The “Elite” Argument Over The Ground Zero Mosque – “You Insensitive Bastards”

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Great article by Victor Davis Hanson on the Ground Zero Mosque today focusing on Mayor Bloomberg’s scolding of those who oppose the mosque, and the vast gulf between the elite and us regular folk:

We’ve had nearly a month now of fruitless acrimony over the Ground Zero mosque.

About everything that can be said has been said. Little-read Newsweek and Time have published a near dozen “I accuse” essays about America’s supposedly yokel intolerance — as if we did not get their message at about screed two.

The past inflammatory statements and hypocrisies of the Janus Mr. Rauf have been widely aired, and juxtaposed with his occasional Aspen-like ecumenical “I feel your pain” outreach. We have learned that to emphasize the former is considered bigoted calumny, but to cite the latter is called context.

In varying degrees, all four possible motivations of Mr. Rauf have also been widely dissected. For a brief moment let’s review them.

1) Rauf is a sincere ecumenicalist, who simply wants to turn the “tragedy” of 9/11 into a teachable moment of interfaith bridge-building: the mosque, in other words, will be a beacon of America’s tolerance;

2) Rauf is part crass P.T. Barnum, part new-age Deepak Chopra con artist whose therapeutic mish-mash and narcissistic efforts to build a $100 million-complex will result in a lot of lucre and influence for himself: the multistoried and multimillion-dollar mosque then will be quite a nice headquarters for Rauf, Inc.;

3) Rauf is a simple naïf who sort of bungled into a controversy, fled the country, and has no idea of the firestorm he inadvertently lit and so when or how or if to come back: the mosque will not be built as he retreats back to a less foolhardy, less ostentatious project;

4) Rauf is a wily, cynical divisive figure who knows darn well that, on his Islamic flank, radical Islamists will use his mosque for triumphalist propaganda value, while, on his liberal flank, the clueless multicultural left will see it as a way of contextualizing America’s role in the world — as all the while he emphasizes a supposed litany of America’s overseas transgressions; if the mosque is built, it surely by intent will be a much discussed, perennially controversial center aimed at offering context to often polarizing Islamic ideas about everything from Iran, Hamas, and bin Laden, to Sharia and the role of religion and state — a project as praised by the left in the U.S. as it is employed as a banner logo on radical Islamist Internet sites in the Middle East.

I could analyze all this a zillion ways, but let us try some economic reductionism, crude though it may be. A majority of those in the elite liberal culture (CBS, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the foundations, universities, Hollywood, and the usual suspects) seem to have opted for explanation 1, while a vast majority of Americans, even in liberal New York, seems to agree with 4. So the mosque is as much about ourselves as it is about the seemingly permanently absent Mr. Rauf.

This same divide plays out in varying degrees over the Arizona immigration bill, the gay marriage propositions in California, and even much of the Obama agenda itself.

I have no interest in trying to persuade the elite why or where they are wrong, or in hearing from them for the nth time why I am supposedly not only mistaken, but bigoted for thinking a huge Islamic complex juxtaposed to Ground Zero is in itself bad taste, but, under the leadership of Mr. Rauf — given his written and oral corpus of unhinged and crack-pot ideas — bad taste to such a degree that all legitimate rhetorical means should be employed to persuade concerned parties to move it.

He goes one to detail how in Bloomberg’s world, they don’t worry about making their mortgage or rent. About losing their job or sending their kids to a public school.

In other words, there is a cocoon around many of our culture’s most vocal critics.

So the “elites” look down their nose at those of us who criticize the mosque as being manipulated, ignorant and fearful. But the regular folk live in the real world.

In such a world, there is less luxury for either the frivolous or the empathetic grand gesture. Such pragmatic folk, for example, would know that you would not build a supposedly mainstream states-rights, pro-gun, pro-militia center near the Oklahoma City bombing site “to reach out” and “bridge the gap” between pro- and anti-government ideologies — purportedly to dialogue in order to prevent another extremist Waco or McVeigh-like bombing.

VDH ends his piece writing that the elites live in a world that has little to do with rest of America. They can whine about caring for the little guy while dictating to all the rest of us how we should be more sensitive, more non-judgmental, more touchy-feely all they want.

We deal in the real world, and in the real world you don’t put a mosque so near to a painful, and still open wound. They have the right to build it, sure. Doesn’t mean they should.

And that’s all we are saying.

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 24 years.

19 Responses to “The “Elite” Argument Over The Ground Zero Mosque – “You Insensitive Bastards””

  1. 1


    Wish I had a link to it… but saw a Poll on Fox, that 68% of the “Political Class” is in favor of bulding the mosque there… while 77% of the “Non Political Class” are against it.

    That we have enough of a Political Class to Poll is a dangerous sign… but then they are that polar opposite of Mainstreet America, yet THEY have the reigns of power… we MUST have an entrenched beaurocracy…

  2. 5

    Robert L

    On some of the on-line blogs its being speculated that our Sweet Little Mayor is supporting the Mosque for financial gain…. Isn’t that like a Prosecutable Offense?

