Republican presidential candidate retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who recently visited Syrian refugee camps in Jordan to experience firsthand the conditions, just offered up a very strange and revealing bit of circular — and some argue Onion-esque — justification for his stance that the refugees are better off staying put.
In an interview with Breitbart News Radio, Carson suggested the U.S. has to keep Syrian refugees out of the country because the public will treat them so poorly they will become radicalized.
"You bring a lot of people here from another culture and what they will tend to do is congregate together, that's a natural thing, which makes them much easier targets for radicalization," Carson said on the program. "Particularly if you bring them into an environment where a lot people of are resentful of the fact that they are here. That's just going to create incidents that will increase further the likelihood of radicalization."
"So again, why would anyone even be thinking about doing something like that?" he continued.
Two weeks ago, the Onion ran an article with the headline "GOP Warns Refugees Likely To Be Driven To Terrorism By Way America Would Treat Them."
"Syrian asylum seekers would in all probability embrace a radical jihadist worldview after constantly enduring anti-Muslim hate speech, racial epithets, and threats of violence and persecution by both the American people and government officials," reads the satirical piece.
The comments do appear to be the first time Carson has referenced resentfulness and suspicion towards immigrants as a part of the cycle of intolerance.
But rather than arguing that hostility is part of the problem, Carson instead appears to be arguing that alienation is somehow natural and inevitable, rather than the result of conscious action by people who wish to make refugees feel unwelcome in the U.S.
Such an argument would be consistent with previous comments by Carson suggesting a viewpoint of cultural and ethnic groups as monolithic and incompatible entities. In September, the doctor told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd the Islamic faith is "inconsistent with the values and principles of America" and said Muslims should not be able to serve as president.
Fellow Republican candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has expressed a similar belief that multiculturalism breeds social instability, arguing that any residents of the country should "assimilate into American culture and heed American values."
(h/t BuzzFeed News)