This Isn't America's First Freakout Over Refugees

Before anyone was afraid of ISIS terrorists disguised as Syrian refugees, Americans were afraid of Nazi agents disguised as Jewish refugees.


Invasion of the Canadian Nazi Spiders
Fifth Column Stories

As refugees flee the brutal chaos in Syria, their plight has prompted a lot of talk about the Jews who fled Germany in the Nazi era. Sometimes the people who raise the topic are highlighting the parallels; other times they're trying to draw distinctions. But one similarity between the situations hasn't gotten as much attention as it should. Both crises fed the fears of foreign infiltration that have long lurked within American culture.

In the late 1930s and early '40s, Americans saw Nazi agents everywhere. In August of 1940—more than a year before Pearl Harbor—Gallup's pollsters knocked on people's doors and asked, "Without mentioning any names, do you think there are fifth columnists in this community?" Forty-eight percent said yes, some of their neighbors were probably secret agents; just 26 percent said no. Those suspicions often extended to the refugee population. The Saturday Evening Post told its readers that Nazis "disguised as refugees" were working around the world as "spies, fifth columnists, propagandists or secret commercial agents." Similar stories appeared in such organs as Reader's Digest and American Magazine, with the latter running a feature that bore the calm, collected headline "Hitler's Slave Spies in America."

The idea in that piece was that the agents among the refugees didn't want to do Hitler's bidding. They simply had no choice, because otherwise their relatives back home would be in danger—an approach the article called a "blitzkreig of blackmail." This theory was endorsed by no less than President Franklin Roosevelt, who said at a press conference that refugees ("especially Jewish refugees") could be pressed into Nazi service with the words "we are frightfully sorry, but your old father and mother will be taken out and shot."

From a 1941 map of alleged Fifth Column activities. Click to see the whole thing.
Constitutional Educational League

Those worries turned out to be overblown. In Insidious Foes: The Axis Fifth Column and the American Home Front, the historian Francis MacDonnell concludes that "Axis operations in the United States never amounted to much, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation easily countered the 'Trojan Horse' activity that did exist….Though the Germans practiced espionage, sabotage, and subversion in United States, their efforts were modest and almost uniformly unsuccessful." In American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933–1945, Richard Breitman and Alan Kraut point out that "fewer than one-half of one percent of all refugees arriving from Nazi-Soviet territory in 1940" fell under enough suspicion to be brought in for questioning; just a fraction of those were indicted, and "most of those were violation of immigration regulations rather than espionage."

Oh, that old trick.
Fletcher Hanks

Furthermore, one of the best defenses against infiltration turned out to be the refugees themselves. After the American ambassador to France, William Bullitt, declared that "More than one-half the spies captured doing actual military spy work against the French army were refugees from Germany," the anti-fascist writer Heinz Pol noted not merely that the number was far smaller than that, but that the handful of pseudo-refugees who did exist were frequently caught with the assistance of refugee organizations, who after all were especially eager to work against Hitler. (Significantly, Pol's argument appeared in The Nation, which at that point in its history was very susceptible to fears of foreign subversion. The magazine ran a regular feature, called "Within Our Gates," devoted to exposing alleged fifth-column activities; one installment argued that "every German alien in the country" except the refugees and obvious dissidents "must be presumed to be doing everything within his power to undermine the United States.")

But fear carried the day. "Instead of adding reasonable screening precautions to the existing immigration procedures," the Holocaust historian Rafael Medoff writes in Blowing the Whistle on Genocide, "the State Department exaggerated the threat, and Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long used it as a pretext to cut in half the use of the already small quotas" of Jews permitted into the country. That was in 1940; in 1941 Long tightened the number yet again. By 1944, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau would write a blistering memo complaining that State Department officials had "not only failed to use the Governmental machinery at their disposal to rescue Jews from Hitler, but have even gone so far as to use this Government machinery to prevent the rescue of these Jews." Medoff argues that the State Department was rife with anti-Semitism at the time, and that this fed its eagerness to choke off the flow.

