La mezquita y sus enemigos

WASHINGTON, D.C. – La oposición al plan de construcción de una mezquita junto al “terreno cero”, el lugar en que cayeron las torres gemelas del Centro del Comercio Mundial el 11 de septiembre de 2001, presenta varios matices. Dice mucho en favor de muchos de los oponentes del proyecto que hayan evitado la zafia intolerancia que está llegando a ser un rasgo habitual de las posiciones de derechas en los Estados Unidos, pero incluso los críticos moderados de la mezquita (en realidad, un centro cultural islámico con una sala de oración llamado Park 51) revelan en sus argumentos dos tesis que son tan discutibles como arraigadas están en las posiciones públicas predominantes en los Estados Unidos.

La primera de esas desafortunadas tesis es la de subestimar la intolerancia social como una amenaza a la libertad. Pese a que reconocen las impecables credenciales legales del proyecto, sus oponentes exigen que se sitúe en otro lugar con el argumento de que incluso una conducta totalmente lícita puede ser ofensiva para un grupo de ciudadanos. Se trata de una vía peligrosa para una sociedad liberal.

Hace más de 150 años, en su ensayo Sobre la libertad, John Stuart Mill desbarató la creencia de que la búsqueda de libertad individual es, por encima de todo, una lucha contra el Estado. Dicha creencia destaca en el arsenal retórico de los conservadores de los EE.UU., en particular en las enardecidas proclamaciones del movimiento del Tea Party, pero, como cualquier miembro de una comunidad históricamente perseguida –desde los homosexuales hasta los judíos, pasando por los gitanos– pueden atestiguar, la intolerancia social puede limitar los derechos civiles tanto como una ley.

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