Last month in this space I mentioned what might seem to some—though seemingly to fewer all the time—the rather extraordinary contention by Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker that it was not possible for any rational being to hold a different opinion from his own on a question of intense public interest and controversy. This was of course the proposed mosque and “Islamic Community Center” that was to have been built two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, destroyed by Islamicist terrorists on September 11, 2001. As Mr. Hertzberg was for it, so only fools or bigots (or, of course, both) could have been against it, in his view. At the time, the vexed question of mosque or no mosque was only just beginning to agitate the media, but there were numerous echoes of this attempted delegitimization of the opposition as it continued to rage like an aching tooth through the month of August and well into September. Eventually,...

 
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