I think this one might be a terrorist.
Chicago Tribune

Today, of course, the fear is that some of the Syrians seeking refuge in America are actually terrorists working for ISIS. More than half of the nation's governors have announced that they don't want the refugees settling in their states, and at least one Republican presidential contender—Texas Sen. Ted Cruz—has suggested that Washington impose a religious test on the would-be immigrants, letting in the Christians and keeping out the Muslims. One governor who is also a Republican presidential contender, New Jersey's Chris Christie, says he would bar even "orphans under five," suggesting that perhaps he was paying too much attention to last week's chatter about Baby Hitler.

The opponents of Syrian immigration will surely argue that ISIS terrorists are not obliged to follow the same strategies as Nazi spies or saboteurs; the fact one fear was overblown, they'll say, does not prove another anxiety is also mistaken. And it is certainly true that some agents of one sort or another have hidden themselves among a flood of exiles. During the Mariel boatlift of 1980, the Cuban government undeniably inserted some spies among the people fleeing to the United States. (Though it's not completely clear who came out ahead in that operation. American investigators identified several spies, put them under surveillance, and in the process uncovered at least one Cuban agent who had set up shop in the U.S. before the boatlift.)

Yet the fact remains that refugees receive the toughest screening of any immigrant group coming to these shores, with extra layers of scrutiny and a process that usually takes more than a year. There are, bluntly, much easier ways to get a terrorist into America. But if you don't want more Arabs in America anyway, you can scare people into backing your agenda by fanning those fears of infiltration. Much like those State Department flunkies who didn't like Jews.

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  1. Calling them Syrian refugees is obfuscation of the highest order. Shame on you.

    1. I think you meant to italicize refugees

    2. Calling the migrants exiting MENA either Syrian or refugees assumes facts that may or may not be in evidence.

      To assume that they are all Syrian refugees is either incredibly lazy (its well documented most are neither) or dishonest.

      1. “To assume that they are all Syrian refugees is either incredibly lazy (its well documented most are neither) or dishonest.”

        I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s only ‘well documented’ on various nutbar fringe sites.

        1. God forbid you Google it. Might upset your confirmation bias.

          From the notoriously right-wing WaPo:


          From the Daily Mail:


          1. You’re conflating two different figures. The Washington Post says that “[t]here are enough pretenders that true Syrians complain about ersatz Syrians,” not that the pretenders outweigh the real Syrians. The Daily Mail sites EU statistics saying 4/5 asylum seekers aren’t Syrian, but that’s out of *all* asylum seekers, not just asylum seekers claiming to be Syrian.

            Talk about confirmation bias…

            1. whoops, *cites

        2. Like The Economist, Cyto? They cite UNHCR and Frontex (EU border control agency) stats to suggest that over half of the people illegally crossing the border into the EU aren’t from Syria at all. Or are refugees. A good chunk of them are economic migrants. I really doubt the UNHCR knows all that much about the migrant pool, to tell you the truth.

          You’re certainly going to get a lot more ‘Syrian refugees’ though, if one door opens into the EU if you claim you are, and the other door sends you on a one-way plane ride back to some place like Guinea, Eritrea, or Afghanistan if you tell the truth.

          1. There were more and better articles awhile back. They’ve gotten buried in the Google stack under the recent uproar.

  2. Wow. Fascinating. Plus that “Fifth Column Stories” cover.

    1. When Canada mattered.

  3. The reason the The Nation was susceptible to fears of fifth columnists is that they have always been sympatico with Communists. So of course they would be anti-German during that time. And how many stories did they write between 1945 and 1989 regarding SOVIET spies and infiltration?

    1. During what time? Shouldn’t they have been pro-German before June 1941?

      1. IIRC, alot of American Communists were against the non-aggression pact Stalin signed with Hitler.

        1. But a lot of them were for it: Dalton Trumbo and other Hollywood Communists, Lillian Hellman, Dashiell Hammett, many others. Many left the Party because of the Pact, though.

  4. Don’t worry, pointing out to pants-shitters that they are doing the exact same thing that was done before and turned out to be completely unfounded will have zero effect and your point will be carefully ignored. But we appreciate the effort, Jesse.

    1. You don’t understand, dude. If one, just one of those brown people are terrorists, then it’s all over. All over I tell you. We can’t let any of those brown people in. Especially the brown people with a funny religion.

