Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Islamophobia Is Anti-Catholic

Anti-Muslim bigotry is rampant among what passes for "conservatism" these days (and even in much of "libertarianism"). Visit neocon, pseudo-conservative sites like FreeRepublic.com, and you'll find many so-called "conservatives" labeling Islam as a "Satanic" religion.

But what does official Catholic teaching say about Islam? I don't mean quotes from this or that Catholic leader, but offical Catholic Church doctrine?

Well, here's the official Catholic Church position on Islam, as quoted from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Second Edition:

"841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. 'The Plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day.' "

That's right, "Catholic" neocon bigots. Your hatred is not supported by the official teachings of your professed faith. Bummer.

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Ground Zero" Synagogue Goes Up in Lebanon

American bigots -- hiding under the labels of "conservative" or "libertarian" -- have a favorite talking point: "We'll let Them build a mosque in America, when They let Us build a church or synagogue in Saudi Arabia."

Yes, some bigots are saying "No mosques in America," not just on Ground Zero.

It's an absurd demand. Why? Because Germans, Russians, Italians, Chinese -- everyone -- have long come to America to escape more oppressive nations. We never said to Russians, "You can't enjoy free speech in the U.S. until Americans can enjoy free speech in the Soviet Union." We never before demanded that American immigrants live by the laws of their foreign homelands.

Why change that American standard for Americans of Muslim heritage? (That's right -- the "Them" and "They" are our fellow Americans.)

Even so, it seems that some foreign, Muslim nations are more tolerant than is the U.S. Here's a must-read peace about Lebanon's Ground Zero Synagogue.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Libertarianism Is Dummied Down and Declining

Libertarian Party members keep talking about "growing the party." I've heard this mantra for decades. Optimistic Libertarians of all factions have assured each other that Americans are really libertarians, that major party status is just 15 or so years away.

It's always been 15 or so years away. In the 1990s, the national LP sent out some junk mail promising a "Libertarian majority Congress in 2010!" They did not promise one elected Libertarian, but an LP majority in both Houses of Congress.

Wayne Allyn Root likewise, when running for president in 2008, promised that he would win the presidency on the LP ticket in 2024 or thereabouts. Victory is always 15 years away, give or take.

Well, no. Libertarianism as a philosophy is going backwards in the U.S. The "Ground Zero mosque" controversy is proof of that. Vast numbers of Americans have embraced xenophobic bigotry against Muslims.

Even "sensible, moderate" radio talk show hosts here in Los Angeles (e.g., Dennis Prager, Peter Tilden) oppose the "Ground Zero mosque" and imagine that their positions are moral. The say how the "mosque" would be insensitive to Americans -- ignoring that the people building the Muslim cultural center are Americans.

And even members and spokesholes for the Libertarian Party are "opposing the property rights and religious freedom of their fellow Americans.

At Los Angeles's Karl Hess Club last week, one longtime "libertarian" kept spouting snide smears against Muslims, hoping to entice others to join in. We didn't. But while many of the KHC attendees are not anti-Muslim, several have indeed succumbed to Islamophobic fever.

First the LP tent grew to accommodate warmongering imperialists. Now the LP has grown to include xenophobes opposed to property rights and religious freedom.

Fifteen years ago, it was a given that most Americans were not libertarians. But now, you can't even be sure that a Libertarian is a libertarian. The Libertarian Party has gone backwards. The libertarian movement has gone backwards. America is retreating from freedom and rationality, and libertarians are no help at all.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Libertarian Warren Redlich Support "Ground Zero Mosque"

There's been much bigoted hysteria regarding the "Ground Zero mosque" (which is not on Ground Zero, and is not a mosque), including bigoted statements from Libertarian Party embarrassment Wayne Allyn Root.

It's therefore nice to see a Libertarian Party candidate actually take a libertarian position on this issue. You rarely see LP candidates or officers speaking like libertarians any more (one reason I rarely vote LP anymore), but Warren Redlich, the LP candidate for New York governor, correctly supports both property rights and religious freedom, and thus supports the right of our fellow Americans (of the Muslim faith) to build a Muslim cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero:

Curiously, the New York LP nominated Alden Link as their Lt. Governor candidate. I don't know Link's position on the "Ground Zero mosque," but when I met him at the 2006 LP national convention, Link struck me as quite pro-war. He suggested the U.S. military should bomb the branches of banks that hold "terrorist money" in their deposits.

Link was also quite the warhawk at the 2008 LP national convention. He was the only candidate who managed to make Root look like a dove.

After failing to get a single delegate's vote at the LP convention, Link (who was not a delegate), attempted to get the Boston Tea Party's presidential nomination.

Failing that, Link eventually managed to secure the Objectivist Party's vice presidential nomination. Considering how insanely pro-war organized Objectivism is these days, that seemed an appropriate political home for Link.

