THE BLOG
08/04/2010 10:23 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Once Again, National Review On The Wrong Side Of American Values

National Review today published an editorial "Not at Ground Zero," condemning the Cordoba House Islamic Center in lower Manhattan. In addition to leveling a number of baseless smears against the Cordoba House's leader, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf -- most of which have already been debunked by Robert Wright -- the editorial sounds the now-familiar call to "decent" American Muslims -- defined, of course, as Muslims who agree with conservatives -- to oppose the project.

"Beyond that," the editors continue, "Americans should make their displeasure with this project felt economically and socially:"

No contractor, construction company, or building-trades union that accepts a dime of the Cordoba Initiative's money should be given a free pass -- nobody who sells them so much as a nail, or a hammer to drive it in with. This is an occasion for boycotts and vigorous protests -- and, above all, for bringing down a well-deserved shower of shame upon those involved with this project, and on those politicians who have meekly gone along with it. It is an indecent proposal and an intentional provocation.

National Review hasn't always been such a big supporter of boycotts and protests. Via Oliver Willis, here's the magazine in 1964, condemning Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights protesters:

For years now, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and his associates have been deliberately undermining the foundations of internal order in this country. With their rabble-rousing demagoguery, they have been cracking the "cake of custom" that holds us together. With their doctrine of "civil disobedience," they have been teaching hundreds of thousands of Negroes -- particularly the adolescents and the children -- that it is perfectly alright to break the law and defy constituted authority if you are a Negro-with-a-grievance; in protest against injustice. And they have done more than talk. They have on occasion after occasion, in almost every part of the country, called out their mobs on the streets, promoted "school strikes," sit-ins, lie-ins, in explicit violation of the law and in explicit defiance of the public authority. They have taught anarchy and chaos by word and deed -- and, no doubt, with the best of intentions -- and they have found apt pupils everywhere, with intentions not of the best. Sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind.

It's darkly humorous to read National Review's condemnation of Dr. King's "rabble-rousing demagoguery" when one considers the sewage currently being spewed by conservative leaders like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, and in National Review's own pages by cranks like Andrew McCarthy and Frank Gaffney.

It's also an important reminder that, historically, on the key questions of American civil rights and equality, the American conservative establishment has almost always been on the wrong side.