The students I teach in Advanced Placement Literature and Composition classes are studying literary terms. This past week some of them learned the term “euphemism,” which means “a mild or less negative usage for a blunt or harsh term.” Examples of euphemism range from saying “Uncle John passed away” instead of “Uncle John died.” Of course, if you tend to speak bluntly or despised Uncle John, “Uncle John died” becomes a euphemism for “The old coot’s finally kicked the bucket.”
Western governments have become expert in the employment of euphemism. Ask soldiers what it was like to serve in what government calls “police actions,” and they’ll tell you they fought a war. Ask people paying their own insurance how the “Affordable Care Act” has worked for them, and they’ll either curse you or salute your droll sense of humor.
Two stellar examples of euphemism came to us this week via the British Isles. After some Muslims beheaded British aid worker David Haines, David Cameron, the British prime minister, declared that “they are not Muslims. They are monsters.”
Really? Let’s see. The executioners belong to ISEL, or ISIS, or whatever we’ll be calling them next week. I wonder if anyone has told them they’re not Muslims. Probably not: they seem the sort of fellows who might take that news the wrong way.
We can go on playing games with the name “Islam”, but it’s like the old Lincoln anecdote. “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”
Just before the Prime Minister decided who was and was not a Muslim, a story broke in Rotherham, a town in Northern England, that gangs, consisting mostly of Islamic Pakistanis, but referred in parts of the British press as “Asians,” had for ten years abused and raped over 1400 teenage girls and, in some cases, turned them into sex slaves. Though some of the girls—most were white native Britons—reported these abuses to police and social workers, the bureaucrats and police turned a blind eye to the abuses because, it turns out, they were trying to follow the tenets of “multiculturalism.”
Again, really? So are we to assume that from now on, when children are abused and teenagers raped, we should label them victims of multiculturalism?
Let’s suppose that similar abuse takes place in some other arena. I know: Let’s suppose that a number of Catholic priests are accused of pederasty and homosexual relations with teenagers. Wouldn’t the press rightfully hammer them, scream for justice, demand punishment? Oh, wait. That already happened, and the press and public howled and heads justifiably rolled. Never mind. Probably a bad example.
George Bush once called Islam a “religion of peace,” once again using euphemism. That moniker doesn’t trot these days; it doesn’t even limp. The Middle East is in flames. North Africa is becoming a battlefield; Syria is fighting a full-scale war; Afghanistan is falling apart; Iraq has fallen apart; Iran is still pushing for nuclear weapons; the Palestinians are still attacking the Israelis. Muslims from the United States and Europe are now fighting for radical outfits in places like Syria and Iraq. Will they return home content to rub elbows with those of us who belong to “the Great Satan?”
Look at the history of the last twenty years. Add up the wars and the political murders and the assassinations. Which group tops the list? I’m pretty sure it’s not Presbyterians.
It’s time to cut the malarkey.
It’s time to stop catering to a violent ideology that oppresses women, promotes violence against “infidels,” and stones people to death. It’s time to quit allowing Islam to keep using our own system of justice to undermine the system. It’s time to demand that Islam either comes out of the desert and join the twentieth century or receive the mockery, disdain, and when necessary, the bombs and bullets it deserves.
It’s time to quit calling that tail a leg.