      1. We You can let them all in, as long as you bomb the shit out them over there first.


        1. You can let them in anyway, and you need to bomb the shit out of them anyway.

          1. Do you not understand what a batshit insane combination that is?

      2. Who the fuck said anything about brown people? You’re as full of shit as BLM.

        1. Ay-rabs, dood!

          1. I know several Syrian ex-pats…and not one of them could be even remotely accurately described as “brown”.

            1. Ditto. I grew up in a town with a substantial Syrian population and with a decent tan I was darker than any of them.

    2. Do you remember when all the Republicans shat their pants in 2011 about barring Norwegians from entering the U.S, after than pro-Christian nutjob killed 77 people in Norway? Oh, wait…

  5. Obama focusing on gun control for his final year:…..medium=RSS

    Guess he really wants to give his fellow Dems a hand in winning their elections!!

    1. That’s going to be some serious stimulus for gun manufacturers.

    2. Considering how much else he lies about, how often he flips and flops, and his hard working dialed-in focus on hard work, I’d say not much will happen one way or another.

  6. Paying to bring people into the U.S. so we can give them welfare.

    Is this the Libertarian Moment?

    1. There is no correlation between immigration and welfarism.

      1. Bullshit:

        About 51% of immigrant-led households receive at least one kind of welfare benefit, including Medicaid, food stamps, school lunches and housing assistance, compared to 30% for native-led households

        1. Still no correlation. Also, # that received =/= total amount paid.


          1. Also, # that received =/= total amount paid.

            Which is not at all the same as there being “no correlation between immigration and welfarism”. You’re moving the goalposts.

        2. Stop peddling that biased Center For Immigration Studies nonsense. They plotted that shit against households rather than against individuals, so that they can get the result they want. Duh, immigrants have more people per household, because extended families live together with the grandparents.

      2. There is 100% correlation in this circumstance. They will be transported, housed, fed, and cared for by the government and / or government paid organizations.

  7. Turns out there were Hydra agents everywhere. Who knew?

  8. Had NAZIs announced plans to immigrate to run attacks on the population. I don’t think they had shown or claimed any intention.

    1. Sarcastic or retarded?

        1. You mean the obligation under certain circumstances to immigrate from non-Muslim countries to Muslim countries?

          I think Cytoxic’s question requires repeating.

          1. It also means spreading Islam via migration.

            1. And this:

              Ibn Hazm states that: “Whoever joins the ‘land of war and disbelief, of his own free will and in defiance of whoever amongst the Muslims calls him to his side, is by virtue of this act an apostate, by all the laws of apostasy, in Islam. Whoever is able to kill him must do so. His property is unprotected, his marriage null and void, all his rights are swept away…

    2. Ya know something? It is incredibly easy to destroy infrastructure. There are literally millions of targets and ways to attack them that don’t even require suicide. How many gasoline tankers do you see on the highway every single day? Steal one, abandon it and disable it on a bridge or in a tunnel and light it up before catching a ride with accomplices. That’ll wet pants around the world.

      Look at the talented folk who have made attempts in the face of no difficulties — the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber …

      Right, so let’s spend a fortune and stomp all over refugees to prevent something we haven’t been able to prevent so far, which has some how, some way, not yet happened in spite of how easy it is.

      1. A large reason why we haven’t seen things like, e.g., the suicide bombing campaign Hamas ran against Israel in the late 90s/early 00s, is that successful insurgent movements need a pool of sympathizers to operate within. They need a group of people they can select members from, and groom in relative anonymity. Those conditions exist within the Muslim banlieus of Paris—it helps when they make up over 10 percent of the French population, and nearly 100 percent of those neighborhoods—but they don’t exist in the States. There might only be eight or so attackers, but they still need people to house the attackers, feed them, buy materials for the TATP vests, make said vests, train with their weapons, and most importantly, do all of this without the fear of getting ratted out.

        There isn’t, yet, a large enough pool of sympathizers in the U.S. to hide a semi-homegrown Muslim insurgency of more than one or two idiot malcontents at a time. That may change in the future, though even 100,000 Muslim refugees isn’t likely to make that happen all by itself.

        1. It doesn’t require any support at all to phone in enough bomb threats to cause a panic.

          1. And those bomb threats would be treated like most threats—ignored or put on a back burner—if it weren’t for the fact that 130 plus people just got killed the day before by people like those that are making threats today. The fact that the bomb threat phoned in today, actually had a big bomb attached to it, helps too.

