By This Logic, We Wouldn't Allow Procreation

I find this meme to be silly and unconvincing.


It is not unreasonable to expect that 0.1% of any population is potentially dangerous.  By this meme's implied logic (that if any of the refugees are bad we should not take any of them) we would never have allowed so much immigration of any sort in the past, immigration that has been undeniably beneficial to this country.  But going further, by this logic we would not even allow procreation -- the number is hard to get at but 0.1% is not an unreasonable guess as to the chance that any person born today might end up being a murderer.


  1. morganovich:

    250,000 Americans are injured in the shower every year (yes, really). that's roughly 0.1%.

    how many showers are you going to take?

  2. memelo2:

    Most of the rebuttals of the M&M logic are - like yours: no procreation cause of possible murderers being born - equally unconvincing.

    1. Looking at risk is only one side of the equation you also have to look at possible upsides and then decide wether the risk is worth taking.
    2. Not all risk is set in stone, one can manage it.

    - Risk to die in car accident less important than upside of individual transportation
    - Risk of murderer being born less important than upside of not dying out
    - Risk of eating deadly M&Ms far more important than upside of not having to eat different chocolate
    - Risk of taking in terrorist through immigration ???

    If you want to discuss immigration using the M&M meme you have to show that the possible upsides outweight the risks, probably by showing that the risks can be managed.

    I am actually in favor of the US taking in Syrian refugees, mainly because it is easy for you to select and limit the numbers and you have a lot of experience in applying the right mixture of incentives for them to actually assimilate.

    But still 99% of all M&M meme rebuttals are of the "OMG look at how risky driving a car/taking a shower/procreation is!!!oneeleven!!"-quality.

    Makes me weep for both sides. Sanders vs. Trump would represent American discourse perfectly...

  3. uncle_bill:

    Sorry, your logic is very flawed. If 0.1% of any group consists of murderous terrorists, we should not accept any of those groups, and that includes English, Irish, German, and so on. We DO accept those groups because we do not expect 0.1% to be terrorists.

    And we accept procreation because we have no other choice, otherwise the human race dies out. Really, that is absurd logic. I am disappointed in you.

  4. Bram:

    Here's a bunch of Muslims. All were indoctrinated from birth into a violent cult. 1% will convert this into violent action, the other 99% will shelter and enable the 1%, make excuses for them, and generally submit to them - because they feel guilty for not joining in.

  5. HenryBowman419:

    The problem is that the fraction is probably 2-5%, not 0.1%. So, we are talking about 200–500 people arriving with the "refugees" who are determined to kill Americans.

    So, the question is, how many American lives are we willing to expend in order to help out 9500–9800 "refugees"? Perhaps it's worth 200–500 American lives, but I doubt that most Americans would agree with such, especially inasmuch as we might well be able to help such folks by helping them recover their country.

  6. LastNameFirstNameLast:

    Reese's pieces are far better.

  7. Nehemiah:

    So let me see, we have the supremely competent United Nations doing the initial refugee selection and vetting. They in turn recommend for the potential home countries. Then our crack US government bureaucrats do further vetting. What could go wrong. I'd feel better if they were all settled in and around Washington DC.

  8. Nehemiah:

    Or maybe settle them in Warren's campgrounds.

  9. J_W_W:

    If the inherent risks of violence from refugees should be something we should not worry about.


    I don't want to hear one more damned word about how a lone shooter means that its necessary for citizens to give up their legal guns!!

    If the risk of guns means that full confiscation is the (real) answer then the appropriate matching answer for immigration is that it must also be no risk or we should turn the refugees away.

    Of course President Petty Perfect Petulant doesn't think his stances through that far.

  10. LoneSnark:

    Last I heard, immigrants are less likely to commit criminal acts than native born Americans. Therefore, if we want to reduce crime we should allow unfettered immigration and ban procreation. Then again, my understanding is that it is always better to have more people than fewer, so while we should of course encourage immigration, we should also allow unfettered reproduction.

  11. joshv:

    Actually I think e-coli is probably the better comparison. We know, for a fact, that e-coli bacteria found in meat will kill people this year, and every year. The chances are slim, but they exist. We test meat, we set production standards, but still, bacteria get through the process, and people die.

    Why do you keep buying hamburgers? Why do we allow it to be sold?

  12. Ron H.:

    Three things to consider when weighing the risk of bad people arriving in the US with legitimate refugees:

    First, most current refugees are fleeing their war torn homelands because of US foreign policy in those areas. Whether one agrees or disagrees with those policies isn't relevant to the fact that they have created millions of dead and displaced civilians.

