Saturday, August 21, 2010

Everybody's got one, and they all stink


Dianna Meeks, in comment #21 on this post at The Other McCain, writes:

"[Y]ou need to realize that the many people who oppose [the Cordoba House project] also have the right to express their opinion about it without their opinions being denigrated."

Everyone has a right to express his or her opinion.

Nobody has a right to express his or her opinion without it being denigrated.

An opinion not grounded in fact deserves to be "denigrated" (denigrate 1: to attack the reputation of: DEFAME .... 2: to deny the importance or validity of : belittle). As Daniel Patrick Moynihan (or perhaps it was James R. Schlesinger) said, "You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts."

The lower Manhattan building that will possibly house the Cordoba Initiative Mosque and Cultural Center is seen in New York August 16, 2010. The project, planned near the "ground zero" site of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, has emerged as an emotional issue 2-1/2 months before U.S. congressional elections in which Republicans are trying to take back control of Congress from Obama's fellow Democrats. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: RELIGION POLITICS IMAGES OF THE DAY)
The lower Manhattan building that will possibly house the Cordoba Initiative Mosque and Cultural Center is seen in New York August 16, 2010. The project, planned near the "ground zero" site of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, has emerged as an emotional issue 2-1/2 months before U.S. congressional elections in which Republicans are trying to take back control of Congress from Obama's fellow Democrats. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: RELIGION POLITICS IMAGES OF THE DAY)
An opinion describing the Cordoba House Project as "the Ground Zero mosque" is not grounded in fact.

It's not at "Ground Zero." It's two blocks away on foot, four by car (due to one-way streets which necessitate driving three blocks then circling back a block), from the outer edge of the old World Trade Center site.

Is it a mosque? According to some moderate/liberal Islamic sects, perhaps. But according to the strict doctrines propounded by the fundamentalist Wahabi Islamists whom the project's opponents claim are behind it, no.

The fundamentalists hold that a mosque may only be used for Muslim worship. Cordoba House will host interfaith services.

The fundamentalists hold that a mosque must audibly/publicly broadcast the adhan (call to prayer). There will be no minaret w/loudspeaker on Cordoba House from which to assault the ears of the infidels walking down Park Avenue or tramping around "Ground Zero."

The fundamentalists hold that non-Muslims may not eat or sleep in a mosque. Cordoba House's halal food court will be open to the non-Muslim public.

The opponents of Cordoba House can't have it both ways. If it's a mosque, it's being built by non-Islamists. If it's being built by Islamists, it's not a mosque.

So, when someone issues an opinion inveighing against the "Ground Zero mosque," he's establishing up front that he's either ignorant or lying. The opinions of liars deserve only denigration. Ignoramuses may perhaps be deserving of instruction/correction, but such instruction/correction must start with the explanation that they're parroting lies.

Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. -- HL Mencken, In Defense of Women

That's the game Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin et al are playing.

As a statement of fact, "Islamists are building a triumphalist mosque at 'Ground Zero'" is in the same class as "Jews use teenagers' blood for Purim pastries." Being false, it is not and cannot be the basis of a sound opinion. Those who utter it in ignorance should be corrected. Those who attempt to parlay it into political gain should be shunned and driven in shame from public life.

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