Thursday, January 4, 2018

Learn from History: The Evian Conference

Between 1933 and 1941, the Nazis aimed to make Germany judenrein (cleansed of Jews) by making life so difficult for them that they would be forced to leave the country. By 1938, about 150,000 German Jews, one in four, had already fled the country. After Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, however, an additional 185,000 Jews were brought under Nazi rule. Many Jews were unable to find countries willing to take them in.

Many German and Austrian Jews tried to go to the United States but could not obtain the visas needed to enter. Even though news of the violent pogroms of November 1938 was widely reported, Americans remained reluctant to welcome Jewish refugees. In the midst of the Great Depression, many Americans believed that refugees would compete with them for jobs and overburden social programs set up to assist the needy.

Congress had set up immigration quotas in 1924 that limited the number of immigrants and discriminated against groups considered racially and ethnically undesirable...

In the summer of 1938, delegates from thirty-two countries met at the French resort of Evian. Roosevelt chose not to send a high-level official, such as the secretary of state, to Evian; instead, Myron C. Taylor, a businessman and close friend of Roosevelt's, represented the US at the conference. During the nine-day meeting, delegate after delegate rose to express sympathy for the refugees. But most countries, including the United States and Britain, offered excuses for not letting in more refugees.

Responding to Evian, the German government was able to state with great pleasure how "astounding" it was that foreign countries criticized Germany for their treatment of the Jews, but none of them wanted to open the doors to them when "the opportunity offer[ed]."

Even efforts by some Americans to rescue children failed: the Wagner-Rogers bill, an effort to admit 20,000 endangered Jewish refugee children, was not supported by the Senate in 1939 and 1940. Widespread racial prejudices among Americans—including antisemitic attitudes held by the US State Department officials—played a part in the failure to admit more refugees.

The failure to admit more refugees.

The failure to admit more refugees.

Leading up to the horrors of the genocide of Jews, Roma, gay folk and other "undesirables..." leading up to the murder of millions of innocent people, there was, in the US and worldwide, a failure to admit more refugees.

We had the chance to save millions of lives, but there was a failure to admit more refugees.

Let that sink in.

Let us remember our history and learn from it.

Never again should there be a failure to admit more refugees, or, in some sane, responsible fashion, help prevent another holocaust. Even a "small" holocaust where "only" thousands or hundreds of lives are lost.

We must not let fear and apathy stop us this time.

Let's work for a better future. And Lord, let it begin with me.


Marshal Art said...

Which among those Jews were organized into factions of murderous thugs for which islam is so well known? This insipid and typical moral equivalency is despicable and just another form of lying.

How many of those Jews, once admitted, rejected assimilation and our laws in favor of that which is anathema to the American way?

We have the right, as a nation, to regulate the influx of immigrants based on criteria that benefits OUR nation first and foremost. This falls within the duty of our government to protect its people and borders. With that in mind, the United States takes in more permanent immigrants than any other nation, over 50% more in 2015.

As to the false comparison, Dennis Prager addressed it already, and nothing has changed to make the false more true.

And that's just one aspect of accepting those from other countries:

To pretend we're somehow immoral for slowing or halting immigration/refugee acceptance in order to shore up vetting and other self-defense mechanisms is absurdly naive and immoral in itself.

Dan Trabue said...

Let me be clear that I'm not saying that the refugees escaping death, harm and oppression today are exactly equivalent to the Jews and other minorities in Nazi Germany. That is NOT my point.

My point is that refugees ARE facing threats and we must learn from this awful bit of history that good humans do not refuse to offer aid, comfort and/or welcome to refugees who are threatened.

There is NO immorality in seeking escape from oppression. The immorality comes from those who, as in Jesus' story of the sheep and the goats, do nothing to aid those in need.

The threats that immigrants here now face are real. I personally know people whose lives are threatened "back home." You can't say that it's false that the threats exist.

My point is that we (any of us...) ought not turn away those in these circumstances.

If you disagree, then so be it. I'll reach out to other people.

Marshal Art said...

Once again, Dan. You're more than welcome to house, at your own expense, as many refugees as you can manage and monitor so as to protect your fellow citizens from them (I have no faith that you're capable of accurately assessing the character of those you think are in need).

MY point in my response is that aid is being given regardless of whether or not it being done to YOUR satisfaction. Doing so in a responsible manner for the sake of the safety of our own people is important, moral and the duty of our government. You don't get to put the lives of your fellow Americans at risk just to assuage your perverse notion of charity.

Dan Trabue said...

But I'm not, Marshall. The US gov't will not allow these refugees in to be housed. That is the point.

