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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My first and only thoughts on the "Ground Zero mosque"

I can't take it anymore. Conservatives are full of crap. It's beyond my faculties to continue to try and understand the degree to which these people are able to take a blowtorch to even the most simple of logical concepts.

I've been watching many conservative friends bitch, moan and fumigate over the "Islamic community center" being established a few blocks away from the former World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan like it's the most important national development since the Emancipation Proclamation.

Now, in all honesty, I'm not beyond understanding why said people are offended. It's not very difficult to understand. Another question is about whether I care that they're offended. I don't care that they're offended for the same reason I don't care if Richard Warman is offended by swastikas. Or whether Marlene Jennings is offended by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog making jokes about Francophone Canadians.

Do you see this piece of dirt on my shoe? I care about it as much as I care about how much you're offended.

Jokers to the left of me, jokers to the right, indeed.

I'll be honest with you, I haven't researched the "facts" in this case. Nor do I have to. All I know, and have to know for that matter, is that a group of individuals who hail from one of the major Abrahamic religions, worshipping an invisible man in the sky, have bought some land or signed a lease, or come to some memorandum of understanding to build an "Islamic community centre" within a few minutes' walk of the former World Trade Center site in Manhattan.

Some have noted that there's really no Islamic community within the vicinity to warrant such a venture, and that the whole exercise amounts to being the placement of an "Islamic victory mosque", despite the fact that it's not actually a mosque.

Now, considering that I've known many-a-conservative-Muslim to be pretty batshit crazy, I wouldn't put such a conspiracy past some in that community. But they have a right to be batshit crazy, as much as Jack Van Impe -- winner of the Ig Nobel Prize in Physics for allegedly determining that black holes are gateways to hell -- is batshit crazy. And I'd put real money on the fact that Jack Van Impe wouldn't do well in a psychological evaluation. Or Rexella for that matter.

But seriously, this underscores why conservatives and libertarians just can't get along. And while I've taken note of some of my quote-unquote "libertarian leaning" conservative friends who've pretty much thrown in with the crowd of "please, government, please, make it illegal for Muslims to open a community centre near these hallowed grounds" -- I won't name any names, because well, I value my friendships with one or two of them.

But let's break down what we can deduce about conservative views on property rights and freedom of association. It seems this is the definition of property rights in the conservative lexicon as far as I can tell: Property rights should be protected as sacrosanct. Unless the owner of such property is a Muslim, or some other person or group who elicit cultural or political offence in the eyes of the Judeo-Christian majority. In such cases, these people's property rights should be abridged. After all, if we were in Saudi Arabia that's what the Muslim animals would do to us! Fair is fair!

Conservative readers, correct me if I misinterpreted your view, worthy of someone with the intellectual development of an eight-year old.

When Ezra Levant was dragged before the Alberta Human Rights Commission, you sure espoused the values of respecting a plurality of religious and political views. It was a convenient argument then. Now the convenient argument is to base legal calculations on the sensitivity of Christians, Jews, and assorted other people who happen to dislike Islam.

I can count myself in that latter category, but I'll spoil your brief reprieve by informing you of my dislike for Christianity and Judaism, too.

If a group of Muslims want to set up a "community center" and spend over a hundred million dollars on it, let them. The location is apparently over a 20-minute drive from any sizeable Muslim community, and on such prime real estate, you can rest assured that this "symbolism" is coming at an extremely high cost. And if it really bugs you, that you're willing to fork out a few hundred million yourself, you can set up a bunch of restaurants in the immediate vicinity that serve only pork dishes during Ramadan. Or a gay bar.

Truth be told, I won't care either way. You can all waste your money for all I care. But the magic of the free market leaves these childish options open to you.

Posted by Mike Brock on August 11, 2010 | Permalink


I get what you are saying Mike. The problem I have is how radical Islam is a present day threat that intends to use democracy and the legal system to make Islamic states wherever they go. Whether they ever succeed in even a single democratic country remains to be seen. But that is basically their stated goal.

So the battle here shouldn't be with this mosque but in vigorously defending freedom and property rights.

Posted by: TM | 2010-08-11 11:28:58 PM

Hi Mike. I'm a libertarian when it comes to property rights. In my Sun column against the Ground Zero mosque, I pointed out that one of the differences between Saudi Arabia and America (and Canada, more or less) is that we allow people, even those we find odious, to build whatever they like on their property. In other words, it's legal, but morally wrong.

This mega-mosque is being proposed by a bigoted 9/11 truther who supports Hamas, says Americans were "accessories" to the terrorist attacks against it, and won't accept that bin Laden was responsible.

It's legal, but it's utterly tasteless and politically foolish -- and will set back Muslim-Gentile relations.