            You need a realistic terror capability to get taken seriously. ISIS just showed yesterday that they have one in France.

            I really wonder what it’ll take to prove they’ve one in the States. One of the big goals of their organization is to get the U.S. out of the proxy war mentality, and to actually commit to fighting them as a legit nation state. So far, their provocations, their increasingly baroque execution of hostages, haven’t done it. I think a few schoolhouse bombings might.

            1. I bet if the FBI or police started getting hundreds of bomb threats a day, they’d be plenty pissed and spend a lot of effort trying to track them down. Word would also get out to the public, and the pols and media would lose no time waving the potential bloody shirt.

  9. You know who else freaked out over refugees?

    1. Tom Petty circa 1980?

      1. +1 Kicked you around some

  10. and at least one Republican presidential contender?Texas Sen. Ted Cruz?has suggested that Washington impose a religious test on the would-be immigrants, letting in the Christians and keeping out the Muslims.

    Because ISIS infiltrators would never lie. How exactly would the be enforced? An inquisition?

    Another historical analogy is the historical movements to prevent Catholics from moving here because of their “unAmerican values” and loyalty to the pope.

    1. Give them bacon.

      1. Ask them to draw a cartoon of mohammed.

  11. To be fair, the California part of that map does seem to represent their political views pretty closely.

  12. Oh, so now Nazi analogies are allowable? Fascinating.

    1. It’s not an analogy, it’s history.

      1. History, that is not analogous at all to the current mass migration out of MENA.

  13. I take at this point Reason isn’t even pretending anyone will take them seriously any more.

    Smart move.

    1. That hilarious and cute. Tell us about the last time you bravely fended off the cucks.

  14. I guess that since Trump has become more obscure, Reason needed something else for everyone to write about?

  15. I appreciate the history, but there are several fallacies here.

    1) Just because previous cries of “Wolf!” were unfounded doesn’t prove this one is.

    2) The connection between Germans and Nazis is not the same as the connection between Muslim radicals and Muslim non-radicals. Expatriate Germans who fled the Nazis did not have Nazi sympathies, but many Muslims fleeing the Middle East do have radical sympathies, whether or not they are active terrorists.

    3) Expatriate Germans did not have children and grandchildren who grew up to be Nazis, but Muslims who move to the Western world often do.

    But the biggest issue may be the silly assumption that these refugees will just assimilate and become productive citizens. Sure, some will, but many will not. Most are poor and poorly-educated. Their religion tells them to hate Jews and gays and to oppress women. Their home cultures are clannish, corrupt, and (literally) inbred. And the experience of England and the rest of Europe is that those traits are not left behind when they immigrate. The more Muslims who come to the US, the more problems we’ll see.

    1. You are really ignorant and gullible if you actually think most Muslims are radical in their heart even if they are refugees.

      1. It doesn’t matter if it’s “most.” All it takes is a significant fraction. And about 13% of Syrian refugees support ISIS. I think you’re the ignorant and gullible one. I doubt if you know much about Islamic theology and culture.

        1. I wouldn’t say most, but jeez Scarecrow, go look at Pew Research’s polls on attitudes towards violence in the Muslim world. You’ve got anywhere from 25 to 60 percent, depending on the country being polled, who’re O.K. with violence being used against those that defame Mohammad, or who are O.K. with having sharia be the law of the land. It’s a hell of a lot more than just a few bad apples. And that’s what they’re willing to admit to a pollster.

          I’m not saying that the percentage of refugees who wish to commit violence against their host countries is anything other than a very small number. The percentage of those who’re sympathetic to, e.g., ISIS’s cause though, is quite a bit higher.

          1. Right, because supporting violence against apostates is supporting ISIS.

            1. And someone supporting violence against apostates is definitely someone Europe and the U.S. should take pains to let into their country. They’ll fit right into a secular humanist society, don’t you think?

              Moreover, ISIS’s ideology is all about bringing violence to infidels. You don’t think someone who has the attitude that violence is acceptable to avenge an insult to the Prophet, might also be sympathetic to ISIS? They don’t need to actually wear a suicide vest; they just need to not rat out someone that does, for them to be a big problem for the West to deal with.