And if people's lives are threatened, if they are harmed, oppressed and killed, and that number is in the hundreds, thousands or more, then it is not to my satisfaction.

Are you suggesting that people being oppressed or killed in the thousands is acceptable for you, as long as you feel safer?

Are you not concerned that history will judge such attitudes in a similar manner as we judge us for our actions in WW2 towards refugees? Towards Japanese Americans interred in camps in the US?

Are you not at least a little worried that Jesus will say, "Depart from me, for I was hungry and you did not feed me, I needed safety and you would not provide refuge? In fact, you actively fought against other people doing it?"

I'm saying, never again.

I'm also saying I'm fine with taking other rational steps to ensure safety (that is, they don't have to come HERE, but they do need to have access to a safe refuge somewhere... and no, most refugee camps are not safe long term answers).

Marshal Art said...

"But I'm not, Marshall. The US gov't will not allow these refugees in to be housed."

The gov't has not blocked all refugees to this country. It has only called for halting those from some countries where vetting is next to impossible due to the fact that the very people who "oppress" these people have admitted their intention to enter our country as refugees. And yes, I'm willing to risk the lives of others over the lives of our own. Call me crazy. It is far better to arm those being oppressed so that they can fight their oppressors themselves, than to welcome them here as if our resources are unlimited.

"And if people's lives are threatened, if they are harmed, oppressed and killed, and that number is in the hundreds, thousands or more, then it is not to my satisfaction."

Unless you're choosing to focus on only those from a certain area, I would say the numbers of oppressed and killed throughout the world is more like "millions". How many should we let it? All of them? On whose dime? Certainly not YOURS, since you choose to live without growing your personal wealth. Thus, you once again play the "Christian" with the resources of others. Nice.

"Are you not concerned that history will judge such attitudes in a similar manner as we judge us for our actions in WW2 towards refugees?"

As the Prager piece clearly explains, and as you damn well know, this is apples to oranges and the motivations behind current attitudes of caution are justified by the behaviors of those you want us to welcome.

"Are you not at least a little worried that Jesus will say, "Depart from me, for I was hungry and you did not feed me, I needed safety and you would not provide refuge?"

No, because we ARE providing for those in need and you damn well know it. You're just trying to posture yourself as more caring, despite doing far less than you could to actually help.

"In fact, you actively fought against other people doing it?"

Bullshit and you're a liar for suggesting such a thing. I support doing it intelligently so as not to risk my own people. Christ never preached acting like an idiot. You do that on your own.

Craig said...

Are you really suggesting that US foreign policy should be based on your interpretation of one parable of Jesus?

Dan Trabue said...

Craig posted this comment that, for whatever reason, is not here...

"It seems as though you might be taking this out of context a tiny bit. You’re surely correct that FDR and many in his administration were anti Semitic and isolationist. You are also correct that after years of a continuous depression and historically low unemployment that bringing in thousands of people could have exacerbated the situation. Looking with 20/20 hindsight those were bad reasons.

But, it seems a mistake to take this one incident out of the larger context.

Certainly the decision by the British and French to attempt to appease Hitler by legitimizing his conquests up to that point caused millions to be oppressed and maltreated. Why not make the argument that we should have allowed the entire population of Sudetenland immigrate?

Finally, how does one ignore the fact that the US was the lynchpin in the alliance to rid the world of Hitler?

Your argument (and pacifism) seem to suggest that the answer to the problem of evil regimes in Germany, Italy, and Japan, was to simply absorb the refugees in the US.

A rational argument could be made that another lesson to be learned is that the US shouldn’t appease, support, and enable evil regimes. That maybe the answer is to stop the actual cause of the problem, rather than just dealing with part of the symptoms."


Dan Trabue said...

Craig, you will note that NO WHERE did I suggest that appeasing oppressive regimes is an answer.

Do you understand that?

You will also note that nowhere did I state that the only solution to the problem of evil regimes is to absorb refugees in the US.

Do you understand that?

Of course, there are other things that need to be going on.

BUT, my point is that IF people are in imminent danger - as the Jews were, as gay folk in Germany were, as the Roma were, as Latinos are now, as many Muslims and Christians in the Mid East and in Africa are now - that NOT doing anything, NOT accepting them in as refugees when we have the chance, that this is not part of the answer.

Again, the point being: NOT doing anything is NOT the answer. Turning them away, empty handed is not part of the answer.

Indeed, as this linked article points out, and as we see today and through out history, turning away the oppressed only emboldens and empowers the Hitlers of the world.

That is my point.

Do you disagree with my point?

Dan Trabue said...


And yes, I'm willing to risk the lives of others over the lives of our own.

