(n) liberty (immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority: political independence)
(n) liberty (freedom of choice) "liberty of opinion"; "liberty of worship"; "liberty--perfect liberty--to think or feel or do just as one pleases"; "at liberty to choose whatever occupation one wishes" -- Princeton Wordnet
I start out with a definition of liberty because a lot of the people who use it most seem to have no idea what the hell it means. The people who call themselves "defenders of liberty" were actually handed a couple of setbacks this week, with a city board approving a Muslim community center in Manhattan and a judge in California striking down a ban on same-sex marriage. In both cases, liberty prevailed. And, in both cases, those "defenders of liberty" expressed their outrage.
Among the most shameful voices about the community center -- to be named Cordoba House -- has been disgraced former house speaker Newt Gingrich. And his reasoning was as idiotic as we've come to expect. "There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia," he said in a statement. "The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over."
Shorter Newt Gingrich; "If Saudi Arabia isn't going to practice religious freedom, we should become just as oppressive -- that'll show 'em! First Amendment be damned." You wonder when Newt will get around to calling for a moratorium on Catholic churches. After all, you're not going to find a lot of mosques in Vatican City. But that would require consistency in reasoning and that's not what we've come to expect from Gingrich -- or anyone else on the right, for that matter. And, of course, banning mosques would verify about 90% of Islamic terrorist propaganda. This doesn't strike me as being all that constructive.
"Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for 'religious toleration' are arrogantly dishonest," he went on. "They ignore the fact that more than 100 mosques already exist in New York City." Apparently, there's an unwritten limit to religious freedom, with one house of worship allowed for every X adherents. Anything more than that and you're just abusing the privilege.
But it's not a privilege, it's a right. For people like Gingrich, rights are things that can be ignored or suspended arbitrarily, with the rights afforded one group depending on the bigoted whims of another. Newt -- and the people who applaud him -- get to shut up about how they're patriots who defend the Constitution from now on. They aren't and they don't. Liberty won, you guys lost. Let that sink in while you're enjoying your frosty mug of STFU.
And it's those bigoted whims of a group that were struck down in court in California. In his ruling, Judge John Walker found:
Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs' objective as "the right to same-sex marriage" would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy -- namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages.
Simple, rational, and just. No one is losing anything here, while liberty is expanded. Not surprisingly, Newt doesn't see it that way:
Judge Walker's ruling overturning Prop 8 is an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife. In every state of the union from California to Maine to Georgia, where the people have had a chance to vote they've affirmed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Congress now has the responsibility to act immediately to reaffirm marriage as a union of one man and one woman as our national policy. Today’s notorious decision also underscores the importance of the Senate vote tomorrow on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court because judges who oppose the American people are a growing threat to our society.
Yeah, a judge overturned an unconstitutional law in California and that's why we have to keep Elena Kagan -- who isn't that judge -- off the Supreme Court. Not extremely surprisingly, Newt's not very smart about running his blog and has an open comment system -- where he's getting his sorry ass handed to him. Not only has Newt Gingrich lost the argument in New York and California, but he's losing the argument at Newt.org.
Another win for liberty. Make sure you let him know that.
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