The furor over the “Ground Zero Mosque” (which is neither a mosque nor at Ground Zero) doesn’t make me very optimistic about the prospects for liberty.
As a libertarian and just a live-and-let-live kind of guy, I can’t imagine caring much about, let alone vocally protesting, what someone is building two blocks away from me.
Yet apparently many of my fellow Americans are such busybodies that they’ll whine for weeks about something being built hundreds or thousands of miles away from them, in a city where they don’t live and probably won’t even visit. And many of the complainers are among the Tea Party set whom we are occasionally told are “libertarian,” even though they seem to hate Muslims and Mexicans and love war at least as much as they hate the federal government and love liberty.
Jonah Goldberg claims that the conservatives who object “mostly” recognize that the Muslims have a legal right to build their center. But what I hear on talk radio makes me doubt this. A common argument there seems to be that since “liberals” don’t care about the constitution or property rights in general, they aren’t entitled to invoke them now — as though liberals somehow have the power to waive Muslims’ rights.
In any event, even if Goldberg is correct, it’s hard to imagine that the spirit of liberty resides in the sort of people who get so worked up over this sort of thing. The ease with which they’ve been distracted by this issue suggests that reducing government isn’t going to be their top priority once their team is back in control in Washington.
(Cross-posted on my blog.)
So what’s a politician to do when his candidacy is flagging and he’s taken a hard shot to the breadbasket for appearing “soft” on illegal immigration? He gets medieval on . . . well, somebody:
Florida Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum unveiled a sweeping immigration bill Wednesday that in some ways goes further than Arizona’s controversial law to apprehend undocumented workers and residents….
“Arizona is going to want this law,” McCollum said. “We’re better, we’re stronger, we’re tougher and we’re fairer.”
The proposed law would require immigrants to carry valid documentation or face up to 20 days in jail and would allow judges to hand down stiffer penalties to illegal immigrations who commit the same crimes as legal residents.
That’ll show ‘em! If you’re unfortunate enough to look like an illegal immigrant in Florida, be prepared to carry a portfolio proving you have the government’s permission to exist inside its borders. Apparently the “fairer” part of the bill is that unlike Arizona’s SB1070, it doesn’t hold legal residents criminally liable for harboring illegals.
Naturally this bill has raised more than a few concerns among Florida’s Hispanic lawmakers, who fear it will lead to racial profiling (a claim I’d happily dispute as soon as I see a Florida cop shaking down some Yankee retiree for being unable to prove he didn’t just step off the boat from Oslo), and there are the obvious obstacles such legislation would face in the courts. A Federal judge has already slapped an injunction on the most odious parts of Arizona’s bill, even as McCollum’s proposal takes it a step further.
In short, chances are slim the bill will survive intact, if it becomes law at all. But what’s a few violations of civil liberties, if it means the Sunshine State lowers the boom on the Brown Peril?
I heard a segment on a local radio station where someone opposed immigration because often times immigrants are coming to the country “only” to work. Tragedy #1 no doubt. But that’s not all. The same person was saying that they are also not respectful of the government or of the state or of the laws. Tragedy #2.
Now I’ve heard it all.