Flexibility of Language, Inflexibility of Meaning

It was once observed, by a man far smarter than I, that the first thing one gives up in politics is his vocabulary.

I’ve noticed that this is getting more prevalent, of late.  Defining things out of existence is at near-epidemic levels now; from the President’s erasure of the term “war or terror” to the flatly fictitious “deficit reduction” efforts of the Senate health-insurance bill.

The low-hanging fruit here is to bash the President for pulling a full and complete 180 from his campaign rhetoric, and embracing the way Washington works to a level not seen since the days of…well, LBJ.  But that fruit is so old, it’s spawning flies.

The most dangerous molding of political language, however, must be that which labels Islamic terrorism.  I vividly remember the terms used to describe the perpetrators of 9/11:  Terrorists — Islamic terrorists, no less.  This term, however, eventually gave way to a less broad indictment meant to show nuance in one’s thought: “Islamist terrorism.”  This language denoted terrorism that was perpetrated by Wahhabi Muslims — one might guess this term could be useful for differentiating between those acts of terrorism from Muslims and those from non-Muslims.

But that is a ridiculous distinction on its face.  When you must divide acts of terrorism between Muslims and all others, it stands to reason that the need for that term is created to ensure that all the non-Muslim terrorist attacks don’t get mixed in with the Muslim ones.  That term defines terrorism as a tactic of war primarily used by theocratically-motivated extremist Muslims.

Nowadays, however, the media are handling terrorist attacks as if they were Faberge eggs.  On Friday, Reuters reported that a “masked gunman” shot a Russian Orthodox priest, who later died on his way to the hospital.  And, wouldn’t you know it, the gunman’s motivation was buried in the later portion of the story:

“The main theory is that religious motives are behind the crime,” spokesman Anatoly Bagmet said.

Hmm.  Pardon me for asking, but which religion could have motivated such a crime?

“I have received 10 threats via e-mail that I shall have my head cut off (if I do not stop preaching to Muslims),” Sysoyev stated on a television program in February 2008, according to Interfax. “As I see it, it is a sin not to preach to Muslims.”

Russia is home to Europe’s largest Muslim community and Islam is the country’s second-biggest faith, something which Sysoyev criticized.

“Islam is far from being a religion in the way we understand it,” he said in one of his video lectures posted on YouTube (here).

“Islam can be rather compared with projects like National Socialism or the Communist party seeking to create God’s kingdom on Earth using humanly instruments,” he added.

Oh.  Well I suppose that explains it.

The simple fact that any reader might’ve needed to read to the seventh paragraph of a Reuters report to determine the motivation of a Muslim extremist is only a taste of the idiotic bias of which mass media is currently guilty, guilty, guilty.

Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s Islamic connection was bewailed — literally bewailed — by members of the media and punditocracy.  Apparently this act of terrorism — and it was that — was more the fault of his insanity than his religion.  And yet, this insanity shared all the same symptoms of Khalid Sheik Mohammad’s rationale for planning to fly hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and (allegedly) the White House.

A question for the punditocracy:  If the definition that you use specifically singles out a single group of people (Muslims) as the major users of the tactic called “terrorism,” why do you try so hard to whitewash the fingerprints of Islam from mass murders and assassinations carried out in its name?

With apologies to the reader, I say bollocks.  Language itself is flexible, but the meaning is utterly rigid.  This is a thought borne out by the failure of the media and the Democrat majority in both houses of Congress and the Democrat White House to scrub all references to the overwhelming majority of terrorist acts being motivated by Islam, in one form or another.  You cannot separate the two, because terrorism is overwhelmingly a tactic used by expansionist Muslims.

This massaging of meaning is dangerous because, if we cannot even speak ill of those who attack us, we cannot hope to defeat the threat.  Why are any Americans, of any party or ideology, attempting to define an existential threat out of recognizance?