Who's "Un-American" Now?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The construction of an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan has become a national topic. Clyde Haberman, New York Times columnist, talks about the latest in the Park 51 controversy -- a lawsuit to require landmark status for the building.


Clyde Haberman

Comments [32]

Leaozinho from one street over


Progressive policies have not only removed my choice to not purchase health insurance but now forces me to purchase it - from a private company no less!

Progressive policies criminalize thought by legisliating so-called "hate crimes." Please, before you jump on me, I rebuke criminal attacks especially those directed against a person based on her race, sexual orientation, etc. I think it is bad policy for the government to legislate against what we should think or say, however, but progressives seem to find thoughts fair game.

As for mental slavery - progressive policies push a utopia of false equivalencies. A local little league team no longer recognizes the winner of a baesball game becuase it would be unfair to the losing team, kids no longer get A's on exams becuase it's unfair to those who fail.

Much more interesting is why would you ask me to clarify my position and in the same breath claim it is baseless and lacking in nuance? This suggests to me that you are not really interested in a debate but rather attacking someone who doesn't agree with progressive politics. By your standards there are other equally "baseless" posts that "lack nuance" on this blog, some vitriolic even (please see Jean's post about FOX or Mickey's from Gowanus), yet you didn't bother to ask them to clarify. Mr. Lehrer simply asked us to post what we thought was un-American. I did. Lots of other people did, too. Neither I nor they felt the need to go into a detailed analysis of it on a blog posting or audio clip. Yet you singled me out. Interesting.

Finally, presumably everyone on this blog, including myslef, are well aware of the difference between having an opinion and being right or wrong "on the facts," as you say. But thank you for highlighting that point.

Mar. 24 2011 03:10 PM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

@ Leaozinho from just up the block -

In American you DO have the right to say whatever you want so you can call people whose politics (progressives) you don't like un-American. It just doesn't mean you are correct on the facts - for instance, this baseless statement:

"Progressive politics removes freedom of choice and free will, limits free speech and ultimately reduces one to the mental slavery of forced and false egalitarianism. All of which is destructive of the human spirit."

Prove it.

So your right to call people un-American is unalienable. Just don't believe that your blanket, categorical statements - totally devoid of the nuance that characterizes the world - can be taken as legitimate and the sole perspective, especially when it can't be substantiated.

Mar. 23 2011 04:14 PM
Mickey from Gowanus, Brooklyn

In a country that was founded on slavery and the obliteration of native populations, where still today, people of color are kept in prisons and in poverty, where women are silenced and queer folks are legally discriminated against and where any value put on diversity was fought for painstakingly, sometimes to little avail, asking about the American-ness of certain behavior can hardly serve as a barometer for its justness, or its positive impact on our society.

As someone who is against American war efforts and has dedicated his career to reversing the oppressive systems this country is based in, I would like to nominate myself as something that is truly un-American.

Mar. 23 2011 12:05 PM
Leaozinho from just up the block

Eschewing the platitude that to call something un-American is un-American, progressive politics is un-American.

Progressive politics removes freedom of choice and free will, limits free speech and ultimately reduces one to the mental slavery of forced and false egalitarianism. All of which is destructive of the human spirit.

Unfortunately, the loudest answer to progressive politics on the right does its fair share of destroying our rights and spirits, too.

Mar. 23 2011 11:35 AM
Smitty from nyc

Who's "Un American" Now?

I have to go with

terrorists, islamic extrimists, muslems for the most part, illegal aliens,
mexicans (unless they are cleaning your house or watching your kid cheap), communists ofcourse (not the one in China that sell us cheap stuff, those are OK, wink, wink)

Mar. 23 2011 11:13 AM
David from Brooklyn

Being American means you can be a bloviated windbag. Robertson and Falwell, are true to this.

Mar. 23 2011 11:03 AM
To Brian from Hoboken

I'm Norwegian, you cretin. I'm saying New York City feels like home.

Mar. 23 2011 11:02 AM
geo from downtown

I work 2 blocks from the mosque and I walk by there everyday and there is now always a cop car out front and barricades restricting parking. They have taken away about 6 parking spaces! for nothing.!!
I need those parking spaces.!!

Mar. 23 2011 11:01 AM
The Truth from Becky

Very ignorant of you Clyde to repeat that stereotypical slander. You know which one I won't say it because I hate that people heard you say it the first time as it is! But stop repeating that, it sounds ignorant.

Mar. 23 2011 11:00 AM

"Un-American"? how about so-called "political correctness"? Who determines what is "correct"? By what criteria? "Correct" is such a loaded, judgmental word. mccarthyistic thinking from the left is no better than the original sin--

larry, Fair Lawn

Mar. 23 2011 10:58 AM
Brian from Hoboken

@ Neill-
If NYC is un-American and the middle America is moral, just, and right, then how do you explain that 10 out of 26 Iowans at a pre-caucus meeting think that our president is not a citizen and that he is a Muslim? Puh-lease!

And even though I am atheist, if there is a hell that Falwell is burning in it. LOL!

Mar. 23 2011 10:57 AM
Patriot Sam

"It's not the worst thing that airlines are paranoid about "such things" (that's a euphemism), but SW, being the shrewd operator that it is, should have done better to assuage the passenger.

