Britain’s descent into madness

From Mark Steyn:

My favorite headline of the year so far comes from The Daily Mail in Britain: “Government Renames Islamic Terrorism As ‘Anti-Islamic Activity’ To Woo Muslims.”

Her Majesty’s government is not alone in feeling it’s not always helpful to link Islam and the, ah, various unpleasantnesses with suicide bombers and whatnot. Even in his cowboy Crusader heyday, President Bush liked to cool down the crowd with a lot of religion-of-peace stuff. But the British have now decided that kind of mealy-mouthed “respect” is no longer sufficient. So, henceforth, any terrorism perpetrated by persons of an Islamic persuasion will be designated “anti-Islamic activity” Britain’s home secretary, Jacqui Smith, unveiled the new brand name in a speech a few days ago. “There is nothing Islamic about the wish to terrorize, nothing Islamic about plotting murder, pain and grief,” she told her audience. “Indeed, if anything, these actions are anti-Islamic.”

[snip]

The British home secretary would respond that not all moderate imams are as gung-ho to detonate moppets. Which is true. But, by insisting on re-labeling terrorism committed by Muslims in the name of Islam as “anti-Islamic activity,” Her Majesty’s government is engaging not merely in Orwellian Newspeak but in self-defeating Orwellian Newspeak. The broader message it sends is that ours is a weak culture so unconfident and insecure that if you bomb us and kill us our first urge is to find a way to flatter and apologize to you.

Here’s another news item out of Britain this week: A new version of The Three Little Pigs was turned down for some “excellence in education” award on the grounds that “the use of pigs raises cultural issues” and, as a result, the judges “had concerns for the Asian community” — i.e., Muslims. Non-Muslim Asians — Hindus and Buddhists – have no “concerns” about anthropomorphized pigs.

This is now a recurring theme in British life. A while back, it was a local government council telling workers not to have knick-knacks on their desks representing Winnie-the-Pooh’s porcine sidekick, Piglet. As Martin Niemöller famously said, first they came for Piglet and I did not speak out because I was not a Disney character and, if I was, I’m more of an Eeyore. So then they came for the Three Little Pigs, and Babe, and by the time I realized my country had turned into a 24/7 Looney Tunes it was too late, because there was no Porky Pig to stammer “Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!” and bring the nightmare to an end.

You’ll want to read the rest, which you’ll find here.

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Comments

  1. says

    I think that calling terrorism “Anti-Islamic” is a good idea. There are ways in which language shapes reality and the message internal to the term, that a terrorists actions are anti-Islamic has the potential to change the conversation from getting after you and me (and Steyn) for fomenting anti-Islamic sentiment to pointing the picture at the people who are actually responsible for the bad feeling.

    In other words, it’s the people setting off bombs that make people hate Muslims, not the words of commentators or cartoonists.

    The pig thing, on the other hand… there ought to be an expectation that immigrants have a responsibility to understand and make allowances for *our* culture and *our* culture does not have a huge problem with pigs. (Even if some people won’t eat them.)

  2. Friend of USA says

    Then the British government should do the right thing and name such “activities” as turning down an award for the 3 little pigs story;

    Anti-Western-Activity

  3. says

    The problem, Danny, is that you can either wipe them all OUT or you can work to redefine and reframe the question.

    Are you actually suggesting that we kill all Muslims?

    Because if we can’t work to redefine Islam so that terrorism is illustrated as anti-islamic then we’re just screwed. Or they are. Or whomever can screw whomever first and best.

    Culture, and even religion, are not immutable. Demonstrably, Historically, they are not. You seem to be suggesting something outside our experience… namely that Islam is immutable.

    That’s BS and saying so in *no way* is pretending that the Koran does not say what it says.

  4. Danny Lemieux says

    By what weird mental contortions do you come up with this stuff, Synova?

    Who said anything about killing Muslims? It’s Muslims that talk about killing infidels, not Jews, Christians or Buddhists that talk about killing Muslims.