Posted by: Ezra Levant | 2010-08-12 12:00:36 AM


People who self-identify as "conservative" tend to be 5 foundational in terms of their moral "language". And while being 5 foundational (as opposed to 2 foundational like libertarians) is the norm and a sort of default state, it is not logically consistent.

Expecting logical consistency in moral "calculations" from anyone who expresses a 5 foundation morality is futile. They are what they are and are making their moral "calculations" driven by "instincts" (much much more so than libertarians).

Posted by: wreaver | 2010-08-12 1:16:22 AM

It isn't a 'community centre', Mike, it's a 'mosque' no matter the spin. As in Cordoba Spain and other historical places, it will represent victory for radical Islam.

And a slap in the face to the families of the victims.

But perhaps the real issue is this: many who are opposed to this idea are opposed to radical Islam. Maybe you don't see a threat, but some of us learned a valuable lesson on 9/11 (as well as the hundreds of other Islamic terrorist incidents).

One can be a 'libertarian' and still know right from wrong.

Posted by: Leigh Patrick Sullivan | 2010-08-12 5:39:31 AM

Leigh, to put a D&D spin on it, the main difference between conservatives and libertarians is one of alignment. Conservatives tend to be lawful good (Superman, Abraham Lincoln, most cops) or neutral good (Batman, George W. Bush, myself). Libertarians, on the other hand, tend to be chaotic good (Robin Hood, Bob Hunter, "good" vigilantes) or chaotic neutral (Conan the Cimmerian, Marc Emery). I'll avoid the evil alignments here because, frankly, they seldom set the tone for the group as a whole.

The primary difference between the lawful, neutral, and chaotic alignments is respect for law, order, authority, and tradition. "Lawful" types always obey the law; "neutral" types are willing to bend or sometimes break it to see justice done; "chaotic" types have no use for it at all, considering it a tool of oppression. Note that both lawful good and chaotic good place a high value on the common good; the difference lies in the belief as how to best achieve it. Lawful (and to a lesser extent neutral) types believe a strong, fair law is the best way; chaotic types believe the absence of law is the best way. And those two positions are simply irreconcilable. That is why conservatives and libertarians are alike, yet different, as observed by numerous commentators and even each other.

The chaotics are operating at a disadvantage, however. Since no society of which I am aware has ever been without some form of law and survived, they by definition remain perpetually on the fringes no matter how much the law changes; society simply favours the lawful types. Even Adolf Hitler was lawful evil, not chaotic evil. But then, chaotics value nothing more than marching to the beat of their own drummer, so its doubtful they'd have it any other way.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-08-12 7:40:56 AM

So, Shane, are you saying it should be made illegal for them to build their mosque or not?

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-08-12 8:18:58 AM

No, it should not be made illegal. It is their right to incur the enmity of their host community if they want to. Building this mosque is a "victimless" act, even by my standards, and it's hard to argue that the presence of a house of worship perverts the public's morals.

P.S. I thought your initial thoughts above were to be your only thoughts?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-08-12 8:28:28 AM

I wasn't offering any new thoughts. I was trying to keep the thread on topic for once.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-08-12 10:35:57 AM


First, I quite agree with you that there are Muslims out there who would like to see more Islamic states. Many of them are probably living in Canada and the U.S. right now. But do you think that's the majority of Muslims? I don't think it's ridiculous to imagine that most Muslims pick and choose which doctrines they wish to follow in their holy book. But the real issue is whether we respect property rights or not. As long as they are not causing damage to anyone else, it would be very difficult for someone who believes in liberty to be in favour of blocking the construction of the mosque / community centre (or whatever it is).

Posted by: Charles | 2010-08-12 11:20:52 AM

I think Kissinger was on the right track when he indicated, as above, a basic tension in American politics between responding to the means of change and the change itself.

In this context, should Americans only oppose threats to their national interests which are also illegal acts? Or, should they be less than welcoming to threats to their national interests regardless what form they take?

The embarrassingly, facile interpretation - more explicitly stated by Mike Brock than by the more lucid opponents of the GZ mosque - is that if we are to resist threats regardless of their legality, we must ipso facto break the law.

This is absolutely ridiculous. There is a vast difference between resisting fundamental dangers which take a legal avenue of attack and resisting dangers by taking up illegal methods. (Such as "banning" the mosque, or otherwise violating the american constitutions.)

Until we know what our interests are, there is little point in debating the mechanics of defending them - which is precisely what gives rise to these ludicrous misrepresentations.

