Thursday, September 9, 2010

The strawman Mosque argument

The discussion of the proposed construction of a Mosque at Ground Zero is a testament to our time.  And once again the press and Progressives have erected a vulgar straw man in which to insult the American public; anyone who stands against the mosque is a bigot who does not understand property rights.  That makes roughly 70% of the population on the wrong side of intelligent conversation.  Really?

But the logical argument against the Mosque, voiced by many, has nothing to do with religious freedom or property rights.

Effective property rights and markets imply a constructive, open, honest and empathetic emotional and spiritual stance to others. One does not bully one's way into business, relationships, sales, or lives.  As the saying goes, "Screw me once, shame on you.  Screw me twice, shame on me." Any effective entrepreneur or employee in a free market understands the importance of good will and value in business dealings.  

Especially in free markets where trust and respect define goodwill and constructive dealings, one goes out of one's way to avoid ANY sense of impropriety. It's not only good manners, it's good business.  It is purely a sense of humble respect and decorum. 

Like any market transaction, the Imam has every right to build the mosque wherever he pleases.  Building the mosque has nothing to do with property rights.  But like any action in a society based on good will, he must be fully aware that his neighbors will remember that decision midst the atmosphere in which he made it.

Neither do objections to building the mosque have anything to do with suborning religious opinion.  There are thousands of Mosques across the nation with hundreds in New York alone.  But suggestions that 9/11 had nothing to do with Islam are willfully obtuse.  It is not that objectors to the mosque equate Islam with terrorism.  It is that no reminder, however slim, should invade the sensitivities, whatever they are, of people of goodwill and memory.  It matters not what the Imam believes, or the principle of the matter.  It is the perceptions of the neighbors that matter.

Let them build the mosque. They have every right. But it does not make it appropriate. I for one would never take the contract on the material, or agree to help build it, just as I would not help Catholic nuns build a prayer building near Auschwitz (the Pope stopped them).  Insisting on the mosque is a boorish and insensitive move.  Period.

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