By Ron Paul (via press release)

“Is the controversy over building a mosque near ground zero a grand distraction or a grand opportunity? Or is it, once again, grandiose demagoguery?

“It has been said, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Are we not overly preoccupied with this controversy, now being used in various ways by grandstanding politicians? It looks to me like the politicians are “fiddling while the economy burns.”

“The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque.

“Instead, we hear lip service given to the property rights position while demanding that the need to be “sensitive” requires an all-out assault on the building of a mosque, several blocks from “ground zero.”

“Just think of what might (not) have happened if the whole issue had been ignored and the national debate stuck with war, peace, and prosperity. There certainly would have been a lot less emotionalism on both sides. The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom?

“In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.

“They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill conceived preventative wars. A select quote from soldiers from in Afghanistan and Iraq expressing concern over the mosque is pure propaganda and an affront to their bravery and sacrifice.

“The claim is that we are in the Middle East to protect our liberties is misleading. To continue this charade, millions of Muslims are indicted and we are obligated to rescue them from their religious and political leaders. And, we’re supposed to believe that abusing our liberties here at home and pursuing unconstitutional wars overseas will solve our problems.

“The nineteen suicide bombers didn’t come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran. Fifteen came from our ally Saudi Arabia, a country that harbors strong American resentment, yet we invade and occupy Iraq where no al Qaeda existed prior to 9/11.

“Many fellow conservatives say they understand the property rights and 1st Amendment issues and don’t want a legal ban on building the mosque. They just want everybody to be “sensitive” and force, through public pressure, cancellation of the mosque construction.

“This sentiment seems to confirm that Islam itself is to be made the issue, and radical religious Islamic views were the only reasons for 9/11. If it became known that 9/11 resulted in part from a desire to retaliate against what many Muslims saw as American aggression and occupation, the need to demonize Islam would be difficult if not impossible.

“There is no doubt that a small portion of radical, angry Islamists do want to kill us but the question remains, what exactly motivates this hatred?

“If Islam is further discredited by making the building of the mosque the issue, then the false justification for our wars in the Middle East will continue to be acceptable.

“The justification to ban the mosque is no more rational than banning a soccer field in the same place because all the suicide bombers loved to play soccer.

“Conservatives are once again, unfortunately, failing to defend private property rights, a policy we claim to cherish. In addition conservatives missed a chance to challenge the hypocrisy of the left which now claims they defend property rights of Muslims, yet rarely if ever, the property rights of American private businesses.

“Defending the controversial use of property should be no more difficult than defending the 1st Amendment principle of defending controversial speech. But many conservatives and liberals do not want to diminish the hatred for Islam–the driving emotion that keeps us in the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia.

“It is repeatedly said that 64% of the people, after listening to the political demagogues, don’t want the mosque to be built. What would we do if 75% of the people insist that no more Catholic churches be built in New York City? The point being is that majorities can become oppressors of minority rights as well as individual dictators. Statistics of support is irrelevant when it comes to the purpose of government in a free society—protecting liberty.

“The outcry over the building of the mosque, near ground zero, implies that Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to those who are condemning the building of the mosque, the nineteen suicide terrorists on 9/11 spoke for all Muslims. This is like blaming all Christians for the wars of aggression and occupation because some Christians supported the neo-conservative’s aggressive wars.

“The House Speaker is now treading on a slippery slope by demanding a Congressional investigation to find out just who is funding the mosque—a bold rejection of property rights, 1st Amendment rights, and the Rule of Law—in order to look tough against Islam.

“This is all about hate and Islamaphobia.

“We now have an epidemic of “sunshine patriots” on both the right and the left who are all for freedom, as long as there’s no controversy and nobody is offended.

“Political demagoguery rules when truth and liberty are ignored.”

Editors Note: Bolding of the text and video were added by editor.

