Newt Gingrich pushes prejudice at Ground Zero

In the WaPo, Richard Cohen has a fantastic takedown of Republican demagoguery over the “Ground Zero mosque” issue. Incidentally, the Tea Party’s Republican candidate for governor in NY, Carl Paladino, has said he would use eminent domain to block the mosque. For most of the right, cultural nationalism trumps liberty every time.

12 thoughts on “Newt Gingrich pushes prejudice at Ground Zero

  1. While I find the idea of a mosque so close to ground zero repugnant to the point of revulsion, (and no, it isn’t about anything but Islamists smearing our own freedoms in our faces) I have to very, very reluctantly say that we do in fact have the freedom to worship as we please in this country. Our Founding Fathers ensured that.

    To tell anyone that they can’t build a mosque/church/synagogue/temple anywhere they choose (legal building constraints considered of course) sets a dangerous precedent.

    We have to take care not to dictate unequal rules or demand different standards to those we don’t like. The far left does that all the time. America, as a whole, should be better than that.

  2. I guess we will have to agree to disagree on the first point. A reformist Muslim cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero, nowhere visible from the site, doesn’t bother me in the least. But the important point we agree on – whatever our cultural dispositions, we have to respect the property rights of all.

  3. Jason,

    There’s nothing “reformist” about this. The funding for it has a highly questionable pedigree. Google it. Not only that, this gives the Islamists a major propaganda victory. Why wouldn’t it?

    That being said, I still have to defend their right to place it wherever they desire. We’re not….them. And to restrict their right in this regard makes us…..them. Try placing a church in Saudi. Or Yemen. Or Oman. Or Iraq. Or….well, just about anywhere.

    It’s not fairness they’re interested in. it’s victory. And because of our decency as a people, we’ve just handed them one.

  4. The construction of this mosque is disgusting, but it’s no surprise that libertarians have no problem with it. Historically, Muslims construct mosques on the sites of military victories. Please read this article if you’ve swallowed the taquia that this is a “reformist” mosque.

    The Two Faces of the Ground Zero Mosque.

  5. Lee:

    The idea that our tolerance of their intolerance makes us “better than them” is absurd. To put it simply, our culture is decadent and full of doubt, theirs is barbaric and self-confident. Your grandfather’s generation would not have allowed this.

    crossofcrimson:

    More accurately:

    A significant percentage of that fruit is poison.

    We have no way of distinguishing between good fruit and poisoned fruit.

    Let’s buy our fruit somewhere else.

    1. Vijay, even if we were to assume that such statistics weren’t flawed in any way, that alone does not put them in the category of “poisonous fruit.” The crime being committed is the killing of innocent people, not holding an opinion of approval for it. There is a considerable cross-section of white Christians who believe that America deserves such attacks – and for many different reasons. So, unless you’re advocating that we force psycho-analysis onto every individual and effectively outlaw certain kinds of thought or free speech, then your point is moot. If 100% of Muslims thought the acts were justifiable, that in itself is not a crime. The crime is committing the act.

      And if you’re trying to put forward that an inability to distinguish the good fruit from the bad fruit (IE: who will commit such crimes vs those who won’t.) is a good reason to simply stomp on all the fruit, then you’re sinking into the same deplorable ethical bog of the people you’re so critical of. I can’t necessarily tell who around me believes in terrorism, racism, violence, bigotry, etc.. But that’s not an excuse for me to start robbing people of their rights – simply because any given individual has the potential to act upon some known or unknown belief.

      The problem that I have here isn’t even the obvious prejudice in light of the scope of the problem (again, read: fallacy of composition). As far as I’m concerned, you can buy whatever fruit you want. I believe in the freedom of association. If you don’t want to deal with Muslims for WHATEVER reason, I think you’re free to discriminate as you please. Just as, if a Muslim in America chooses not to associate with white Christians because members of their family, back in Afghanistan, had been wrongfully killed in part of our military engagement there, then I believe they are also free to do so – even if I feel their prejudice against all white Christians is equally ignorant.

