The pen is truly mightier than the sword. Words are powerful weapons, and those skilled in the science of memetics know how to wield them to their advantage. Bill O’Reilly and Juan Williams, from opposing sides of the political spectrum, were both drawn into the latest memetic battle from progressives, who wish to instill public guilt over any use of the word “Muslim” they deem “inappropriate.” Leftists were probably somewhat dismayed when even fellow leftist Bill Maher was willing to admit some apprehension of Islam, but I’m sure their spirits soar as apple pie Americans graciously cast their 4th amendment right aside, submitting to gropes and body scans so Muslims don‘t have to feel insecure, and the TSA doesn‘t have to hire real agents. Liberals like Whoopi use the white Oklahoma City bomber to validate their argument. It’s actually quite fitting, but only because it successfully highlights the absurdity of what law-abiding Americans are being subjected to in exchange for a false sense of security. Bad guys are resourceful, and Timothy McVeigh used a car bomb, after all–how devalued has liberty become if we’re willing to sacrifice it for foolish reassurances that it can prevent an incident similar to that one? Is it really so different? If any reasonable guideline is to be labeled as “profiling,” the P.C. police would rather abandon reason and treat wheelchaired grandmothers or whaling toddlers to an enhanced pat-down. Ben Franklin famously said that those who might sacrifice their liberty for security deserve neither, and regardless, neither is what they’re getting.
So speaking of resourceful bad guys, how do you get the public to justify sacrificing their liberty? The weapon of memetic engineering can’t be overestimated. The role language plays in culture is a fascinating field of study, and an artful craft, prone to abuse like any other. In this case, the media and culture spinners utilize it to assign altered meanings to words in a manner that avoids debate, establishing widespread preconceptions (or misconceptions) in the public psyche. Like Orwellian “double speak,” it manipulates words to sidestep reality. To understand how, simply think of the name of a significant person in your life. You don’t recall a mere word. You draw a well-rounded and immediate recognition of that person: their appearance, their mannerisms, the sound of their voice, and even positive or negative sentiments are invoked. Leftists similarly attempt to manipulate our reactions to everyday words. It’s an effective tool if you need to win someone over without proving your argument, and it’s especially convenient when people already struggle to find the time, much less the inclination, to scratch below the surface in forming their own opinions.
Earlier this year, NPR offered up another glaringly obvious example of leftist memetics when they announced the new labels required for opposing sides in the abortion debate. Their correspondents would no longer be allowed to use the terms “pro-choice” or “pro-life,” despite the accuracy they reflect for each sides’ primary points. These opposing viewpoints are now referenced as either advocates or opposers of abortion rights under the absurd pretense that it depicts a neutral standpoint from the perspective of NPR reporting. What it actually does, however, is attempt to establish the presumption that abortion is a settled, un-debatable right, and maneuver around discussion to the contrary.
In a similar fashion, the liberal culture manipulators would like you to adopt the unwavering precept that Islam is a religion of peace whose people simply wish to coexist with the rest of world–that this is “mainstream” Islam. They don’t want you to question that Muslims who actually abide by the teachings of the Koran–those working to inflict harm to infidels or undermine Western culture and law–represent a fringe movement of “extremists.” They want you to accept that the majority are “soft” Muslims who don’t adhere to what we would perceive as the less pleasant aspects of Islam, for example conversion by the sword, caste systems, or female circumcision. They want you to brush off honor killings, hangings of homosexuals, and stoning of rape victims or adulterers. Please dismiss footage of the large enthusiastic crowds that filled the streets of Mid-East cities on 9/11. And don‘t you know, “Jihad” is a word of many meanings, as Obama struggled to explain to Indian citizens on his recent world tour. I don’t doubt that psuedo-Muslims exist, especially those who are truly “westernized,” but these people are Muslims in the same sense as Christians who believe eternal life can be achieved without accepting Christ as your savior. You might call yourself a Christian, but you’re really missing the point. Labels can be misleading.
Many find it puzzling that the left would consciously support or spin public perception of a religion steeped in intolerance, tyranny, and violence, but it’s not really out of character. Muslims represent one more special interest group, like all others the Left uses, to divide and conquer in classic Alinsky style, however vehemently they might protest otherwise. Like other special interests, it also represents another avenue to support policy that marginalizes and weakens individual liberty, but this one is extra special–Sharia law is in direct conflict with our constitutional republic. Yes, that’s republic, not democracy, as Jefferson and Franklin explained, and as it should be. Strict democracies aren’t desirable. Perceptions to the contrary illustrate yet another highly successful memetic spin.
Quite frankly, Leftist ideals aren’t so incompatible with Islam, either. “Tolerance” is a word they’ve toyed mercilessly with. It no longer encompasses the old ‘live and let live’ credo in which we can disagree or dislike one another as long as we don‘t deprive each other of Constitutional liberty. It now implies that people just shouldn’t even disagree or ever have to be offended. But this would require us all to think the same way and believe the same things, or just keep our mouths shut…which is actually, in fact, the very essence of intolerance. Logic has been turned on it’s head when tolerance of intolerance is being advocated. And I mean genuine intolerance–the kind were people are beheaded or starved because they are inconvenient, not the kind where your feelings get hurt. “Judge,” too, has become a memetically bastardized word. I was recently told that no one has a right to judge, yet how can any opinion be formed without judging? You might as well tell me none of us has a right to an opinion, or freedom of conscience actually, unless it‘s the “correct” opinion, of course–but how else could they justify replacing our individual reasoning with centralized and generalized state micromanagement? In reality, we have an individual responsibility to judge. What none of us actually has is a right to act on our judgment to physically and unfairly deprive one another of liberty, even if a particular religion demands it.
At least folks on the Right are catching on, forming their own front in the battle of word manipulation. Some, however, have done so in a rather disappointing manner, as Republicans now seek to redefine “earmarks” after swearing to abolish them for the sake of our compounding national debt. Despite the recent election, they still think bringing our own money back to our state for pet projects is more likely to get them re-elected than not taking it from us to begin with. *Sigh* One simply can’t take words for granted. So reconsider all those pesky labels: “liberal,” “progressive,” “moderate.” Even “conservative,” and especially “compromise.” Folks can disagree without being “racist” or “extremist.” The pen may be mighty, but all it really takes to break a spell is to know that it exists.