Bear with me, I’m serious. That’s literally what we should do.
I’m really torn after the latest shooting in Florida.
The terrorist attacks of the ’00 decade were attacks on “The West”. One could quite convincingly argue that they were the spillover of tensions the rest of the world was suffering much more gravely than us -and of which our governments were, often, much less than innocent. It made some sense at least to say that if the world had changed to a more just order, the problem would be solved, and so that was the path to be taken.
But in latest years, in rapid succession, we have had attacks explicitly targeted on youth, women, gays. Categories which have enough problems already at home -and by no stretch of imagination are to blame for overthrowing governments or arming militias in the Middle East. This is just hate for the sake of hate, with no shades of gray. It truly is horrifying.
And with the father maybe even thinking it’s helping to remarking that the shooter was “shocked by a homo kiss” -it really makes you wonder if, religion or just ‘culture’, we’re not really taking in more violent backwardness than we can handle. For all of their venom, none of our homegrown homophobes has ever come this far.
And yet, can we really close the borders? Should we take vengeance for the actions of a few, on millions?
I could repeat that most muslims won’t shoot you, no more than any fellow westerner. And even more abstractly, that individual responsibility is a moral pillar of the very freedom we are defending.
I will instead put forth a different individual case: I recently met online a young girl of islamic family, grown up in Italy, who thinks her family’s asphyxiating close mindedness is silly just as much as I do; and is waiting to be financially independent to come out of the closet as atheist. Stories like hers are likely to be far, far more common than terrorists. And if we had rejected her family, where would she be? Most likely confined in some hut at the edge of Sahara, property of a man, at the full mercy of the moral judgment of a rural imam. Probably already a mother, whether she wanted it or not. Can we say we want this -for her and thousands like her?
The Internet, of course, has been swift and merciless in calling the dilemma.
But the answer really is: there is no contradiction. There is a better solution.
Extremists don’t hate us segregating muslims, leaving them helpless at our borders, invading their countries. They love it -it’s what allows them to thrive, and recruit soldiers against us.
They’ve made it clear what they hate. Freedom. Culture. Women. Emancipation. Secularism. Sex-positivity. Choice. Inclusion.
We should give it to them. In huuuge doses.
Remember that proposals for progressive education in schools on sex ed, tolerance and inclusion that the right has been forever opposing? It’s time to ramp up the effort. And make those a prominent, compulsory part of the curriculum, since young age.
Now: what if an extremist slips through the cracks, and gets to live among us?
If he or she does not reproduce, the problem is temporary (in that all of us are). But, most religious extremists will place high value in having several children.
Well, if they do, we will make sure those children are exposed to full western values; with no shyness or holding back for respect of middle age remains passing for culture.
Expose them to real, question-it-all science, for starters. To other religions; and to how arrogant it is to think that the one we are born into holds all the answers. We will hammer it home that women are every inch as deserving of consideration as men (however dressed, in particular); and that every minority, culture or life choice is to be fully respected, no matter how different from our own “normal” or “right”. And last but not least -we will make damn sure they know how to use a preservative.
This should vaccinate the vulnerable youth against intolerance. And, this should absolutely horrify truly extremist communities. What’s most important: it will repel the right people, for the right reasons.
Some will say we are forcing our culture. Yeah, we are. Are you afraid of being exposed to it? Then you must realize, this isn’t the place for you.
Some, surely, will call out islamophobia. It’s necessary to be unyielding. In this case, they would be lying: we would really really be speaking of their westphobia. The one that leads to cold, dead bodies on a dance floor. We want nothing of it.
If they refuse to send their children to compulsory school, they would be committing a felony; and we would have every right to take away their children to social assistance, and put them safely behind bars.
Most probably, many of our true haters would find that some country more agreeing with their belief is not, after all, that bad; and relocate there. Everyone happy. We’ve not left them to die in a boat or a war zone; we’ve given them an opportunity, as our deepest values compel us to. They’ve freely refused, proving by themselves that they deep regressive belief make them (-specifically them personally; not a race or religion) unfit for integration, and possibly dangerous.
Now, if they die of war, famine, illness -we have at least some ground to say: better them than us.
It would effectively be an intelligent cultural wall of progress. Permeable to the right people; unyielding to the wrong ones.
But wait: what if even some of our fellow, blood-pure citizens find the new education intolerable?
Well, I’d say
That’s the point of this policy. It doesn’t target millions of people based on the fact that some might be intolerant. It doesn’t target people at all. It targets intolerance itself, from wherever it comes. Only affecting people who actively associate with it, whatever their skin or passport.
Maybe we haven’t been shocked by mass shootings; but homegrown fascist smaller aggressions are more numerous, and just as hateful. Just as for immigrants, we won’t put their life at risk.
But if some can’t live in our world, regardless of their birth, we should put them face to face with the fact that they might be more at ease somewhere else. And that if they so choose, they won’t be particularly missed.
Then, hello to a better, less hateful new world.