Sunday, February 25, 2007

Wordsmithing, part 3

Is-lam-o-pho-bi-a noun,
a hatred or fear of Islam or Muslims, especially when feared as a political force.

As in my last post about homophobia, the above word is another example of wordsmithing in one of its most clever and effective forms: victimology. As one of its exceptionally potent weapons, the left in this country has used victimology to great success for many decades. In his brilliant book, Radical Son, David Horowitz tells his story of being raised by committed Stalinist parents who were both teachers in the New York public school system, and as one of many "red diaper babies" (children of the Stalinists who inundated the ranks of teachers in the New York public schools), walked in protest marches against racial discrimination as he was growing up. Black racial issues were, from the beginning of the Communist Party movement in the United States, a cause celebre for the left, not as a matter of genuine concern, but as a method of discrediting the United States government and diminishing its moral legitimacy. And of course in the case of racial discrimination it was all too true that the United States failed appallingly to live up to its principles as stated in its founding documents, and the "better angels of our nature."

Spreading out from that stone of authentic victimhood that Stalinists used to their advantage are concentric ripples of ever increasing absurdities co-opted by various constituents of identity politics. Mark Steyn, in his simultaneously hilarious and terrifying book, America Alone points out a delicious example of leftists victimology, with it's attendant wordsmithing, run amok:

For example, Iqbal Sacranie is a Muslim of such exemplary "moderation" he's been knighted by the Queen. Around the time Brokeback Mountain opened, Sir Iqbal, head of the Muslim Council of Britain, was on the BBC and expressed the view that homosexuality was "immoral," "not acceptable," "spreads disease," and "damaged the very foundations of society." A gay group complained and Sir Iqbal was investigated by Scotland Yard's "community safety unit" which deals with "hate crimes" and "homophobia."

Independently but simultaneously, the magazine of GALHA (the Gay And Lesbian Humanist Association) called Islam a "barmy doctrine" growing "like a canker" and deeply "homophobic." In return, the London Race Hate Crime Forum asked Scotland Yard to investigate GALHA for "Islamophobia."

Got that? If a Muslim says that Islam is opposed to homosexuality, he can be investigated for homophobia; but if a gay says that Islam is opposed to homosexuality, he can be investigated for Islamophobia.

Oddly enough, the one group in the United States of which it is perfectly acceptable to revile in any way and by any medium is Christians. There are literally hundreds of books presently for sale on the shelves whose premise is the danger, bigotry, intolerance, conspiracies to take over government, and a host of other horrors attributed to Christianity.

As an evangelical Christian myself, and therefore targeted by this tidal wave of vitriol, I occasionally find myself wondering if we should invent a victimology word of our own to deploy in our defense: Christophobia? Christianophobia? Evangelicophobia? Well, they don't exactly roll off the tongue, do they?

So, I guess not. Better to do what Jesus himself advised: turn the other cheek.

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