Demagoguing the Mosque

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Is the controversy
over building a mosque near ground zero a grand distraction or a
grand opportunity? Or is it, once again, grandiose demagoguery?

It has
been said, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Are we not
overly preoccupied with this controversy, now being used in various
ways by grandstanding politicians? It looks to me like the politicians
are “fiddling while the economy burns.

The debate
should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights
with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects
the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting
the building of the mosque.

Instead,
we hear lip service given to the property rights position while
demanding that the need to be “sensitive” requires an
all-out assault on the building of a mosque, several blocks from
“ground zero.”

Just
think of what might (not) have happened if the whole issue had been
ignored and the national debate stuck with war, peace, and prosperity.
There certainly would have been a lot less emotionalism on both
sides. The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque
debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom?

In my
opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual
war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly
justify it.

They never
miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for
the ill-conceived preventative wars. A select quote from soldiers
in Afghanistan and Iraq expressing concern over the mosque is pure
propaganda and an affront to their bravery and sacrifice.

The claim
is that we are in the Middle East to protect our liberties is misleading.
To continue this charade, millions of Muslims are indicted and we
are obligated to rescue them from their religious and political
leaders. And, we’re supposed to believe that abusing our liberties
here at home and pursuing unconstitutional wars overseas will solve
our problems.

The nineteen
suicide bombers didn’t come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan
or Iran. Fifteen came from our ally Saudi Arabia, a country that
harbors strong American resentment, yet we invade and occupy Iraq
where no al Qaeda existed prior to 9/11.

Many
fellow conservatives say they understand the property rights and
1st Amendment issues and don’t want a legal ban on building
the mosque. They just want everybody to be “sensitive”
and force, through public pressure, cancellation of the mosque construction.

This
sentiment seems to confirm that Islam itself is to be made the issue,
and radical religious Islamic views were the only reasons for 9/11.
If it became known that 9/11 resulted in part from a desire to retaliate
against what many Muslims saw as American aggression and occupation,
the need to demonize Islam would be difficult if not impossible.

There
is no doubt that a small portion of radical, angry Islamists do
want to kill us but the question remains, what exactly motivates
this hatred?

If Islam
is further discredited by making the building of the mosque the
issue, then the false justification for our wars in the Middle East
will continue to be acceptable.

The justification
to ban the mosque is no more rational than banning a soccer field
in the same place because all the suicide bombers loved to play
soccer.

Conservatives
are once again, unfortunately, failing to defend private property
rights, a policy we claim to cherish. In addition conservatives
missed a chance to challenge the hypocrisy of the left which now
claims they defend property rights of Muslims, yet rarely if ever,
the property rights of American private businesses.

Defending the
controversial use of property should be no more difficult than defending
the 1st Amendment principle of defending controversial speech. But
many conservatives and liberals do not want to diminish the hatred
for Islam — the driving emotion that keeps us in the wars in
the Middle East and Central Asia.

It is
repeatedly said that 64% of the people, after listening to the political
demagogues, don’t want the mosque to be built. What would we
do if 75% of the people insist that no more Catholic churches be
built in New York City? The point being is that majorities can become
oppressors of minority rights as well as individual dictators. Statistics
of support is irrelevant when it comes to the purpose of government
in a free society — protecting liberty.

The outcry
over the building of the mosque, near ground zero, implies that
Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to those
who are condemning the building of the mosque, the nineteen suicide
terrorists on 9/11 spoke for all Muslims. This is like blaming all
Christians for the wars of aggression and occupation because some
Christians supported the neo-conservative’s aggressive wars.

The House Speaker
is now treading on a slippery slope by demanding an investigation
to find out just who is funding the mosque — a bold rejection
of property rights, 1st Amendment rights, and the Rule of Law —
in order to look tough against Islam.

This
is all about hate and Islamaphobia.

We now
have an epidemic of “sunshine patriots” on both the right
and the left who are all for freedom, as long as there’s no
controversy and nobody is offended.

Political
demagoguery rules when truth and liberty are ignored.

See
the Ron Paul File

August
23, 2010

Dr. Ron
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

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