Where Has All the English Gone?

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Editor’s note: More information on the unholy alliance’s campaign to silence critics of the jihadi threat can be found in David Horowitz and Robert Spencer’s pamphlet, “Islamophobia: Thought Crime of the Totalitarian Future,” available in our bookstore.

For a person like me who learned English as a second language, the current trend of inventing new meanings for words is a disturbing phenomenon. Our vocabulary is transforming, particularly in politics, where the new interpretation of news and events is distorted to adversely affect reality.

It started with our government demanding that we stop using certain words and specifying alternates. “Overseas contingency operation.” “Man-caused disaster.” “Anti-Islamic activity.”  These are the terms currently required by our administration for the “global war on terror,” “terrorism,” and “Islamic terrorism.” At times, “freedom fighters” has been used for “terrorists.” The new expressions are vague to the point of meaninglessness and don’t convey the facts.

These phrases appear in internal government memos, as well as media articles, preventing the public from being properly informed. A new edition of the lexicon might also include euphemisms for serial killers and serial rapists as “man-caused afflictions” or “uninvited shoppers” for shoplifters.

An official memo from the National Counterterrorism Communication Center directs the replacement of “terrorists” with vague words like “extremists” or “totalitarians.” Officials are to “refrain from using so-called harsh words or Arabic words with Islamic consequence.” Instead they are to use generic terms without specific emphasis. Why? Terrorists attack us and we should not use harsh words? The word “jihad” is used by the radicals themselves, why can’t we use it? Going one step further, the government has drafted official guidelines in the publication “Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations from American Muslims, a guide for U.S. Government Officials.”

In addition, the government has required corporations, state, federal and various other agencies to hold “sensitivity training” for dealing with the Muslim community. We have never had such requirements. We seemed to get along with people of other faiths. Any opposition expressed to the Muslim community is considered an attack. What happened to free speech?

Is there a problem with truth and facts and, most importantly, with the appropriate use of the English language?  The government instructed us to use “undocumented immigrant” instead of “illegal alien.” They are not synonymous. The word “illegal” means against the law and punishable by law. Our obligation is to follow the law and promote lawful behavior. Using the new expressions confuses the facts. Why are we afraid to tell the truth? How can we correct something if we cannot describe it properly? Does “uninvited shopper” mean the same as “shoplifter”? Hardly.

Now we learn that the Defense Department has reclassified the Fort Hood massacre as “workplace  violence.”  The incident had nothing to do with Major Hasan’s work or the workplace. This mass murderer was shouting “Allahu Akbar” as he fired and killed thirteen innocent people. On his private business cards under his name was printed, “Soldier of Allah.”

Radical Islamists use our constitutional freedoms to sabotage our system of government from the inside. Sen. Susan Collins suggested on December 7, 2011 that the Defense Department classifying the Fort Hood massacre as workplace violence seems to place political correctness above the security of the nation’s armed forces at home.

On 9/11 we were attacked, yet people who are critical about Islam are called “Islamophobes.” The truth must be known — there is no such thing as Islamophobia. The definition of “phobia” is an irrational fear. However, our fear of Islam is very real as a result of 9/11, coupled with the constant barrage of anti-Western sentiments expressed by Muslim leaders. It is imperative that we listen to them and not ignore them.

Ever wonder where the term “Islamophobia” came from?

According to a FrontPage Magazine column posted by Robert Spencer on Dec. 30, 2011, it was deliberately invented by a Muslim Brotherhood front organization, the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), based in Northern Virginia.

Abhdur-Rahman Muhammad, a former member of the IIIT describes the strategy behind the word’s invention:

In an effort to silence critics of political Islam, advocates needed to come up with terminology that would enable them to portray themselves as victims. Muhammad said he was present years ago when his then allies, meeting at the offices of the IIIT… coined the term “Islamophobia.”

Consider the power of this word, how the media exploits it and how politicians fear it.

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  • waterwillows

    When you lose your footing and hit the slippery, sandy slopes ….. you lose your ability to speak and even think clearly.

