The Elephant In The Living Room

Arnold Kling:

I believe that what we need going forward is a policy of disarming Muslims. I believe that we must keep devout Muslims away from weapons, and keep weapons away from devout Muslims. I can work with Muslims, send my children to school with Muslims, and be friends with Muslims. I do not have an issue with their religion, as long as they do not have weapons. However, the combination of weapons and Islam poses unacceptable danger to the rest of us.

Sean Lynch, in response:

Steps to solving the “Muslim question”:

1. Take away their weapons
2. Make them wear labels so we can distinguish them easily (to make sure they don’t get weapons again).
3. Move them all to ghettos
4. Round them all up and stick them in concentration camps.
5. …
6. Profit!

This doesn’t seem that large of a leap to me. If, as Kling opines, armed Muslims pose an “unacceptable danger”, then given the fact that “arms” are impossible to prohibit effectively, something fairly close to Hitler’s final solution is on the table.

The interesting thing, however, isn’t how evil Kling’s argument is but how loudly the implications of it were ignored by the libertarian readers of and contributors to Catallarchy. This is a theme I’ve seen before, most notably in debate with immigration restrictionists. In each case, the piece of public policy as presented requires certain obvious crimes against individuals. In each case, that fact is roundly, almost universally, ignored or evaded.

Does anyone have any guesses as to why?

12 thoughts on “The Elephant In The Living Room”

  1. They might have reacted differently if the plan had been proposed by Ann Coulter, as it might have been. The invincibly naive Kling gets a pass because they like him and don’t believe he’d advocate such a plan if he understood the implications.

    This is only a partial explanation.

    Reminds me of Borat:

    In my country there is problem
    And that problem is the Muslim
    They blow everybody up
    And they never ever stop

    Throw the muslim down the well
    So my country can be free
    You must grab him by his horns
    Then we have a big party

    If you see the muslim coming
    You must be careful of his teeth
    You must grab him by his bomb belt
    And I tell you what to do:

    Throw the muslim down the well
    So my country can be free
    You must grab him by his horns
    Then we have a big party

  2. We’re Nazis, of course. Not all of us—McIntosh is only a quarter Nazi, for instance, but the rest of us are pure Aryan.

    Aha, so you admit it.

  3. Mr. Kennedy (and Others),

    I’ve got a few questions concerning the Islam/terrorism issue and how we go about solving it from a libertarian perspective. I would assume that the position held by most libertarians, including the members of this site, is one similar to the boys over at LRC who insist that terrorism is a political response to a political problem, and that we could then therefore end terrorism of the Islamic variety in our country by withdrawing from the Middle East entirely and ending any of our foreign-policy escapades there. While I no longer maintain any skepticism about the ill-effects of our foreign policy decisions and have instead come to the position that we shouldn’t have a foreign policy anymore than we should have a government, I still hold some skepticism that the problem would completely fix itself just like that if we were to take such a course of action.

    After September 11th, I did a bit of academic soul-searching. It wasn’t my soul I searched (I’m not sure I have one), but rather the soul of the Islamic world. I wanted to understand what made them tick, what they were about and what motivated them. After September 11th (and every subsequent terrorist attack against the West) we were told that Islam is a “religion of peace” that had been “hijacked” (how fitting!) by crazed, violent radicals bent on destroying the West because they hate our freedoms (what freedoms? kidding) and our way of life. Is Islam a religion of peace? Is it even a religion?

    After much reading and studying, from primary (Qu’ran) and secondary (books by experts the PC world has never heard of) alike, I came to the following conclusions:
    1. Islam is not a religion of peace
    a. Islam has an inherently violent core ideology that seperates the world into Dar al-Harb (the Land of War, where we non-Muslim infidels live) and Dar al-Islam (the Land of Peace, where Muslims reside), the two lands being in constant conflict with one another and the Land of War is to be considered a full-time battlezone.
    b. Every true Muslim is taught to struggle (wage jihad) for Allah. The original meaning of the struggle was an outside struggle of Muslim against kaffir (non-Muslim), and only in the more recent centuries have any schools of Islamic jurisprudence called for an inner-struggle of faith, however the outside struggle has always been maintained as essential and remained in the teachings of every major Islamic school of thought.
    2. Islam is more like a cult than a religion (this interpretation of mine is a little biased because I tend to view most religions as cult-like, being a non-religiously minded individual myself).
    a. Like most cults (think Five Percent Nation and others), the leader of Islam, Muhammed, got most of his ideas about how to run a religion from the stories he heard about Christianity from merchants he traveled with in his younger, pre-prophetic years, along with native tribes of Jews and the various traditional pagan rituals of the traditionally pagan Arabs. Of course, he was ignorant and devoid of any formal theological training, so he messed up most of the stories and traditions he learned about.
    b. He was damned lazy, on top of it all (or perhaps very smart), choosing the Moon God, Allah, of the pagan Arabs as his numero uno monotheistic diety that he would from now on submit to.
    c. As “uswa hasana” (the model for all time), Muhammed is supposed to be a perfect man and everything he did was exemplary. Thus we get the Sunni (who follow the Sunnah, the way of the prophet) and the haditha (traditions of the prophet, in the forms of doings and sayings). These are the primary sources Muslims refer to when justifying their latest suicide-bombing, beheading of an infidel, stoning of an adultress, breaking of a young bred thief’s arm via running it over with a car, etc. Typical cult-like parroting of the god-like leader.
    d. Apostasy is a crime punishable by death. In Islam, one can not reject one’s faith in favor of a new one (or none) because Islam is the one true way, and to leave Islam is to royally piss off Allah (who owns you… I forgot to mention Islam means “peace” only in the sense of “through submission,” as you are Allah’s slave). You’re also, obviously, crazy. Several times in Muhammed’s life people tried to leave Islam and when he found out he told them they were crazy and forgave them for their temporary insanity and invited them back (always after first pointing out that if they didn’t return, choppy-chop) and that’s where we get today’s insistences by the Islamic community (re: the Christian convert in Afghanistan that we heard about on the news) that anyone who tries to convert is crazy.
    3. Overall, Islam is incongruous with freedom and free peoples.
    a. As I mentioned, you are a slave in Islam. You can not do anything that Muhammed and Allah have forbidden you to do, and you can not ever leave your faith.
    b. There is no respect of property rights and freedom in Islam.
    c. Islam considers it’s laws (shari’a) to be the only laws. All other laws and legal systems are invalid and a Muslim can never be judged outside Shari’a.
    d. Infidels living amongst Muslims in a Muslim majority society live solely at the discretion of the Muslims, through payment of the jizya (poll tax), through which they earn their dhimmi, or “protected,” status. They are protected by virtue of wearing clothes to distinguish themselves as non-Muslim, not constructing any new temples, churches, etc. and not loudly proclaiming their faith, always bowing to Muslims and giving them preference in everything, and as I mentioned, paying their tax. This is really what keeps them alive.