And this is the difference between you and me. First of all, because the VAST majority of immigrants are not a single bit of threat to our own lives. And secondly, to turn away a huge crowd because of your fears of what MIGHT happen from a tiny fragment of those immigrants is not a moral option. And given that, in ANY group, some portion are going to be a danger to others, it's not rational, either, to say, "Here are 1 million immigrants, and maybe possibly there might be 100 who engage in crime or harm to others, so let's ban them all" is neither rational nor moral.

I vehemently disagree with this approach as it smacks of cowardice and only serves to empower the oppressors and evil-doers.

You are welcome to your own opinion, but I vehemently disagree with it.

Dan Trabue said...


Are you really suggesting that US foreign policy should be based on your interpretation of one parable of Jesus?

No, you can tell that this is not my suggestion by the way I NEVER SUGGESTED IT or hinted at it.

But, Jesus' teaching in that story (and his others) IS a standard by which I live my life and I'd suggest that Christians should live their lives and, given that the vast majority of the religious and non-religious agree with the golden rule, it's a wise suggestion that almost anyone should be able to agree with.

And, if we are all in agreement (mostly, except for possibly those whose fears of what might happen override their belief that we should do unto others...), then given that it is a rational and moral and commonly agreed upon ideal, for THAT reason, I think it makes good US policy, as well as good policy anywhere.

Do you disagree with my notion that accepting in people who are at imminent risk is a moral and rational thing to do?


Your argument (and pacifism) seem to suggest that the answer to the problem of evil regimes in Germany, Italy, and Japan, was to simply absorb the refugees in the US.

1. That wasn't my argument. Rather, you misunderstood.

2. It IS a portion of my argument. That is, IF we are accepting in endangered people, we gain some moral high ground, which goes an incredibly long way towards winning the hearts and minds of people on all sides of a matter.

3. Additionally, a nation can't run without workers. IF a nation is actively driving out some portion of workers in violent, oppressive ways, they are disheartening a large portion of their population and losing a large portion of their population. When you're losing active support and actual bodies of workers and citizens, you are weakening your workforce, your communities and your nation. So, yes, I think an argument can be made that accepting refugees is a legitimate tool in the fight against oppression.

NOT the only tool, but a legitimate tool.

Do you disagree with any of my actual points?

Craig said...

I understand your point, clearly you don’t understand mine. My point is that by taking one isolated incident out of context, you can make it mean whatever you want it to mean and to support whatever you want.

It’s hard to agree or disagree with a statement which is so broad and vague as to be meaningless. Perhaps if you fleshed our specifically what you mean by “accept”, there might be something to agree with. But, it would be foolish for me to blindly agree with something so bereft if specific details.

I guess that since it’s s portion of your argument, I really didn’t misunderstand.

So, make the argument. Explain how accepting a (relatively) few Jews in the late 30’s would have given us the “moral high ground” over Hitler. He’ll, Charles Manson has the (relative) moral high ground over Hitler. Please explain in detail how “accepting” these these refugees would have limited, mitigated, or stopped the evil that was Hitler and the third Reich.

Don’t get me wrong, FDR and his east coast liberalism/anti-Semitism/isolationism choice in this matter is one of the larger blots on his administration and US history. But, it’s just naive to think that it would have made any difference to how history played out or to try to draw anything but the most superficial comparison to the current situation.

Apparently you think that US policy should align with your interpretation of one parable if Jesus, but not that it should be based on that parable. Sounds like a distinction without a difference.

Dan Trabue said...

I didn't take one isolated incident out of context. I pointed to one incident as an allegory, a story, a reminder of what NOT to do. Because in the one story I chose, what actually happened was that people failed to take in refugees and otherwise take actions to save lives and, as a result, many, many innocent people died.

How is that out of context?

What do I mean?

Again: IF innocent people's lives are threatened and they can escape IF other people give them refuge, THEN it is incumbent upon other people to offer them refuge.

I'm speaking of a principle. Do you think that we ought NOT give refuge to people who are escaping danger or oppression? What if by giving them refuge, it will come at some cost to us, personally (providing shelter, helping them find jobs, etc)?

I think that most people agree with the principle that we SHOULD help those in need, especially when lives are being threatened.

Maybe you're overthinking this.

you think that US policy should align with your interpretation of one parable if Jesus, but not that it should be based on that parable. Sounds like a distinction without a difference.

In a free democratic republic, laws should be based upon the will of the people, NOT BIBLE STORIES. That is a big distinction, it seems to me.

I happen to think that most moral and rational minded people agree with the concept: Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. Now, I'm NOT advocating, "Hey, here's a line from the Bible, let's make it our policy because it's in the Bible and, you know, God!" I'm saying "Here's a principle people can agree upon, by and large. We the people, therefore, can agree that this principle helps us create laws."

