By Diana Hsieh
[Originally written for NoodleFood.]
In his most recent podcast, Leonard Peikoff offers his view of the controversy surrounding the proposed mosque near Ground Zero in New York City. I encourage you to listen to his podcast for yourself.
I agree with much that he says, including his view of the threat posed by totalitarian Islam. However, I cannot regard this mosque as an objective threat to the rights of others without concrete evidence of ties to terrorism. For all the reasons outlined in my original post and Steve Simpson's post, I regard Dr. Peikoff's recommendation of stopping the building of the mosque by "any means possible" as wrong. That's a grave threat to my life and liberty, and I cannot support it.
In Dr. Peikoff's commentary, as well as in the recent round of Facebook comments, I've noticed a serious equivocation in the claim of my opponents that "we are at war."
Undoubtedly, the west is in a cultural war with Islam -- a war that most governments, organizations, and people refuse to acknowledge, let alone fight. Undoubtedly, our government should be at war with the states that export totalitarian Islam, pulverizing them into dust if necessary. Nonetheless, the fact remains that our government is not at war with our Islamic enemies, not in any real sense. Our political and military leaders are not willing to declare, let alone fight, a proper war in our self-defense.
As a result of that failure, the actions of the government toward those enemies are limited. For example, our government cannot prosecute imams for treason when they give aid and comfort to enemy terrorist groups like Hamas. Yes, that's wrong -- but that's what happens when a government refuses to identify its enemies. Similarly, our government cannot regard the proposed mosque as an enemy outpost, as it might, if we were truly at war.
The solution is not to pretend as if war has been declared -- and thereby empower the government to violate people's rights willy-nilly. The solution is not to eliminate the few remaining limits on government power that protect our capacity to speak freely. The solution is press hard for a proper war -- a war against our true enemies, a war fought purely on the basis of American self-interest.
Until we get that explicit declaration of war against our Islamic enemies, the hands of our government should be tied. That's a frightening prospect, as the Muslim terrorists will take advantage of that weakness. Yet if we loose the hands of Uncle Sam, others with seemingly threatening views will soon be crushed too... and that means you and me. Once that happens, we'll not have a civilization worth saving from the Muslims.
As much as I respect Dr. Peikoff's philosophic judgment, I cannot ignore that risk to my life and limb.