The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The New York Ground Zero mosque plan

Let us get two things straight here. First, we have freedom of religion in this country, so Muslims and everyone else have an absolute right to put up a house of worship in Lower Manhattan. But the second point is that there are enough people who feel this is offensive, because of the fact that the World Trade Center buildings were taken down by people acting in the name of Islam. And it would seem to me that the imam in charge of this project should realize that, in the current poisonous emotional climate, the last thing they should do is give offense to people who lost loved ones in the attack on the Trade Center. So I agree with many people that the proper thing to do is build the Islamic center, including a mosque, but in another place.

I am certain that there are Muslims, including the imam, who mean no harm to the USA. And I have to point out that many of the people opposing the mosque are Christians, which to me is a far worse religion in the way it has treated others. A case in point. The original plan was to call this Islamic center "Cordoba House." That would have been a great name. When Muslims controlled Spain, and Cordoba was its center, Jews and Christians lived in harmony with them. The moment that the Christians had their reconquest of the peninsula, they expelled all Jews and Muslims who would not convert, and even those who did convert were never thought of as fully equal. (Those who had been Jews were called "marranos," or "pigs"!)

People have said, "Let them build their mosque here when we can build synagogues or churches in Saudi Arabia." But it seems to me that the reason we think our way is better is that we have freedom, and the Saudis don't. Should we get down to their level? Then they have beaten us.

We need calmer heads to prevail. Build the mosque. But not two blocks from Ground Zero.

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