Posted by: Timothy | 2010-08-12 8:01:27 PM

Legally do they have the right? Unfortunately yes. What I like is that this is supposedly going to be an community centre that will bring people together. How does putting it so close to Ground Zero bring people together? I know that Mike hates christians but it was not them that plowed two planes into the towers. It was 19 muslim terrorists! There were also widespread demonstrations in support of the attack in Jordan, Eygpt, and even one Arab neighborhood in New Jersey. Does this make all Muslims guilty? No! However, it does mean that they should be especially sensitive to the concern of others. Would Mike be so supportive if the supporters of a fascist group built a shop on the grounds of a concentration camp? Tolerance is a 2-way street. When am I going to finally see some tolerance on the Muslim side? As far as Mike goes, well I've learned to be forever disappointed by the person he has become. He is supposed to be mr. perfect libertarian. However, the man has a problem standing up to muslim trangressions. He'll bash a christian, a jew, a mormon, a cop, a pro-lifer, etc. Yet, he never really comes out and bashes muslim extremists. He either ignores or is too full of crap to admit that there are radicals who must be confronted. It is amazing that two courageous libertarians(like the producers of South Park) are more than willing to stand up to the hate of the muslim extremists but Mike is not. Bash christians, jews, cops, and social conservatives all you want but none of them will issue a fatwa against you! You are nothing more than a spoiled teenager in a man's body. Almost 3,000 innocents died at Ground Zero. This "cultural center" is like peeing on their remains. Unfortuanately, Mike your callousness is the equivalent of blowing your nose on their tombstones.

Posted by: Jason | 2010-08-12 8:49:51 PM

"Yet, he never really comes out and bashes muslim extremists. He either ignores or is too full of crap to admit that there are radicals who must be confronted. It is amazing that two courageous libertarians(like the producers of South Park) are more than willing to stand up to the hate of the muslim extremists but Mike is not."

Bullshit. I've been more than forthcoming in my admission that radical Islam is a real security threat. I also have no problem admitting, that on balance, Islam is the least progressive and in some cases, regressive major religions.

What the hell are you talking about?

My criticisms of radical Islam are vast, documented and decisive.

But, unlike you, I have the capacity for objectivity. I recognize, that any citizen who is abiding the law, whether Muslim or Christian, has a right to acquire, use and dispose of private property as they see fit.

I support the right or Christians, Hindus and Jews to have and dog walking parade in front of the Mosque during Ramadan. As much as I support the right of idiot artists to defecate on images of the Virgin Mary and call it "art".

The difference between you and me, is that my support for the principles of freedom of expression truly are consistent. Not just asserted when it's politically or ideologically convenient.

There's no hypocrisy in my views at all. That's just a ridiculous manifestation of your brain's feeble attempts to overcome the obvious dilemma you face: you either believe in the rights you pretend to cherish, or you're just as much a theocrat as those you despise. Take your pick.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-08-12 9:25:56 PM

Ugh, Mike this is NOT about property rights. This is about OCCUPATION. America is the Moslem's bitch and they know it. They attacked on 911 and now they symbolize that they have conquered with this mosque. Seriously, if you are so against collectivism then oppose the ultimate religion of collectivism - Islam. The religion is about conquest and living off the fruits of those they conquer - as they did by taxing the 3rd class citizens of their empire since day 1.

Posted by: Faramir | 2010-08-13 7:24:21 PM

So, Mike disagrees with the opinions of most Americans. Wow, that hurts! I'm sure the American population will be traumatized by that! Mike has less influence here than Leslie Nielsen has on Canadian politics! Although in fairness, I think it would be interesting to see how Canada would be run if Lt. Frank Devrin from Police Squad was Prime Minister! Mike can whine,rant, and curse all he wants but Americans are actually pretty conservative(and religious). Oh, get ready for a remark from Mike insulting such people as either stupid or uninformed bigots! So, you may not win many converts to your idea by trashing the faithful or conservative leaning people. I recommend taking a page from guys like Rand Paul. Mike thinks that he has the conservative masses down here figured out. Well fine! I don't remember anywhere in my reading of the Constitution where it said I had to take lessons from the man in loyalist loving Ontario. You rant and whine like you are this doctoral student on campus who think he has discovered the meaning of life itself. Well, you haven't got things figured out and most of those students are professional b.s. artists! You think that you are a real rebel because you mix libertarianism with anti-religious fervor and a nice dose of politically correct social liberalism. All you have done is buy into the prevailing political winds in Toronto on social and religious issues. You are as much a rebel as a Democrat at Harvard University. The real rebels are the ones that grow up in places like Toronto and still come out loud and proud with views that lean to the right. So go ahead yell to the moon that the right and libertarians have nothing in common. Tell the libertarians of Canada that the left is the only game in town on many issues. It will make you more acceptable to your neighbors in Liberal dominated Toronto. It will allow you to win more invitations to the parties of the Toronto cultural elite. It may get you more gigs on the CBC. However, it will do nothing to make libertarianism any more relevant up there than it is down here. Little advice for a libertarian hoping to make inroads in the United States. Gallup polling shows that 2/3rds of Americans say religion is very or extremely important to them. When you mock those who believe you lose that 67% off the bat and you have no chance of successfully winning over the public. Has anyone up there looked at the Tea Party backed candidates who are running for office in America? They are almost entirely a mix of economic libertarians and social conservatives(pro-death penalty, pro-2nd amendment, opposed to abortion). why is that? That is because this is where the American mainstream is! You may not like it. Well, guess what! I don't like the fact that the Reform Party never became the ruling party in Canada. I never understood how you guys could vote for the Liberals under Chretrien or the so-called conservative schmucks who led the PC's(Jean Charest,or that guy from Calgary Centre). I still think Preston Manning would have made a far better prime minister than the alternatives! However, your country seems to have an addiction to the Liberals. They are the only party that Canada ever seems to be willing to give majority governments too. But in the whole scheme of things, I have to smile and realize that thats the way Canadians want it! The same goes for you. I don't tell you how to act as far as events that affect Canada. Don't tell me how I should act over events that affect America. Your doing so smacks a little of cultural imperialism to me.

