What Larry David Can Teach The Ground Zero Mosque Defenders: Many Things Are Legal, But Are They Right?

Mark Steyn is back from vacation, has subbed for Rush and was a guest on Hugh Hewitt’s show. On Hugh’s show Mark said this:

I mean, the fact is yes, obviously, Constitutionally speaking, legally speaking, if a guy wants to buy a building and put a particular project in it, he’s entitled to do that. This pompous twerp, Bloomberg, who I think has come to embody the particular stupidity of the American ruling class, because it’s a very parochial kind of stupidity. Presuming to lecture his knuckle-dragging, moronic constituents on how they don’t apparently understand the United States Constitution? It’s nothing to do with that. There are all kinds of things that are Constitutional and are legal, but are not necessarily appropriate. There’s some big row going on at the moment between some church that’s across the street from a strip club, and the church congregants are taking the license plates of the strip club attendees, and the strippers are now protesting outside the church. Yes, there’s a perfect legal right for a strip joint to open up next to a church. But maybe it’s not the greatest idea in the world. And this whole stupid legalistic way of looking at it is actually part of what is killing American initiative and American energy. Societies operate on less legalistic understandings of what is appropriate.

A defense to legalism can have a person defending some rather bizarre behavior. It’s not explicitly illegal so it must be right!

Here are some examples:

A grown man in bed with a 12 year old boy who is the neighbor’s son. Nothing illegal happened, mind you. Do we need a law written to explicitly say that this is bad behavior? Do we have to have photographic evidence of the 12 year old boy? Oh, the man was wearing shorts? That’s better then.

Parents bring a 5 year old to a violent, Rated R movie at 11 pm on a school night. Again. Not illegal. Perfectly legal.

The neighbors shine a light from their property that blasts into another neighbor’s window. It’s their property. Why should anyone be bothered?

A hugely pregnant woman gets on the subway where a fit teenage boy sits in an easily accessible seat. He doesn’t move. He was there first. It’s his seat. He’s not breaking any rules.

There are many, many social constructs that are created to keep things humming along. There are many unspoken rules that we abide by because, well, respect and deference make for better human relations.

Legalism in relationships usually ends up with a punch in the face. Score-keeping and a blind adherence to following the rules at the greater cost of violating principles like decency, kindness and love are looked on with scorn because well, people don’t like other people to be jerks.

This all brings me to Larry David’s show Curb Your Enthusiasm. Nearly every joke has Larry violating some rule of propriety and social norm and being frustrated because he’s “right” but ultimately judged wrong. That’s the Mosque organizers and the Mosque defenders. These people have never heard of the notion of being dead right. They’ll go to their principled grave violating rules of respect and empathy and decency and make everyone hate them in the process. Then, they’ll act befuddled and offended at the stupid rubes who don’t understand why they are right and morally superior.

Moderate Muslims in America don’t want the Ground Zero Mosque because they understand the rules of polite society and want to be a part of it. The GZM supporters are moderate Islam’s worst enemy. Everyone seems to know this but the mosque builders/defenders.

For your enjoyment some of the best Curb Your Enthusiasm faux pas:

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