Episode 32: Thoughts on the executive order

This episode is not about the practice of anesthesia or critical care.  I wanted to take a few minutes to share my feelings on the recent, abhorrent, un-American executive order known as the Muslim Ban.  This isn’t about political party, it’s about decency and humanity. I urge you to make your voice heard to your representatives, in social media, or wherever you think it will make a difference.  Thanks for listening and for all you do out there every day.

3 Replies to “Episode 32: Thoughts on the executive order”

  1. The countries on the ban are a high risk population not because they’re Muslim but because they have a proven history of violence in their country. The Muslim argument is just a correlation and is used as an excuse to ignore common sense and logic in an appeal to certain idealism in American culture. Being completely objective, any reasonable person anywhere in the world would screen people from these area’s more vigorously the same as we make assumptions and screen patients from high risk populations in the medical field. Just as a loan will be denied if you have a history of bad credit, risk factors, history of violence in the region, and other indicators that would objectively increase the probability of producing radical extremism will earn you further screening or deny your admission to a country that has proven to be a target of such extremism. Like a homeless patient who we screen for AIDS and Hep C not just because they’re homeless but the circumstances of their life increase the probability of these conditions. Strictly speaking these practices are based on research and empiric data showing the statistically significant risk within the population whether it be a low-socioeconomic group or country who’s environment tends to produce terrorists of any religion. For example, if the majority of terrorists happened to be Christians born and raised in Sweden, Swedish citizens would be banned or extensively screened as well.

    I’ve heard good things about your podcasts but your decision to interject your personal political opinions into an unrelated topic in an attempt to promote your unfounded world view to others is unprofessional and unnecessary.

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I disagree with you on a couple of points. First, I would argue that this is my podcast and therefore my right to post anything that I want. It isn’t unprofessional to post something I feel strongly about on my own podcast any more than it is unprofessional for you to express your opinion in your own home. No one is required to listen to my podcast and, in fact, no one can even accidentally listen to it. I specifically said, right up front on this particular episode, that this had nothing to do with medicine or critical care at all. If you or I were to express our own views on something like this to a patient in the ICU who had no choice but to listen, that would, indeed, be unprofessional. But this is not the same thing.

      Secondly, the VAST majority of terror attacks in this country have been perpetrated by white Americans. According to your argument, we should assume, then, that white Americans are dangerous and screen them. Perhaps they would need to be screened before being allowed to go near large buildings or heavily populated areas. I’m sure you would agree this wouldn’t and shouldn’t be done. But if we aren’t going to screen the group that has produced the most offenders, why are we not just screening, but outright banning other groups?

      As for screening, I wasn’t arguing and I don’t think anyone is arguing that we shouldn’t continue to do the same screening that we’ve always done before offering visas. There is a great This American Life episode recently where they interview people from the customs service whose job it is to do this screening. They say it’s absolutely pointless to talk about “increased screening”. They already do the most thorough screening that could be needed.

      It’s also important to distinguish between the example you give of a person with bad credit and the banning of an entire nation’s citizens. If you have bad credit it is because you, personally, have, in theory, done things to earn that bad credit score. But being from a country like Syria has nothing to do with what you, personally, have done. What it does mean is that you are much more likely to be living in an unsafe situation, struggling to find food, maybe even running for your life. Some countries, like Canada, have pursued the humanitarian course of offering to help these persecuted people. Many people feel, and you may disagree, that we should do the same. That we should reach out a helping hand to desperate people in need, no matter where they come from or what religion they practice or what color their skin.

      Best,
      Jed

  2. Hi Jed,

    I just happened to finally get around to listening to this episode. I also had the opportunity to read the comment above and your reply.

    Thank you for taking the time to speak out about that executive order. The post above yours is full of misinformed arguments which are, unfortunately, commonplace.

    This is not the time to be silent. We cannot let fear guide us, only reason. The fact is it is not foreigners who are killing Americans. . . .

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