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Ends and means again

The Instapundit comes out in favor of racial internments: “The wrongfulness in the World War Two internments, after all, wasn’t that they happened, but that they were unjustified. Had significant numbers of American citizens of Japanese descent actually been working for the enemy, the internments would have been a regrettable necessity rather than an outrageous injustice.” He also quotes reader email, which includes the sentence, “The citizen/alien line—so crucial to the wrongfulness of the Japanese American internment—has now been breached.”

Two things. First off, said reader email also includes the comment “And we often hear that there was not a single documented incident of pro-Axis subversive activity by an American citizen of Japanese ancestry during the war. (As it happens, this is not quite true, but it’s very close to true.)” But then he goes on to claim that a single incident of pro-Al Qaeda subversive activity by an American citizen of Arab ancestry would —

Well, let’s face it. He’s saying that this breaches a line which is crucial to wrongfulness of mass Arab American internment. Is it the only line, in his mind? I dunno, he doesn’t clarify. I would certainly like to know.

So, OK. But it still doesn’t scan. We’ve got one documented example of subversive Arab American activity. He acknowledges that there were few (but at least one) incident of subversive Japanese American activity during WW II, but those incidents did not justify the internments. Why does this one cross the line, while those did not?

Second, and I must acknowledge the reader for making this clear, it’s still bogus. The email makes this clear; Professor Reynolds skips past that in his response. We’re Americans, damn it. We do not sign away the freedoms of some of our citizens in order to gain greater safety for the remainder. Is this somehow unclear? It’s not about being safe. It’s about maintaining our basic values.

Would you meekly submit to internment, knowing you were not a criminal, and also knowing that some small subset of American citizens sharing your ancestry were? If not, why would you expect anyone else to do so?

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