Do we only believe in property rights when it comes to what strikes us as “appropriate”?
I’ve certainly vented about the building of the Islamic center in lower Manhattan, but when I first heard about it, I was told that it was actually at Ground Zero. Later commentaries placed it across the street, and then a block away; that last appears to be closer to the actual truth.
I’m also hearing from some who are supposedly on my side that the presence of particles from 9/11 victims should prompt us, out of sensitivity, to forbid the construction of any sort of monument to Islam. Which sounds great, until you realize what a large area that would really place off-limits to contruction of any project linked to Islam.
At the same time, I’m not sure that questioning the wisdom of this project, or seeing it as borderline-inappropriate, is really “bigotry,” a point that Bruce acknowledges in a backhanded fashion despite his own headline’s evocation of concern that there is anti-Muslim prejudice about the project. And then there is Alex Knapp and his association between opposition to the Islamic Center and Koran-burners. Which is, of course, a huge stretch.
Would I prefer the maximum amount of space between the Islamic center and the footprints of the Twin Towers? Well, yes—I would. Though I doubt that one usually has one’s first choice of real estate in lower Manhattan. Do I think that property rights and freedom of worship are in the upper echelons of rights—right after speech and gun rights? I do. I really do.
Should we all breathe really deeply right now, and try to pick our fights with as much logic as we can muster?
Yes. Yes, we should.