“Just Shoot Me”

A fable, to be told centuries in the future: “Let me tell you a story. A long, long time ago there was a great civilization. For several centuries, the civilization flourished. People enjoyed liberty and prosperity human beings never considered possible, nor even dreamed about. People came from all over the world to live there. Dictatorships in far-away lands threatened that civilization at several points, but they fought back and won decisively in every case. Then one day, the civilization was attacked. They were attacked by people who despised and resented their success and freedom. What did the leaders of this civilization do? In the past, they had always struck back against their enemies. But after this attack, known as 9/11 (for the date on which it occurred), they drifted into denial and, eventually, complacency. As their enemies watched in amazement and planned their next (far greater) attacks, the members of this once great civilization encouraged their enemies to build a temple — on the very soil of the original attack, and with their own money taken in taxes.”

Thomas Jefferson once said, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” What about a people who allow themselves to be compelled to pay for their own destroyer? Perhaps even as wise a man as Jefferson had no concept of a people who would be as depraved as that.

Thomas Jefferson, meet the America of 2010.

Let’s not kid ourselves, just because our elected officials do. A taxpayer-funded mosque at the site of Ground Zero is not about religious tolerance. It’s about intolerance of America. If anybody hates the United States and all it stands for more than Islamic terrorists, it’s the people who currently run our government. Obama and his supporters, including some Republicans (such as the mayor of New York City) claim to show support for the principles of liberty by making it morally and practically easier for enemies of those principles to obliterate them.

There’s an old saying that I like: “I oppose what you say, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to say it.” The sentiment behind this statement is a valid one: That upholding the principle of liberty matters more than the particular liberty being exercised. However, what happens when the liberty being exercised is destruction of liberty itself? Islamic religion is a politicized religion, openly committed to the destruction of both the United States and all things historically American, including individual rights and liberty. Islam is not merely against America; it’s against all things that make life on earth tolerable and desirable.

Guilt-ridden Americans out there: Don’t think you’re being principled and honorable by supporting a mosque on the site of Ground Zero, and paying for it no less. You cannot uphold a value by morally or financially supporting that which seeks to destroy it. Taking taxpayer money and using it to build a mosque on Ground Zero is no different than taking taxpayer money and building a temple to the Japanese Emperor, at the site of Pearl Harbor, while World War II was going on. Such a thing would have been incomprehensible in 1942; but in 2011, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Yes, some people are angry. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity will complain about it, Fox News will publicize it, and the new Republican House of Representatives will perhaps hold a hearing or two on the subject. But will the tax money still end up in the hands of the Muslims seeking to build the mosque? Probably so. And with nary a whimper on the part of the American people. Change the channel, and move on to the next crisis.

The fact that America’s destroyers need the money from Americans themselves to furnish that destruction shows how weak our enemies, and irrational people more generally, actually are. Twisted and insane people cannot hurt you without your weakness and consent. The religiously fundamentalist civilizations they seek to pay tribute to, by building this mosque, are hideously repressed and impoverished, nightmarish excuses for existence. Instead of learning from America’s example, and applying the principles of individual rights, capitalism and secularism that brought America to its present point, these cultures wallow in their own despair and seek to ruin anyone who reminds them of something better. I’m not suggesting that all people in poor countries think and feel this way, but their religious and political leaders most certainly do. And now, aside from providing them moral comfort by calling them “a religion of peace,” we’re even paying to build their temples, as well. It’s the equivalent of saying to Islamic terrorists, “It’s not just that we’re afraid of you. It’s that we know you’re right.”

If America goes down in defeat, as did prior civilizations like the Romans and the ancient Greeks, it won’t be that America even went down fighting. Quite the opposite: On our present course, history will record that America went down building the weapons and providing all the moral support required for their enemies to destroy it. America, it will be said, committed suicide — not by holding the gun to its own head, but by handing the gun to a murderer and saying, “Just shoot me.”