      The difference here is that you’re not just offering an opinion on what fruit you’d like us to buy. You seem to want to force us to buy certain fruit, or at the very least limit our purchasing options. You’d like to keep us from picking up an apple – however good that individual apple may be – simply because you’ve seen a bad apple before. I’m sorry, that just doesn’t fly. You don’t get to indict me, as an individual, for crimes other people committed just because I share a skin color, a race, a creed. I don’t care if it’s Nazis holding all Jews accountable for the supposed acts of a few, African Americans holding all white people now accountable for the sins of their ancestors, or US Nationalists wanting to usurp the rights of Muslims for WHAT THEY THINK – it’s unethical on every level. And, as someone who once considered myself very patriotic, and as someone who believes wholeheartedly in the limitations on government that our founders set forth, it really disturbs me to see so many people who pretend to stand against the tyranny of government but who are willing to step on the throat of individual sovereignty with a nationalist fervor that I can only imagine those founders would have been ashamed of. I’m done.

  6. crossofcrimson:

    There is a considerable cross-section of white Christians who believe that America deserves such attacks – and for many different reasons.

    Evidence?

    If 100% of Muslims thought the acts were justifiable, that in itself is not a crime.

    Not a crime, but certainly a good reason to cease Muslim immigration to the U.S.

    The crime is committing the act.

    Which Muslims are more than willing to do.

    And if you’re trying to put forward that an inability to distinguish the good fruit from the bad fruit (IE: who will commit such crimes vs those who won’t.) is a good reason to simply stomp on all the fruit, then you’re sinking into the same deplorable ethical bog of the people you’re so critical of.

    I have no desire to stomp on the fruit.

    As far as I’m concerned, you can buy whatever fruit you want. I believe in the freedom of association. If you don’t want to deal with Muslims for WHATEVER reason, I think you’re free to discriminate as you please.

    That’s not true, due to the civil rights act. And I can choose not to deal with Muslims, but if I criticize their religion, they will choose to deal with me.

    You don’t get to indict me, as an individual, for crimes other people committed just because I share a skin color, a race, a creed. I don’t care if it’s Nazis holding all Jews accountable for the supposed acts of a few

    Are Jews allowed to hold neo-nazis accountable for the acts of the past? Should they allow neo-nazis to build a holocaust denial museum in Israel? This is essentially what you are arguing. The beliefs held by the neo-nazis are irrelevant – the crime is harming people. We cannot discriminate based on creed or “WHAT THEY THINK”. Thus Israel should open its doors to neo-nazis and allow them to build all the Holocaust denial museums they desire. Correct?

    And, as someone who once considered myself very patriotic, and as someone who believes wholeheartedly in the limitations on government that our founders set forth, it really disturbs me to see so many people who pretend to stand against the tyranny of government but who are willing to step on the throat of individual sovereignty with a nationalist fervor that I can only imagine those founders would have been ashamed of.

    Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were informed by Tripoli’s ambassador that Muslims had the right to attack America because:

    It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every muslim who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy’s ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once.

    But I’m sure that after America was nearly bankrupted by paying tribute, and after being informed that Muslims were religiously permitted to attack them, and after having to construct a navy to defend against Muslim aggression, and after being forced into its first foreign war, that the founders would have welcomed Muslim immigrants to the U.S. with open arms, and invited them to build a mosque next to the liberty bell.

  7. Sorry to come late to the conversation, but, Jason, I have to take issue with one claim you made in your original post. You said that Cohen provides a “fantastic takedown of Republican demagoguery.” But the Cohen article you cite I don’t find convincing at all. It’s full of ad hominems, non-sequiturs, and exceedingly uncharitable characterizations of opposing views.

    I think building a mosque there is a terrible idea, though perhaps I will explain why in my own separate post. In any case, I don’t think Cohen’s article is anything worth praising.

  8. I think a separate post would be great. Over at Hit & Run, they’re also having a bit of a debate over the issue. I think Gingrich’s article was very poorly argued, precisely for the reasons that Cohen points out. I thought this point was particularly apropos:

    Gingrich noted that there “are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.” True enough. However, it is not the government of Saudi Arabia that seeks to open a mosque in Lower Manhattan, but a private group… I would also note that women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. Applying Gingrichian logic, it follows that no Muslim women should be allowed to drive in the United States and its possessions and territories…

    And this:

    After all, “they” are themselves intolerant, which not only means that we should be too but also raises the question of who “they” are. A fair parsing of his essay reveals almost nothing about the identities of this nefarious “they.” It seems to be the people who support the mosque as well as Muslims everywhere, a large and amorphous group whose commonality is the enmity of Gingrich himself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s