Screwing up is human. Failing to make up for it is plain lousy business. And lousy business is un-American.

Does SW hate America?"
From a comment on The Economist website;

Mar. 23 2011 10:56 AM
Ben from Park Slope

It is a masterful stroke by Clyde Haberman to say it is "un-American to call others un-American." On that note, I don't want to call anything "un-American."

But I would simply point Brian to his segment at the end of today's show -- a bunch of wealthy property owners don't like a bike lane and they've hired a lawyer to get it removed, even though surveys show a majority of the neighborhood likes the bike lane and thinks traffic is calmer and safer.

That kind of thing is at least anti-democratic. I would hope that plutocracy is un-American.

Mar. 23 2011 10:56 AM

are we talkin' unamerican in principle or in practice?

in principle discriminating against folks based on their religion, ethnicity, or on how long they've been here is unamerican. unfortunately, in practice it seems to be very american.

Mar. 23 2011 10:54 AM
Jay from Brooklyn

Two things that have really suprised me, I mean genuinely shocked me, because I thought these things were things we all valued as americans were; 1) the right's embrace of torture, even of the euphemism of "enhanced interrogation" as a legitimate tactic. and 2) the controversy over the mosque and community center downtown, what happened to freedom of religion?

Mar. 23 2011 10:54 AM

Intolerance is un-American. The American story is purported to be about inclusion and
freedom of religion, speech, association etc...we seem to be devolving into a country where the shrillest, most sanctimonious and hypocritcal voices are claiming exclusive ownership of patriotism.

Mar. 23 2011 10:54 AM
MP from Brooklyn

Some excellent points, Clyde, and chilling to compare the recent statements under discussion to that disgusting exchange between those two great "Christians" after 9/11. It saddens me to hear that a firefighter (and I am one who DOES believe that all firefighters are heroes) would lower himself in this way.

Mar. 23 2011 10:53 AM
Jesse Hawkes from Brooklyn

From the

of or pertaining to the United States of America or its inhabitants: an American citizen.
of or pertaining to North or South America; of the Western Hemisphere: the American continents.
of or pertaining to the aboriginal Indians of North and South America, usually excluding the Eskimos, regarded as being of Asian ancestry and marked generally by reddish to brownish skin, black hair, dark eyes, and prominent cheekbones.
a citizen of the United States of America.
a native or inhabitant of the Western Hemisphere.
an Indian of North or South America.
American English.
a steam locomotive having a four-wheeled front truck, four driving wheels, and no rear truck.

Mar. 23 2011 10:53 AM
Jean from Manhattan

All those hate mongerers at FOX.

Mar. 23 2011 10:53 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn, NY

Preventing people from practicing their religion is un-American.

Mar. 23 2011 10:52 AM
Andrew from Brooklyn

The only thing that is un-American, is the word un-American. This is an anti-philosophy that describes itself not as what it is, but by what it is not. Unfortunately, categorizing people or things as "un-American" happens to be quite American.

Mar. 23 2011 10:52 AM

Dr. Johnson said it best.
"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"

Mar. 23 2011 10:52 AM
Jef from Princeton

who died and left the conservatives boss? who the hell are they to define patriotism or Americanism?

One thing that is very American is the right to own property and to do with that property pretty much what you want, within what the zoning and other laws allow. What is un American is trying to drive someone from their property because you don't like them. Maybe Pat Robertson should just burn a cross on the building site and get it over with.

Mar. 23 2011 10:52 AM
Scotty Watson from Secaucus, NJ

The most un-American thing I have heard in the last few years is when speaking to a conservative and they refer to President Obama as, "YOUR President."

Mar. 23 2011 10:52 AM
Chris Kasper from New York

I beleive it is now un-American to go to college, to practice the Christian tennant of "Love Thy Neighbor", or to support our troops by not wanting their lives risked and lost for a lie.

Mar. 23 2011 10:51 AM
Neils Laarsen from Soho

New York City, as a whole, is somewhat un-American. New York has more in common with big international cities like London and Berlin than it does with "Middle America" or with the country as a whole.

Mar. 23 2011 10:51 AM
Nick from UWS

A person seems to be "Un-American" if they think for themselves and do not participate in dopey herd-mentality activities based on dick waving and testosterone, such as violent organized sports and war. It is also un-American to be intelligent; stupidity is the most valued character trait in the USA.

Mar. 23 2011 10:51 AM
YZ from NYC

Wasn't Joe McCarthy the expert on this?

Who gets to decide what IS "American"? Like culture, language, borders, and the value of currency, it is constantly changing.

Mar. 23 2011 10:50 AM
Theresa from Brooklyn

"Un-American to call others un-American"-- well done, Clyde, I doubt anyone will say it better.

Mar. 23 2011 10:50 AM
David from West Hempstead

"Un-American" is perhaps one of the most worthless pejoratives to ever be introduced in the English language.

Mar. 23 2011 10:48 AM
Hayne Bayless from Ivoryton, CT

The notion that someone or something could be un-American is un-American.

Mar. 23 2011 10:48 AM
Erika from Times Square

In a country where our most fundamental right is free speech, even to speak out against that country is exercising that right and therefore we cannot be un-American.

Mar. 23 2011 10:48 AM

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