NOT because "the Bible," but because it's something we can agree upon because it's moral and rational.

See the difference?

Craig said...

So, by choosing one incident and not taking into consideration any other related events, you think you can draw some grand conclusions. I guess you can come up with some hunches about how things might have happened, I don’t see how they’re anything more than your hunches shaped by your biases. But ok.

So, you substitute us giving “refuge” for “accepting” and don’t specify what you mean by either term. FYI, I can’t agree or disagree with anything so vague and undefined. 1. There’s nothing of substance to agree to. 2. Lord knows how you’d spin me agreeing with something so vague.

I I see the distinction, but no practical difference. Just semantics.

Anonymous said...

by choosing one incident and not taking into consideration any other related events, you think you can draw some grand conclusions

I'm saying that I believe in the principle that if people are in danger, you give them refuge in some shape or form. The point is NOT what the refuge looks like, the point is the safety and relief you help provide.

Again, do you disagree with this principle?

"There's nothing of substance to agree to."


I find the notion that IF people are in danger, THEN you give them refuge, one way or the other to be an exceedingly simple thing to agree to precisely because it is so substantive (knowing full well that there are risks involved anytime you invest yourself, but also believing that most of us, when banded together, would not let risks or costs scare us away from doing the right thing.).

Feel free to disagree. I just don't see why or how anyone would.


Craig said...

Thank you so much for moving further from specificity and closer to vague generalities. I don’t think anyone disagrees with the vague general principle. I just think that agreement with a vague general principle based on one poor decision, doesn’t accomplish much of anything.

Neither does ignoring the fact that the US played a vital role in solving the root cause of this, not just dealing with the symptoms.

Dan Trabue said...

Principles ARE general.

"Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you..."

Do WHAT specifically unto others? What specifically do I need done unto me??!

"Cleanliness is next to Godliness"

HOW clean? A clean car? A non-polluting car?? A perfectly clean house??

Principles ARE general in nature.

The point of this post is, given that we have made mistakes on this front in the past, going forward, we should always remember that we are obliged to give assistance/strive to provide safety to those innocents who are under threat of harm or death.

It's not that complicated a principle. As you note, you don't think anyone disagrees. That's what I'm saying. We should do this.

You're making it more complicated than necessary. Or are you saying that sometimes, as a matter of policy and in contrast to this general principle, we SHOULD leave innocent people to face death and harm if we are aware of the threat?

Dan Trabue said...

Neither does ignoring the fact that the US played a vital role in solving the root cause of this, not just dealing with the symptoms.

I have not done this. No where have I ignored the role of the US. Rather, I specifically pointed to the role of the US and the world in choosing to NOT welcome these refugees/asylum seekers. I'm speaking of a specific point where we opted to NOT act in a way consistent with the principle of "We should help those who are being threatened..."

I'm also not talking about pollution, medication or a thousand other things. The post is specifically about NOT offering assistance to those who are threatened.

Now, if we want to look at the global and US role in WWII, our actions and failures to act leading up to it, our participation in a world war that resulted in TENS of MILLIONS of deaths, we could take that topic on and discuss our successes and failures. (Can we really say we "won" a war that was "won" by having tens of millions of human lives snuffed out? That's a debatable question...)

But that is a separate post. THIS post is about opting to do something in the face of people seeking refuge or doing nothing.

I'm saying doing nothing is not an option for moral, rational people. I think you agree. I think Marshall doesn't.

So, there you go.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig posted this, but again, it didn't remain...

"Alright. Yes, it’s about not choosing one option out of multiple options. It’s about you trying to use a snapshot of history as an analog to our current situation. It’s about your hunches, informed by hindsight, trying to second guess one of the members of the Democratic Party elite. Ultimately it’s about dealing with the symptoms, not the disease.

If you want to make the argument that the world would have been a better place had the allies not opposed Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo please make that case. Make it wherever you want to, just make it.

You’re right I agree that doing nothing isn’t an option. I also agree that no one is suggesting that nothing be done. You ARE suggesting that “we” (unspecified and undefined) must “accept refugees” (again s vague and subjective term that isn’t specific about who or how many) or that “we” (same objections) offer them “refuge” (same lack of specifics and definitions). Clearly you are suggesting more than to avoid doing “nothing”, you are suggesting doing something. You just aren’t being specific about what you ARE suggesting.

So, there you go. "


Dan Trabue said...

It's about the principle that we ought not do nothing in the face of people who need to escape violence. As I said to begin with, I'm open to many options.

I'm not open to doing nothing.