              Anyway, I thought the polling was interesting. You want to ignore it, fine.

              1. How many fundamentalist Christians have weird views? I bet pollsters would find all sorts of surprising numbers, without even needing to bias the questions very much.

                1. C’mon Scarecrow, you’re not even trying now. My fundamentalist aunt has her share of “weird views” but hurting people who disagree with her religion ain’t even on the menu.

                  1. Really…? Because I’m seeing an AWFUL lot of right-wing propaganda in the comments section of every news and social media outlet calling for America to turn the Middle East into glass. I’d hazard a guess that 60% of this shit seems to be coming from people calling themselves Christians.

                  2. Scarecrow is just being stupidly trollish. How many Christians advocate (or have acted upon) a belief in death for apostasy in the last, I don’t know, 500 years? And yet it’s still a thing in the Muslim world.

                    “Weird views” of Christians are mostly harmless. Weird views of Muslims are common and deadly. Anyone who’s read the newspapers for the last few decades should know this. There’s really no comparison, except in the minds of those who don’t want to face facts.

                    1. And as for stupidly trollish, I figure trolling is truly begun once the name calling starts.

                    2. There’s a metric fuck-ton of Muslims, like 1.7 BILLION, and for the most part, they are as horrified about the actions of ISIS as the rest of the world. To say they are, on the whole, sympathetic to the cause of radical terrorism, shows that you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the history and statistics at play here. The majority of the Muslim world, which includes the greater part of the continent of Africa, Southeast Asia, and quite a bit of the former Soviet Union, lives in day-to-day peace. Trust me, your imaginary friend isn’t any better than theirs just because you say he is.

                  3. Your anecdotal aunt is one hearsay datum, not even close to real data. Is that how you try?

  16. The good news is that this is mostly academic (or should be).

    Not very many of the MENA migrants are going to make it to this country. Which is good, because many of them are the sort of unassimilable backwater types that PapayaSF calls out above. Letting those people into a Western welfare state in any numbers is just asking for more and more of the banlieus/no-go zones. Because that’s how they got started in the first place.

    So, any who do make it into the US are probably going to get a pretty comprehensive rectal exam. I find it amusing that thorough bureaucratic screening is now being cheered on by libertarians as a means of keeping us safe. So much for open borders, I suppose.

    1. This open borders mania was bad enough when libertarians were defending tens of millions of Latin American peasants moving here and helping the Democrat party to create a new electorate. Now it’s gone into the realm of insanity. And Obama and the Democrats are doubling down, not just on Muslim immigration, but gun control. So, get ready for President Trump.

  17. Cut the Crap: The problem is islam, and it has to be exterminated. Period.
    1. Islam is a political system, NOT a religion, and unless and until humanity wakes the hell up and STOPS referring to it as a religion, there is no hope. Islam is a hyper-aggressive, militaristic, expansionist, totalitarian political system designed to create a super-rich micro-oligarchical ruling class with a massive, destitute, genetically handicapped underclass below. The paper-thin faux-religious facade was a conscious, specific con from the very beginning ? much like Mormonism and Scientology ? a pure racket using borrowed and piggy-backed religious motifs to lend credibility to a massive, loosely-knit network of crime syndicate cells.

    1. I would grant that Islam is a religion, but yes, it’s more than that, and our “religious freedom” ideal doesn’t really take the political aspect into account. So combating the radicals is hugely complicated by that.

      Taking in Muslim refugees (or Muslim immigrants of any sort) right now is not equivalent to taking in Germans fleeing the Nazis. It’s more like taking in moderate Nazis fleeing radical Nazis.

      1. I have to believe the claims, from the 40’s, was more about an excuse to keep out the Jews, than real concerns about a Nazi fifth column.
        The difference is that Jews were not wanted because of some ancient prejudice, with little to no supporting evidence.
        The concerns about muslims is very justified based on the fact that there has been almost no terrorist activity, in at least the past twenty years, that didn’t include muslims, or some pro-muslim position.

