Words. Angry words. And objects!
Wilfred Lawson as the butler, Peacock (The Wrong Box, 1966)
The line is from a comedy about plots and mix-ups to collect the proceeds of a tontine. Peacock was describing the farcical altercation between two aged brothers, the last surviving members of the lottery, which was actually a kind of a trust-administered survivorship insurance policy.
Angry words? Offending words? Dangerous words? Impermissible words?
But angry words, offending words, impermissible words, and even unspoken words, when it comes to Islam, Muslims, and politically correct speech and thought, are not the stuff of farce. They can be fatal, fatal to freedom of speech, fatal to its practitioners. And the First Amendment can no longer be relied upon to ensure one’s right to criticize Islam or Muslims or trump politically correct speech.
Readers are probably already familiar with the story in the Daily Telegraph and in other newspapers (and, needless to say, on the Internet). Gatwick Airport "security" guards wanted David Jones, a traveler, to admit he made an "offensive" remark and apologize for it. It is interesting that it was a Muslim "security" guard who demanded an apology for a remark not made to her but to another guard. She was not even present when Jones made it. So, the question also is, aside from the fact that this "security" let a veiled Muslim through without a check: Why wasn't she "offended" by the person who related the remark to her?
Put another way, if words can "hurt," why wasn't she hurt by the words of her colleague? Aren't words intrinsically "hurtful," no matter who utters them? These are rhetorical questions, of course, but the incident underscores the whole phenomenon of politically correct speech and its natural potential for abuse. There is no reasoning with Islam or with political correctness. David Jones learned that the hard way. Assertions made by Muslims are never to be questioned or held up for scrutiny.
There seems to have also been an element of racism in the security guards' treatment of Jones, as well. And it is precisely this kind of submission that Hillary Clinton wishes to impose on Americans via the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) and the UN. I must give David Jones credit for standing up to these distaff thugs, although it seems that, like many Westerners, he has inured himself to being treated guilty until proven innocent at police state check points.
As David Jones arrived at the security gates at Gatwick airport, he was looking forward to getting through swiftly so he could enjoy lunch with his daughters before their flight.
Placing his belongings, including a scarf, into a tray to pass through the X-ray scanner he spotted a Muslim woman in hijab pass through the area without showing her face.
In a light-hearted aside to a security official who had been assisting him, he said: “If I was wearing this scarf over my face, I wonder what would happen.”
The quip proved to be a mistake. After passing through the gates, he was confronted by staff and accused of racism.
Note that David Jones did not utter either the word “Muslim” or “Islam.” He was wondering outloud. He did not say, “I wonder why that Somali or Egyptian or Saudi or Jordanian or Pakistani woman is allowed to pass through wearing a hijab, while I, a Caucasian male, am forced to pass inspection?” No reference was made by him, either, to the woman’s race.
And guess what dimwit (or dhimmi) snitched on him to Gatwick Airport security.
He said that when he made his initial remark the security guard had appeared to agree with him, saying: “I know what you mean, but we have our rules, and you aren’t allowed to say that.”
The security guard apparently was not “offended” by the remark. He implied that women wearing hijabs regularly pass through without screening. That appeared not to concern him. But his mind had been captured by enforceable politically correct speech and behavior, that is, by wholly irrational rules, and off he went to report the “offensive” remark to others who would enforce the rules and confront the culprit with his offense.
By way of underscoring the phenomenon, here is a private anecdote from a British acquaintance about his own encounter with politically correct speech and its numerous enforcers.
Making logical observations in the UK is a dangerous pastime. There are more and more 'unwritten rules' governing how we should (or should not) express ourselves.
Just the other day, I was reprimanded by a colleague at work for talking about Koran burnings in Afghanistan. [Referring to the destruction of Korans on a U.S. base in Afghanistan, in which had been written messages by jihadists, surely an offense by Islam’s own rules.]
This colleague was not a Muslim, but was concerned that someone who might or might not be a Muslim could overhear what was being said and might be offended.
I proceeded to explain that I was not referring to the burnings of the Koran on a US base, but of the destruction of the Nasir-I Khusraw Foundation by the Taliban in 1998, where they destroyed by fire an entire archive of ancient Islamic literature, including a Koran that was over a thousand years old.
And if someone were offended, he could, in such a risky circumstance, resort to two actions: assault the offender, or turn to the authorities to have them assault the offender.
I was advised to cease and desist from any further discussion of burning the Koran, upon which I proceeded to be more creative, finally settling on discussing the use of pages from the book to wallpaper a pigsty using alcohol-based glue. At this point my colleague called me a racist and said he would report me to my manager (who was sitting nearby, quietly sobbing with laughter).
I then pointed out that racism was prejudice against a human genetic or ethnic group and that the last time I looked, paper books were not being considered a valid branch of the hominid genus. I also pointed out that the person he thought might be a Muslim was indeed of Asian stock, but was actually from the UK by way of British Guyana and was a protestant Christian, in which case my colleague was guilty of racial stereotyping.
My colleague walked away.