  3. 6


    I haven’t read anything about this yet on FA, but Bloomberg is wanting to expand his business to Saudi Arabia and other places. He is for the mosque to try to swing a deal with the Islamic world. This reminds me of the USA selling arms to Japan and Germany before we got into the war. Some people don’t care who they sell to as long as they make a profit off of them. As the old saying goes, follow the money.

    Keep following the money.

    Another story about the $224,000 in back property taxes on the property.

    Sometimes I feel like the USA is the frog in a pan of water and the water is being heated slowly so the frog won’t notice until it is too late. What does boiled America taste like?

  4. 9


    New York has had a real estate slump in that area for years. The building sat empty since the attack even during the real estate boom that happened during the Bush years. Even the Freedom Tower, once completed, will be mostly empty as businesses don’t want to do business in New York. I’m sure at this point, the owners were willing to sell to anybody.

    Critics had almost 9 years to come up with the $4 million to buy the building. It will likely be a physical hazard and or attract crime if it remains empty.

  5. 10


    came across this randomly, so I’ll warn you in advance that I’m on the other side of the fence of thought from most commenters.

    What I don’t get is that people are associating “Muslims” and “Islam” with the insane @$$holes who bombed my then home city. Those “people” (a term I use most generously when speaking of the bombers) were not acting in the name of Allah any more than Protestant Nazi’s were acting in the name of God when they killed millions of jews, gays, and other people during WWII. Sure, they each claimed a supreme being or higher principle to be their guiding voice, but for crying out loud, give someone enough brainwashing and he’ll screw a goat and claim it an act in the name of God.

    If you want a fair comparison to the pro-gun, pro-militia center outside the Oklahoma City National Memorial you might consider the erection of a giant, jumbo-jet fuel tank with a candle wick sticking out of it, lit. And put a booth at the base of it with pamphlets and information on your right to own and maintain jet fuel.

    Muslims didn’t bomb the WTC towers. Insane fools did. Why are so many people blaming Muslims for that? I mean, really, we’re Americans. We’re not dumb. We know the difference. I think we all want to blame someone, someone fairly tangible, for that atrocious act. I know I do. But we should be sure we’re blaming the right people.

  6. 12


    CONRAD: hi, WELL they prepare and gathered in MOSQUE, THEY ARE definitly MUSLIMS, and they call out ALLAH before they do their crimes, but behind those crimes there is more than
    your eyes can see. bye

  7. 13


    I believe with all my heart – the one thing that the Obama administration has shown the American people – along with all of his elite little buddies and the MSM is that they DESPISE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. If this administration has shown we the people anything, it is just how out of touch they are with us. I know for me, the term BLUE DOG DEMOCRAT is dead. I used to believe in people like Evan Bayh – thought they were ok, though a little misguided. The healthcare vote showed me that there are very few democrats that voted FOR THE PEOPLE. That vote showed me forever that there is no such thing as a moderate democrat. That realization was quite an eye opener.

  8. 14


    The author says he’s going to use “some economic reductionism” to counter this issue. Now to me–although I do not know what this means the readers–this means a reduction of an argument to its smaller and smaller economic basis (for what reason it’s not clear). But I saw no elucidation of economic concepts–just a continuing right-wing tirade.

  9. 15


    premium_subscriber, subscriber


    just a continuing right-wing tirade.

    So, you are saying the argument against the mosque is a “right wing tirade”?

    63% oppose, 27% for. NY state voter poll.

    71% oppose, 22% for. Report of CBS polling of all Americans.

    68% oppose, 29% for. Report of a CNN polling of all Americans.

    What were you saying tadcf? It’s kind of hard to suggest the opposition to the mosque is purely a “right-wing tirade” when the polling is so overwhelmingly opposed to it. Or, are you saying that the approximately 2/3’s of the peoples polled in any media poll on the subject are “right-wing”? I am not clear on what you mean by that phrasing in your comment. Maybe you can ‘elucidate’ your comment for me, and the other FA readers.

  10. 16


    No, that’s not what tadcf was saying. She was saying that the portion of the quoted piece that was introduced as delving into “economic reductionism” did not, in fact, delve into economics at all. She saw the ensuing portion of the piece as a tirade.

    That’s not to say that tadcf does not share the sentiments you assign to her. It’s just not what she said.

  11. 17


    premium_subscriber, subscriber


    I know what tadcf said. The implication, though, is that opposition to the mosque essentially is a right-wing tirade, and that is what I was addressing. That is why I said “the argument against the mosque” and not “this argument against the mosque”.

    tadcf has an annoying habit of naming any opposing view-points as “right-wing”, even when the evidence is contrary to tadcf’s statements. It is a crutch tadcf relies upon to devolve the debate along political lines, even when conservatives here debate opposing viewpoints.

  12. 18


    It appears the GZ iman Rauf sought “church status” for an 800 sq-ft apartment that he claims is used by 450 to 500 worshippers who showed up five times a day to pray.

    I’m not sure if they should have NYC Department of Buildings or the Guinness book of records folks show up to check it out.

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