After all, terror is not and can never be Islamic; or as Howard Dean said “it is as Islamic as I am”. Moreover, Islam’s contribution to world civilization in philosophy, science, mathematics and medicine is stupendous. Most historians agree that without Islam the Italian Renaissance and subsequent Scientific Revolution would not have occurred. So that Turkey’s Islamist President Erdogan’s claim that without Islam there would have been no United States of America is correct. The Renaissance and Scientific Revolution gave birth to the European Enlightenment which provided the philosophical foundation and practical infrastructure upon which the Founding Fathers built the edifice of the American republic. We should respect and celebrate Islam and not sully its good name by calling terrorists Islamist. After all, terror is perpetrated by non-Muslims also – Timothy McVeigh comes to mind. And look how many Muslims have won the Nobel Peace Prize in recent years.
I want to propose that this sensitivity to other people’s feelings become a universal principle; that we no longer use racial, religious or national modifiers of any sort when describing evil. For example I want to expunge the phrase “white racism”. After all, not all whites are racists and the white race, like the Muslims, has contributed greatly to human civilization in science, technology, industry and democracy. Moreover not all racists are white. The Chinese and Japanese are openly racist. Black Africa is rife with racism – the Rwandan genocide being only the latest example. So I propose that the very term “white racism” cease to be used in polite company.
Continuing in this line I want to remove all reference to Catholics when referring to the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition had nothing to do with true Catholicism which as we know is a peaceful and tolerant religion – founded by the Prince of Peace. Its adherents included such sainted individuals as Francis of Assisi and many other gentle souls who established the first hospitals and catered to the poor and weary. Jesuit priests in Latin America defended the natives from the predations of the Spanish colonizers. Catholic contributions to philosophy (Augustine, Aquinas etc.), to science (Occam, Copernicus etc.), to art and music and architecture are unmatched in the annals of human history. We should not sully the reputation of this great faith because of the actions of a few criminal Popes. Indeed we shouldn’t even call it the Spanish Inquisition (why insult Spain, without them there would also be no America), simply the Inquisition.
And if we are talking about insulting nationalities I think we should stop referring to the Nazis as German. Just because Hitler spoke German and talked about the superiority of the German ‘race’ doesn’t’ mean he was a real German. Or as Howard Dean might have said “He was about as German as I am” (actually he was Austrian). The German nation gave the world the greatest music ever composed (Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Handel etc.) as well as the most prominent philosophers, scientists and social critics of the modern age. We should not offend them by talking about the Nazis as being German.
Getting back to religion we should remove the phrase ‘Wars of Religion’ from our text books for fear of offending Protestants and Catholics or other persons of religious belief. Why should the fact that people justifying their slaughters in the name of religion be taken seriously? If we do take them seriously we risk offending people of religious sensibilities. Just because more human beings were killed by people calling themselves Protestants and Catholics than died in the Black Plague doesn’t mean they were real Protestants and Catholics. Or as Howard Dean might have said…well you know what he might have said.
We should also be very careful about discussing the mass pogroms that characterized the Indian partition and killed millions of people. Too many people think those pogroms had something to do with the intolerance of both the Muslims and the Hindus. This is the kind of thinking that is potentially offensive to billions of people because it stains the name of two great faith traditions.
And what about the Jews? All those Nobel prize winners and we still dare to call Yigal Amir, assassin of Yitzhak Rabin, and Baruch Goldstein, murderer of 29 Muslim worshipers, Jewish terrorists just because they perpetrated their acts in the name of Judaism. How dare we offend a great faith tradition in this manner; how dare we offend a people who have given so much to humanity. In this regard we should also expunge the word Yiddish from our vocabulary. It literally means Yid-Deutsch (but when uttered with a mouth full of pickled herring comes out Yiddish). As we all know, the term ‘Yid’ is as offensive to Jews as the ‘N’ word is to African Americans and thus the ‘Y’ word should become verboten in polite discourse – no more Yiddish.
Let’s stop this linguistic Bill of Attainder and apply the principles of delicate political correctness across the board. Or, on the other hand, let us stop pussy footing around and call a spade a spade. A majority of Muslims (terrorists and non-terrorists alike) have declared war on 21st century western civilization, most especially its most prized asset – freedom of speech. Western civilization has the right, nay the moral imperative, to defend itself, even at the risk of offending Muslims and notwithstanding the tremendous contribution Islam has made to human civilization in the past or the admirable work individual Muslims are doing today.
Tsvi Bisk is an American-Israeli futurist. He is the director of the Center for Strategic Futurist Thinking (www.futurist-thinking.co.il/) and contributing editor for strategic thinking for The Futurist magazine.
He is also the author of The Optimistic Jew: A Positive Vision for the Jewish People in the 21st Century. Tsvi is available as a lecturer or as a scholar in residence as well as for strategic consulting