  18. Here is a quote from Osama bin Laden that sums it all up:

    “Our talks with the infidel West and our conflict with them ultimately revolve around one issue; one that demands our total support, with power and determination, with one voice, and it is: Does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually? Yes. There are only three choices in Islam: [1] either willing submission [conversion]; or [2] payment of the jizya, through physical, though not spiritual, submission to the authority of Islam; or [3] the sword, for it is not right to let him [an infidel] live. The matter is summed up for every person alive: Either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die.”
    ?Osama Bin Laden
    (The Al Qaeda Reader, p. 42)

    Please note that the quote above makes perfectly clear that islam DOES NOT CARE IF YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE ANY OF THEIR FAUX-RELIGIOUS BULLLSHIT OR NOT ? BECAUSE THAT’S NOT THE POINT. All that matters is EARTHLY submission and control of landmass. All of that five-times-per-day sticking one’s butt in the air while some bisexual shrieks about a non-existent pagan moon deity over a loudspeaker is not “prayer”. It is an outward sign of submission to the musloid political system. NOTHING more. It’s a gang signal. It’s a salute.

    1. Also needs to be noted that it is a tenet within islam that one cannot be a true muslim unless they read the koran in the original Arabic.
      Just as the various sects of islam are at war with each other, those foolish enough to think conversion will give them a pass, should be prepared to be declared an enemy, too.

    2. Saying Osama Bin Laden speaks for the entire Muslim world is like saying Ted Haggard speaks for America.

  19. Islam isn’t about “allah” or “paradise” or “prayer” or “spirituality” or how human beings should relate to one another or how human beings should relate to a “god” or the eternal fate of the human soul. THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT ANY OF THAT.
    They want power, they want money and they want sex. The “religious” aspects are a stone-cold con, which Bin Laden himself declared in no uncertain terms.

  20. 2. They can’t be reasoned with. They can’t be dialogued with. There is no such thing as “radical islam”. There is islam, which is even more bloodthirsty, conscienceless and perverse than what we are seeing today. We cannot possibly imagine what they would do if given true carte-blanche. Islam today is like an eleven year old boy ? just BARELY on the cusp of puberty, just BEGINNING to test the waters. These beheadings, rapes, suicide attacks and terror operations are BUSH LEAGUE. Just as it is nonsensical and depraved to refer to Nazis as “radical Nazis” and “moderate Nazis” ? as if ANY Nazism could ever be considered acceptable, so it is with islam. This is why Egyptian president Sisi’s recent speech calling for a “reformation” of islam is nonsense. All Sisi’s speech did was confirm that Sisi himself doesn’t actually believe any of it, and instead of doing the morally correct thing and renouncing islam, Sisi wants to have his pancakes and eat them too. He wants everyone ? like him ? to subscribe to and associate themselves with something that they don’t actually believe in or take seriously. (How very Pope Francis of him.) Well, you can pour maple syrup on a puddle of bloody, diarrhetic hogshit all you want, but it will never, ever be pancakes.…..-period-2/

    1. Listen, and understand! That Terminator is out there! It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

      Wow, I didn’t know they were Austrian Olympic Lifters.

  21. Polls taken that long ago mean nothing. The truth was that Roosevelt and many others did not like Jews and rejected them no matter which country they came from.

  22. You forgot about the Marielitos in 1980. That worked out very poorly for the US.

  23. Your assertion: “Yet the fact remains that refugees receive the toughest screening of any immigrant group coming to these shores, with extra layers of scrutiny and a process that usually takes more than a year. ” needs data to back it up.If the screening is in the order of success of TSA finding fake bombs, we have a problem. I also would like to understand how one screens for terrorist thought.

  24. It starts with an “I” and ends in “slam”.
    This ideology is THE worse on the planet. Way beyond Nazi or Commies.
    Besides the fact we owe any and all refugees of any stripe…NOTHING!!
    I can’t believe these writers are so willfully blind of the totality of the impact Muslim immigrants are having on our society. 50+ plots either attempted, successful, or foiled; and the FBI says there are currently over 900 active investigations into Islamic jihadist here in all 50 states. Not to mention US muslim honor killings, clitorectomies, and forced marriages to cousins, as well as 80% of mosques promoting Sharia and more (the evidence is all against Islam).
    The Fed, and the MSM are actively suppressing information/news about this for ideological and PC reasons. It just doesn’t fit the narrative.
    Thankfully the collective wisdom of western society is far beyond the intellectuals of the world just as it was in 1933.
    Try thinking a little deeper Reason.

