We are commanded to accept refugees.

That’s the entire argument. When people are fleeing a war zone, and escaping from a force that quite simply wishes to eradicate them as if scrubbing out a stain, it doesn’t even matter that the situation is so dire that these people must be referred to as “…surviving members of a family.”

The scale of the crisis is immaterial. People are fleeing the homeland that their families have known for several generations, carrying only what they were able to gather up in the two minutes they had before they fled. We are commanded to accept them. The order comes from the highest possible authority: our humanity.

The US has often refused safe haven to entire populations escaping — let’s be clear and efficient here — “near-certain death.” Have historians ever examined those decisions decades later, with the benefit of perspective and data that were unavailable to people at the time, and declared “Yup. That was totally the right call”?

I bet the answer’s “No.”

This is easy and obvious. I’m certain that you agree with me.

And if you encounter someone who thinks otherwise…help them out. Ask them if they’re religious. If they are, tell them to open up the drawer in the nightstand next to their bed and take out whatever leatherbound book they find in there. They should keep flipping through it until they find the page where it says “You are commanded to help innocent people who are fleeing near-certain death. Not despite the fact that they’re strangers to you, and there’s no benefit to doing so, and doing so might be very hard. You must do it because of those things.”

If they get frustrated after the first few minutes and begin to protest, calm them down and encourage them to keep right on looking because it’s definitely in there somewhere.

56 thoughts on “Refugees

  1. Steven May

    Well put Andy, as an aetheiest I don’t believe in God but I assure you the God I don’t believe in has a leather book that says look after the sick and weak in the first ten pages…. Keep up the good work.

  2. Michael Klein

    What a bold statement and I command you for it. Thank you for these clear words. I always respected your opinion on tech subjects and your balanced view and suspected would a apply to other areas as well. Now I know this for a fact.

  3. Jeff Waite

    Extremely well written…I have always enjoyed your commentary and views on MacBreak Weekly as well.

  4. Gareth Harris

    Well said. FYI, John Gruber’s daring linked here.

    I am working on a web site about having a new world view which does not appeal to gods, religions, magic or superstition for authority. Our authority comes from our human hearts – our humanity as you say.

    For more, see:

  5. Marion duff

    Well put. Over History we have perhaps all been refugees. Certainly all governments of nearly all big Countries have done their acts of terrorism. Look at what Americans did to the Indians. The Australian to the aborigines. The English kings to the monasteries, etc. I feel the biggest wrong over the centuries has come from Governments, and those in the seat of power. Their greed and ignorance, disrespect and judgements have not been balanced, and have excluded love.
    I dont mean sentiment, for that is equally as repugnant, but true human care and kind intelligence acts of connection, one with the other.

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