Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sensitive Conservatism

by William Saletan

August 23, 2010

One by one, the arguments against the proposed Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero have collapsed. A "13-story mosque"? No such plan. "At Ground Zero"? Wrong again. The imam's radical politics? A myth. His shadowy jihadist financiers? Imagined. His failure to denounce terrorism? Debunked. The "angry battle" he's "stoking"? Please. The guy isn't even returning phone calls. The anger and stoking have come from the other side.

So the mosque's opponents have fallen back on one last argument: sensitivity.

"This is an insensitive move," says Sarah Palin. "The question here is a question of sensitivity, people's feelings," says Rudy Giuliani. It's "not just insensitive but provocative," argues Charles Krauthammer. "Those who want to block the mosque are demanding a truly meaningful gesture in 'special sensitivity,' " writes Rich Lowry. Bill Kristol says the proposed location fails to show proper "respect" to the dead. Jonah Goldberg invokes "appropriateness." Karen Hughes, the former Bush aide, says the mosque should be moved because most Americans "don't believe it's respectful, given what happened there."