Sunday, August 29, 2010

It Just Ain't Right

Despite Keith Olbermann's stern pronouncement (is anything that he says not stern) that "[The] country has begun to run on a horrible fuel of hatred", I am quite sure that opposition to the mosque is not powered by hatred, but by the sense of common decency that most people instinctively recognize.  As in, "you know Marge, sure those people have the right to build that dang 'ole mosque there by Ground Zero, but even though they have the right, it just ain't right.  Know what I mean?"  And don't lecture me about America and her citizens needing to live up to certain ideals as an example to the world of the inclusiveness and tolerance of American society.  Why do people continue to insist that the United States must prove its assertions of liberty and tolerance.  Why do so many refuse to give the United States the benefit of the doubt?  Would people from around the world clamor to come here if the United States was systematically racist, xenophobic, homophobic, islamophobic?  The U.S. is none of those things.  The city I live in has a prominent, long-standing middle-Eastern population, a bunch of middle-Eastern college students, and many middle-Eastern restaurants.  I have not yet detected any convulsions of hatred.

Supporting the GZ mosque on the basis of setting an example for the world is ridiculous.  It would be as naive as destroying all of our atomic weapons as an example to the world, and then crossing our fingers and hoping that other countries would do the same and not take advantage of the situation.  It would be as self-destructive as imposing harsh penalties on all forms of carbon dioxide emissions, as an example to the world of course, and then hoping that others would follow suit and not grab the jobs and the wealth and the carbon-emitting industry that would migrate, post-haste, to more business-friendly locales.  Why?  Because if the GZ mosque is built as planned it will serve not as an example of American tolerance, but of American decline. People around the world will look and say, "we would NEVER have allowed that in my country." Conversely, if it is not built, the vast majority of people will not see intolerance, but rather the common decency of a proper outcome.  And why is everybody talking only about the GZ mosque?  A similar "cultural center" was planned for central London, right next to the Olympic stadium that is being built for the 2012 Olympics.  Pressure from the community has halted those plans, for now at least.  What awful, xenophobic, racist islamophobes those Brits must be.

There is another reason to oppose.  The Imam who is leading the charge to build is moderate, so we are told, and only seeks to build bridges of understanding between Islam and the rest of American society.  This may be true, but I believe that Imam Rauf seeks to build bridges in order to condition people to aspects of the Islamic faith that they currently reject.  The Islam that is spreading around the world--and I believe the GZ mosque is a part of this--is not just a religion, serving only to facilitate and support the relationship between human beings and their God(s), but a political and legal system as well.  This system, Sharia, with its dictates on the status of women, homosexuality, finance, etc., is incompatible with enlightened western culture.  The two cannot co-exist.  Islam must modernize, reject Sharia, offer up to civil and government institutions the processes of politics and justice as other religions have done.  If Islam will accept that more limited role in secular societies, then it will be welcomed as all other religions are welcomed (though contrary to the horrible fuel of hatred that is supposedly consuming us, it is largely welcomed despite its political and legal ambitions), and people may be more willing to follow the letter of the law, and honor explicitly the RIGHT of Imam Rauf to build his mosque.  Until then, I stand with the majority.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The More Shining Beacons The Better!

Islands of Freedom!  What a great idea!

As the father of two young boys, I often wonder if the world they inherit will offer them the same opportunities for fulfillment, prosperity, joy, happiness, and freedom that I have had.  Lately, I've been thinking not, and there is nothing more depressing in the world than thinking of your beautiful children living their adult lives in a dreary, nanny-state world, bereft of opportunity and joy.  Perhaps this idea of free cities will preserve for them the blessed life that mine has heretofore been.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You go, girl!

Words of wisdom from Raheel Raza of the Muslim Canadian Congress by way of the Bill O'Reilly show.  And in print here with Tarek Fatah by way of the Ottawa Citizen.  Best part of the video is when she calls Mayor Bloomberg a "bleeding heart white liberal."

And check out the last sentence/paragraph of the article in the Citizen, where Raheel and Tarek reference how "the tyranny of Islamism ... is using liberalism itself to destroy liberal secular democratic societies from within."  This is EXACTLY the point of my article below.  The liberal left is overly tolerant of and blind, both wilfully, and through ignorance, to the danger of Islamic tyranny.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Intolerant? Only When Appropriate!

One of the more frequently used labels slapped on conservatives is that they are "intolerant."  I would, in fact, go so far as to say that many young people end up voting for Democratic candidates simply over the issue of "tolerance."  They're not really all that sure about all the taxing and spending that the Democrats are advocating, so they've had a few dark thoughts about voting for a Republican, but then they have all these really interesting friends who are like, really artistic and thoughtful and not materialistic at all, and yes they're gay, but they're SO COOL, and you know, the Republicans are just against those people.  And boom, they vote for the Democrat because of a perception that Republicans are staid and intolerant.

As in so many things, the devil is in the details, and the details in this circumstance are the meanings of words.  As a group, conservative people are not intolerant.  They may not care to indulge in this sort of lifestyle or that, and they might even disapprove, but they will most often tolerate different lifestyles, which is consistent with their general belief that people should be left alone to live their lives how they see fit.  It is on the lefty-liberal side of the fence that one most often encounters the true meaning of intolerance; for them the tolerance of conservatives is not enough.  Only approval, encouragement, and outright promotion of lifestyle alternatives other than traditional, western choices are sufficient evidence that conservatives are not racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and on and on.  And if you don't plan to adopt these positions willingly, then by God (oops, Gaia) they'll use the government to force them upon you.  So when it comes to live and let live in the good old U.S. of A., I submit that the right side of the political spectrum is more tolerant than the left.

The roles are reversed when it comes to evaluating the creeping threat of radical Islam.  This article from National Review by Claire Berlinski is a brilliant assessment of exactly where too much tolerance on that front can get you.  Given that radical Islam is so diametrically opposed to the left on issues such as the role of women in society, and homosexuality, where does this tolerance come from?  Two places, I think.  One is the moral relativism of the left, which suggests that no lifestyle, no culture, and no religion is any different, in a moral sense, than any other.  The other is their shared hatred of the cultural traditions of the west, like capitalism, and the aforementioned freedom to choose how to live your life.  It is a marriage of convenience, and should they ever succeed in their shared mission to supplant enlightened western culture with their own, they will fight each other for control just as the communists and the fascists battled for control of Europe in the 1920's and 1930's.  As Ms. Berlinski's article concludes, we must draw lines.