One obvious option, however, remains increasing the number of refugees accepted in times where they'd be killed.

Look, suppose that TOMORROW, Dictator Donald (any dictator) was going to start killing all the Bingo people in his nation. He might begin with 20-100, and then do another 100 the next week, or maybe only 15 the next week, and then another 10-1000 the following week.

The point would be that the Bingo people are threatened TODAY.

If 1000 Bingo people had the wherewithal to apply TODAY for refugee status and they did so because they thought their threat was imminent (a reasonable conclusion, given Dictator Don), then according to this reasonable principle, then TODAY, we would begin the process of accepting/finding nations of refuge for these people.

That's all I'm saying.

Now, it could be that, in the very short term, we (moral, rational people) relocate them to a holding camp in the next nation over, but those camps are never/rarely safe and sustainable for long, so that should be a very short term solution.

Now, it could be that we begin negotiations and/or sanctions with Dictator Don to try to safeguard the Bingo people, and that may or may not work, but in the meantime, while we're waiting to see how this works, we probably would still want to safeguard/provide refuge to Bingo refugees.

It could be that we support a democratic uprising, but that is going to take time, too.

It COULD be any number of solutions, but in the face of immediate crises (the very real immediate crises we saw in Nazi Germany and in any number of nations today), some action needs to be taken to provide refuge and safety.

Because, and again, here is the principle: We ought not do nothing in the face of a threatened people. We ought to provide refuge of some sort to ensure safety, rather than letting them face harm and destruction.

I'm curious, Craig: Are you opposed to ALL expressions of principles?

Was Jesus wrong to utter the Golden Rule?

If not, then why the grief over this very reasonable and moral principle?

Are you merely seeking to push for some specific solutions to put in place? If so, I support that, but first things first, it seems to me, we the people need to agree upon the principle.

If people like Marshall were establishing the principle, it might be more like, "IF there are a threatened people, we should provide some assistance, BUT ONLY if we can be certain that it won't harm us or cost us too much (some vague "too much...") But that is not a principle that I can go along with. I will not do nothing in fear of possible threats when others are suffering real threats. That's just cowardly, to me.

Please answer these questions (do you oppose principles in general? If not, why attacking me for stating a reasonable principle that you appear to agree with?) if you want to comment here.

Marshal Art said...

"Everyone should be able to eat!"

There. I'm just as noble and Christian as Dan. I guess the point is that one must speak in as general and vague a manner as possible when promoting a principle so as to present one's self as a caring human being. I mean, no one should go hungry, right? And there are those that do, right?

But there are all sorts of needs that go unmet, unresolved, seemingly ignored in the minds of those in need and far worse, in the minds of those like Dan. But it is false to imply that little or nothing is being done on behalf of the truly needy and moreso to imply that most don't want to help, don't care to help or don't act in a helpful manner in the first place. It's false to suggest that the mistakes of the past aren't considered in order to pevent committing them again.

But the ambiguity of the appeal does have its benefits.

We need to make sure that people can breathe, cuz no one should be denied air!

Anonymous said...

? Everyone SHOULD be able to eat. IF we have a neighbor who is starving, have the ability to do something about it and do nothing about it, we are damned, according to Jesus.

What you do for the least, and all.

Are you suggesting that everyone shouldn't be able to eat? Or that we ought to do nothing in the face of a starving person? Or worse, live high on the hog in the face of a starving person?

What's your point?


Craig said...

No, I’m not opposed to principles
No, Jesus is not wrong
I’m not opposed to the principle. I have problems with your demands that people agree with you on things you won’t define.
I’d be happy if you’d define your terms to start. But yes, when my complaint is that you are vague and lack specifics it might be reasonable to intuit that less vagueness and more specificity would be helpful.
I’ve answered you questions, but you’ve not answered mine. What a surprise.

Craig said...

I guess hoping that you’d accurately reflect Art’s position is too much to ask for.

How about this as a principe, let’s eradicate all needs and danger here in our country for our citizens before we do anything else?

Are you seriously suggesting that nothing is being done at all to alleviate the sufferings of refugees?

I wonder how many women in Europe would have avoided sexual assault had Europe been more discriminating about the refugees they let in?

That seems like a good principle also, don’t allow people in your country who will assault women.

Anonymous said...

? So, Jesus isn't wrong,BUT he should define what he means by "the least..."?

Please answer. It appears we agree and you're just looking for a fight.


Anonymous said...

Yes. We shouldn't allow people in who are going to assault women. But, that's a pretty person specific limitation, unless you're suggesting all Latinos or Muslims or brown people... Are sexual assailants.

This has nothing to do with this post or my point.