    Second, entering the US as a refugee is undoubtedly the most difficult and time consuming method imaginable. A terrorist can much more easily enter the US on a real or fake student or visitor visa, and just fly in directly with little trouble. Why bother spending weeks or months in a refugee camp while being processed?

    Third, as far as I'm aware, there has never been a terrorist act committed in the US by someone who entered as a refugee. If that's the case, all this speculation about percentages and potential risk is pointless.

  13. mckyj57:

    Prior batches of people admitted to this country were persecuted elsewhere. You tend to honor someone who succors you. Also, prior batches of immigrants have tended to assimilate, and very few had views that were antithetical to the American ideal.

    Muslims are proving to be different. 50% of Muslims worldwide seem to think that death is an appropriate punishment for leaving Islam for another religion. This is a very big problem. We don't see people being killed because they are unable to change faith, but we do see people going the other direction -- joining ISIS to fight. If kids can't rebel one direction, they'll rebel in another.

    I have zero problem with admitting persecuted classes like Christians. That is what asylum is for. Asylum is not for economic migrants, or people who are just victims of the crappy system they live in. Muslims are fleeing the results of a system brought on by views like the ones they hold. Until Muslims start moving toward the 1947 UN Declaration of Human RIghts, which would mean a reformation of Islam, they should not be admitted to the United States for asylum. They are what people should be getting asylum from.

  14. mx:

    If the refugees were so interested in sheltering, enabling, and submitting to violent extremists, why did they up and flee when the extremists took over their homes? If someone thinks what ISIS is doing is great, they'd be cheering their arrival, not running the hell away.

  15. Noumenon72:

    If we *did* have a choice I would outlaw procreation in a second. One generation of sad nonparents and then no more murderers, autistics, depression, or sickness ever. Natural selection is very cruel to force us to continue reproducing.

  16. ECM:

    Uh, the Tsaernevs ring a bell??

  17. johnmoore:

    Because the *wrong* violent extremists threatened them.

  18. bigmaq1980:

    Some thoughts:

    1) We are all focused on the 0.1% "probability" - truth is we don't know. We don't have a real precedent for it, do we? What is ISIS' ability to covertly send someone on as a refugee? What percentage would that really represent?

    2) We have to "trust" the immigration officials to do a competent job of screening these refugees. Are there any measurements to show that they are good at it? It is not even clear how they can go about validating these people's stories from the war torn chaotic world they left. Once they pass that stage, are they in a "probationary period", or have some level of "monitoring", or are they entirely free?

    3) Can we trust this Administration to judiciously work through the process, or would there be political pressure from this outgoing President (who wants to leave a legacy) to quicken the pace?

    4) Why must the solution even be immigration under "refugee status"? Who decided that is the "only" solution? Can we not think outside the box? Could we house them someplace near their homeland, or support their effort to land in a country nearby that more closely shares their language and culture? We can provide humanitarian aid and avoid the issue of taking refugees where our ability to screen may be in question, and the ability of groups like ISIS to infiltrate is unknown.

  19. Ron H.:

    OK, I'll concede that one, although political asylum isn't quite the same as refugee status, and none of the Tsarnaev children was granted asylum on their own status. I stand by my slightly altered point #3 that terrorists entering the US as refugees isn't something we should be worried about, and speculation on the subject is pointless.

    In addition, the surviving Tsarnaev brother made it clear that his and his brother's actions were a response to the killing of innocents in Afghanistan,Iraq, and elsewhere by US military actions in that region. Something we should be worried about.

  20. mckyj57:

    Ah yes, you are like John Kerry. Justifying terrorism. Okey doke.

  21. mckyj57:

    There is a benefit to taking showers. Same reason we drive even though 40,000 die on the roads every year.

    91% of Muslim refugees are on food stamps after three years. 73% access Medicaid in their third year. Over their lifetime, 10,000 refugees are expected to cost 6.5 billion dollars.

    There is no upside for this huge downside. They are fleeing the result of a country governed by people with views like theirs. They are not a persecuted class, they are victims of their own culture. Until Muslims learn to move into the modern era, and support the 1947 UN Declaration of Human Rights, they are not fit immigrants.

  22. chembot:

    "- Risk of taking in terrorist through immigration ???"

    1) ...or the terrorists win.
    2) ...or we risk "giving up our most treasured values" (TM)

    Although I am not an open borders advocate, it seems to me the trumpeteers cry on immigration is crazy and paranoid. The M&M meme does have a grain of truth as an analogy, albeit overstated for effect. I generally agree with Joshvs comment above that the answer lies in due diligence, just like with the sale of beef. The one thing I wonder is how much of the opposition is due to the incredulity that the current administration will seriously undertake that due diligence rather than simply attempt to achieve some politically goal seeked response. This was the subject of Taranto's Best of the web article "Just Trust Them" article about a week ago

  23. Ron H.:

    I'm nothing like Kerry. I'm much better looking but less wealthy, and I'm not interested in his politics.

