. But instead, they went into full hysterical revolutionary mode, striking their most heroically indignant poses while feeding on and stoking emotion.
Misleadingly, protesters called the Executive Order a ‘Muslim ban’, which it evidently isn’t. How can it be, when over forty other Muslim-majority countries aren’t facing restrictions? And that includes countries which have larger Muslim populations than the ones in the order, such as India and Egypt.
Note also that the seven countries affected are those which were designated as being of special concern, without any media commotion, when liberal favourite Barack Obama’s administration was in charge. In fact, the Executive Order doesn’t even name the countries, it simply refers back to the legislation made during Obama’s time in office.
But none of that stops the kneejerk hyperbole erupting all over social and mainstream media. Tellingly, some of the people broadcasting their opposition to the order have expressed what looks like Islamophobia, while indicating, as is becoming the norm on the left, a propensity for violence.
Here’s Kumail Nanjiani on Twitter. He’s got a blue tick and 937’000 followers, so he must know what he’s talking abou… oh wait… he’s an actor. And a comedian, in the modern sense.
He’s saying that if ‘certain group’ is restricted from travelling to the US, then they will become terrorists. In Nanjiani’s opinion, ‘certain group’ is on the edge of committing brutal acts of indiscriminate violence. As well as placing Nanjiani in alliance with actual Islamophobes, this tweet also unwittingly makes a case for the travel ban. After all, if he were correct, and a significant number of the people being banned were on the brink of embracing Islamist terror, then you probably wouldn’t want to let them in the country.
Or how about Sunday Times writer India Knight? She got the ball rolling with a light-hearted, homicide-themed tweet. Subsequently deleted, it read “The assasination is taking such a long time.”
Having garnered attention but turned off anyone who isn’t so much into political murder, she then came out with this stunning piece of anti-Islamic stereotyping:
“He” refers to Trump, and according to outraged, trigger-happy Knight, Muslims are so thin skinned and eager to blow things up that they can be radicalized in their hundreds just by listening to the American president speak. In her world, followers of Islam might be liable to kill people whose politics they disagree with. And bizarrely, just like Nanjiani, she is implying this as part of her argument against Trump’s order.
Liberal progressives who like to throw around accusations of bigotry and racism are sometimes in possession of their own disguised prejudices. They mask them behind platitudes, while exchanging virtue signals with their co-saints. But as the above tweets show, you don’t have to look hard to see their true nature. It’s revealed not in expressions of hatred, but in conspicuous compassion, through patronising vast groups of people, by blurring individuals into demographic blocks, and through the simpering low expectations inherent in the fallacy of cultural relativism.
A concern now is that the mixture of virtue signalling, exaggeration, and ramped up outrage we’ve seen over the past couple of days sets the tone for the rest of Trump’s time in office, and distracts from the real details. Perhaps more than any previous president, he must be held scrupulously to account. But there’s only so much right-on fury that normal people can stomach, and placard wielding, angry marches are limited in both usefulness and wider appeal.
If the anti-Trump rage never subsides, and is accompanied by a constant undercurrent of physical menace, then it will quickly become little more than white noise, and would-be allies will start to melt away. Those who really want to make sure that Trump is kept under close scrutiny need to stick to the facts, cut out the radical posturing, and try to keep their emotions in check.