Newt Gingrich, multi-culturalist

The former Speaker wants the United States to adopt Saudi standards of religious tolerance.

In a way, it makes sense: since they hate us for our freedom, perhaps if we give up our freedom they’ll stop hating us.

Or something.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

13 thoughts on “Newt Gingrich, multi-culturalist”

  1. Since Israel doesn't allow Palestinians to purchase property in ~80% of Jerusalem, does his Newtship thus feel that similar restrictions on Jews should be enforced in D.C.?

    Man, these standards could cause all sorts of problems.

  2. Grog:

    Your assertion that Palestinians are not allowed to purchase property,"80 percent of Jerusalem" is based on what? If you are speaking of the approximately 80 percent of land in Israel that is owned by the Israeli government, my understanding is that it cannot be purchased by anyone, period. Privately owned land in Israel can be sold to anyone, without restriction.

  3. Okay, so he thinks we took a wrong turn in the 17th century. Will Spinoza's reputation ever recover?

  4. I thought the Saudis were our friends, and not to be criticized? Or is that only when the GOP is in the white house?

  5. Joel – I can't claim to be an expert on Israeli property law. My understanding is that there is an interplay between ILA policy, that sort of redefines ownership as a long-term lease, and citizenship requirements. Haaretz is one place that has reported on this. If your contention is that the weird (to me) buy-vs.-lease thing means nobody can buy, fine. Perhaps you'd prefer me to say that "80% of Jerusalem land cannot be leased by most Palestinians".

    In any case, I was making a wider point about the sort of fun that could be had with Newt's new-found interest in adopting foreign norms.

  6. Just as a followup, the semantic distinction between the ILA buy/lease thing just made more sense to me when I flipped the U.S. ownership notion around and thought of it as a perpetual lease from the state, with the consideration being mostly property tax, but also frequently additional terms, like buying certain goods and services from local monopolies, use restrictions, etc.

  7. I'm really glad I had good history profs in college, instead of ideologues like Newt.

    Newt's screed says (in part)

    For example, most of them don’t understand that “Cordoba House” is a deliberately insulting term. It refers to Cordoba, Spain – the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.

    I guess this shows that my father was correct when he taught me that it's easy to be insulted if you go looking for insults. What Gingrich fails to note about The Great Mosque of Cordoba is important. Yes, it was built on the site of a Visigoth Church of St. Vincent. The church site was sold to the Ummayad Emir who conquered Andalusia. It was sold, not confiscated. Before the Visigoths built their church there, the site was home to Roman temple ruins. We don't know if the Christians bought the site from the pagans or not.

    Gingrich also fails to note that after the Reconquista of Ferdinand III the Great Mosque was converted into a Roman Catholic cathedral, La Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion (The Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady). It isn't noted whether Ferdinand III bought the land and building or simply confiscated it as a spoil of war. It's architecturally magnificent even including the Catholic modifications.

    And for a final thing, in Spain the place is known as La Mezquita Grande (The Great Mosque), not anything to do with Cordoba. One reason to name the thing Cordoba House is that Cordoba is one of the very few places that Jews, Christians and Muslims were able to work and play nicely with each other for a time. Is it significant that the Muslims were running the polity at the time? Is it remotely possible that our nominally secular government can emulate that aspect of the Ummayad dynasty? Clearly not if people like Gingrich are allowed to run things.

  8. Dennis,

    Exactly. Given a choice among the Visigoths, the Cordoba Caliphate, and Ferdinand and Isabella as rulers, one would have to be insane not to choose the Cordoba Caliphate.

  9. Grog:

    The problem with your comment has nothing to do with lease/buy; the problem is in its implication that Israeli Law zeros in on Palestinians for discriminatory treatment and prevents only Palestinians from owning land, which even by the Haaretz account is not the case. The law discriminates between citizens and non citizens (“foreign nationals”) which includes not only Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens (approximately one-fifth of Israeli citizenry is Arab) but five billion other persons on the planet who are not Israeli citizens. Under Israeli law, Christians, Muslims and all others who are not Jewish, but who are Israeli citizens can and do lease land administered by the ILA, and in fact under some Israeli land-use programs give preferential treatment to non Jewish Israeli citizens. You ask how I would prefer the formulation of your question, but it depends on what point you were trying to make. If your comment was about religious discrimination, using Israel and its relationship with the Palestinians as an example totally missed the mark. Show me any credible evidence that Israel does not allow Palestinians their religious freedom and you should have used a country that does not permit religious freedom. If you were arguing for retaliatory land-use policy, your question would have better traction if formulated as follows: “because Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico (whose constitution prohibits direct purchase of land by foreign nationals) and _______[check the land use laws of other countries and I am certain you can find dozens of others which prohibit ownership by non-citizens] prohibit US citizens from purchasing land in their county, does Newt think citizens of those countries should be prevented from owning land within the United States?" And if you wanted to include Israel, the question(i) would have to be confined to government owned land because privately owned land in Israel can be purchased by anyone and (ii) there would be no mention of Palestinians unless you also named every other foreign national vis a vis Israel (however just as you would not mention any foreign national in connection with Cuba or Venezuela, why would you mention the Palestinians or any other foreign nationals in connection with a question about Israel. As formulated, your question implies that there is a connection between the way Saudi Arabia discriminates against non Muslims and the way Israel treats Palestinians, which is not true. In asking a question that singles out Israel to accuse it of discrimination that does not exist, your question is too close to the calumnies hurled by Israel's enemies (think Jimmy Carter) in their attempts to delegitimize it. I am not saying that was your intent, only a possible result.

    "Walk through words as through a minefield: one false step, one false move, and all the words you strung in a lifetime on your veins will be blown apart with you." -Abraham Sutzkever

  10. I saw a piece in the LAT this weekend about a mosque in the San Diego (or was it Temecula?) area that was running into opposition from, among others, a pastor!

    This isn't just a news story — this kind of prejudice is real, and closer than we think. Wouldn't it be nice if the governor went and helped them start construction? There's not much time left for him to leave his mark.

    Islam is not our enemy — fundamentalism of all kinds is our enemy.

  11. Well, on second thought, just the violent fundamentalists of all kinds are the enemy of civil society.

    The non-violent ones are just annoying.

  12. NCG:

    Is your opposition to those who oppose the mosque in San Diego based on a belief that all religious institutions should be exempt from community involvement in how they use their property (assuming the use does not create what would be a common law nuisance)? If so, would you extend this exemption to only religious institutions?

    Assuming your exclamation point means you are surprised by the Pastor's conduct, I am not sure why that is so. Is it so different than Safeway using its best efforts to keep Walmart from coming to a neighborhood? A libertarian would object to government interference in the owner's use of land in both instances and would not distinguish between the two cases.

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