    Haven't you ever wondered why some people are willing to travel great distances to blow themselves up in foreign countries in order to kill and maim innocent strangers? Many of the groups and individuals who commit acts of terror - including bin Laden himself - have explained exactly why they do what they do. Is there some reason we shouldn't believe them?

    It seems reasonable to believe that people get very upset by foreign powers that invade and occupy their countries, bomb the crap out of them, destroy their homes and kill their neighbors, How would you react to such treatment?

  24. ano333:

    This meme is wrong, it should state that 10 of the M&Ms would kill "someone", not "you".

    Then, this is just a case of "someone else paying", and everyone would certainly eat all of the M&Ms, since there is an incredibly low chance of the eater being the one paying with his or her life.

  25. mckyj57:

    I would hope I would 1) reform my religion, 2) stop blaming everything on everyone else and start welcoming others who could help me, 3) start educating my children in modern science instead of medieval religion, 4) start working hard, and 5) repudiate old fights from the past I have no chance of winning.

  26. NL7:

    The Tsarnaevs came here as tourists, then claimed asylum. The asylum process and refugee process are different, in that refugees are typically either held in detention or abroad and the refugee check is more serious.

    If your argument is "no more Muslims allowed in" then fine, you want segregation, and to shut down Muslim tourist visas, asylees, and refugees. But if your argument is "the refugee background check failed to identify the Tsarnaevs as a threat" then you're wrong. The parents were not radicalized and they received asylum; their kids got derivative asylum before they were radicalized. So there was nothing the check could have found.

  27. NL7:

    How can you assume 2 to 5% will be violent radicals who defeat the background vetting process given that you don't know which people out of the millions would be in that 10,000? You're just making that up. You can set your own hypotheticals, but not your own facts. If you agree that even 2% of the refugees are sparkly clean and nonviolent, then the entire 10,000 could be drawn from those people. We don't know who will be among the hypothetical 10,000, so you are just inserting your own numbers.

  28. NL7:

    This assumes that liberty of movement must be justified by the value it provides to third parties. You might as well also argue that each and every business must be pre-approved for the social value it creates, every new house built must be pre-approved, every new church must be pre-approved, etc. You're probably not such a thoroughgoing utilitarian (or authoritarian), so I think you'd only make this argument by first assuming that the interests of potential refugees carry little or no weight at all.

  29. ErikTheRed:

    "There is no upside for this huge downside."

    Well, yeah, as long as you don't value human life. Which... sorry, my irony meter maxed out.

  30. Bram:

    Some would rather be Muslim colonists in rich countries than lackey's for the 1% in dumpastan.

  31. Bram:

    This German Muslim explains it well.

  32. joe:

    Several points need to be raised in response to admitting the syrian refugees

    first a recent poll showed that approximately 1/2 of the muslims in the USA believe they should be ruled under Sharia law.

    Secondly, less than 25% of the syrian refugees fit the traditional definition of refugee, 70-75% of the refugees are males between the age of 18-40 which is the prime fighting age. This demographic group is where the vast majority has defended their homelands and to protect their families. Not the case this time.
    This is also the demographic group with highest percentage of devout muslim followers. A reasonable estimate is that at least 5% would be high risk for future jihad and possibly as high as 20%. Coupled with virtually no way to adequately vet the refugees, It would be more prudent to cease the immigration process.

  33. mckyj57:

    Ah, the old "if it saves one life". Have you graduated third grade yet?

    You can't save everyone, dude. And every dollar spent means some suffering elsewhere. You divert food to ethanol, food prices go up and some poor person goes hungry. Money is fungible.

    I'd rather save people who are persecuted as a class, and who will benefit this country on balance, rather than perpetuate the pathology which is Islam. It is money much more effectively spent.

    Eventually, if we stop giving money and succor to Muslims, they will have to get their act together. Every time we enable them, we lengthen their stay in the purgatory they are in. It is time to stop supporting that behavior.

  34. HenryBowman419:

    Right, I made it up, just as the 0.1% figure was made up. The point is we have no idea of the fraction of these folks are bad guys, and, at least as bad, we don't know how to distinguish actual refugees from bad guys. If we know how to distinguish the two populations, and determined to actually do so, this would not be a big problem. The fact that (a) we cannot reliably distinguish the two populations coupled with (b) the fact that the current Administration has no real intention of even attempting to do so, means that we are operating in the dark.