Craig said...

No, you should define what you mean.

Really, the multiple instances of groups of “refugee” makes assisting women in public doesn’t have any bearing on the issue of regulating immigration. Ok.

FYI, the principle is that those in need should be helped.

That doesn’t mean that your (undefined) “we” need to “accept” (still undefined) or provide “refuge” ( undefined) to every singe person in any degree of need.

But, keep it vague brother.

Dan Trabue said...

I am making a concentrated effort to not get involved in pointless arguments this year.

My point was that we should not do nothing if we know of people who are in harms way.

You agree with my point, the PRINCIPLE I was elaborating upon.

You appear to want to insist that while Jesus can state principles without going into specifics about those principles, you want ME to provide specifics and if I don't, then I'm being "vague" and worthy of an attack. I think it is perfectly fine to state principles without going into specifics IF the point of an article is not about specifics, but a principle. If it's good for Jesus and others, I think it's perfectly fine for me, too.

If you'd like to take up a post where, beginning with the principle that we should be ready to aid those who are threatened (the point of THIS post, the point we agree upon) and looking at some specifics wherein we avoid evil consequences such as what happened with Jewish folk and other minorities in WWII, I fully support you doing that.


Craig said...

No attacks here. If asking you to define your terms is an attack, then you’re hopeless.

Of course, your premise that nothing is being done is just one more bias driven hunch.

But again, nowhere in this thread have I attacked you in any way. Just asked for you to define your terms. I’m sorry if that is a problem for you and somehow out of bound, I think you’ve got more issues than you can solve here.

Dan Trabue said...

I didn't say nothing was being done. I noted the reality that people seeking refuge from Nazis in the 1930s were NOT given refuge and, as a result, many millions were killed. That's a reality.

It's also a reality that many people seeking refuge today are not being given refuge and they are dying and otherwise being harmed and oppressed.

I'm offering the suggestion that this is not as it should be. That SOMETHING needs to be done. And, if people are facing imminent threats, then one rational and moral solution is to offer them refuge in other nations, WHILE other things are being done, but at a minimum, offering them refuge is reasonable.

I think you agree. But if not, shame on you, as I think that NOT offering refuge in some form or fashion is a moral atrocity.


Craig said...

I’m sorry, but when you keep repeating “we should not do nothing”, you actually mean that something is being done.

If defining your terms and acknowledging what you’ve said multiple times is too trying, then don’t exert yourself too much.

Marshal Art said...

"Are you suggesting that everyone shouldn't be able to eat?"

No. I'm suggesting that if I make an obvious statement like "everyone should eat", I am now just as noble and caring as you are in suggesting refugees should be given refuge. I'm just diggin' how easy it is to achieve sainthood now that I've adopted your method.

And another thing: whether or not you wish to admit it, another moral solution to alleviate the suffering of those facing imminent threat is to eliminate the threat...with extreme prejudice.

Anonymous said...

I'm talking about a principle. I think principles are important starting points.

Should we love our enemies or hate them?

Should we be concerned about the needs of foreigners and the marginalized or just worry about ourselves and too bad for others?

We establish our principles so that we can better strive to establish our policies. But I don't think there's a single thing wrong with establishing our principles.

So, if you wish to continue this conversation, gentlemen, please tell me what is wrong with establishing principles outside of specifics?


Craig said...

Nothing is wrong with that. The problem is that you’ve specifically advocated things that go beyond principle.

You’ve stated that we (still undefined) need to “accept” (still undefined) and/or give “refuge” to “refugees”.

If you were just saying that helping those in need is a good principle, you’d get no argument. But as I’ve pointed out, numerous times, you’ve gone beyond that and advocated for actions.

Of course, you’ve also tried to paint asking for clarity and agreement to the principle as attacks, so I’m not sure one more expression of agreement will help you understand.

Marshal Art said...

I don't see a need to establish a principle that is not in question. The USA does give aid and comfort to refugees. If this was not true, there'd be no whining about Trump's travel "ban", which doesn't seek to banish the principle in this country, but to refine it so as to better protect our own people from those who would abuse our charity for evil intent.

And no, there is nothing immoral about a nation's government limiting, or even refusing, aid to refugees if a legitimate threat to that government's people exists, which it does with the current situation. And as we saw on 9/11, where only 19 people murdered over 3000, and all other terrorist attacks involved a few murdering many, guarding against letting in even one scumbag hidden among a thousand is worth the effort. I'll back THAT principle every time, even for the protection of YOUR family.

Craig said...