    Alright, a bit long-winded but that’s what I found out. So, I began wondering, “If we simply pull out, will the problem go away?” I feel like leaving is the obvious and logical thing to do (we never should’ve been over there or giving them our money in the first place), but I don’t feel like the Islamic community will suddenly have a friendly disposition towards the infidel communities. When we look at unrest amongst Muslim communities in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philipines (where there is no obvious American foreign policy to blame as culprit) we see continued violence and terrorism against non-Muslims. And when we consider the murder of Theo Van Gogh simply for making a movie critical of Islam, we begin to wonder what other offensive things the infidels might do short of an aggressive foreign policy that would earn them the enmity of their Muslim brothers (let’s not even get started on the Cartoon Controversy, though certainly foreign policy outrages had something to do with it, it was a bit more complicated than that).

    I do a lot of reading at and, but their proposed solutions (massive deportations and restrictions of immigration visas for people from Muslim countries) don’t seem consistent with libertarian principles, not to mention completely impractical, as Mr. Kennedy mentions (“just how many muslims there are”). That, and everyone there appears to be a bunch of leftist, statist neocons in self-denial.

    So, getting rid of them or stopping them from coming here is no solution for the fearful infidel. What is, though? How do we infidels ensure that we won’t be terrorized or bullied about by some bandy Muslims in our future state-filled or state-less society? If there is an entire community of people numbering some 1.3 billion strong world wide (and several millions in our own country) who adhere to a violent ideology that rejects and shuns anyone outside of it (Islam), how do we protect ourselves from it and make sure that we aren’t targets? How do we live alongside it in peace? This is something I have yet to find an answer for from the libertarian community, partly because most libertarians (ahem, LRC, ahem) are convinced that the problem is all political and changing our foreign policy will fix everything. I hope someone can give me some convincing insights… it sure would help when I am debating my skeptical friends about my ideal, stateless society and they pull the “well how do you end endemic fighting between ethnic/religious factions” question out of the hat.

    Oh, and by the way, that Borat reference was hilarious. I had to share that with friends.

  4. I don’t propose to solve the problem of terrorism, I propose only to manage my own affairs. Managaing the threat to me and mine from islamic terrorists is my problem, and not a particularly daunting one.

  5. Sologue,

    There is only one libertarian solution to whatever issue you might think of and that solution is private property. For example, you should be free to buy whatever antiterrorism measures you see necessary for your home and car. I find that door locks, a dog, a phone, and firearms as a last resort work nicely.

    Airlines should also be free to regulate their property i.e. their airplanes any old way they see fit. If they had this freedom on 9/11/01, I suspect that several thousand more people would be alive today. Sure, some might not take steps that you feel comfortable with, but under the present centrally planned approach, it’s possible that all of the airlines will not be secured to your satisfaction since they are all forced to follow essentially the same security policy. As an added bonus, the private property approach internalizes the costs of securing aircraft to those who use them, unlike our present system where a small and rather affluent minority have their security services subsidized at the expense of all taxpayers, many of whom never use air travel at all.

    These are two specific examples. For a more (perhaps too) general approach to the issue and the difficulties in the debate, click my name.

  6. Scott,

    It’s pretty obvious that you or anyone else could shut me up about )( that quick by simply showing how Kling’s argument doesn’t necessarily involve massive evil. I understand though that it’s much easier to duck the issue.

    To those In The Know: zero percent looks smaller every day.

  7. Thanks for the responses. Just to be clear, I consider myself a libertarian and I agree with the private property argument. I also agree that airlines should be in charge of their own security and if they had been 9/11 most likely never would have happened.

    I guess I just didn’t have the imagination to think of the problem being solved that easily. But at the same time, it seems immeadiate and nearby mostly because of the propagandizing of the state. If security were up to each person to provide for themselves, it probably wouldn’t be such a daunting problem.

    Thanks for the insights.

  8. As far as one’s personal chance of terrorist attack goes, staying away from New York City and Washington DC probably reduces your risk considerably. Of course, moving to Sacramento isn’t nearly as exciting as imagining that you’re influencing public policy.

  9. Sologue could you be more of an ignorant bigot, getting you info from the two most biased sources ( and against muslims. Its like getting info about african americans from stormfromt or It looks to me that not even libertarians are free from anti muslim hysteria.

    If you want info about Islam and muslims here are two websites to begin with and


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