    1. It is puzzling, and I can only surmise that because the American fanatics struggling to pass more religious laws realize that they are exactly the same thing as their mummy-headed bretheren abroad, they do not want a precedent in place when their own mask begins to slip. The Liberal Party of 1930 was much more libertarian than anything seen until 1971, and religious conservatives still struggle to pretend it never existed. The platform called explicitly for the repeal of all religious laws, including the prohibition of beer, and complete separation of mysticism from forcible restraint.

    2. 900 investigations? That’s cute. There are well over 1000 open investigations into white supremacist groups in the US, but let’s not cloud this argument with something silly, like facts…

  25. I’m not sure why Reason has chosen to pretend that hostility to importing thousands of Middle Eastern refugees only started after the Paris attacks.

    The idea was unpopular long before the attacks. All the attacks did was illustrate one of the many reasons people dislike the idea.

  26. “Americans were afraid of Nazi agents disguised as Jewish refugees.”

    And look where it got us.

    The insane Zionist influence in America is unparalleled in the world.

    1. Says the Indian fighter.

  27. “During the Mariel boatlift of 1980, the Cuban government undeniably inserted some spies among the people fleeing to the United States.” Who cares? I’ll take a domestic spy pr two, over a suicide-crazed zealot trying to kill as many innocents as possible, any day of the week.

    In fact I don’t recall any Nazi or Commie spy wrecking anything near the death and mayhem we saw last week in Paris. A healthy concern about a new wave of immigrants from the exact part of the world that gave us Al Queda, Al Nusra, the Taliban and ISIS, might be quite appropriate and prudent.

  28. “During the Mariel boatlift of 1980, the Cuban government undeniably inserted some spies among the people fleeing to the United States.” Who cares? I’ll take a domestic spy pr two, over a suicide-crazed zealot trying to kill as many innocents as possible, any day of the week.

    In fact I don’t recall any Nazi or Commie spy wrecking anything near the death and mayhem we saw last week in Paris. A healthy concern about a new wave of immigrants from the exact part of the world that gave us Al Queda, Al Nusra, the Taliban and ISIS, might be quite appropriate and prudent.

    1. Damn squirrelz!

    2. There is precedent. After Theodore Roosevelt was shot before giving a speech, Congress explicitly banned the entry of anarchists–so why not Mohammedan berserkers? It will be edifying to watch the Supreme Court–the guys that struck down state laws banning incessant harangues from robocaller telemarketing–explain how beheading is, as Napier explained, a devout religious custom that ought not to be discriminated against. If a mob were to set fire their gowns I’d be the last one to complain.

  29. How about Japanese-American citizens interned during WWII?

    1. What about it?
      It was, after all, deemed Constitutional by the SC.

  30. Finally, a kewl, dispassionate article with nifty graphics. The Baby Hitler nonsense from the Jeb Bush link is part of the Religious Right’s alibi that Christian Germany, nicely divided among Protestants and Catholics, would NE-VAH have embarked on a eugenics-for-altruism program. They must have been Demonically hypnotised by the lone madman Time Magazine reported was called “Germany’s Jesus Christ” (6/6/1932). An earlier myth has a charismatic holy man preaching a sermon of altruism and sacrifice (complete with free loaves and fishes), whose fanatical followers today number in the millions–many of them politicians in Germany.
    But the most shocking takeaway was that same link to a Presidential candidate with no concept of causality–who thinks comedy movies are a source of knowledge about physics. Very good article that makes me want to buy the book.

  31. I’d love to hear comments on this. Don’t know how to embed it……..qus_thread

  32. Comparing the Syrian refugees to the Jews fleeing the Holocaust? Poor analogy. The Syrians are not objects of concerted genocide. Only the non-Muslims, who ISIS will kill for who they are, can be compared to the Jews of Europe.

    Plus over 70% of the refugees are military age men. If they are fleeing war and oppression, why not equal numbers of women?

    It would be far easier to hide ISIS terrorists among indistinguishable Muslim Syrian men. Hiding a Nazi spy among Jews should be easy to vet…have the men show their stuff. In all seriousness, you could figure out who was brought up Jewish and who not with some tests, unlike with Syrians.

