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I don't have a blog so......What's on my mind...

not broccoli or video games (this seems the depth


that Facebook postings aspire to).
I am sad/angry that approximately 70% of my country are out of their goddamn minds! I want
someone to explain to me how being offended by an Islamic center at 51 Park Ave. is not holding all
Muslims responsible for the actions of individual persons? How--specifically--is building this Islamic
center “insensitive” to the “9/11 families”? How, again specifically, is this supposed “offense”
explained? I do not feel nor understand the putative logic of this “offense”--and since merely holding a
position that is not shared by a majority is no refutation of that position, I would like someone to
explain the “logic” of this “offense.” I can't even mention this topic without pointing out the prima
facie absurdity of brandishing hopelessly simplistic and incoherent notions like “sacred ground,” “the
9/11 families” or the “sensitivity of the 9/11 families”--are we to understand that the internal mental
and emotional states of thousands of people are somehow univocal? This is so instantly falsifiable as to
make it purely a rhetorical or propagandist trope. I mean, has there been a poll of every single member
of every single family of every single person killed at the World Trade Center attack? Is there any
sense in asserting that “9/11 families are offended by this proposed mosque” as if “they” speak in one
voice? If not, then what sense—literally, what meaning or significance—could the phrase “sensitivities
of the 9/11 families” mean? Unless all members of the Islamic faith are held culpable for what
individual members of that faith engage in, how can an Islamic center cause “offense”? By this "logic"
all Christians are culpable for the actions of the Inquisition or the Salem “witch” burnings or the
Florida Pastor Terry Jones' plan to burn Qur'ans on Sptember 11 th or of Fred Phelps who protests at US
soldiers' funerals because by fighting for our country they support homosexual tolerance and deserved
to die (http://www.godhatesfags.com/index.html)—in all these cases what is being done is the familiar
(for those who know logic) fallacy of the undistributed middle. Here's the fallacy:
All A are B, all C are B, therefore all A are C. False
All Oaks are Trees, all Elms are Trees, therefore all Oaks are Elms. False
Got it? Now let's plug in the “argument” behind being offended by an Islamic center at 51 ParkAve:
All Islamic Americans are Muslim.
All Islamic terrorists are Muslim.
Therefore all Islamic Americans are Islamic terrorists. False.
The only “argument” that could “explain” the “offense” at an Islamic center being built two blocks
from “ground zero” is that the religion of Islam is offensive. And the only reason why this could be
“offensive” is if the entire religion of Islam (whatever that could mean) is held responsible or for the
actions of individual persons. This is a bad, i.e. false, argument. Period.
People like to say "I have a right to my opinion"; however, if it is uninformed by any coherent
reasoning or even minimal logic and is simply asserted as "That's how I feel," then maybe Glenn Beck
is right (for quite different reasons than he thinks): this country is in trouble. Is this the standard of
proof for adjudicating difficult moral or public policy issues: "feelings" or "sensitivities"? If this lack of
rational critical analysis is indeed representative of our collective intellectual abilities, then it is no
wonder why our children are falling so far behind other countries in educational achievement--why
should children value education when their parents are so clearly uninterested in the critical process of
education for themselves. (See the international rankings at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programme_for_International_Student_Assessment#League_Tables)
Does anyone really think that what we learned 20 or 30 years ago--while we were negotiating puberty
and nascent adulthood--is sufficient for being a responsible engaged citizen in the 21st century? This
most recent outburst of rank xenophobia and irrationality only serves to highlight the national lack of
commitment to lifelong education, rationality, knowledge and logic which leads to incoherent
assertions such as "liberals want sharia law" or “ground zero” is "sacred ground" therefore no mosque
should be built there. These voices of opposition want to be heard, so having heard them, I take their
assertions seriously by carefully examining them, but often the assertions make it hard to be serious.
One of my favorites is that Liberals (e.g. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan) want sharia
law? In what alternate universe? Aren't liberals relativist, homo-loving, pot-smoking abortionists—then
why in God's name (literally) would they want a fundamentalist medieval Islamic scholastic legal
structure imposing anti-feminist, anti-alcohol (!!), anti-gay, anti-music laws that govern every aspect of
our lives? I mean the stupidity is truly astounding? (http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/08/elena-kagan-
pro-sharia.html)
There has been lot of flippant talk about “sacred ground”: what constitutes the “sacredness” of
this (or any other) ground? What, precisely, are the parameters of this “sacred ground”? What kind of
building will or will not violate the sacredness of this area? Let me just point out what all these
shrieking people opposed to the center being built can't seem to understand: far from the Islamic center
two blocks away violating some sacred nimbus around "ground zero," the actual "ground zero" will
"honor" the "sacredness" of the ground by building offices directly on the graves of so many of those
who died on 9/11. If “ground zero” is “sacred ground” then this needs to be answered: Will the current
self-appointed arbiters of the “sensitivities of 9/11 families” demand that any company who will lease
space in the offices to be built directly on “ground zero” will be first cleared by them (and who are the
“they” here) to make sure that their business is not an offense to the 9/11 families? If not, why not?
According to the “logic” used, am I to understand that strip joints and McDonald's are acceptable on
"sacred ground" two blocks away, but an actual house of worship is not ok on the same "sacred
ground"? The "argument" and "reasons" proffered are so prima facie unconstitutional, so utterly un-
American, so poorly reasoned and so comprehensively devoid of knowledge--of Islam, of law, of
political theories of the public square, of our unique American history of religious expression and
tolerance, of Imam Abdul Rauf who was sent by President Bush on trips to represent this country for
the State Department in the Muslim world (http://mediamatters.org/research/201008240027), etc.--that
there is one response needed: to convince these 70% that they are incorrect. Their current opinion is
based upon erroneous assumptions, and that they have failed to think through this issue rationally and
they lack sufficient knowledge. And why couldn't they be so thoroughly mistaken? Do you think 70%
of Americans would get even a basic question of calculus correct? Of physics? Of constitutional law?
What is the likelihood that these 70% have educated themselves about Islam or constitutional law or
American history of religious expression to be able to intelligently explore these issues?