WASHINGTON — Do I detect a note of desperation in some of my fellow Americans' discussions on how to treat terrorism, specifically the terrorist group the Islamic State group? IS has grown from a small group of brutes committing various heinous crimes back in President Barack Obama's time into a small army consisting of a few thousand, perhaps tens of thousands, committing heinous crimes. IS and its solitary agents in Europe and America driving vehicles onto sidewalks and engaging in wanton mayhem have killed many innocent people. There seems to be no way to deal with them — at least to some Americans.
Well, as regards the IS army in Syria and Iraq, I do not see that there is anything to worry about. The felicitously nicknamed secretary of defense, James "Mad Dog" Mattis, is now dealing with IS expeditiously, and my guess is he will have pacified them in due course. But dealing with IS's fellow travelers, so to speak — those acting alone or in small cells in Europe and America — is going to be trickier the more so in the future, for, as some Middle Eastern experts say, the defeated remnants of IS are quietly infiltrating the sea of immigrants heading for Europe and America. Once safe and secure in Muslim communities in both places, they are going to renew their grisly business.
In America they can renew their calls for Sharia to supplant the Constitution in those places where they are the majority. The more egregious proponents of jihad can renew their violent acts, though on a lesser scale than they did in the Middle East. Some of the more emboldened Muslims already have called for the institution of Sharia, and our left-wing friends do not seem to know what to do with them. They seem to forget that we settled the question of the primacy of the Constitution in our law by fighting a great war in the 1860s. We called it the Civil War (though some called it the War Between the States), and not many took issue with that war once it was over. John Wilkes Booth was the exception, and he ended badly.
Well, the Constitution is still in place, and of all the laws that it has engendered, one stands out as potentially very useful in dealing with Sharia, jihadis and IS in general. That would be the Communist Control Act of 1954. Created after World War II, it was adopted for dealing with the subversive activities of American communists. It was signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower on August 24, 1954, and it has never been found unconstitutional. It is still there waiting to be used. With certain cosmetic changes — for instance, strike out the word "communist" and replace it with the word "IS"; add where necessary "Sharia" and "jihadi" — the Communist Control Act could be relied upon to expand the commonweal and preserve the safety of all Americans. It might actually stop the carriers of the IS cancer before they enter America.
Written with due care for civil liberties, the law could be used to prosecute and imprison anyone claiming to be a member of IS or any jihadi group. The same holds true for those who believe that Sharia should replace the Constitution, say, in neighborhoods near Detroit, Michigan, and St. Paul, Minnesota, where they are the majority. As mentioned earlier, Americans fought a bloody civil war against those who wanted to break off from America and be free of the mild restraints of the Constitution. There is no reason that we should now endure a group of citizens — some recently arrived, I might add — who are all insisting on Sharia in their neighborhood, and genital mutilation, and multiple wives, and all the retrograde customs that go with Sharia. If the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are not to their liking, they should not have come here in the first place. They are free to leave. But if they run athwart the 2017 Jihadi Control Act, the doors of an American prison awaits them.
America is a freedom-loving country. There is no reason we have to endure the barbarism of people who live in a dark age. We have dealt successfully with people who wanted to drag us into totalitarianism — the communists. We can deal with people who wish to drag us back to the seventh century. Be of good cheer, my fellow Americans. Laws that can ensure our freedom are on the books. All they need is a little tweaking.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator. He is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author most recently of "The Death of Liberalism," published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. To find out more about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.