    I like some of the Republicans’ proposal to only allow families (plus all non-Muslims). The single men can go back and fight for their country’s freedom. Why should Western militaries have to mop up their mess?

  33. “America” is not an individual, and thus can’t “freak out.” The fact is, for almost any issue, there are individuals who get upset about it, just as there some who’ll commit atrocities. Maybe a few people would be willing to show up with protest signs at entry-points, but somehow I doubt many would want network news coverage enough to be willing to travel to do so, and fewer still who are that terrified of terrorists.

    My rule of thumb is that people everywhere are pretty similar to the ones, here, and that if a generalization doesn’t fit people I know, it probably doesn’t fit people I don’t. I try to remember not to judge others by the headlines or the polls, which I’ve learned can’t be trusted, first hand. Of course, our leaders scramble to get the head of any perceived parade, but I’m hoping they don’t see this as one.

    I’m not scared. I’m not unaware that there are evil (weak, damaged, ignorant, angry, suicidal) people in the world, either. We need to use common sense and listen and watch for the signs around us; that’s how we defend each other. In the meantime, the more people who come here, with relatives still in the old country, the better. If having a Sony in my living room helps guarantee that Japan is unlikely to take revenge for Hiroshima, imagine what we can do with people from other countries on the couch in front of it.

    1. You might want to take a look at this. Here’s a sample:

      “Asserting one’s religion does not mean that you simply leave people to worship whatever they please without comment, like the Christians and the Jews do. It means that you must clearly and plainly disapprove of what they worship, and show enmity towards the disbelievers; failing this there is no assertion of Islam.”

      Or this:
      “Ibn Hazm states that: “Whoever joins the ‘land of war and disbelief, of his own free will and in defiance of whoever amongst the Muslims calls him to his side, is by virtue of this act an apostate, by all the laws of apostasy, in Islam. Whoever is able to kill him must do so. His property is unprotected, his marriage null and void, all his rights are swept away.”

  34. It seems to me the current focus is on a symptom of a much larger problem. When that happens I tend to look for hidden predetermined solutions to the manufactured thesis, anti-thesis, solution scenarios. Governments always prosper in times of chaotic events. So much so, we have been conditioned over time to actually seek these overlords over our own natural sense of independence to the contrary.

    Nobody is ever free, because we are dependent on societies for the commerce that enriches our lives. Without trade we would be propelled back into the dark ages. While there is no doubt in my mind about the real and urgent crisis with regard to this refugee situation, one should resist knee jerk reactions and ponder the source of the problem.

    Israel and Saudi Arabia with the backing of the US military are the primary drivers of this crisis. Nothing happens without purpose. There is always a means to an end. In this case, one needs to consider the causality of the situation and what can be done to prevent the escalation of a morally detestable end. Terrorism is a subjective ideology, therefore a war against terrorism can never be won, because a terrorist can only exist as a result of individual subjective observation. What justification could possibly exist for war? The global domination of the world’s resources and economy. Crude oil is the lifeblood that drives our markets and the blatant lust for greed of power is at play.

  35. I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to Reason for disseminating this load of xenophobia, islamophobia, and otherwise malarky coming from the knee-jerk, reactionary right. You have continued to do so even with the flux of opposition to your views from many Libertarians (I’d argue that much of the outrage is coming from positions that aren’t all that libertarian). Thank you for all that you do, keeping me barely sane in the midst of all the stupidity I’ve seen over the last few days.

  36. Yeah, but even though the fears back in the 40s were overblown there really were Nazi spies in the US. Were these facts known by FDR. Should the president have then ignored the risk, no matter how small & overblown? I don’t doubt that anti Semitism played its role.

    Yet, if the relative numbers are analogous between the ’40 and today’s so-called Syrian refugees, how many people are we talking about? We also know that this number of people will not be spying for Syria or for the Islamic State. They will be perpetrating atrocities against the public.

    Any way you look at it, the question is, what are you recommending? Just wait and see? More & better vigilance? How would your recommendation work in practice? I just can’t see anything working to the satisfaction of policy-makers other than a complete ban.

    Let the Arab nations take the refugees. They started the whole jihadist mess that created the refugees in the first place.

  37. 1) Paris
    2) Brussels.

    I win.

    1. oh yeah

      3) Nice, France.

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