Yes, This is a Litmus Test

People who refer to themselves as “libertarians” spend a lot of time arguing over exactly what they mean by “libertarian.”

Personally, I try to be fairly “big tent,” figuring that people who self-identify as libertarian tend to get more libertarian after doing so, if a) accepted and b) encouraged to explore libertarian ideas.

So, when I disagree on this or that issue with someone who self-identifies as a libertarian, I generally try to frame that disagreement not as a negative verdict on the other person’s libertarianism, but rather as a possible error on their part as to how libertarian ideas apply to that particular issue.

But the fact is that there are some people who call themselves libertarians who … well, just ain’t libertarians. And the facts on some issues are so incredibly clear that it’s possible to use those issues as litmus tests. If you’re on one side of the issue, you may be a libertarian. If you’re on the other side, no, you aren’t.

One such issue is — to use the phrase fraudulently coined by its opponents — is the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

We’ll get to the fraud in a moment, but it’s really a secondary thing, a side effect. The important part in treating it as a litmus test is this:

If you support private property rights and freedom of religion, you may be a libertarian.

If you don’t support private property rights and freedom of religion, you aren’t a libertarian.


Cordoba House, the project being fraudulently referred to as a “mosque” by those attempting to prevent its construction, is planned for construction on private property and with private funds.

The opponents of Cordoba House are attempting to stop its construction by persuading a government board to declare the building currenly standing at the project’s prospective location “historic” so that the owners can be forced to “preserve” it and forbidden to demolish it and build a structure more to their liking there.

The opponents of Cordoba House oppose private property rights. Their opposition to private property rights stems from their opposition to freedom of religion. They are, therefore, not libertarians.

They’re also either liars or idiots, and the evidence points strongly to the former. Here’s the skinny:

Cordoba House is not a “mosque.” It’s an “Islamic cultural center,” which is no more a “mosque” than your local YMCA is a “cathedral.”

The construction site for Cordoba House is not at “Ground Zero.” It’s two blocks away, on Park Place between West Broadway and Church Street (and, FWIW, farther away than St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church or St. Paul’s Chapel).

The opponents of Cordoba House generally claim to have knowledge of Islam beyond that of us non-Muslims who don’t obsess over who’s worshiping where. For example, they like to cite chapter and verse on the historical penchant of Muslim conquerors for building mosques on prominent conquered sites.

If they know that much, then presumably they’re not idiots — and if they’re not idiots they also know by now that Cordoba House isn’t a mosque. From that, it follows that they are just lying about it because lying seems more likely to get them what they want.

If they can use Google Maps (and if they can blog, they can surely use Google Maps) they also know that Cordoba House’s construction site isn’t at Ground Zero. From that, once again, it follows that they’re lying because they know that the facts aren’t as emotionally compelling as the fairy tale they’re pushing.

The whole “Ground Zero Mosque” meme is fraudulent in the classic sense: It’s an attempt at theft by deception. By convincing people that a cultural center is a mosque, and that “Ground Zero” is located two blocks north of where it’s actually located, they hope to build popular support for their call on government to steal some things — a piece of land, a building, and the religious freedom of the land/building’s owners — for them.

And fraud, a/k/a theft by deception, isn’t libertarian either.

2 comments to Yes, This is a Litmus Test

  • Simply put, if you support Sharia Law, or align yourself with individuals who support the imposition of Sharia Law, you are not a Libertarian.

    Radical Muslims wish to throw marijuana smokers in jail for life, outlaw booze, stone prostitutes to death, and force our wives/girlfriends to wear an ugly black burqa from head-to-toe. How is that Libertarian?

    You’re right on one thing though. The Ground Zero Mosque is not really a Mosque. Rather it will be a Radical Islamist Terrorist Training Center.

    Eric Dondero, Publisher
    25+ Year Libertarian Party member
    Fmr Libertarian National Comm.
    Nation’s #1 Libertarian Political Activist

  • On my Facebook page today I commented on Wayne
    Alyn Root’s blog piece on this issue:

    “This is why Wayne, try as he may, is not any kind of libertarian leader–he will, unlike the individuals Angela Keaton designated as libertarians of the day ,comprise liberty in the hard cases (or if I was a cynic I would say on the cases that will endear Wayne to many of the people who nowadays …identify themselves as “conservatives”)

    I have to admit, I don’t really like the idea of a mosque at ground zero–but it is none of my business–nor Wayne’s business, nor the business of the survivors or the city. It is private property and if these Muslim folk wish to erect a mosque that is their right. It is more offensive if government steps in to block a use of private property—especially when it is a religious use of private property.

    It is in the tough cases where we find out who the real liberty-mongers are.”

    You were one of the people Angela mentioned today–thanks for proving me right.

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