The greatest task on the right, therefore, is to rescue the language of politics: to put within our grasp what has been forcibly removed from it by jargon. It is only when we have found again the language that is natural to us that we can answer the great accusations that are constantly thrown at our world from the left. And it is only when we have found that language that we can move on from the one-dimensional left/ right, with us/ against us, progressive/ reactionary dichotomies that have so often made rational discussion impossible. (Scruton, Roger (2015-10-08). Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left (Kindle Locations 6036-6039). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.)
The current language of dichotomized politics, as the eminent philosopher Roger Scruton states above, demands a great deal of “rescue” work. We must aggressively dispute the use of the jargon that the left has insinuated into our political conversations and polemics, words that both distort reality and give the ideologues on the left undue power to manipulate, worse, to dominate the discussion of issues of great moral, political and social import. With their jargon they exert their pernicious influence and constantly aim to impugn the motives of those who disagree with them. Built into the language of the left is the ammunition for an insidious, sustained and long term campaign of nullification and character assassination.
Let us begin our rescue of political language with a repudiation of two of the most odious and egregious pieces of jargon now foisted on us (“thrown at our world from the left”) on a daily basis – “homophobia” and “Islamophobia.”
What in today’s common parlance is a homophobe? For the polemicists and their censorious patrons on the left a homophobe is anyone and everyone who voices disapproval of homosexual activity and disputes the concept and legitimacy of homosexual marriage. This disapproval often has religious grounds and, of course, because it is argued from sources and convictions of religious belief, authority or scripture it is considered by the secularist oriented Left as beneath serious moral and political consideration. Certain kinds of moral concepts are off-the-table, so to speak. Religious traditions, practices and values, that have for millennia shaped and informed our morals and social practices now with a with a snap-snap of a finger from these nouveau Jacobins are supposed to be discarded as we suddenly realize how unenlightened we’ve been, how virtuous they are and how much better the world will be with them in charge.
The neologism “homophobe” was coined to make it sound objective and “clinical”, the sort of jargon used by psychologists and various “experts” to show that they have penetrated the fog and demystified the prevailing superstitions. They understand what the rest of us may at some later time hope to comprehend. Thus, those unfortunate enough to be in the grasp of homophobia are, well, sick, sick in the sense of psychological aberration or derangement. Phobias are by their nature irrational, unfounded in reality, overreactions to fear, insecurity or anxiety.
Phobia: a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational.
There you have it: this is pretty much a common understanding of what a phobia is – in more parochial terms, phobic people are crazy. You don’t reason with crazy people. Only trained professionals take what crazy people say seriously but only as it is symptomatic of mental aberration. You do not have rational conversation and respectful exchange with a homophobic individual about homosexuality because he has no standing as a normal, thoughtful person. He is immersed in bigotry or “hatred” as the left prefers to describe the disapproval of behavior they condone.
Where, however, is the phobia to be found in the so called typical homophobe? What is asserted does not match reality. They neither fear nor hate homosexuals and they don’t wish to interfere in their lives and punish them. Their aversion to homosexuality is not irrational: it is philosophical and theological. “Homophobia” is not a description of anything real: it is a label contrived to smear those who disagree: it is nothing more than an ad hominem argument in shorthand posing as received social science wisdom.
Homophobes, however, are not just sick: they are “intolerant”. Here is a word kidnapped by left and given a completely distorted meaning, that being: toleration = approval. So, if you don’t approve of something, ergo, you must be intolerant. But if one considers the logic that should apply to the use of “tolerant” it follows that one can be only be tolerant of what one disapproves of: if you already approve of a behavior, creed or habit, you don’t need to tolerate it. There is considerable irony with all of this because the left disapproves of (despises and excoriates, actually) conservatives, right-wingers, and traditionally religious people (“bitter clingers” as Barack Obama refers to them) but regard themselves as the most open minded and tolerant people around.
The fact that the “gay lifestyle” has been normalized in our increasingly secularized culture and that homosexuals live openly and prosperously, in some places proudly as “gay” would suggest that toleration is at least moderately in place and relatively widespread. However, the left, despite what they say, do not want toleration of homosexuality: they demand, and are intent on coercing, approval of it. Their dishonest and coercive strategy is to place anyone who does not embrace the complete normalization of homosexuality as a “lifestyle” outside the moral and political boundaries of American life. In our diverse multi-cultural society, since when, it seems fair to ask, does someone have the right to coerce someone else into approving of their morals?