    Part of what appears to me to be well-placed apprehension on the part of many is the notion that the current Administration is part of the problem. It is not at all clear to me that it wants to keep the bad guys out. A few terrorist explosions and mass killings may be just what the current Administration wants.

  35. Bruce Zeuli:

    This point is pivotal to me. I may accept the .1% chance of death and eat some M&M, but I would never force my neighbor to eat. And if I wouldn't use force why is it OK for the government to use force?

  36. Ron H.:

    So if a multinational Muslim military force invaded and occupied the US and continued targeting suspected resistance fighters with drones, killing thousands of innocent civilians in the process - including members of your own family - you would react by:

    1) reforming your religion,

    2) stop blaming everything on everyone else and
    start welcoming others who could help you,

    3) start educating your children
    in modern science instead of medieval religion,

    4) start working hard,

    5) repudiate old fights from the past you have no chance of winning.

    Give me a break. I seriously doubt it.

  37. Adriana:

    The government is using force by keeping people out, by preventing people from taking a job from a willing employer or renting from a willing landlord. Letting people move and work are examples of non-interference.

    Your argument is akin to saying that by California letting a Nevada resident move into its state and take a job from a willing employer, the state government of California is using force against its residents, compelling them to take on the risk that the Nevada resident will actually be a psychopathic murderer or a dangerous and violent radical. So, in order to be anti-force, California should keep all people from other states out.

    That's a silly construction.

  38. Bruce Zeuli:

    Thank you for your well considered reply. I agree with your example. California would be wrong in using force to keep a Nevada resident from moving to CA to fill a job. But that's because no one is calling for a change in our existing vetting process to support increased interstate relocation. There is no vetting process for interstate relocation.

    There is an existing vetting process in place for people who want to immigrate to the USA. Yes this process is terribly flawed and I support rebuilding it from the ground up. But I do not support short cutting this process by edict.

    It's difficult to accept that those with nothing at risk get to decide what risk level the rest of us should face. I know that's one of the trade offs in a representative government, but it sure don't seem like my views are represented.

  39. mckyj57:

    OK, you are confirmed as a troll. Goodbye.

  40. Ron H.:

    Does that mean you have no meaningful response?

  41. Ron H.:

    "Ah, the old "if it saves one life"

    That's not what he wrote. Read Erik's comment again carefully.

  42. mckyj57:

    No, it means that I understand that there is a rule in life -- it takes ten times as much effort to counter bullshit as it does to produce it.

  43. Q46:

    You are having a birthday party for your kids and their friends.

    You buy cakes and cookies from PartyCakes Inc but you are warned by another parent from experience that a few of these will contain deadly poison although you will not be able to know which, and undoubtedly some of the party-goers will die, perhaps some of your own family members.

    Will the party go ahead with cakes and cookies from PartyCakes Inc?

    There is a difference betweent the possible and the probable.

  44. Q46:

    You have mistaken the situation. It is not that those 'fleeing' are likely to be terrorists, it is that ISIL is planting its agents among them, unknown to the refugees; using mass migration as a cover.

    To be clear: rats leaving ships at ports did not cause the Black Death of yesteryear, it was the fleas they involuntarily carried with them.

  45. jhertzli:

    OTOH, if we evacuate the entire area first and bring everybody to the US we can bomb them without killing anybody.

  46. jhertzli:

    You mean "you are warned by another parent who heard from somebody who read that there's been a report that PartyCakes contain GMOs..."

  47. jhertzli:

    The VHEMT people agree.

  48. Ron H.:

    Yes, that's been my experience here. I offered a reasonable explanation for why people in the Middle East might be so upset with US and European actions that are killing their children that they would be willing to kill themselves to get some measure of revenge. Your bullshit response was that they are wrong, they should realize they're wrong, should change their lifestyles, and lose the bad attitudes. you demonstrate a remarkable lack of understanding of human nature. I doubt you or I or anyone we know would react as you recommended.

    You haven't offered anything meaningful and then you created a misdirection and pretended you're done with the conversation. I's OK to just say your done, or better yet just quit responding, but don't just make stuff up.

    If you're interested in a serious examination of suicide terrorism in the past century I would highly recommend the following:

  49. Ron H.:

    If that's troublesome, maybe you'll want to rethink your support for democracy and majority rule.

  50. mx:

    Because when I think of people fleeing violent persecution, likening them to

    disease-carrying vermin is obviously the appropriate analogy... That's a pretty awful way to speak of your fellow human beings.