Well said. The notion that regulations governing how “we” (still undefined), “accept” or give “refuge” to (also still undefined) those in need, automatically contravene the principle of helping those in need is a false dichotomy. Clearly “we” (undefined) are not “doing nothing” and are doing various things to offer help to those in need. The question (unanswered) is what specifically should be done.

Dan Trabue said...

1. In the historic story cited, the US and the world failed to act in taking in refugees or otherwise providing safe solutions for them. That is a historic failure.

Do you two agree with that reality?

2. The point I was/am making is that we don't need to repeat that historic failure. IF a chance comes along to provide some form of refuge for a threatened people (and those chances are happening all the time), we owe it to morality and humanity to step up and do something, as opposed to repeating the mistake in the WWII example.

Do you two agree with that basis principle?

If you answer yes, then we all agree.

If you answer no, then we disagree and I think not calling the WWII mistake a vast mistake, itself is a vast mistake. If you agree that THAT was a mistake, but we don't need to provide refuge (in some form) to threatened people today, then I disagree and think that is not a moral or rational position to take.

Dan Trabue said...


the notion that regulations governing how “we” (still undefined)...

It was defined pretty clearly, but in case you missed it, here is what I said in my original post:

leading up to the murder of millions of innocent people, there was, IN THE US AND WORLDWIDE, a failure to admit more refugees.

That is, the United States gov't and people failed to step up and take in refugees or otherwise provide safety in this tragedy. Nations "worldwide" failed to step up and take significant action.

THAT is the definition. The US and THE WORLD. The nations of the world and the people of those nations for not insisting upon it.

In my comments, i further defined who "we" are when I said...

My point is that refugees ARE facing threats and we must learn from this awful bit of history that GOOD HUMANS do not refuse to offer aid

HOW am I defining who should do something? The US. The World. Good Humans.

Do you understand that this HAS been answered/defined? Do you have a problem with the definition?


“accept” or give “refuge” to (also still undefined) those in need

Likewise, this has been defined, as when I said in the post, repeatedly...

We had the chance to save millions of lives, but there was a failure to admit more refugees.

and clarified in my comments...

good humans do not refuse to
offer aid,
comfort and/or
welcome to refugees who are threatened.


I'm also saying I'm fine with taking other rational steps to ensure safety (that is, they don't have to come HERE, but they do need to have access to a safe refuge somewhere... and no, most refugee camps are not safe long term answers).

Thus, it was generally defined.

What are you wanting? Me to give specific numbers, specific locations, specific ways of paying for it?

Those are good questions to ask, but that was not the point of this post. The point of this post was to state clearly the principle that would lead to clarifying specific actions. IF we don't have a principle that is motivating us, then we might, AS IN THE CASE CITED IN THE POST, find ourselves hemming and hawing and saying, "um... no, we can't allow more immigrants in... they might take our jobs... they might be dangerous... they might be spies..." or offering any number of excuses for not acting on the principle.

The PRINCIPLE is important precisely because humans have a tendency to do nothing until it's too late. As we see in the case cited in my post. As we see too often today, in turning away threatened people.

You see, Marshall does NOT agree with the principle (again, "IF people are threatened and need safety, we have an obligation as fellow humans to take steps to provide refuge IN SOME FORM...")

Marshall's principle, it appears, is something like "IF people are threatened and need safety, other people have no obligation to help them... especially if I'm afraid that they'll take my job... or if some tiny percentage might be scary to me... they might maybe possibly cause some harm here, so we don't have an obligation to provide refuge..."

You see, the principle is important to clearly enunciate and stand behind because some people will opt for a lesser principle, one more motivated by fear or greed or self-interest. I'm calling for a principle that transcends our fears, greed or self-interests.

This is why principles are important.

Disagree if you want. It's just hard to imagine.

Dan Trabue said...


And no, there is nothing immoral about a nation's government limiting, or even refusing, aid to refugees if a legitimate threat to that government's people exists,

That is your opinion. I think you are clearly wrong, which is why it's important to remember stories like the one cited in my post. People back then were able to say, "No, we DON'T have to accept these refugees... indeed, we can refuse them IF there is a 'legitimate' threat to us... and these refugees taking our jobs IS a 'legitimate threat...'" It was this sort of reasoning that led to the moral atrocity in this story.

I think clearly, it is wrong to refuse to act to help those in need, those facing imminent threats, based on THE POSSIBILITY that MAYBE PERHAPS there might be negative financial repercussions ("they might take our jobs..." is a greed-based reasoning to turn away threatened people) or MAYBE there might be some of these foreigners who might rape or cause harm to us ("Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers" is a racism-based reason to turn away threatened people).