Toleration is giving moral and physical space to someone you disagree with. “You leave me alone (with respect to our differences); I’ll leave you alone, and we’ll agree to disagree and go about our separate business.” The huge advantage of real toleration is the buffer of time that it offers. Over time, toleration with its norm of respectful live-let-live disagreement helps to soften people on all sides and make them more understanding of each other. The gradual development of the norm of toleration beginning in 17th century Europe over time enabled initially very hostile Christian sects to reduce their hostility and accept, though not necessarily approve of their differences. But of course for the left, if you disagree, you are to remain silent while your intelligence and character are impugned and your religious freedoms are extinguished.
In moving from homophobia to Islamophobia similar ideological motives are masked by the use of language that, again, as Roger Scruton notes, attempts “to change reality by changing the way we describe and therefore the way we perceive it.” (Scruton, Roger. Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left (Kindle Locations 4916-4917).
“Islamophobia” deserves a great deal of scrutiny as it is an attempt to change reality by the way we describe it. The term has a short history, probably not more that 20 or 25 years. Did Islamophobes suddenly come into existence a couple of decades ago? If not, what were they and where were they before? If so, what suddenly gave rise to yet another phobia the left loves to lecture us about? And, in light of what the militant followers of Islam have been about in the last few years, perhaps the fear that they have generated of Islam is not completely irrational. Is it mere coincidence that Islamophobia emerged about the time followers of Islam, in the name of Islam, were engaged in horrific acts of terrorism all across the globe – the U.S., Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia. Is it also coincidental that during this time we have no record of Buddhists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Mormons or Mennonites crashing airliners into sky scrapers, mass kidnapping and force-marrying young girls, making You Tube videos of beheadings and immolations and establishing by conquest a theocratic state? There are reasons why the word “Islamophobia” has been invented and not “Christanophobia”, “Mormonophobia” or “Buddhophobia” which have nothing to do with what those who coined and use this word want us to believe.
Just who are these Islamophobes who suddenly have sprung into being? Here is how the folks who know all about these things at UC Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender explain it:
Islamophobia is a contrived fear or prejudice fomented by the existing Eurocentric and Orientalist global power structure. It is directed at a perceived or real Muslim threat through the maintenance and extension of existing disparities in economic, political, social and cultural relations, while rationalizing the necessity to deploy violence as a tool to achieve "civilizational rehab" of the target communities (Muslim or otherwise). Islamophobia reintroduces and reaffirms a global racial structure through which resource distribution disparities are maintained and extended. (http://crg.berkeley.edu/content/islamophobia/defining-islamophobia)
So, this particular phobia is the product of a “global power structure”, which of course makes it all crystal clear if you are content with sheer vacuity. And, what kind of a global power structure? The “existing Eurocentric and Orientalist” one, which I guess is more menacing than one that doesn’t exist. This is stated as if we are all supposed to know what precise meanings to attach to “Eurocentric” and “Orientalist” but these terms, like “Islamophobia”, are recent constructs, only intelligible to the ideologues who invented them and like the way they sound. They are vague terms of disapprobation rather than description. One can discover almost any kind of global power structure that readily fits one’s imagination and will bare the blame for the world’s many disparities – International Jewish bankers, the Tri-Lateral Commission, etc. The Berkeley “experts” are sloganeers, and here above is a medley of tropes that fill the left’s lexicon of agitprop designed to arouse those already indoctrinated. Nothing concrete, real or identifiable is doing the “fomenting” of fear and prejudice. Even more preposterous is the claim that Islamophobia “reintroduces and affirms a “global racial structure …” etc. How does an abstraction like Islamophobia bring a “global racial structure” into being? (Note the contrived parallelism of vacuous phrases: “global power structure” – “global racial structure”) What IS a “global racial structure, and what does Islam have to do with race? It is a religion!
Any one of any race can be a Muslim. This purported definition is a masterpiece of verbal smog and incoherence.
“[T]he first concern of revolutionary movements on the left,” again to quote Roger Scruton, “has been to capture the language, to change reality by changing the way we describe and therefore the way we perceive it. Revolution begins from an act of falsification, exemplified equally in the French and the Russian Revolutions, as in the cultural revolutions of the contemporary campus.” (Scruton, Roger (2015-10-08). Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left (Kindle Locations 4916-4917).
“Homophobia” and “Islamophobia” are not words that accurately describe people or capture any of their distinctive attributes or conditions. They are perversions, means of falsification, as Scruton notes, language designed not to reflect reality and speak the truth, but to serve ideological purposes and the acquisition of power. Anyone who wishes to participate in an intelligent, serious conversation on homosexuality and contemporary Islam should vigorously resist the efforts of anyone who uses these words as if they are anything other than the vehicles of their ad hominem attacks and obfuscation in the service of cultural revolution.