(This is a re-post of an article I posted at DailyPaul.com last year. I copy it here namely because of how it shows how a great many Americans are not consistent and principled in our political paradigms.)
Sat, 08/07/2010 – 11:20
As I worked this week I overheard hours and hours of the talkers and their callers going on about the Imam and his proposed mosque at Ground Zero in New York City. It was shocking to me just how easily these folks cast off principles such as the freedom of religion, the freedom to enter into contracts, the freedom to own property, the freedom of speech, the freedom to hold a dissenting view, the freedom to accuse the government of wrongdoing, and equal protection under the law. It seems that the consensus, as heard on this particular radio station, is that this particular (“evil”) Imam does not “deserve” these freedoms.
How interesting, though, that there was not one cry of prosecution. Indeed, if the man has broken the law, why don’t we simply prosecute him? Many rights are suspended for incarcerated felons, aren’t they? So prosecution would be an excellent way to keep that mosque from being built. But the conversation NEVER went there. And why not? I am left to assume that this is because he has not broken the law, as far as the authorities can perceive.
So with the law not on “our” side in this episode, “we” are left with nothing but hatred-fueled arbitrariness to justify the denial of this man’s (and his organization’s) natural rights to proceed as they wish in building a mosque. Even the man that I heard so many times in the past say, “I may hate what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”, has repeatedly railed against the Imam’s opinion that the policies of the US were “accessory” to the 911 incident. They will not even debate that question, as rational men would do. Rather, they dismiss it offhand as obviously wrong. (Such dismissals always signify either stupidity or complicity.)
And so we see that Americans—at least some of them—when put in the right situation, do not have one iota of principle and do not care at all for equal protection under the law. Indeed, what principle could be more central to the theme of justice than equal protection? Thus does America (or at least the ones on the radio this week) belie its created-for-sinister-purposes creed from 1954, “…with liberty and justice for all”. It seems “we” are quite content to deny liberty and justice to those by whom we are offended.
With such an arbitrary enforcement of “our” principles, is it any wonder that the Republic is in such a shambles?
This is a prime example of a breech in the Rule of Law and of the “tyranny of the masses”. As James Fennimore Cooper put it, “It is a besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which masses of men exhibit their tyranny.” Yes, I know that ours is not a democracy, but a republic. This same substitution of public opinion for law, however, is being exhibited right here and right now, and there is a growing mass quite willing to suspend legal justice in favor of vitriolic payback for offenses perceived, whether real or rumored.
While I’m no fan of Islam, I cannot help to to ask why we don’t behave this way toward all religionists that “we” may hate. Did we revoke the corporate charter and seize the property of the “God damn America!” preacher (Jeremiah Wright)? Or the preacher who harasses the families of our fallen soldiers at their funerals, claiming God’s judgment against America—did we deny him any of his legal rights?
I can’t help but to suspect that this particular controversy is being promoted on purpose (by the establishment and their media darlings—including even the “conservative” talkers in view) in order to propagate an otherwise-weak case for religious bigotry—and this, with further wars in mind. With bigotry and hatred firmly in place, surely this Republic, who has already discarded “liberty and justice for all” will naturally go to the next step and discard any insistence against unjust war, paving the way for further wars against the Muslim nations.
The connection is just too obvious to dismiss as unlikely. Consider by way of contrast just what a great transformation in public sentiment would be required if the establishment wanted to go to war against, say, Britain. They’d have to find a way to make us hate the Brits first…which would be a tall order.
The anti-Islam fire, on the other hand, has been smoldering for quite some time….not because Muslims are wandering our streets and antagonizing non-Muslims, but because the establishment and their media have been fueling the fire themselves. Many will readily point back to the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 as a justification. After that event, however, it’s a fairly conspicuous fact that we did not go to war over the incident. And so with most of the other various incidents that are used to justify this hatred.
I suspect that these things are deliberately designed to manipulate public sentiment such that we are quite willing to enter into new wars in the Middle East. Indeed, the goal would be to have us say upon the announcement of the opening hostilities, “It’s about time!”. One wonders, however, just how effective such manipulations would be on a people ruled by principle and not by base bigotry. Would we not at least say, “Well, I may hate the religion of Islam, but I see no just cause for war here.” Or, “I may hate the religion of this Imam, and may ardently reject his opinions, but I see no legal basis for denying him his rights.” Indeed, such an enlightened people might even say, “While I recognize that there is anti-American sentiment from amongst radical Islamic groups, I cannot find sufficient evidence to conclude that religious fervor was the motive for the 911 attacks—nor even that Muslims were the primary players.”
If we do indeed remove most of our troops from Iraq (as promised), what an opportune time it would be for an establishment who is anxious to move into yet another Middle Eastern war. Should we expect to see some atrocity from “Iran” in these next we months? (Iraq would make a great base camp for an invasion of Iraq—as would Afghanistan.)
If only we understood the rule of law, we’d not be in this mess. We are undone by our own careless arbitrariness of principle and our own hypocrisy. In America, “we” don’t love “liberty and justice for all”; “we” just love boasting about it. We are unwittingly our own propaganda machine, repeating a million times over what we hear from the establishment but once.
Make no mistake about it; the only way we can be played so effectively as a Republic is by the exploitation of our own character weakness. A principled people would have nipped this in the bud a long time ago.
The Rule of Law is not only meant to curb the powers of government, but also to curb the passions of the people. When we cast it off, we do so to the detriment of our own character….just as we have already done in suckling at the teats of the public treasury for our own unfair advantage.
The question of the hour is how many of us can be persuaded to say “no” to these public passions, condemning ALL injustice and refusing ALL the associated booty from it. Those of us who have already said “no” are at the mercy of those who have not. Even so, we need not give up on the idea of recruiting others to higher thinking.