The Problem with Andy McCarthy’s Thought Experiment
Some of our politicians and commentators are looking to odd places for guidance over the application of fundamental American values.
Over at NRO Andy McCarthy provides a Ground Zero Thought Experiment wherein he posits a “what if” scenario wherein he described Christian extremists who fly a plane into Mecca and then a mainstream Christian group wanting to build a $100 church near the site to help bring healing.
The basic upshot is that he thinks that this would not be allowed in Saudi Arabia (and he is likely correct).
Setting aside the quality of the thought experiment or the analogies, let me cut to the basic flaw in the entire discussion: asking What Would the Saudis Do? is a singularly poor question to ask when judging the rightness of the application of fundamental American, constitutional values, which include freedom of religion and private property rights.
Why is this so hard to understand?
And yet, as I have noted before, people like Newt Gingrich keep saying things along the lines of “Meanwhile, there are no churches or synagogues in all of Saudi Arabia. In fact no Christian or Jew can even enter Mecca.”
So remember, when it comes to religious liberty, private property rights and issues of how to treat fellow citizens, just ask yourself: WWSAD?
Perhaps I will make some bracelets.
Update: Here’s a more explicit version of Gingrich’s direct deployment of the SA analogy. He wrote on his website on 7/22: “There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.”