The Ground Zero Mosque and Property Rights
August 20, 2010
If the “debate” staged by the corporate media over the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” demonstrates anything, it is once again how gullible and easily influenced the American people are, at least according to polls.
On August 19, Time Magazine released a poll showing 61% of respondents oppose the construction of the mosque, compared with 26% who support it. “More than 70% concur with the premise that proceeding with the plan would be an insult to the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center,” writes Time.
An insult to the victims, even though there is no definitive evidence Muslims are responsible for that catastrophic event.
Time Magazine, of course, is a mantlepiece of the CIA’s Mockingbird corporate media, so any poll it generates should be highly suspect. In fact, we have absolutely no gauge as to what the American people think about the mosque. Considering the non-stop anti-Muslim propaganda propagated by the corporate media, it is entirely possible most Americans believe the mosque is an insult to the victims.
As expected, establishment politicos have lined up in opposition to the mosque. Naturally, the neocon Newt Gingrich compared it to Nazis trying to put up a sign near Washington’s holocaust museum and Sarah Palin, the darling of the establishment refashioned Tea Party movement, said it is an unnecessary provocation that “stabs hearts.”
Palin tells us she supports the Constitution, but obviously she has a dim understanding of the founding document. As Rick Lynch notes, in a political context, virtually nothing was as important to the Framers as property rights. For the founders, the rights of property were inviolable and they considered the Constitution itself as the embodiment of property rights. Concerns of freedom cannot be separated from concerns for property.
Palin should know that property rights were so important to the Framers that all but 4 of the 55 men at the Constitutional Convention placed the protection of property behind only liberty itself. As Lynch notes, of the four who disagreed on this point, three differed not because they valued property rights less than their fellows but because they actually “put [their] protection ahead of liberty as the main object of society,” as Forrest McDonald explains.
But nowadays, even the Supreme Court has a vague understanding of property rights and the Constitution. In 2005, during the “conservative” (actually neocon) Bush era, the Supreme Court ruled under the Kelo decision that local governments may force property owners to sell out and make way for private economic development. The founders would have been appalled by the very concept of “eminent domain,” the idea that government can deny the right of the individual to hold property.
Sharif El-Gamal, a real estate developer, owns the buildings that will be transformed into a 15-story mosque on Manhattan. In order that the feelings of the 9/11 victims families will not be hurt — and also buttress the cornerstone premise of the manufactured global war on terror — El-Gamal’s property rights may be violated.
It is not merely Newt and Sarah who are behind this selective application of property rights. New York governor David Paterson and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid oppose the mosque, as does Howard Dean, who has labeled it “a real affront to people who lost their lives.”
The real affront is to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. If government can tell Muslims they have no right to property, they can tell all of us.
Is it possible nearly two-thirds of Americans are opposed to the very idea of property rights? If we are to believe the corporate media, they are.
From the Patriot Act to naked body scanners in airports around the nation, we have already lost far too many of our precious freedoms. It stands to reason we will lose our property as well.
Kurt Nimmo edits Infowars.com. He is the author of Another Day in the Empire: Life In Neoconservative America.