We went to see Ayaan Hirsi Ali tonight. And the only reason I asked a question was because my sciatica meant I couldn’t sit for too long so got up and stood in the queue among those with something to ask. And when my turn came, my question was this:
What advice would you give a President Donald Trump?
That was not a gotcha question. She is worried about Muslim immigration. Trump is worried about Muslim immigration. So it seemed natural to ask her what advice she would give him. This is what happened next, as I reprint the text from the note I wrote on my iPhone to a friend on the train ride home.
She went all outraged about how awful he is and gets palpitations thinking of him with his finger on the bomb. And about what a misogynist he is. So I repeated my question about what advice she would give. Same answer. She was more filled with anger at Trump than at jihad! So discouraging.
The title of her presentations, as you can see, was “Dilemmas for Liberal Society: Security & Jihad in a World of Mass Migration”. Only a percentage of us even see the issue as genuine, yet as she said right at the start, it is “the challenge of our time”. I was asking what advice she might have for the next president. As my wife said after, perhaps I should have asked what advice she would give Hillary since even the mention of Trump put her completely off her stride. I will dwell on this for a while because it spoilt my night. To quote Kant once again: if you would will the end you must will the means. I find the ends she has in mind quite obscure after all this, but how she would achieve whatever ends she intends is now completely opaque.
REPLY TO COMMENTS: Not that at this stage will anyone be reading this post who hasn’t already, and particular those who have linked to the post from Instapundit and Five Feet of Fury. (Truly extraordinary, by the way, what a link from Instapundit does for a small blog’s traffic.) But I didn’t say Hirsi Ali had directly stated that she was filled with greater anger at Trump than at jihadists. What I said was that the only time she showed deep anger during the evening was when I asked what she would say to a President Trump, which she point blank refused to answer, but instead showed genuine passion at the very idea of Trump as president and would not go to the question asked. My wife describes the moment as Hirsi Ali preferring to show her deep dislike of Trump rather than to share with the audience what advice she would give him if he became president. No one has to wish him to be president to recognise that if he were elected, he would be the one making many of the decisions that matter. And the fact is that I still don’t know what advice she would have for an incoming president, whoever it might be. And I also would like to point out that none of this is a criticism of her personally, but as a concern I often have of people who know what they like and don’t like but cannot turn their views into a coherent plan of action, including not just what to do but who they will get to do it.