Thoughts on food, travel, politics, entertainment, culture, and other absurdities of human existence.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The "Ground Zero Mosque" And Conservative Hypocrisy
I am having trouble seeing what the big deal is with regards to the ongoing controversy about the plan to build a mosque/Islamic cultural center a few blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. The center is being built on private property, using private funds, and has been approved by all the relevant zoning and building code authorities, so on what grounds do people like Tea Party wingnut/Nevada senatorial candidate Sharron Angle say it must be stopped? You can assert that the proposed location is insensitive to the victims of 9/11 and that the interests of interfaith comity would be better served by relocating it if you like. Personally, I think this argument is rather dubious, given that there is already a strip club located even closer to Ground Zero than the proposed cultural center. I also think the logic behind it betrays a rather simplistic prejudice against Islam – the fact that the people who want to open this community center are Muslims does not mean they endorse the philosophy of the perpetrators of 9/11 any more than the fact that both are Christians means that the Pope approves of abortion clinic bombers. But there is no justification whatsoever, at least not any consonant with limited government philosophy, for arguing that the government should interfere with individual rights in the name of sensitivity to peoples’ feelings. Last I checked, that was a far left position. Conservatives that oppose campus speech codes, hate speech laws, and the like frequently argue (rightly) that nobody has a constitutional right to not be offended. Well, this is a chance for chance to put their money where their mouth is, by respecting the right of their fellow citizens to do something that many among their number may find offensive. To be fair, some conservatives havedoneso. But some have not, and they need to be called on that hypocrisy.