Friday, August 20, 2010

Moral Myopia at Ground Zero - Krauthammer

Moral Myopia at Ground Zero

It’s hard to be an Obama sycophant these days. Your hero delivers a Ramadan speech roundly supporting the building of a mosque and Islamic center at Ground Zero in New York. Your heart swells and you’re moved to declare this President Obama’s finest hour, his act of greatest courage.
Alas, the next day, at a remove of 800 miles, Obama explains that he was only talking about the legality of the thing and not the wisdom — upon which he does not make, and will not make, any judgment.
You’re left looking like a fool because now Obama has said exactly nothing: No one disputes the right to build; the whole debate is about the propriety, the decency of doing so.
At least Richard Cohen of the Washington Post tries to grapple with the issue of sanctity and sensitivity. The results, however, are not pretty. He concedes that putting up a Japanese cultural center at Pearl Harbor would be offensive, but then dismisses the analogy to Ground Zero because 9/11 was merely “a rogue act, committed by 20 or so crazed samurai.”
Obtuseness of this magnitude can only be deliberate. These weren’t crazies; they were methodical, focused, steel-nerved operatives. Nor were they freelance rogues. They were the leading, and most successful, edge of a worldwide movement of radical Islamists with cells in every continent, with worldwide financial and theological support, with a massive media and propaganda arm, and with an archipelago of local sympathizers, as in northwestern Pakistan, who protect and guard them.
It's a good piece, as is usually the case for Krauthammer pieces, but there's a sub-head to the title that caught my eye:
Supporters of the mosque fail to see its true significance.
That statement is false.  But to see it, we have to divide people not into two groups, but three.  It's easy to talk about there being "supporters" and "opponents" but that's too simplistic.  There are supporters, and that group consists of the people trying to build the mosque (community center, learning annex, whatever else they're calling it today) and their supporters, many, if not most, of whom are overseas in the "Muslim street."  There are definitely opponents, who feel that the site is inappropriate and insensitive to the feelings of Americans who lost loved ones (and most other Americans as well).  I think it's fair to say that most of the people in both of those groups see and understand the "true significance."  

But there's a third group, and that's the group that does doggedly and determinedly "fail to see its true significance."  Those are the American liberals, who cannot be truly said to be supporters of the mosque, because they really don't care whether it's there or not.  (Many of them would tend, as a default position, to be against places of worship rather than for them, too.)  No, they "support" it only because the opponents oppose it.  They aren't supporters, they're "opponent-opponents."

They aren't in favor of the mosque, they're in favor of calling their more conservative American brethren "bigots," because that makes them feel morally superior.  It gives them an opportunity to exercise their dudgeon, flaunt their moral superiority and cast the same aspersions at conservatives that they always cast - that the conservatives are intolerant, closed-minded, bigoted racists.  They don't care that the true supporters are calling it Cordoba house, after the site in Spain that represented the high point of the Muslim penetration of Europe, that they planned to open it on September 11, 2011, that every Islamist in every corner of the earth would look at it as marking an important Muslim victory.  No, the "nuanced" thinkers of the American left, those who can find racist code words in a discussion of whether "taxes" are too high, are perfectly happy with blatant anti-American, anti-freedom symbolism as long as they can maintain a fig leaf of neutrality and beat on conservatives as bigots.

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