    It isn’t we non-Muslims who need to redefine Muslims. It is Muslims who need to redefine Muslims. That is a big part of what the Iraq war has been about – creating an alternative to the dysfunctional Middle East status quo that breeds Al Qaeda-think.

    Ultimately, it is Muslims that must reform their own societies, but they can’t do it when ruled by the iron fists of military and doctrinal dictatorships. And, pretending that the Koran is something that it isn’t only avoids having to address the hard questions. If they are to reform, they will need to address what is quite explicitly in the Koran. Pretending otherwise only enables the worst.

  5. says

    “It is Muslims who need to redefine Muslims.”

    And meanwhile it’s us who need to keep saying, No, No, the Koran says different? Who does it benefit to make it as hard as possible for them to do that?

    There are moderate Muslims. We do not help them by taking a hard line anti-Islamic stance. All that is achieved by doing so is to put the moderates in a defensive position along-side the extremists.

    The weird contortions I come up with, Danny, are that you object to a simple change in language… not because it’s going to be ineffective, but because you object to the idea that we use any language that does not define Islam itself as violent and the Koran as *demanding* the violence.

    Doesn’t that seem rather rigid to you? Doesn’t that seem to say that the “truth” of the fundamental and immutable violence and call to jihad and the fundamental *Islamicness* of the terrorists should be maintained and strengthened? That Muslims *must* identify with the terrorists among them?

    Where is the way out? Where is the place for the Muslims you say must redefine Muslims to do that?

    I get my funny, convoluted thinking from Sun Tzu.

    If you wanted to know.

    It is not wise to create desperate ground for your enemy. On desperate ground, fight, is not *optional* advice and it applies to the other-side as well as your own.

    The language change has the *potential* to give a rhetorical “out” to moderate Muslims. It plays to and strengthens their own rhetoric about the religion of Peace, so it works with something that is already there in the conceptual self-identity of Muslims. Saying “live up to this” seems like a good thing to do. Pointing out, by using the term, that anti-Islamic sentiment is caused by terrorists seems like a good thing to do.

    Even if it doesn’t turn out to help a great deal, I don’t understand why it’s wrong to try.

  6. Mike Devx says

    Ah, you have to love the headline!

    “Government Renames Islamic Terrorism As ‘Anti-Islamic Activity’ To Woo Muslims.”

    Other similar headlines that you might have read in the past:

    “Martin Luther King declares: The KKK is an anti-white group”

    “The Eagle Forum announces: The National Organization for Women is anti-woman!”

    “The NewYork Times lead editorial: The Southern Baptist League harms Christians!”

    “Sean Hannity announces: The ACLU is a destroyer of civil liberties!”

    “Vercingetorix declares: Julius Caesar’s campaigns are anti-Roman!”

    Now, any of these or all of these might be true. Or none of them. They’re all statements by the TARGETS.

    Islamic terrorism is anti-Islamic? Oh, really? The only people who can make such a statement – and make it stick – are Muslims themselves. Where are they? Where are these speeches?

    The government of Britian making this statement is at best worthless. At worst, it amounts to a stork sticking its head in the sand, and declaring “I refuse to see my enemy, therefore my enemy cannot see me.”

  7. says

    There are moderate Muslims. We do not help them by taking a hard line anti-Islamic stance. All that is achieved by doing so is to put the moderates in a defensive position along-side the extremists.

    That is balanced out by the hard line radical Muslims take against moderate Muslims.

    Unless moderate reasons have an actual “reason” to ally with us, there is nothing we can do or say that would get them on our side and keep them there. What keeps people loyal is self-interest and belief.

    The terrorists exploit people’s self-interest by promising to kill them if they go up against terrorists.

    The only thing that would be “bad” would be if you were unwilling to accept the surrender of moderate Muslims, instead favoring killing both extremist and moderate. Then the moderates will side with whomever they think can guarantee the safety of moderates and their family.

  8. Friend of USA says

    The problem I have with this new name ” anti-Islamic-activity” is that it makes it sound as if the more important victims are the moderate Muslims and not the direct victims.

