29 September 2005

Gov. Pataki Bans Freedom (Center)

The controversy over what to do with Ground Zero continues. Because the International Freedom Center, a museum that was planned to be part of the site of World Trade Center, has not promised to do nothing that would "denigrate America," Pataki has evicted them from the site.

It surprises me that the IFC did not protest and claim a violation of their First Amendment Rights. But what is more mysterious is in what way was Pataki (and presumably others) concerned that the IFC would denigrate freedom/America? By lionizing the terrorists? Unlikely. By presenting a divergent viewpoint from Pataki/Giuliani/Republican party? Possibly. But the fact that the governor can evict a museum devoted to freedom on the possibility that they might exercise their freedom of expression shows what a slippery word freedom is.

What is really troublesome about all this is not that the center was evicted--that may have been for the best, ultimately--but that "freedom" is being used in some sort of neo-Hegelian sense. The NY Times writes that,

The Freedom Center, picked for the memorial site by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, was envisioned as a living memorial in which the story of Sept. 11, 2001, would be told in the context of the worldwide struggle for freedom through the ages.

You can read the NY Times article here and let me know what you think.