NRO is a hell of a lot saner than some other blogs.

Not when Andrew C McCarthy's on the prowl. Then it's all IdjitihadTM all the time...

Nyah... changed my mind. We gots standuds here.

He's referring to the RecBrow article. You know how narcovantes likes to range around the blog... I don't really see how one needs a track record of any kind or "credibility" to make fun of Andrew C McCarthy. I was tempted to link the Sadly, No! piece, too, that's linked in the PuffHo piece - it takes further what I was trying out with JRub up at the top. I think I'll go ahead an add the SadlyNo image.

@ miguel cervantes:
Can I take that as a yes? And, if so, do you have any idea what a lame theory that is from the historical point of view - and have you considered how others might choose to apply it to justify certain other actions they might happen to take that you might choose not to approve of?

miguel cervantes wrote:

the Great Backlash

Is that supposed to mean that those evil Muslims made the nice Christians do mean things?

@ miguel cervantes:
I assume you're replying to the RecBrow article. What's the current religious status of the Grand Mosque of Cordoba - excuse me, of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption? You want to take a wild guess what used to be where the Cathedral of Mexico City is located - the oldest Roman Catholic Cathedral in the Americas? Here's a hint: It wasn't just an empty spot in the middle of nowhere. How about the Cathedral of Cusco in Peru? OK, I'll tell you: The site was selected precisely for the purpose of destroying and replacing the native religion.

Of course, we're in an excellent position to criticize here in the U.S., considering how much of the Native American culture and way of life we left completely intact. Well, maybe not...

There's nothing unique or even very interesting about the practice of some Muslim conquerors re-purposing churches or other structures, or building at locations favored by previous builders.

@ miguel cervantes:
And the reason I should care about whether I sound more like bob or kate or zombies is what? I like bob and kate - assuming by "Voodoo Bob" you mean our bob in the mask. bob is darn near exemplary in all respects. kate is too crude and abrasive, and I've told her so, but makes valuable contributions. She's probably off hanging with the cruder and abrasiver better blogs these days... or in Biarritz or wherever she spends her vacations... but I'd still rather have both of them around than any number of zombie hypocrites, ingrates, foul phonies, and inflexible ideologues who can't handle a debate and run away crying when their comical prejudices get laughed at.

@ miguel cervantes:
How shocking that you have a completely one-sided and defensive view of the entire discussion, not to mention of the history of people being "driven away" from this blog!

J-Bone wrote:

I’d submit that voicing dissenting views, with mutual respect, is indicative of American values.

Absolutely. If those protesting the Cordoba project had universally conducted themselves as you have in these comments, I wouldn't have written however many posts and comments on the subject by now. Because the dissent and discomfort would likely have been noted, but probably not have been determinative, Rauf and Cordoba would have proceeded, and, in the best American traditions of freedom of speech, assembly, and exercise, had their chance to demonstrate their good faith, or fail to do so.

As for "nativism," it's not just an immigration question. I was using the term loosely, in relation to the question of Americanism and the American idea, and whether that represents something more than mere nationalism, comfort with other people "just like us," etc.

Being "aware of... the concerns of other members of the community" isn't the same as always immediately accepting those concerns, especially when expressed in an offensive and irrational manner, as more valid than one's own concerns and aims. On the level of ideals, if Rauf et al are, as the formulation presumes, already members of that community, then they not only deserve but need to be a part of the collective community symbolically sacralized at Ground Zero - just all the other members of the community that are currently there and may someday be there. On the level of practical politics and strategy in the war on terror, Rauf is exactly the kind of figure we should be at a minimum tolerating, in my view promoting.

@ miguel cervantes:
None of which has anything directly to do with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf or with the mode of attack pursued by the rightwing "high-tech lynch mob," all of which can equally be arrayed on the side of his project rather than on the side against it.

miguel cervantes wrote:

you never know,

no, you don't. If you can't handle the risk of not knowing but going ahead anyway, then you're in the wrong country. Because the elimination of such risk requires measures, and a society, that I wouldn't want to live in. It eventually leads to a postal service whose main purpose is to inform the surviving citizens of the previous night's proscriptions and executions.

