The Logic of Newt

Newt Gingrich actually said this recently on Fox:


"Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington. We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There's no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center." 

I'm confused. Nazis murdered Jews. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Is Gingrich implying that Islam or *the Islamic people* attacked America? Do mosques in general represent anti-western jihad? I know some ignorant people think that they do, but I don't think Gingrich thinks that. So what he's really saying is that we should cater to the widespread misunderstanding about Islam. We should validate and embrace the jihadists' lies about Islam. 

It's an interesting idea: Cultures and institutions should be publicly and permanently branded by the behavior of their most vile members. I wonder how personally comfortable Gingrich would be living in such a world.


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David Shenk is a writer on genetics, talent and intelligence. He is the author of Data Smog, The Forgetting, and most recently, The Genius In All of Us. More

David Shenk is the author of six books, including Data Smog ("indispensable"—The New York Times), The Immortal Game ("superb"—The Wall Street Journal), and the bestselling The Forgetting ("a remarkable addition to the literature of the science of the mind."—The Los Angeles Times ). He has contributed to National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, Gourmet, Harper's, The New Yorker, The American Scholar, and National Public Radio. Shenk's work inspired the Emmy-award winning PBS documentary The Forgetting and was featured in the Oscar-nominated feature Away From Her. His latest book, The Genius In All Of Us, was published in March 2010. Shenk has advised the President's Council on Bioethics and is a popular speaker. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

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