Posted by Tom Knapp at Kn@ppster. Knapp has held various internal offices in and sought public office under the banners of the Libertarian and Boston Tea Parties. :
People who refer to themselves as “libertarians” spend a lot of time arguing over exactly what they mean by “libertarian.”
Personally, I try to be fairly “big tent,” figuring that people who once self-identify as libertarian tend to get more consistently libertarian after doing so, if they’re a) accepted and b) encouraged to explore libertarian ideas, instead of just slapped around for whatever deviations they still cling to.
So, when I disagree on this or that issue with someone who self-identifies as a libertarian, I generally try to frame that disagreement not as a negative verdict on the other person’s libertarianism, but rather as a possible error on their part as to how libertarian ideas apply to that particular issue.
But the fact is that there are some people who call themselves libertarians who … well, just ain’t libertarians. And the facts on some issues are so incredibly clear that it’s possible to use those issues as litmus tests. If you’re on one side of the issue, you may be a libertarian. If you’re on the other side, no, you aren’t.
One such issue is — to use the phrase fraudulently coined by its opponents — is the “Ground Zero Mosque.”
We’ll get to the fraud in a moment, but it’s really a secondary thing, a side effect. The important part in treating it as a litmus test is this:
If you support private property rights and freedom of religion, you may be a libertarian.
If you don’t support private property rights and freedom of religion, you aren’t a libertarian.
Cordoba House, the project being fraudulently referred to as a “mosque” by those attempting to prevent its construction, is planned for construction on private property and with private funds.
The opponents of Cordoba House are attempting to stop its construction by persuading a government board to declare the building currenly standing at the project’s prospective location “historic” so that the owners can be forced to “preserve” it and forbidden to demolish it and build a structure more to their liking there.
The opponents of Cordoba House oppose private property rights. Their opposition to private property rights stems from their opposition to freedom of religion. They are, therefore, not libertarians.
They’re also either liars or idiots, and the evidence points strongly to the former. Here’s the skinny:
Cordoba House is not a “mosque.” It’s an “Islamic cultural center,” which is no more a “mosque” than your local YMCA is a “cathedral.”
The construction site for Cordoba House is not at “Ground Zero.” It’s two blocks away, on Park Place between West Broadway and Church Street (and, FWIW, farther away from “Ground Zero” than St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church or St. Paul’s Chapel).
The opponents of Cordoba House generally claim to have knowledge of Islam beyond that of us non-Muslims who don’t obsess over who’s worshiping where. For example, they like to cite chapter and verse on the historical penchant of Muslim conquerors for building mosques on prominent conquered sites.
If they know that much, then presumably they’re not idiots — and if they’re not idiots they also know by now that Cordoba House isn’t a mosque. From that, it follows that they are just lying about it because lying seems more likely to get them what they want.
If they can use Google Maps (and if they can blog, they can surely use Google Maps) they also know that Cordoba House’s construction site isn’t at Ground Zero. From that, once again, it follows that they’re lying because they know that the facts aren’t as emotionally compelling as the fairy tale they’re pushing.
The whole “Ground Zero Mosque” meme is fraudulent in the classic sense: It’s an attempt at theft by deception. By convincing people that a cultural center is a mosque, and that “Ground Zero” is located two blocks north of where it’s actually located, they hope to build popular support for their call on government to steal some things — a piece of land, a building, and the religious freedom of the land/building’s owners — for them.
And fraud, a/k/a theft by deception, isn’t libertarian either.
(end of Knapp’s article).
In related news: George Phillies writes in IPR comments:
Meanwhile the LP has stood up for private property and freedom of religion
http://www.lp.org/blogs/kyle/intern-blog-build-the-islamic-cultural-center and is being vigorously attacked
–by its own National Committee.
By its own Committee? From LNC-Discuss and the LNC, where my sources asked me to paraphrase on this issue,
To start with the good, to his credit Dan Wiener urged that we should argue against legal limits based on religious issues’ [Indeed, the article is not well-served by its title, which is much closer to ‘allow to build’ than ‘build’.]
But David Nolan urges that we should avoid ‘unnecessary controversies’ , because this issue is outside the platform. To which I say ‘I’m sorry, but a libertarian party that thinks freedom of religion and use of private property is outside the platform has missed the boat.’
and Kevin Knedler apparently says that our candidates do not need to add this issue to their “explanation” list.
Wayne Root claims that this issue is prominent on his list of “no no’s” that destroy and damage our reputation with what he views to be mainstream voters.
And Aaron Starr, who is now Treasurer of the Libertarian National Congressional Committee, questions if this topic will resonate with the American public — one might propose that among the millions of Americans who are Islamites, the answer is a resounding affirmative.
To finish with other end, Alicia Mattson asks “Do any of us deny that there are fundamentalist Islamic sects that are extremist, advocate and carry out terrorism, and randomly murder innocent people???”
to which I answer: Fundamentalist sects? Yes, anyone more than marginally literate and familiar with the issue would question her claim. The people who do shooting at Americans are doing it as members of political organizations, e.g. Al Qaida, the Afghani Student Party. The people in Iraq who shoot at us include socialists, people whose country we conquered, and if you must bring up claims about Shi’a Islam, well, the reasonable analogies are that Shi’ite Islam is in many ways other than the actual teachings of its Prophet like Orthodox Christianity, while the Saudi Wahabbi Islam with its emphasis on the holy text –nothing but the book– is very close in its ’stay with the text’ teaching to the teachings — for a different faith — of Martin Luther.
The LP blog referred to by Dr. Phillies above is available for public comment on IPR here.
Also, in the last week, New York gubernatorial candidates Warren Redlich (Libertarian), Kristin Davis (Anti-Prohibition) and Carl Paladino (Taxpayers)
have commented on the issue.