David Jones was not so fortunate. Men with the power to enforce politically-correct and permissible speech do not walk away from offenders and other loose-tongued culprits, who are grilled until they confess, capitulate out of sheer exasperation, and, in effect, submit to Islam. Enforcers of politically correct speech pose as moral crusaders, especially Muslim spokesmen and “civil liberties” advocates. But what they are actually practicing is extortion.
Then there is the case of Charles Krauthammer, noted conservative columnist and panelist. He delivered a critique of President Barack Obama’s apology to Afghanistan president Karzai over the burning of the Korans.
“He argued all the administration needed to do was just come out with a singular apology from a commanding officer in Afghanistan, and that would have been sufficient.”
No, he ought to have said that an apology was neither necessary nor forthcoming. And he seems to have forgotten that the burned Korans were being disposed of because Muslims had written jihadist messages on their pages. He ought to have condemned General Allen and Obama and every civilian and military dhimmi for rushing to apologize. The United States has nothing to apologize for – except for its irrational foreign policy of propping up a master of taqiyya and probable drug lord with a big stash of money in a Swiss bank, Karzai, and treating as an ally a passive enabler of terrorism, Pakistan. He ought to instead have questioned the sanity of our foreign policymakers. But don’t expect him to. His logic goes only so far, but not to a conclusion.
This news story underscores a fact that is not stressed nearly enough. Islam is a disease that enfeebles. It is meant to enfeeble not only Muslim believers, who refuse to think or listen to reason and “believe” that their creed allows them to dispense with reason. It also enfeebles its non-Muslim victims, and punishes anyone who does not “submit” to Muslim irrationality. The enfeebling element in non-believers is fear: fear of reprimand, or of punishment, or even of death. So, they say nothing. The enfeebling lies in the absence of any defense of them by and in the West.
Krauthammer has always bewildered me. I think that, like many articulate anti-jihadist writers, he is reluctant to condemn Islam across the board simply because it’s a religion, and he may do this for the sake of Muslims who aren’t violent. Perhaps he also thinks that Islam can be “reformed.” As I have often argued in the past, Islam can’t be reformed without killing it. You can no more “reform” Islam than you can an alchemist’s sanctum by redecorating it with pictures of Einstein and Pasteur on the walls and furnishing it with Formica tables. It will still be an alchemist’s sanctum.
Krauthammer practiced psychiatry, and one would think that he would examine the psychological appeal of Islam, and conclude that it requires no thought – in fact, demands that Muslims surrender their minds to brute authority – and so Islam, as a guide to living, is basically a guide to death. It spares Muslims the obligation of becoming individuals in command of their lives, of becoming independent thinkers, and inculcates the habit of deferring to mystical authorities who refer to a textbook that justifies murder, rapine, torture, and theft – with a quantum of pretty-sounding poetry thrown in. And in condemning Islam without reservation or shilly-shallying about all the wretched manqués who are in its ranks, Sunni, Shi’ite, and the lesser sects of Islam, condemn all Muslims, even the “moderate” ones, in the bargain.
But I suspect that if he ever made such a denunciation, the defamation mob would be all over him, Fox News would drop him, he’d no longer be invited to sit on PBS roundtables, and he’d lose his syndicated column. And I suspect that he knows this. He’s too bright to have not suspected this would be the consequence of condemning a religion. Dancing around or evading that condemnation is, from where I sit, a form of submission to Islam.
“This is a world in which nobody asked the Islamic Conference, a grouping of the 56 Islamic countries, to issue an apology when Christians are attacked and churches are burned in Egypt or in Pakistan….”
It’s interesting that he cites the OIC, which, with Hillary Clinton’s help, is “work-shopping” how to abrogate and nullify the First Amendment, that is, to insulate Islam from any and all open criticism and examination. His statement, while cogent, seeks to shame the OIC into conceding that it is being hypocritical. This is a futile tactic. One can’t shame Muslims because hypocrisy is an operative element of Islam. They know it, and Krauthammer ought to know it, but apparently he doesn’t. Muslims will perform fantastic mental gymnastics to justify why Christians are being murdered and persecuted and their churches burned, and that’s if they bother to answer the charge of hypocrisy, which they usually don’t, especially if the charge is levied by an infidel, and, in Krauthammer’s case, by a Jew.
Finally, there is the case of the Pennsylvania atheist who was assaulted by a Muslim for wearing a “Zombie Mohammad” costume during a parade. In this incident, not only was the assailant “offended” by the costume, but the judge, as well, who dismissed the charges against the assailant “for lack of evidence,” even though a police officer testified that there was an assault, and even though there was a video of the incident, which the judge refused to admit as evidence. Judge Mark W. Martin proceeded to lecture the victim on the ways of Sharia and the fact that Islam is a culture whose adherents can be offended by mockery of it. Read the story here. In a display of gratuitous contempt for Perce, he called the man a “doofus.”
Novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand had these observations on words:
It is often said that definitions state the meaning of words. This is true, but it is not exact. A word is merely a visual-auditory symbol used to represent a concept; a word has no meaning other than that of the concept it symbolizes, and the meaning of a concept consists of its units. It is not words, but concepts that man defines—by specifying their referents. (“Definitions,” Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, p. 40)
Words transform concepts into (mental) entities; definitions provide them with identity. (Words without definitions are not language but inarticulate sounds.) (“Concept Formation," Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, p. 11)
The “hurtful” or “defamatory” concepts that supposedly inflict “pain” on Muslims refer to the Koran, to Islam, or to anything Islamic in nature. These are the referents. The Koran is a real, actual thing in reality. Islam is a real theocratic system, which, like any other ideology or political system, resides exclusively in men’s minds. It is an actionable ideology.
But concepts do not exist in reality, only in men’s minds. There are no Platonic, “ideal forms” of thoughts floating about in space that inexplicably descend into men’s minds. They have no physical attributes; they are not temporal manifestations of thought. They have less substance than bubbles; in fact, none. They cannot harm or alter or affect physical objects; unless actions are taken in their name, they are insubstantial. They cannot emanate or be projected from a mind or from print or even from a costume or illustration across space to harm or affect anything. To believe they can is to believe in telepathy or magic spells or psychokinesis. By themselves, words have no intrinsic power or efficacy. I know of no instance in which a man was sent to the hospital for injuries sustained by an avalanche of bubbles.
But I do know of countless – thousands – of instances in which men believed they were harmed by thought bubbles and subsequently sent countless men to the hospital – or to their deaths. By “offended” Muslims.
What about a Muslim’s feelings? On what are those offended feelings based? What is their nature? Is it wounded “pride”? A tenuous, or insecure “self-esteem”? Can his pride or self-esteem be “injured” by concepts, by words? If a man’s sense of self-worth can be injured by another’s words, that self-worth is teetering on ten-foot-high stilts of uncooked spaghetti.
But is it really the case? Perhaps a better explanation is that, down deep, in the repressed recesses of his “soul” (or mind), a Muslim “knows” or suspects that his creed is debauched, evil, wrong, and horrendous. But believing in Islam is convenient; it spares him the effort of thought and critical introspection. So “hurtful” words can damage his pretence of pride or self-esteem. He has invested time, if not thought – rarely thought – in adhering to this creed. His creed, however, is one he accepted without the least conscious critical evaluation. He was born into it, or some weakness in him allowed him to be converted to it. Belief in the creed is an absolute, not to be questioned, let alone mocked or subjected to rational scrutiny. He will, at all costs, refuse to “go there,” that is, to reexamine his premises.
Perhaps the very concept of “rational scrutiny” is beyond his ken. To him, rationality as such does not exist. Rationality is optional, subjective, and can be dispensed with. If that is his premise, then the “offended” is alive simply because he has copied the rational actions of others, and that is the limit of his understanding.
Perhaps it is just a matter of the “offended” making little or no distinction between right or wrong (or at least, right and wrong as defined by Sharia and the Koran), and is moved by a desire to compel others to not say anything critical about his religion, to see them mute from fear of discussing the subject, and also by a desire to “punish” anyone who does make a critical remark, directly or by implication, of Islam, such as the hapless David Jones at Gatwick Airport. He derives satisfaction from knowing that others dare not speak ill of his creed (and, in many cases, by implication, of his race), and from having the power to punish, or see punished, anyone who does dare speak.
What about “hurtful” or “insulting” actions, such as that of the Pennsylvania atheist in his “Mohammad zombie” costume? The same menu of explanations applies. One cannot get into any random Muslim’s mind to determine precisely why he can be “offended” or “insulted” by the sight of a Mohammad cartoon or by someone dressed like Mohammad, sympathetically or satirically. One can only judge a Muslim by the actions he may take to uphold Islam’s “honor,” to avenge its defamation by others’ rational scrutiny or mockery. Unfortunately, Islam requires that all Muslims – Sunni, Shi’ite, Salafi and so on—either wage active or violent jihad on non-believers and their cultures, or to lay low, say nothing, and pretend to be friends with non-believers, to help bring down “their miserable house” from within.
No one would have any reason to examine or mock Islam if the creed were not being constantly shoved in front of our faces like an unwelcome pop-up ad, just as no one would have any reason to criticize Obama or his policies if we were not daily reminded of their disastrous and destructive consequences. Islam would be virtually the sole subject of scholarly study, because, like the dead religions and ideologies of the past, it would pose no threat. There would be no living exponents of it attempting to impose Sharia law on us or demanding that we respect it by saying nothing about it. “Islamophobia” would not exist, because there would be nothing Islamic to fear.
“Magisterial” Judge Mark W. Martin scolded Ernest Perce and accused him of being ignorant of Islam. But Perce exhibited a better knowledge of Islam than Judge Martin suspected when he donned the costume of a “zombie” Mohammad, that is, of the icon of the “living dead.” Islam is indeed a religion of the living dead. What it deserves is the bullet of reason driven through its rotting cranium.
Politically correct speech vis-à-vis Islam is, incredibly enough, the wedge with which Islam and its allies in the West work to eradicate freedom of speech.