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Archive for August, 2010

I recently heard it said that liberals base their arguments on emotion while conservatives rely on reason. While I think it is true that modern liberals often appeal to emotion in order to advance their agenda (welfare, radical environmentalism, and such), they by no means hold a monopoly on the played-up emotional appeal. As with almost all examples of the liberal/conservative dichotomy, the two philosophies are remarkably similar in their use of this technique; they are the two sides of the same coin. A glaring use of emotion over reason is currently on display in the curious case of the Ground Zero Mosque.

It seems that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, has purchased the Burlington Coat Factory building near the 9/11 Ground Zero site for $4.85 million, and intends to turn the property into a new 13 story mosque and Islamic center. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved the project.

Outrage over the Ground Zero Mosque has poured forth from the conservative movement. The main points of their argument can be summed up in the online petition located at stopthemosquenow.com. The petition originated with the editors of the conservative organizations Human Events and Redstate.com. As you read the petition, notice the strong negative emotional language:

…the building, with its towering design, “triumphantlyā€¯ peering down on the hallowed ground…

…constructed with questionable funding on a deliberately insensitive location…

…not an issue of religious tolerance but of common decency…

…to build a mosque at Ground Zero is to stab at the hearts of those who lost loved ones…

…we sincerely request that you do everything in your power to put a halt to this outrage…

Notably missing from this petition and almost all conversations about the Ground Zero Mosque is the fundamental issue of property rights. A secure system of property rights is what has allowed the United States to become the most wealthy and prosperous nation on Earth. The simple fact that American citizens are allowed to earn, possess, and improve their personal property is the cornerstone of our economic prosperity. Conservatives currently claim to champion the cause of liberty, specifically economic liberty, yet, in this case, they allow their strong emotions of hatred and fear for Muslims to handcuff their reason.

There may be other factors involved, including where Imam Rauf obtained the funding to purchase and build his project, but the fundamental issue in the case of the Ground Zero Mosque is simple: the owner of the property, operating within the law, can build what he pleases, be it mosque, mall, or monument. That’s property rights; that’s liberty; that’s America.

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