The Republicans want an absolute guarantee that not a single Syrian refugee entering the United States is a terrorist-in-the-making. Meanwhile, psychiatrists are complaining that they’re being held legally liable for failing to identify criminals-in-the-making; that’s unfair, they argue, because such predictions are impossible. While we’re on the subject: advocates of gun control think that mental illness is a proxy for predictions about gun violence, but critics of gun control think that no such predictions are possible.
It almost makes you wish that there was a discipline that helped us think about–integrate, make coherent sense of–such complex, far-flung claims.
I suppose we could ask the economists, but if we did, I think we’d still be left wondering why a Hayekian like Paul Ryan insists that centralized government planning works when it comes to vetting an influx of refugees, but not when it comes to anything else.
By the way, Marco Rubio thinks it’s important for the next generation of Americans to know how to connect one piece of metal to another, but not how to connect one piece of information to another.
I’d expatiate at further length on this topic, but I have to go teach Critical Thinking to a classroom full of students who persistently ask, out loud, why they have to take a course in a topic as obviously irrelevant to life as philosophy.
Postscript, November 20, 2015: It’s not philosophy, but this take on the Syrian refugee issue strikes me as just right. For a discussion of the refugee issue at PoT that precedes the Paris attacks, read the comments on this post. For my skepticism on the anarchist-literalist version of “Open Borders,” read this post and the comments on this one.