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Notes to myself, possibly of interest to others.
-- Bill Northlich

Friday, August 6, 2010

On a Mosque at the 9/11 site.

A story:  At Stanford, I had a famous professor, whom I won't name, who's life was in the Aerospace biz.  As well as being a famous scientist, he was a well-placed raconteur among Aerospace hoi polloi:  Government officials, military brass, newspapers, etc.  It was the time of the Vietnam war.  He, like many/most faculty at well-known universities, was against the war, and sympathetic to many protest activities taking place across the country.  He was not against war in general mind you, just Vietnam.

Then came the SST (Supersonic Transport).  The European-designed and built Concorde SST was built and sold to British Air and Air France.  In the US, Boeing and Lockheed designed SST's but the government stopped funding in 1971 due to (unproved) concerns about ozone-layer destruction, and also about the presumed destruction which sonic booms over land would wreak.

My professor was very in to the SST projects, and had received a lot of grant money therefrom.  When the US SST was canceled in '71, he was very upset, and spoke out on several occasions.  I was there once, when he said words to the effect of "I'm as liberal as the next guy, but this is ridiculous".

So, this is the way I feel about the proposed Muslim Cultural Center at the Twin Towers site:  I'm as liberal as the next guy, but this is ridiculous.  Jonathan Chiat has several posts about the issue, in particular, this one ridiculing Loe Lieberman for coming out against the 9/11 Muslim center.  I really like Chiat.  But I don't buy the argument that we need to have a Muslim Cultural Center at the 9/11 site because if we don't we are not really supportive of "American pluralism, minority rights and America's ability to make the necessary divide between moderate and extremist Muslims".

To me it's like proposing we build a performing arts center at Arlington National Cemetery.  The arts are good, and support 'em we must.  Arlington, however, is not the place to take a stand on an arts issue.  It does not fit.  It's off-putting.  It would gratuitously raise ire.  Some battles are best left un-fought.

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