Thoughts on Burn a Koran Day and Libertarianism

Recently on Facebook, I was made aware of a group which will be hosting “Burn a Koran Day” on September 11, 2010. Many people on Facebook who happily refer to themselves as Libertarians (or Conservatives, which in America should be practically identical) were shocked and outraged that I refused to condemn this group. Angry statements were made ranging from calling me a Christian hatemonger, to a hater of homosexuals (?) to my personal favorite, “burning Korans will get American soldiers killed in Iraq!”

Leaving aside the incredible pettiness and selfishness of using the lives of people who have signed contracts to put themselves in harm’s way to protect your freedom as some sort of moral leverage, and the fact that I won’t be PARTICIPATING in the event, let us consider some points of libertarianism in relationship to the upcoming event.

1) If you do not recognize the sanctity of private property, you are not a libertarian. That is, I can go to the bookstore and buy a copy of Q’ran just to burn it. It is mine; I own it and may dispose of it how I please–including destruction and desecration.

2) If you believe that people must be prevented from taking any action which might offend someone, you are not a libertarian. You have no right not to be offended. In point of fact, being offended by something is your own choice. I could choose to be offended by eating ice cream; that doesn’t give me the authority to close down the companies that make it.

3) If you believe that people aren’t responsible for their own actions, you are not a libertarian. Men don’t rape women because of what the women were wearing. Muslims don’t bomb synagogues full of children on High Holy Day because some Americans burned Q’rans. Human beings are free-willed organisms, and we take those actions we choose to take.

4) If you get angry at people because they disagree with you, you are not a libertarian. You cannot both believe in personal liberty and not allow difference of opinion. It is absurd.

5) If you respect the ideology of a group that uses violence to coerce people into obeying them, you are not a libertarian. If you want to object to something, object to the destruction of the World Trade Center by Muslims and the subsequent attempt to build a mosque in the crater. Object to the beheading of Daniel Pearl and countless others by Muslims to terrify people into obedience. Don’t object to the people who are making it clear that America is still a free country.

Finally, just to highlight the depth of ignorance people have displayed on this topic, it is highly unlikely that the group in Florida will actually burn any Q’rans. You see, Islam does not recognize a translation of a Q’ran as anything but a book–it isn’t really the Q’ran. Translations can be had for $20.00 at the bookstore; real Q’rans will cost over a hundred dollars. Do the math.

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