@ J-Bone:
When you put it like that, then those who support the project would presumably be able to say, "Thank you for your input. We have considered the issue you raise very carefully, and for a, b, and c reasons we disagree. We think your feelings are misplaced, not our planned cultural center." But that's not what's happening. The public leader of the project, who has been a figure in his community for 27 years, is being subjected to wide-ranging character assassination. Voices have been raised across the conservative spectrum accusing him and his associates of treasonous intent. They have referred to his religious project as a desecration. Think about that: A mosque is so odious to the opponents that they have defined it in itself as a desecration. Those open to the project or willing to defend it have regularly and repeatedly been attacked as the "useful idiots" of an aggressive imperialist force out to destroy our way of life.

I could try to summarize our entire discussion, but I'll instead say that it's very late in this game for opponents of the mosque to say "well we just have some concerns, no one's attacking anyone else's Americanism." You yourself may not have participated in the character assassination of Rauf and the attempt to brand Islam an enemy ideology, but the impetus begins with the same discomfort with the presence of a mosque within 2 blocks and a street of GZ, and the idea that such discomfort can have a valid basis. It is implicitly the argument that, as one blogger put it, "the religion that killed 3,000 people" must be excluded from our otherwise ecumenical national sacred ground. It attaches collective guilt to Islam for the acts of individuals; it denies Muslims equal participation in our collective community.

And that may be natural and human - like the victim of assault by a man in a ski mask who responds reflexively to all men in ski masks. But we can't govern society by such reflexive reactions. We may not hold it against our friend that he suffers from this pathology, but it is still a pathology. (If the wind chill goes -30, we may tell him we're sorry, but we're going to put on our ski masks...) We can't ask people to refrain from being what they are in the same way that we could ask people to leave off their ski masks for a day, or when in the vicinity of our emotionally injured friend. Instead, as a society, we are obligated in fact to face the irrational fear and overcome it - even, incidentally, at the risk that all of the very worst things all of the project critics have said were true.

To the extent you identify with the political "anti-mosque forces," an un-Americanism if ever there was one, then you are identifying with an un-American movement. I mean this with the highest seriousness I can manage in a blog thread comment. There's no personal attack in it: I don't know you. All you are to me are the words you post on this blog under a pseudonym. No one in the real world will think one way or another of you as a result of my statement. If you take it personally, then perhaps you need to ask yourself what your attachment to being thought of or thinking of yourself as American is about. Is it just nativism, or does it represent ideas and values to you? If the latter, then how does opposition to a mosque fit in with those ideas and values?

J-Bone wrote:

I do not agree that my opinion on this issue is somehow un-American.

This point is rather fundamental to the discussion. It is almost impossible, except by sleight-of-hand or psychological denial, to refrain from implicitly accusing the other person on the side of this debate from fundamental violations of the American interest and American values. It's a struggle over what it can mean to be American, and what being American entitles you to do and also requires of you. It shouldn't be taken personally. That doesn't mean it won't be, or that people can avoid doing so. The point of my illustration was that if my personal feelings come first, in the same way that I believe you are placing your feelings and the feelings of the people who feel the same as you, then I also would have an irrefutable argument in favor of my position.

As I was just asking narc on the Wall, it's unclear to me at what point "feelings" became the basis of a conservative response to politics and society.

J-Bone wrote:

But given this row, should the builders still proceed?

In my opinion, it’s not enough to say that the presence of the mosque shouldn’t bother folks. The facts show that it does, at least for some. A blithe dismissal of that position (a la Mayor Bloomberg – feh) as racist — that is what drives me up a wall.

I'm bothered by "that position." Shouldn't you re-consider and stop voicing it? In fact, I find numerous voicings of that position odious in the extreme. I consider them un-American and I suspect that they are dangerous. Shouldn't you join me in condemning the National Review, the Weekly Standard, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, HotAir, Pajamas Media, et al, for causing all this bother? How about a boycott of everyone who has anything to do with them?

I think "the mosque" has already served a very good purpose at least for me of exposing many of my former friends and many political figures and public intellectuals I might once upon a time have considered supporting. I see many things about them that once I was blind to, or that I had never expected to see from them, in quite this way. Thank you, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.

@ oceanaris:
reply post to appear shortly.

