McCarthyism on the Right?
By: Paxton Sawyer
The proposed building of a mosque near ground zero is a magnificent example of the problem of government by public opinion. The problem with the politicians who pander to fear, racism and religious intolerance is that the concept, in this case, tramples on one basic American value. That value is the right of the property owner to enjoy the use of his property. Those who oppose the building of the mosque is that they would surrender a basic American value because they don’t like a particular group of people. The irony of this debate is that President Obama, who allegedly embodies all the evils of the radical socialist, big government and usurpation of freedom in exchange for a big government nanny state, is for the basic American value of the right of the owner to enjoy his property. President Obama, on this issue, has the capitalist’s point of view and upholds the right of the individual over the desires of the government. The conservatives, the super patriots, family values, limited government advocates are, on this issue, for increasing the power of the government at the expense of the rights of the property owner. So the liberal is for the rights of the property owner and the conservatives are for increasing the power of the government over the property.
We are all guilty of prejudice. Sometimes our hatreds, dislikes or distrusts overcome our belief in our own way of life. We all scream about our freedom. We want our freedom. Nobody has the right to tell us what to do. No way are we going to give up any more rights or freedom. Unless we don’t like what other people do. In that case, there needs to be a law to stop them. Not us. Just them. We don’t do anything wrong. Only those other people do.
The problem with this approach is that if we make everything that offends someone illegal, no one will be able to do, or say, anything. Someone is always going to be offended by something. When you deny freedom to others you give permission for others to deny your freedoms. And you reduce your own rights and freedom. Be careful of what you want. Your actions may be used against you in the future.
You have opinions about the Islamic religion and about the Arab peoples. But what do you actually know about Islam or Arabs? What you’ve heard? What you have read? Or, have you done any objective research on your own? Do you know any Muslims? Ever read the Koran? Do you know that what others have said or written is true? Or do you assume what you have heard or read is true because you have the same prejudices as the person who wrote what you read or said what you heard? Do you know what our country has done in their countries? Are you aware of religious wars throughout history? Do you have any idea how many people have been murdered in the name of religion? Do you have any idea how many people your particular religion or sect has murdered in the name of God?
How does what your religion has done in the past, or even in the present, affect you? Are you a murderer? Then what makes you think that all Muslims are terrorists or murderers?
Do you go to your church, synagogue or other place of worship to plan terrorism or murder? Or do you go to worship and meditate? Why would you think that all Muslims go to mosque to plan terrorism and murders?
And what about your government leaders? I am not at all impressed with politicians who pander to fear, hatred and prejudice. Our problem is that we only have politicians. There are no statesmen. Statesmen put aside hatred, prejudice and fear and try to lead people down the correct path. Statesmen do not see an issue that inflames people and seek to exploit that issue for their personal gain.
If there is one thing that we should have learned from the study of the history of this country it is this. Our biggest problems in this country have always been caused by the fears and hatred of one group of citizens against another group of citizens. If we didn’t hate or fear each other, we would not have lost so many of our rights and freedoms. Your government exploits those fears to gain more power. Until we learn to get along and see the good in others that we see in ourselves, we will continue to lose more rights and freedoms and we will continue to elect politicians instead of statesmen.
Whatever your fears, hatreds and prejudices, remember that other people or groups may feel the same things toward you. If you are willing to deny any right or freedom to any group you will lose your rights and freedoms too. Instead of giving into hatred and fear, keep your eyes on the freedoms we have left and the things that made this country great and unique. We have already lost enough of our freedoms.
By: Paxton Sawyer
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