If you follow the news, you might be aware that Congressman Allen West of Florida recently called the culture of dependency nurtured by government handouts "the worst sort of slavery." This brought an immediate uproar over West's use of the word "slavery," a term which the Left feels it owns. Congressman West, God bless him, has stood his ground against the gales of denunciation and demands that he apologize, resign, or commit seppuku before a live audience.
We also have the ongoing attempts by militant supremacist Muslims and their mouthpiece groups to prevent any association between Islam, Muslims, and anything more dishonorable than a traffic ticket. Robert Spencer comments on that today:
That the mainstream media leans overwhelmingly to the Left has long been known; that it shares the hard Left’s taste for authoritarian controls on the freedom of speech has not been so widely noted, but is becoming increasingly clear. Last week both the British Guardian and the New York Daily News published pieces equating truthful and accurate reporting about jihad violence and Islamic supremacism with “hate speech,” and calling for such reporting to be placed beyond the bounds of acceptable public discourse. That restrictions on free speech might come to harm their own profession is apparently something they haven’t considered.
After dismissing concerns about jihad and Islamization as “fearmongering,” Nathan Lean in the Daily News offered a strikingly statist remedy: “Society has a responsibility to counter these individuals with overwhelming overtures of pluralism — and to systematically push the fearmongers out of public discourse. … Judicial systems must absorb the true scope of the Islamophobia industry’s rhetoric and rage.” How “society” was to go about identifying “fearmongers” accurately and then “systematically” driving them out of the “public discourse” Lean did not explain, but since he envisioned “judicial systems” being involved, he seems to be calling for the arrest and prosecution of those whose opinions about Islam he dislikes.
Just as disquieting was Jonathan Freedland’s Guardian piece, in which he decried hateful speech against Muslims, describing it as “racism, of the crudest kind,” and then added: “but the subtler ones are not much better.” For Freedland these “subtler” forms of racism include attempts to “dress up in progressive, Guardian-friendly garb – slamming Islam as oppressive of gay and women’s rights, for example – but the thick layer of bigotry is visible all the same.”...
Last week, Canadian journalist Brian Lilley lamented that even law enforcement authorities are reluctant to call things by their right names: “Police bust an Islamic terror cell, people that plan to blow up a building or shoot others in the name of Islam, and yet police will not say the words Muslim, Islam or any variant thereof. Even when the people arrested have clearly stated their goal is to carry out an attack in the name of Islam, police will not use the M word or the I word.”
Spencer is quite knowledgeable about this particular taboo; he's been the target of thunderous denunciations by Muslims and Muslim mouthpiece groups for some years, for daring to speak on the subjects of Islam, Islamic militancy, and jihad. I don't know whether he travels under armed guard, but if I were he, I certainly would; "sudden jihad syndrome" can strike anywhere, and at any moment.
And of course, no one is permitted to accuse Attorney-General Eric Holder of malfeasance despite his open refusal to prosecute the New Black Panther voter-intimidation squad and his unwillingness to cooperate fully with the House Judiciary Committee's investigation of Operation Fast and Furious. Holder is a Negro, which makes any criticism of him automatically racist.
Does anyone see a pattern here?
Back in September of 2006, at my retired Eternity Road site, I wrote the following:
The essence of the taboo in American society is linguistic: not to speak the forbidden thought or attitude. So one such as I, who holds many taboo beliefs, is supposed to remain silent about them all. That would reduce me to prayers, requests to pass the condiments, and the occasional statement of approbation for the New York Rangers. Needless to say, I've chosen to express myself rather more broadly than that.
But even those of us who defy the taboos ideologically are expected to obey their constraints on our vocabulary. Certain words are forbidden to us with a firmness that hints at a mouthful of soap to come.
Some of those words have an ugly cast. But equally ugly words have passed into common parlance:
...and no doubt, our language being a constantly evolving and expanding thing, there are new vulgarities related to sex acts, body parts, elimination, and the like that I haven't yet learned.
The difference between those common vulgarities and the taboo words claimed by the victim-status groups is this: each of the taboo words is used freely within an owner-group that strives to deny it to outsiders with the force of the taboo:
- Victimist blacks often call one another "nigger," often as an expression of fellowship or approbation. Indeed, a rap act of some notoriety named itself Niggers With Attitude, apparently without embarrassment.
- Homosexuals feel no constraint about calling one another "queers," "dykes," "queens," or "faggots," even if the rest of us are not licensed to do so. Indeed, one of its activist groups is named "Queer Nation."
- Women who ascribe to a particular shade of feminism make free and frequent reference to their "cunts," which is a hangin' offense for any possessor of a Y chromosome. A professor of Women's Studies at a relatively well-known university has been known to discourse on "cuntal dialectics."
It's one of my beliefs that, just as to every thing there is a season, to every word there is a proper application. This holds with special force for those words that have acquired their meaning through vulgarization. Perhaps the above uses, unconsciously self-damning as they are, have proved my point. The persons who employ them in such fashion deserve no better....
I could go on, but I believe the point has been made. The shamans of contemporary linguistic taboos have adopted nigger, faggot, cunt, and the other forbidden words as passwords, emblems of group membership -- and membership, as American Express has been at pains to remind us, has its privileges. No one outside the shamans' circle is permitted to speak the password; it's an arrogation of a jealously guarded status. He who dares must be cut down, ground into the dust, and forbidden ever to speak at all, to any effect, in any context. For as in all systems of nymic magic, the word is deemed congruent with the thing: the taboo words are at the root of the shamans' power. Failure to enforce the taboo would risk the loss of the group's privileges and immunities, laboriously amassed over the decades of exploitation of others' guilt.
Every circle of shamans must have a private language. Better that it be secret, but private above all. The taboo words and their use are all that distinguish the privileged from the hoi polloi. They must be guarded to the death.
The contemporary assertion of shamanistic privileges over certain words, concepts, and phenomena is too baldly a political ploy to be mistaken for anything else. It operates through an asymmetry in courtesy and civility: we on the Right want to be taken as generally courteous and civil, even toward persons whose behavior we disapprove, whereas persons on the Left, who have decided that we must be either stupid or evil, are eager to pronounce condemnation upon us for any reason or none. (If you doubt this, take note: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been accused of racism for appearing before the NAACP and speaking openly of the policies he favors, without an iota of qualification or racial pandering.) Thus, our own desire not to give unnecessary or unintended offense is being used against us by persons who lack all such compunction.
Treatment of this sort is nothing more than a tactic for inhibiting forthright expression by conservatives. It's massively important that it be rebuffed, and with maximum contempt at that, for it is the precursor to a legally imposed regime of censorship in which only certain "licensed" groups would be permitted to express themselves on certain subjects. How many Americans recognize the danger is unclear; how many are willing to stand their ground before such vilification is equally unclear.
The it-can't-happen-here crowd, whose members trust in the paper barriers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, seems to be shrinking. Proof that it most certainly can happen here arrives daily from across the Atlantic. But there will always be some, right up to the "Niemoller event" at which further denial is rebuffed by detentions and executions.
It is singularly important that this topic be addressed as widely as possible in this year of Our Lord 2012. The current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is already using racialist and class-warfare tactics in his campaign to retain the office to which we mistakenly elevated him in 2008. He has many supporters and enablers in the conventional media. They will do their best to demonize anyone who dares criticize him even in the slightest degree, while heaping mountains of innuendo, unsupported accusations, and demands to prove a negative upon his opponent. Should they succeed, this year might well prove to be the signpost at which future historians will point and say, "Here marks the end of de facto freedom of expression in the United States of America."