@ J-Bone:
I wasn't taking offense at your putting up the article J-Bone, I was taking offense at Bill McGurn and others regarding this phony Auschwitz analogy which has been going around for months now. I hate to have to say it, but for Americans to put 9/11 on the same level as Auschwitz in any sense, to speak about the two things at the same time, to imply even for a moment that being victims of the Holocaust compares to being the Western victims of all the acts of "terror" since "Islamist terror" was thought up, is symptomatic of immense arrogance, arrogance of the sort that the gods have a way, sooner or later, of coming around to punish.

My question is, which fellow residents? Many of them aren’t fine with it.

The Manhattanites lawfully charged with assessing the project overwhelmingly approved it. The Mayor and the Police Chief OKd it.

Not being "fine" with someone else's free exercise is something to get over.

@ miguel cervantes:
The first main problem with entire recitation is that it shows zero comprehension of what the rest of the world was doing to and apart from the Islamic world over that entire period - the entire sweep of Medieval and Modern history, as a matter of fact. The second is that it repeatedly asserts falsehoods or impossibilities as fact - something sometimes demonstrated by the writer's self-contradictions, as, for instance, regarding the supposed unchanging nature of Islam, even while necessarily depicting a range of mutually contradictory or mutually non-conforming interpretations that he at the same time wants to assert are authentically Islamic.

Though, to be fair, over the years I've read some "knowing" generalizations about the Islamic world and its history from the left that were just as simple-minded and one-sided.

@ fuster:
I'm sorry but I must correct you.

after some history that ended more than three centuries back,
the first damn sentence is

I'd try "After some hilariously and pathetically presumptuous pseudo-historical recitation, the first damn sentence..."

@ J-Bone:
I won't make a judgment about the "intense reaction," but I reject the comparison utterly: GZ is not Auschwitz. I don't want to get into the mathematics of comparative suffering, but 9/11 was an attack on buildings that led to numerous casualties. Auschwitz was day after day of industrialized genocide. On behalf of my Polish-Jewish grandparents, and the numerous relatives and their friends from the shtetl on the outskirts of Bialystok that would have ceased to exist in, if I recall correctly from my readings, 1942, I confess to being somewhat offended by the comparison.

Unlike the Carmelite-occupied structure at Auschwitz, the planned building on Park Place will not be the sole occupied structure bordering the "hallowed ground." As others have pointed out, Lower Manhattan life is going on as ever within a 2-block radius: Churches, bars, delis, construction workers girl-watching... Furthermore, the skyscraper park planned for GZ itself is going to replace millions of square feet of office space. In those offices, people will be going about their business, cussing like New Yorkers, being Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, Satanists, and so on, trying to make a bunch of bucks, carrying on office romances, making bad jokes, the whole thing.

I don't presume to judge whether or not the CI is a good thing or a bad thing. My fellow citizens want to put up a cultural center, and their fellow residents of the community seem fine with it, and that's good enough for me. In my America, they have a right to make a decision that makes other people uncomfortable. There is no way to explain that discomfort, in the end, except as some transference of anger with the terrorists into a generalized anti-Islamic sentiment, that then sometimes gets further politicized. If the project was a department store, no one would know about it. If Rauf was a Christian and someone decided the area needed yet another church, no one would know about it.

It's an Islamic center. Some people want to assert their right to reject Muslims in light of 9/11, and seem a little afraid that after the building is built, no one will care anymore. There'd be MUSLIMS there telling people about ISLAM and acting just like other people! That's about the whole thing, and the opposition would be wrong on its own terms, even without the tactics which have gotten ugly and destructive enough, and are dangerous enough, to make its defeat a worthy end in itself.

The Rabinowits article's subtitle:

The enlightened class can't understand why the public is uneasy about the Ground Zero mosque.

It doesn't take a great deal of enlightenment to understand "why the public is uneasy." It takes a little bit of understanding of American history to understand why being "uneasy" isn't an excuse for going to ideological war over someone building a mosque, and why people exploiting and inflaming than "uneasiness" into something worse can be much more harmful that anybody's construction plans.

Now I really don't have any idea what you're saying, or what it has to do with my post, or how the implication would be that I am "naive."

Because if I understand correctly, you think you're arguing against a point I've made, but are actually evidencing it in several ways.

Actually, come to think of it, who are your "they"'s?

@ narciso:
Who is "they"?