16 comments
  1. Ron Paul has it backwards. People are using their First Amendment rights to oppose the building of this mosque. The House speaker is also considering investigating the funding of those who oppose the Mosque, but not a word about that from Paul. Just whose side is he on? He even shows his rank hypocrisy on the property rights issue, for the federal government and Obama and congressman should stay out of what should be a decision left up to the states and the people, including local zoning laws.

  2. Sorry Dustin, nobody is denying that they don’t have a right to build there. It’s just that they shouldn’t.

    Many of those same conservative politicians who have spoken out on this are also focused on the economy… they’ve done no more than he has done expressed an opinion and issued a statement.

    So I guess it’s ok for him to express his opinion and the others not.

    “It’s all about hate and Islamophobia” – sure, whatever. He sounds like a liberal here. Let’s throw down the “hate” card. In this whole statement I saw not one reference to the victims of 9/11.

    This is an example of why I could never support him in a Presidential bid.

      1. Well if you like him on the economy you should support him because he is pretty much the only politician who has a flawless record on voting down big government spending. At the pace we r going it won’t matter we will be as poor as the people in the middle east.

  3. The proposed building of this mosque is controversial. Thankfully – in the United States – none of us will be restrained by our government from engaging in speech about it: pro, con, or observational. But this is not Congressman Paul’s point here.

    He makes the point that this issue is a distraction to much more pressing economic issues. I agree.

    He makes the point that federal investigation and action on a local matter is inappropriate. I agree.

    He makes the point that the current arguments are often focused on all Muslims (24% of the world’s population), rather than the extremists who committed this crime. I agree.

    But mostly, he makes the point that this issue is more focused on emotional responses than defending rights. I agree.

    The emotions here are certainly legitimate. Many fine people lost their lives on 9/11. Some of those were Muslims. But as tragic as that event was, using the sadness from it as a cudgel to abrogate property rights is wrong. As Congressman Paul remarks, Americans have learned this lesson in the right to free speech. Most considered observers begrudgingly accepted the right of Nazi’s to march in Skokie Illinois, realizing that preventing ugly free speech puts all free speech at risk. Allowing an emotional revulsion to affect property rights puts all property rights at risk.

  4. “He makes the point that the current arguments are often focused on all Muslims (24% of the world’s population), rather than the extremists who committed this crime. I agree.”

    You are ignoring both the history of Muslim conquests using the word “Cordoba” (http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?p=8783)

    and the specific viewpoints of the imam building this mosque. Only if you grant that all Muslims want to impose Sharia law or blame the US for 9/11 is our opposition to the mosque “Focused on all Muslims”.

    1. “So by now, no one should be surprised that Islam wants to erect a Mosque near the site of Islam’s greatest 21st Century conquest.”

      This is would be the example of an argument not focused on all Muslims?

      Still, you and the author of the post you reference have every right to your perspective, your strong feelings on the situation, and your speech decrying this project. I wholeheartedly support that, and appreciate the history and current event information in the post you’ve referenced.

      As soon as someone provides concrete evidence of an actual plot by Islam to “finish what they started” (all 1.6 billion of them), I’ll also agree to join in mounting a defense.

      Until then, I won’t support trampling property rights in America based on fear and suspicion.

      1. Who is trampling property rights?

        You and Ron Paul are guilty of the thing you decry in others. You are taking the viewpoint of a few (that the mosque should be forbidden by law) and assuming that all of us who oppose the mosque think the law is the only solution.

      2. You are absolutely right. I stand corrected.

        In my last post, the final paragraph should properly have read:

        “Are you suggesting some level of government should abrogate the owner’s property rights in order to be sensitive to opponents’ interests?”

        To which I assume you would have replied, “No.” And I would agreed. My apologies.

      3. Mr. Stands, you are among the most humble of posters. Of course, your apology is accepted. I appreciate 90% of Mr. Paul’s economic views, I hate to seem him discredited on other issues

  5. “What if” … Ron Paul’s Isolationist Policy is Wrong?

    “What if” … some wars are necessary to preserve Personal Liberties?