Objectivist Party founder, presidential candidate, and sometime LP officer, Dr. Tom Stevens, has formed Bachelors for Link to support Link's Lt. Governor candidacy.

Who or what is Bachelors for Link? In endorsing Link, this "group" (assuming it's more than just Dr. Stevens and his blog) says: "Bachelors often feel pressure to get married and to live a conventional lifestyle. Despite choosing to be 'unattached', they often face ridicule and are the subject of 'whispering campaigns' questioning their sexual orientation. We are proud to support Alden Link, the Libertarian Party's candidate for Lt. Governor of New York State, who has socially tolerant views and a principled belief that people should be able to organize their lives as they see fit without private sanction or governmental interference."

So...should Link be elected Lt. Governor of New York, he'll use his office to end "whispering campaigns" against bachelors? Well, at least it'd be a less offensive use of Link's time than his previous Islamophobic war hysteria.

Kudos to Warren Redlich's defense of Muslim Americans' equal rights -- and a curious, raised eyebrow to Alden Link's latest weird candidacy.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Wayne Allyn Root, John Hospers: The LP's Anti-Libertarian Faces

Massachusetts Libertarian Party Chair George Phillies reports on Independent Political Report (comment 148):

"I am amused to report that the LNC was contacted by a reporter who wanted to do a story on possible interactions between the Libertarian Party and Malcolm X, the question being 'Has Malcolm X inspired your Libertarian activism?'

"It was observed by one LNC member that there was a PA local candidate who was a member of the Nation of Islam. It was noted that another LNC member had made a study of Malcolm X and his beliefs. Another LNC member claimed there is no one like that in our party.

"Mr. Root gave the LNC 'I am the de facto face and voice of the LP.' and opined that he should get the interview. Another LNC member answered Wayne 'You have indeed gotten a lot of media. However, as I pointed out in an earlier e-mail with graph attached, this has not translated into new members for the LP. We have fewer new members each month. Whatever you are doing is not growing the LP.' Glaringly obvious reasons for this failure were then listed.

"If you are wondering why our national party is in its current shape, you should recognize that this was most of the LNC's activity for a number of days.

"I have not yet learned if the reporter got an interview with anyone."

Some observations:

1. This above thread concerns 1972 LP presidential candidate John Hospers's call to oppose the Muslim cultural center being built two blocks from Ground Zero.

2. LNC member Wayne Allyn Root had previously also called for public opposition to the Muslim center.

3. Root's position resulted in criticism from Libertarian bloggers, which is why Hospers felt the need to jump in and defend Root.

4. Well, of course it resulted in negative reaction! For Root and Hospers to call for public opposition to building the Muslim cultural center is to invite the public to suppress the property rights of the building owner and the religious freedom of Muslims.

Seems the Libertarian Party tent has gotten so big, it now welcomes people who are pro-war, anti-property rights, and anti-religious freedom.

And now Root claims that he's the "de facto voice and face of the LP." Considering Root's constant conspiratorial speculations about Obama being a black radical at Columbia University (even though Root claims that he never met Obama at Columbia), I wonder what Root would have told the reporter about the LP's views on Malcolm X.

(I myself have no views on Malcolm X, as I've never read or studied him. I only saw the Spike Lee film, which is not enough for an informed opinion.)

Root's defenders (the usual suspects) chimed in that Root hasn't called for government intervention against the "Ground Zero mosque" (a misnomer, since it's neither a mosque, nor on Ground Zero -- it's a Muslim cultural center two blocks away from Ground Zero).

Root's defenders praise Root for calling on the private sector to exert "market pressure" on the property owner and Muslims to not build there, and to leave the government out of it.

Now, can you imagine if anyone in the LP called for the private sector to exert "market pressure" on someone to not build a synagogue? Or a gay or black cultural center? Yes, it would technically be "libertarian" in that it's not a call for government intervention -- but it would still be bigotry.

While the LP may well defend the rights of haters, that doesn't mean the LP should actually instigate hateful action. The ACLU defended the free speech rights of Nazis, but it didn't go the extra step of encouraging the Nazis to engage in hate speech.

Alas, Hospers and Root are calling for the LP to side with haters.

However, Root may well be correct in that he is one of the more famous LP members out there. How tragic for liberty if Root becomes the "de facto" voice of the LP.

Ron Paul is far more famous that Root, and more respected. But Paul is not active in the LP. (Yet another thing to admire about Dr. Paul).

If there was ever any doubt, Root and Hospers are not libertarians. Whatever titles they accumulate, however many talk shows they appear on, they have left the pro-liberty reservation.

Gasp! Am I suggesting a litmus test?!

See Thomas Knapp's excellent article on libertarian litmus tests.