And as I've already made clear, I'm NOT talking about the isolated person or two who is a serial killer... I'm not saying, "Here is a serial killer and another serial rapist... we have an obligation to let them in and give them access to our children..." With those specific RARE EXCEPTIONS, there is a legitimate reason to turn them away. But they are the exception, not the rule.

So, all of that to say, Yes, I disagree with you and you disagree with me. I am hoping that we are a better people than that, and that we've learned from stories such as the one I've cited here to have better principles and to live up to those principles.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig posted (but it didn't appear... again!)...

How many times do I have to agree with your basic principle before you stop asking if I agree?

Craig said...

Got it, your “definition” of we is so broad as to be meaningless. You do realize that France and Russia we’re going through periods of anti-Semitism so they probably weren’t good candidates to do much. While Eastern Europe was being overrun by Hitler (that’s another lesson to learn), so probably not much help there. But everyone else in the world is on the hook, got it.

“Accept” and “refuge” are also “defined” in the most broad, general and vague terms. I guess you’re serious about wanting to stay far away from specifics.

Well, since I’ve agreed with you that the liberal parties in the US and the UK engaged in a horrible failure to act properly in this one specific instance I guess I’m good. I do disagree that to claim that “nothing” was or is being done is an accurate depiction of reality, but your aversion to specifics makes that a pointless conversation. As is my contention that accepting this relatively small number of Jews was simply dealing with a small symptom while ignoring the actual disease. I also have to note your insensitivity toward the Chinese and Koreans who were also seeking refugee during the pre WW2 period.

I guess the principle that people in need should be helped is just too broad.

Craig said...

Somethings wrong, your answer to the question I posted didn’t show up maybe it’ll be in your email

Dan Trabue said...

Craig, everyone involved in the historic story failed to act in accepting refugees or providing refuge in some sense. It wasn't a liberal or conservative problem, it was a societal and global failure. As is happening now. The difference now is that progressives ARE working for change on refugee problems. I'm hoping that at least some of us have learned from the mistake everyone made in WWII... and hopefully, more than a few of us have learned.

Marshal Art said...


You seem eager to go to great lengths to misrepresent my position.

First of all, just as the need to establish the principle of helping those in need is unnecessary, so to is presenting the story of Jewish refugees during WWII. It's a story well much so that no one is fooled about your suggestion of a parallel between Jewish refugees then versus muslim refugees now.

I've taken some time to find reasons for the objections to allowing Jewish refugees then, and aside from vague references to anti-semitism and isolationist attitudes, I've found nothing that provides detailed reasoning.

But it is beyond any doubt that the Jews posed no theat to life and limb as is so much more typical of muslim refugees...and even those from south of our porous border. Thus, when I speak of legitimate threat, only a liar would suggest that I have jobs in mind.

It should also be acknowledged that there is a vast difference between thoughts of the American people on the plight of refugees versus the duty of the American government to its people. You can wail on all you like about the suffering of foreigners, but our government is obliged...duty bound...Constitutionally put the American people, and their safety, first. So I say again...and this is not mere opinion, but fact...the American government is NOT obliged to open our doors to ANYONE for any reason.

This threat of harm from among the refugee population is not a mere "maybe". It's an established fact. Indeed, it's no less than a promise from those with evil intent to abuse the charity of welcoming nations for that very purpose. You might be willing to roll the dice with your own family, but I'm not. That the oppressed might remain so while we strive to figure out how to separate the wolves from the sheep is unfortunate, but it is in no way immoral.

Craig said...

Once again, your answer to my question must have disappeared, perhaps it in your email.

I’m sorry for pointing out the fact that the liberal eastern establishment back in the day was pretty anti-Semitic I thought facts were important.

Art, it’s a false dichotomy. Regulating who and how the US helps refugees isn’t the same as not helping them. Clearly the two things are compatible, to anyone with a modicum of sense.

Craig said...

One lesson that could be learned from this is that the international community was decades to late in allowing the establishment of a Jewish state in the British mandate. Perhaps this would have counted as not “ doing nothing” and served many helpful purposes. Alas, this was not to be.

Craig said...

This lesson also ignores the fact that the US (under Hoover) virtually eliminated immigration starting in 1932 due to the depression. Again, context might be helpful.

Marshal Art said...


You 5:48 AM comment aligns with polls taken from that time that referred to "as things are now". I supposed it meant our nation's ability to absorb refugees from a "we'd love to offer food, but we have none" type of type of thing.

Craig said...

Which makes the point that it wasn’t necessarily a specific act directed at a specific group, but a universal policy.

I still say that the situation used should have been an exception or the more should have been done, but this is why applying hindsight and taking things from their larger context can be problematic.

Marshal Art said...

Not so problematic if you need to distort to make a point.