    Any clarity and you might notice that you are spot on in the middle of quick-sand. Too much truth for the afflicted to handle. So, politically correct is a white wash for fools.

  • RobbinsMitchell

    What about my "islamodisgustia"?…is that a thought crime too?

  • tagalog

    The time is rapidly approaching, if it's not already here, for the mainstream to shake off the authorities who lead us and begin to fashion our approach to the truth without regard to leaders who are trying to bring us as fast as they humanly can into the Age of Newspeak. For me, it began when the War Department was renamed the Department of Defense quite a long time ago. That's when we began losing wars.

  • clarespark

    I'm glad that Orwell's name has been evoked. We are in that much trouble. I tried to discern a turning point for the Great Dumbing Down, and it was much earlier than Orwell's Britain under the Labour Party. I traced it back to the leadership of the "pragmatists" under William James and Charles Sanders Peirce in the early 20th century. Here is the link: http://clarespark.com/2012/03/13/dumbing-down-whe…. I solicit your responses.

  • maturin20

    There is no real likelihood of English becoming a second class language in the US or the world at large. All the points about euphemism and distortion in government are well taken, but they're also ancient critiques to a perennial problem. They are unlikely to change any time soon.

  • mrbean

    Only in some of the better private schools do they still teach cursive writing, reading by phonetics, English grammer formally, and required reading of classical literature starting with Homer through to Hemingway. In some schools "dey eben be teachin' wit dah ebonics cause dah chiles larn mo' betta dat ways." I have heard of kids going all the way through high school in some states and never taking any algebra, geometry. or trigonometry and they have never even read one piece of classical literature.

    • tagalog

      The decline of language for us Westerners began when the schools stopped teaching Latin as a required course. Learning Latin was difficult, but it focused our minds on what the words we use in English really mean. Once we stopped learning the baseline subjects, our decline into mush words (and from there into mush thinking) was inevitable.

    • aspacia

      beanboy, I have difficulty handwriting anything, but I can type 65 wpm, at my all time low, it was 80+. Currently, we can talk and our computers will type as we talk. I have been training mine on and off.

      BTW, I teach both formal and informal tense use, have often taught the Odyssey, Hemmingway, but really love teaching The Crucible, The Lord of the Flies. I currently see these bandwagon trends occurring on both sides in my land.

      Currently, I have one student who writes "dey" instead of they, and "dat" instead of that. He just enrolled three weeks ago.

      What ticks me off if the fact that I am blamed for this student illiteracy when it is administration who forces teachers to pass illiterate through the system.

  • Western Spirit

    This is another example of those who do evil under the pretext of good. The "good" of not hurting peoples feelings by putting a penalty on telling the truth.

  • sedoanman

    "The expression 'politically correct' was born in the late 1900s. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary describes it as 'language or behavior that deliberately tries to avoid offending particular groups of people.'”

    Even the definition is politically correct, and therefore highly suspect. I prefer, "A crusade to ignorance characterized by a denial of truth that conflicts with ideology." People generally hate political correctness because it requires us to pretend that we don't know something that we do. Since language is dictated by academia and the media, what does she suggest we do?

    • tagalog

      What should we do about the decline of language? There are many teachers who love Orwell. A few, myself included, teach students the essay Politics and the English Language, along with books about the use of language like A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, as part of our courses. Organizing teachers into a corps of language clarity demanders would be a good first step.

      A language of the people, English will never submit itself very willingly to formal teaching, but that's OK. English still has formal and informal usages without endangering its ongoing evolution.

      • aspacia

        Ah, another suffering pedagogue. Actually, I HATE PEDOGOGICAL THEORY AND WHAT IT IS DOING TO MY SOCIETY.

  • Shari

    I think what Susanne is attempting to state here is that our language has been politicized to our own detriment.

  • http://www.standwithus.il SaveTheUnion

    The other political correctness of America.
    Americans need not feel sorry of the "correctness" of the Democrats, it is politics at the expense of true religious freedom. I say Islamic Terrorism is Islamic Terrorism; a public fact. The Ayatollahs of the Democrats won't like it but who cares except the "patriotic", weak American moslems.