Our own view of the question is complicated. Certainly Islam and the American way of life are compatible inasmuch as America is capable of welcoming Muslims who are not Islamic supremacists. On the other hand, it’s always struck us that categorical statements to the effect that Islam is “a religion of peace” are far more hortatory than empirical—which is to say that there is a gap between Islam as it actually exists and Islam as President Bush or President Obama would like it to be. How wide that gap is, and how dangerous, we do not know.
Thus Trump’s proposal for a pause in Muslim immigration “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on” strikes this columnist as entirely reasonable. That’s not to say it’s necessarily a good idea. There are potential costs in American-Muslim relations both internationally and domestically, and humanitarian costs as well. There are practical questions about how it would be implemented. The religious-freedom argument, although legally empty, is not without moral force.
Instead of debating the proposal in a reasoned way, the political class—both parties—and many in the media are treating it as a thoughtcrime. Yet the PRRI poll suggests a large majority of Americans are thinking along similar lines. (Read more.)Share