Multifarious Means To A Tyrannical End

Steven Kelley

Roger Kimball cuts through all the politically correct pablum about Islam:

This is delicious: Supporters of the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” are so desperate that they are calling on the Great Satan himself — that’s President George W. Bush to you and me — to support the project. Yes, that’s right: all those “Bush=Hitler” signs have been temporarily retired as the large left flank of the commentariat casts about for authoritative voices to help them put through this project to besmirch the memories of the nearly 3000 people who died at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001. So we have the comedic spectacle of Maureen Dowd — Maureen Dowd! — writing in the New York Times that “it’s time for W. to weigh in,” explaining that the former president “understands” — when was the last time Maureen Dowd accused George W. Bush of understanding anything? — that “you can’t have an effective war against the terrorists if it is a war on Islam.”…

Now it’s true that President Bush muddied the waters when he proclaimed, a few days after 9/11, that Islam means “peace.” In fact, the word Islam means “submission,” as in submission to the will of Allah, given to a grateful mankind through the teachings of a Dark Ages warrior, mystic, and polygamist, and codified in the stern imperatives of Islamic law, a.k.a. Shariah. Still, while Bush said “Islam is peace” and hosted, as did Bill Clinton, iftar dinners at the White House, his actions clearly showed that he understood that the battle against terrorism was much broader than a battle against al-Qaeda.

My own view, which I’ve stated in this space before, is that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with “foundational Western values like free speech, the separation of church and state, and equality under the law. Such things are not simply missing from Islam: they are positively repudiated by Islam.”…

President Obama did an enormous amount to muddy the waters by publicly informing us that “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan in accordance with local laws and ordinances.”

Thanks for the civics lesson, Prez! The problem is, no one disputes that right. That is, no one in this country disputes — but don’t go trying to hold a Mass, build a church or temple, or sell a Bible in Saudi Arabia. Thinking of traveling to Mecca for your next vacation? If you’re not Muslim you can’t go there; it is against the law. It might indeed be interesting to have a discussion about rights in a country like Saudi Arabia or elsewhere in the Muslim world. For those of us fortunate enough to live in Western democracies, however, our lives are governed not only by formal rights but a tapestry of other considerations… the fact that one has an abstract right to do something does not entail that one has license to do it regardless of other considerations. Rights are embedded in larger social imperatives that direct and qualify how they may be exercised. There are plenty of things you may have a right to do but that would be wrong to attempt. The philosopher John Searle touched on one aspect of this fact when he noted:

“From the proposition that one has a right to do something it does not follow that it is a right or even a morally permissible thing to do. Any healthy human institution—family, state, university, or ski team—grants its members rights that far exceed the bounds of morally acceptable behavior. There are many reasons for this. One is that the flexibility necessary for free, successful, and creative behavior requires a big gulf between what the institution grants by way of rights and what it has to expect if it is to succeed. The gulf between the rights granted and the performance expected is bridged by the responsibility of the members.”

Muslims have a right to build houses of worship in the United States. That does not mean that it is morally permissible for them to build one at Ground Zero…

The bottom line is this: Islam is a proselytizing, intolerant religion. Its aim is to institute Sharia as the “sole reference point for . . . ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community . . . and state.” That is the end. The means are multifarious. Steering commercial aircraft into American skyscrapers is only one tactic. Using and abusing liberal democratic freedoms in order to promulgate an ideology that is neither liberal nor democratic is less ostentatious but may in the end be more effective precisely because it is less dramatic. This is the lasting significance of the case of the Ground Zero mosque. It represents another step on the march to Islamize the West…

The Professor

Andrew Cline on our “lecturer in chief”:

…Obama just can’t help himself. It’s impulse. Every time he sees the American people, in their infinite and confounding ignorance, pursuing a course they shouldn’t, he intervenes to correct them. Such is the view from the clouds on which he placidly floats above us all.

Most politicians speak of the wisdom of the American people. Some even believe it. But not Obama. Time and time again, he takes to the lectern to scold or educate us.

Last Friday, he needlessly jumped into a percolating political controversy — again — to enlighten the uneducated masses. This time the subject was the Islamic cultural center proposed to be built two blocks from Ground Zero, where Islamist terrorists murdered more than 2,700 Americans.

“The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country,” he said, beginning what was to be yet another lecture on what he sees as our failure as a people to live up to our values. “And the pain and the experience of suffering by those who lost loved ones is just unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. And ground zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.

“But let me be clear. As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”

No one can pack more conceit, more condescension, into two little paragraphs than Barack Obama can. In the first paragraph, he establishes that opponents of the Islamic center are reacting purely emotionally. “I understand the emotions that this issue engenders.” In the second, he informs us that, as an enlightened being, he sees this issue properly — it’s about freedom of religion. Appealing to our reverence for the Constitution, he states that “our commitment” (all Americans are bound by creed to agree on this) “must be unshakable.”

These are not the words of a president attempting to lead and unite a nation. They are the words of an academic attempting to instruct a class that he considers particularly thick-headed. And they came unprompted. He didn’t have to address the issue at all. He wanted to. He needed to. His conscience compelled him to…

Obama has never transitioned from his former job as a college lecturer. The reason is that he really doesn’t see his new job as that different. It just has more perks, such as the ability to use force when persuasion fails. And the ability to have paid staffers step forward to clarify one’s ill-considered remarks…

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