    Would you say to the face of the tens of thousands of people affected by the loss of a loved one, a friend, a co-worker in the 9/11 event that the attack was “anti-Middle-east-activity” more than it was anti-American?

    Would you tell a woman who has been raped only a few hours ago that the rapist is doing ” anti-male-activity” because what he did gives men a bad name , and that some men may have hurt feelings because of the backlash in feminists magazines?

    “anti-Islamic-activity” seems to be a way to make us forget the serious pain of direct victims and make us focus on the much lighter pain of indirect victims.

    This new name ” anti-Islamic-activity ” seems like a new and somewhat clever way of brainwashing people into sympathizing more with Islam than with Western civilization.

    It is another step toward the Islamization of the West.

  9. Friend of USA says

    I know I am beating a dead horse but I as I have just realized today is Holocaust memorial day
    I had another idea for an example,

    Can you imagine two extremely skinny Jews barely having enough energy to talk in a concentration camp arguing if this whole holocaust horror thing should be called
    ” anti-semitic-activity”
    or
    “anti-German-activity”
    because it hurts the feelings of the moderate Germans who disapprove of the Nazis?

  10. says

    because it hurts the feelings of the moderate Germans who disapprove of the Nazis?

    If you want to call it anti-German activity, do it because of the fact that Hitler broke the back of the Prussian military aristocracy and thus broke any chance of Germany becoming a powerful or great nation.

    America in WWI and against the Soviets could have made great use of German military expertise, efficiency, and philosophy. Far more than we made use of the French, I assure you.

  11. Mike Devx says

    From: FriendOfUSA:
    “The problem I have with this new name ” anti-Islamic-activity” is that it makes it sound as if the more important victims are the moderate Muslims and not the direct victims.
    Would you say to the face of the tens of thousands of people affected by the loss of a loved one, a friend, a co-worker in the 9/11 event that the attack was “anti-Middle-east-activity” more than it was anti-American?”

    HEAR HEAR HEAR! Three Cheers to FriendOfUSA for stating the problem so succintly and clearly!

  12. Danny Lemieux says

    Your quote from Sun-Tzu is a valid one, Synova. However, they already have a way out – they either reform from within, or “reform” will come from without. It is up to all non-Muslims the world over to draw a line in the sand and thereby empower those that would reform Islam.

    Denying what Islam is through Orwellian word-smithing isn’t a solution. It only enables them to continue as they are.

  13. expat says

    I don’t see why a government has to define a religion. It can legitimately define criminals and traitors, as well as foreign enemies. It is up to the people to decide where they stand and be prepared to accept the consequences of their decisions.

  14. says

    The language change has the *potential* to give a rhetorical “out” to moderate Muslims.

    Did you hear what Maliki said to Bush about the capacity of the Iraqi Army to retake Baghdad and keep it by themselves? Maliki said they could, Casey said they couldn’t. Maliki wasn’t necessarily lying either, but the Arab culture is such that admitting fault or weakness or blame is not acceptable. The language change won’t make Arabs admit that they got an internal problem that must be fixed. They don’t even want to deal with the internal problems in the first place, given that it is easy to blame foreigners.

    Until it becomes harder to blame foreigners than themselves, there is no path of retreat for the Muslims except going through us. Arabs has shown that when Arabs are put on death ground, they will fight… against our mutual enemies.

    Currently, the rest of the Arab world thinks AQ and Hamas and Hizbollah are their allies against us, their mutual enemy. They arrived at this decision because they have already been stuck in death ground, where they are forced to fight. Fight against us, because we are their escape from reality.

    It is very similar to how the Russians conducted wars. They would use security battalions whose only purpose was to make sure the conscripts up front ran into the enemy and fought. If we, the one Russians are fighting, make the situation desperate enough for the conscripts, the conscripts WILL turn against the security battalions and fight them instead. The security battalions, of course, would be Islamic terrorists.

  15. Lulu says

    This is what happens when political correctness takes over rational thought. When this becomes the philosophy of a governemtn, it is scarier still. What do you think will happen here if Obama wins the election?

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