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Where Has All the English Gone?
Posted By Susanne M. Reyto On March 14, 2012 @ 12:00 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 14 Comments
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.
Back in 1907, Teddy Roosevelt was correct when he spoke about the significance of language and of being an American:
We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.
While these words were said over a century ago, they are equally relevant in 2012. However, omnipresent political correctness today prevents us from endorsing these views. Here in the U.S., English has been the official language, yet we are sadly questioning its virtue.
Columnist Michael M. Bates summarizes the large role that language plays in our society – and, for that matter, any society:
Our common language is a basis for our cultural unity. For folks wishing to advance here, knowledge of it is essential. We do immigrants no favors by bending over backwards trying to accommodate them in their native language, hindering their adapting to a new culture.
No other country allows immigrants, foreigners, misfits and anti-government interests to dictate policy.
It was comical and somewhat ridiculous when many years ago the “trash collectors” became “sanitation engineers” and “undertakers” became “funeral directors.” Just recently, in 2011, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, turned the Christmas tree into “holiday tree” to appease atheists. It is getting more absurd every day. In the book “The Language Police” by Diane Ravitch, the author describes the deliberate distortions and omission of certain words required by our political leaders in education. Now it seems, we will have to abide by the thought police or the truth police.
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.” We should obviously not aim to offend, but we need to be clear. Honesty and clarity are the only ways to convey the truth.
Young people are our future, we need to engage them in truth and facts, not deception.
In June 2011, Federal District Judge Fred Biery issued an order to stop a San Antonio school’s valedictorian from saying the word “prayer” as part of the graduation speech. He ordered the school district to remove the words “invocation” and “benediction” from the graduation program to be replaced with “opening remarks” and “closing remarks.” Fortunately, the ban was reversed, and the school administrators didn’t have to act as the speech police.
I just learned that a real estate office directed its agents not to use the phrase “within walking distance,” and to replace it with “nearby” so as not to offend those who may have trouble walking. Where has our sense of reality gone?
Political correctness is damaging our nation and freedom. We must present clarity and enforce our laws to better protect our country. This begins with guarding English as our language of identity.
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