New York City mayor Bloomberg receives praise here in the usually hostile Village Voice for his stance on the planned “Ground Zero” mosque. As he is in favor of letting it to be constructed (as am I) that’s not altogether surprising, but I was somewhat taken aback by this comment:
“Of all our precious freedoms…the most important may be the freedom to worship as we wish.”
Really? Yes, it’s an undeniably important freedom, but the most important? Who knew? Mind you, coming from Bloomberg, one can be sure that that remark is humbug—pious humbug—but humbug nonetheless.
As for freedom, in the greater scheme of things the right to smoke in a public place may not be the most important of matters, but even if Bloomberg is right about that mosque (and he is), I’ll don’t think I’ll be paying that much attention to any lectures on liberty from a petty little authoritarian so convinced of his own rectitude that he wouldn’t allow the owners of bars and restaurants to decide for themselves whether to permit smoking on their own premises.
Property rights—amongst the most important of freedom’s building blocks—do not, it turned out, count for that much from this mayor.
And that’s something to be remembered before praising Michael Bloomberg, freedom fighter.