Posted by: Dan | 2010-08-13 7:48:26 PM


Well, you know I grew up in a socially conservative suburb. And spent about a third of my life in the Bible belt of America. The first time I lived in Toronto was 2003.

But that's besides the point.

I'm not telling American's how to live, but I am certainly standing up for the values of the American constitution. You know, that founding document that ensures that all men are
created equal and that the government shall not make laws respecting the establishment of religion or the free practice thereof.

I don't seem to remember the framers ever suggesting that equal treatment before the law was subject to popular approval. In fact, the limitations on government were designed precisely to limit the sort of populist shit you espouse.

The funny thing, is yes, this Canadian has more of an affection for the core principles of the American Republic than you.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-08-13 8:05:17 PM

Mike, so you are rooting for the Islamic downfall of the United States? Because that will be the result of the mosque being built.

Posted by: Faramir | 2010-08-13 8:10:42 PM

Yeah, totally. That's exactly it.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-08-13 8:58:11 PM

My God, the Muslims are just asking to be loved here! I would like to build a church or temple in Mecca! The mosque is about sticking the actions of 19 extremists in the faces of Americans. Look no further than the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This is supposedly where Mohammed ascended into heaven and it just happens to be on time of the old destroyed Jewish temple. You know the one where jews pray at the one temple side called the wailing wall! How would the Muslim world be if a group of Americans committed an act similiar to 9/11 and then a christian group wanted to put up a church at the site? Would Brock support their free speech rights? But the Muslims can rest easy, the west will continue to be politically correct and fight with one hand tied behind our backs to make them feel better. So, it will continue forever! The Muslim population will cower and let their radicals call all the shots(and careless slaughter man, woman, and child for their twisted goals) in the name of worldwide jihad. Meanwhile, we in the west will carefully balance our use of force so as not to enrage the liberal media or the bleeding hearts as they sit down to watch the news with their morning coffee. God forbid that they recognize that they we are dealing with modern nazis and stand up to them!

Posted by: Alfonso | 2010-08-15 10:44:13 PM

For me, the location of the building and the religion it's devoted to are irrelevant. However, IF columnists like Andrew McCarthy are correct about the links that the financial backers and the leaders have to terrorist organizations, then I see no reason why this particular organization cannot be investigated.

If there is sufficient evidence that the developers qualify as a "criminal organization" then there would be justification for stopping the construction, just as there is justification for shutting down a Hells Angels club house, or a crack house, etc...

However, that is a big "if". Law enforcement officials would have to put together a very good case that the developers are a criminal organization.

Beyond that one condition, there would be no other good reason for government to get in the way of construction.

But people are still allowed to be offended. Liberty doesn't mean you only support "correct" opinions.

Posted by: Anonymouse | 2010-08-16 3:06:22 PM

It might all be moot. According to The Daily Caller, they've agreed to move to a different site.


Posted by: Anonymouse | 2010-08-16 3:46:32 PM

Mike, regarding your mention of Jack and Rozella Van Impe not passing a psychological evaluation, if given. Anyone who makes an assessment as you did due to the fact that their views differ from yours, has already failed the psychological evaluation. You have not done your homework....read the assessments of a "Psychological Evaluation" ... you just revealed your own deficiency.

Posted by: susan | 2010-09-01 1:27:02 PM

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