    “What if” … Ron Paul is Wrong about our quest of managing an Empire?

    “What if” … our National Security is at stake?

    “What if” … Diplomacy Doesn’t Work?

    “What if” … the rest of the World has No Backbone to confront Tyrannical & Rogue Dictators hellbent on the suppression of others?

    “What if” … Ron Paul = the Appeasement Asshole of the Century = Neville Chamberlain !

  6. Eric What “IF” you just don’t know what you are Talking about?
    What “IF” your Neo Con stance on the World is Wrong?
    What “IF” when using “IF” your argument is defeated
    What “IF” Aliens come down and probe you?
    I guess you don’t support the Right for people to pray in the Pentagon, Because Muslims have been praying in the Pentagon ever since 9/11, Or is you only support the Christian form of Religion and anyone else should not have the right to worship openly in Public!
    American’s that follow the teaching’s of Mohammad are Still American’s!!!
    Your logic would seem to dictate that since that pastor Cyco that protests soldiers funerals we should not allow anymore Christians to build Churches! Or the Cyco Abortion Clinic Bombers and Murders that cite bible verse as justifacation for there henious Crimes, Then all Christians are Cyco, Or All Jews should be blamed for Israel’s Policy of Apartied against the Palastinaians!
    I get it, You have Beck, and Hannity, and Rush and Coulter, and Palin all telling you to hate!
    So like a good little TV watching Drone you Jump on the Band Wagon!

    Compare Dr. Paul to people like Ghandi, Rev. King, or Ike!
    So ends the Lesson!
    Ron Paul 2012

  7. A sensitive issue no doubt, but I think Paul has it right.

    I consider myself a Libertarian and think that this Mosque should be ALLOWED to be built.
    Do I think it should be built? NO.

    That doesn’t mean it is for me to stop it being built, but rather I disagree with it being built there not because I personally would take any offence… but because it would not be a smart move for Muslim-American relations.

    That is the difference you have to distinguish.

    I agree that it is a stupid move on behalf of those who are trying to build it there because it is obvious that it will do harm to the perception of Muslims in the US. However you have to also consider this: Prior to 9/11 would anyone complain about this Mosque being built there? Obviously No.

    My Message to American Muslims:
    For the sake of peace and understanding… try and convince your fellows that it is a bad idea to build this Mosque in that location because it will obviously be perceived negatively by many Americans and will be seen as an insensitive move.

    HOWEVER

    My Message to Americans opposing the Mosque:
    Remember that many of your fellow peace loving citizens who are Muslim are now being victimised and discriminated against through no fault of their own.
    The 9/11 terrorists were Muslim, that doesn’t mean that Muslims are terrorists or that they agreed with those attacks… if anything they suffered most after them as they are now suffering from the “islamophobia” following them.

    So why should a Mosque being built by Ground Zero be insensitive and insulting?

    As here in the UK following the IRA terrorist attacks in the 80s… building an Irish Pub or Irish Church or Irish Centre would not have been seen as insensitive or insulting. Same principle.
    Do not take offence from fabricated connections.

  8. I have to agree with Ron Paul on this one.

    Especially the point that he’s right … this is a manufactured controversy for the purposes of political theater. There is a group — he calls them neocons, so we’ll go with that — who need to use fear-mongering tactics.

    While people use different excuses for opposing the community center in Manhattan, I can’t help but notice that no one is rushing to the defense of a mosque project in, say, Murfreesboro. Mosques are being opposed all over the country because too many Americans have bought into the idea that all Muslims are anti-American. Political leaders are seriously proposing that Islam might not be protected by the First Amendment at all.

    I can’t help but notice that the same people who demand that all Muslims share blame with terrorists in the name of “sensitivity” typically have no problem with waving Confederate flags from government buildings, or who oppose so-called “political correctness” when they’re being told to be sensitive.

    This issue, to use the term very loosely, presents an interesting case study in people arguing against their own professed principles.

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