Today I encountered a web site ostensibly operated by the entity opening the "Cordoba House" facility a few blocks from Ground Zero. Perhaps you've heard of the project; I understand that a couple of people have commented on it. I will refer to it as "The Project" to avoid tiresome disputes about other names.
Anyway, I also noted that multiple people were engaged in a "dialogue" — to the extent the word applies in the medium — on Twitter with a @Park51 Twitter feed, purportedly authored and operated by the organizers of The Project.
Count me as skeptical. The incident in which Patrick panicked hapless Norweigians into thinking that North Korea was declaring war on Cyrpus via Twitter still weighs heavily on my conscience. The @Park51 twitter feed strikes me as off in some way, and I suspect it may be a hoax or political satire or public relations sabotage. If so, it's fairly well executed.
But if it's real, it suggests that the leaders of The Project are hypocritical twits with a tin ear. Those promoting the Project have asserted that its purpose is to promote interfaith dialogue and dialogue between Americans and the Muslim community, and that therefore the public should not focus on whether its location is an affront to some.
Recently a number of commentators, including Greg Gutfield, began promoting the concept that someone should open a gay bar catering to Muslims next to The Project, in order to test their tolerance for the concept that people ought to be able to open what they want where they want even if others are offended. Some deride this as juvenile baiting, but I think it's a useful rhetorical device to tease out whether and when we should actually care about opening facilities that give offense.
Gutfield pursued the @Park51 Twitter author, seeking their position on the hypothetical Muslim gay bar. @Park51 eventually responded with this:
.@greggutfeld You're free to open whatever you like. If you won't consider the sensibilities of Muslims, you're not going to build dialog
That was the point at which the needle on my skepticism gauge twitched a bit more towards "hoax." It's just too perfectly hypocritical, clueless, and tone-deaf. Of course it makes no sense whatsoever for the organizers of The Project to say (1) we want to open a dialogue, but need not be sensitive to sensibilities of other Americans, but (2) if you want to open a dialogue with Muslims, you need to consider their sensibilities. It's just a little too breathtakingly contradictory to be really credible to me. If it's not a hoax, then someone over there is talking out of his or her ass.
Of course, American principles of free speech, free exercise, and limited government protect everyone — even hypocrites, even people who would not extend the same benefits to others if they had their way. Let people build their gay bars and their Cordoba Houses where they will, and let opponents exercise their free speech to object, and let critics critique those objections, and so on to eternity. But if The Project does start whining about people building a bar or a pork products palace or something, they better be ready to be ridiculed.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Popehat Goes To The Opera: Un ballo in maschera - August 19th, 2017
- Department of Justice Uses Search Warrant To Get Data On Visitors to Anti-Trump Site - August 14th, 2017
- America At The End of All Hypotheticals - August 14th, 2017
- Lawsplainer: Why John Oliver Is Anti-Diversity Now - August 11th, 2017
- Anatomy of a Scam, Chapter 15: The Wheels, They Grind - August 10th, 2017