“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” - Often attributed to Plato but likely from Ian McLaren (pseudonym of Reverend John Watson)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Embarrassed to be a conservative yet again

As regular readers will know, I don't only frequent the sites of those who accept the idea that mankind's emissions of greenhouse gasses are an imminent threat. I have discussed my sojurns to Climate DepotWatts Up With ThatJoanne Nova, etc. While I frequently find the posts themselves to be frustrating, the comments are often infuriating and the links to the blog sites hosted by the commenters can be downright frightening.

Such was the case when I looked at a comment on Anthony Watts' post entitled "Global air and sea temperatures starting to drop rapidly." One Alec Rawls has a site called Error Theory. Mr. Rawls says that he was in a Ph.D. program in Economics at Stanford but that his research led him to "moral theory and constitutional law" at which point he dropped the program and went out on his own. The Error Theory blog has as its summary, quoted in its entirety, "Moral science has two halves. There are the implications of thinking straight about fact and value (ideal theory) and there are the implications of not thinking straight. Ideal theory is the foundation, error theory the daily battle."

Reading his most recent post of October 28, I agreed with a fair amount of his material. It consists of some takedowns of camaign ads of the despicable, loathsome (I don't like her) Barbara Boxer. So far so good. But when I saw a picture of Alan Keyes and a description of him as a hero, alarm bells went off. It turns out that Rawls' passion is detailed at his web site entitled Crescent of Betrayal.

That site is dedicated to stopping the construction of the Flight 93 National Memorial by Architect Paul Murdoch. Readers will recall that United Airlines Flight 93 was the Boeing 757 that was brought down near Shanksville, Pennsylvania by passengers to prevent radical Islamic hijackers from using the airplane as a guided missile. So, what's the problem with the memorial? It's at the site of the crash and the actual location of the crash is surrounded by a broken circle. Rawls believes that this is an Islamic Crescent.

There's a tower with 40 wind chimes symbolizing those who died. The chimes hang in the concave portion of a semi-circular tower. If you stand on the ground and gaze up, Rawls believes you are looking at the Flight 93 victims hanging in hell below the Heavenly crescent at the top of the tower.

As is usually the case with conspiracy theorists, Rawls has a whole series of arcane facts and figures to back up his contention. For example, if you stand in the center of the open part of the circle and look toward the center of the enclosed area, it's the proper direction to face Mecca. And when the shadow of the tower touches the trees, forming part of the closure of the circle, it's time for afternoon prayers.

It's difficult to criticize this - Tom Burnett, Sr., father of Flight 93 victim Tom Burnett, Jr. is a part of the campaign to stop the Memorial. I'm sensitive to the feelings of the friends and families of those who lost their lives in Pennsylvania, in New York, and at the Pentagon. But this kind of fear and hatred mongering does no one any good. What evidence is there that Paul Murdoch secretly (or not so secretly) venerates the terrorists and wants to shame the victims?

As it turns out, the design has been controversial and its abandonment has been a cause celeb for such intellectual luminaries of the conservative movement as the above-mentioned Keyes and ex Colorado Representative, erstwhile Republican Presidential candidate, and current Colorado Gubernatorial candidate in the Constitution Party, Tom Tancredo. Yes, it's hard to hold my head high as a conservative these days.

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