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Are Americans Bigots?


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Attacking the motives of those who disagree with elite opinion has become all too common.

When in 1983 Ronald Reagan characterized the Soviet Union as an "evil empire," the reaction from his betters was swift. Writing in the New York Times, Anthony Lewis called it "primitive"—and wondered (naturally) what the Europeans would think. A headline in Time referred derisively to "The Right Rev. Ronald Reagan." All agreed on one thing: this kind of black-and-white moralizing had no place in American politics.

Now cut to today, where moralizing about the ugly motives of the American people has become common. Whether it's a federal judge declaring there exists no rational opposition to same-sex marriage, a mayor railing against those who would like a mosque moved a few blocks from Ground Zero, a Speaker of the House effectively likening the majority of her countrymen who did not want her health-care bill to Nazis, or a State Department official who brings up the Arizona law on immigration in a human-rights discussion with a Chinese delegation, the chorus is the same: You can't trust ordinary Americans.


American history confirms the need for leaders willing to make strong moral criticisms of their opponents and society. Certainly we could not progress without them. Still, the most successful—Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, et al.—have been those who appealed to the decency of their fellow citizens.

As the controversy over the planned Islamic Center near Ground Zero escalates, we have had many secular sermons on the need to recognize that the vast majority of Muslims should not be confused with the terrorists. No argument there. But how much more fruitful our own debates might be if the Judge Walkers, Mayor Bloombergs and Speaker Pelosis could extend that same presumption of decency to the American people.
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Article: "Are Americans Bigots?"


Is a leading question.


The correct phrasing should be:


Do human beings exercise caution in choosing with whom they wish to associate?


"Yes, if they wish to survive and prosper."




Should a nation exercise caution in its dealings with those who wish to destroy it?


"Yes, if they wish to survive and prosper."

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