There’s some confusion about the term “political correctness.” It really means the opposite of what it seems. If you’re critical of political correctness it doesn’t mean you’re in favor of incorrectness or nastiness. In fact, the term was created with ironic intent by conservatives who favor free speech and dialog among people who have different opinions. Their criticism is directed at radical leftists who seek to silence those who disagree with their leftist viewpoints by claiming that only leftist or progressive views are “correct” and acceptable. This is especially the case on college campuses, most of which have a dominant liberal culture influenced by liberal faculties and subscribed to by liberal students who aren’t entitled to a monopoly on what’s “correct.”
Rather than engaging in honest debate with conservatives on the substance of their disagreements, self-appointed leftist censors attempt to stigmatize and sidestep conservative ideas by misrepresenting and dismissing them as “racist,” “hateful,” sexist,” “nativist” or any number of other simplistic “ists.” Take the left’s currently fashionable abuse of the term “phobia” to brand, and therefore invalidate, those with whom they disagree by pretending they’re afflicted with imaginary disorders like “homophobia,” “transphobia” or “Islamophobia.”
The principal dictionary definition of “phobia” is “an irrational fear of some particular thing or situation.” The key word, here, being irrational. Yes, a phobia can also connote hatred of or prejudice toward someone or something. For instance, if you dislike the French you can be a francophobe (conversely, if you admire them, a francophile). But that’s a different definition that would, for example, accurately describe bigots who hate homosexuals as homophobes, in the latter sense.
But there are others who have aren’t hateful or fearful but, rather, disapprove of homosexuality because of their deeply-rooted religious beliefs, which is their prerogative and their right. Such people are not hateful homophobes nor do they suffer from a clinical disorder called homophobia.
As for one’s attitude toward transsexuals, most heterosexual people still rely on the traditional biological, binary distinction in sex-determination under which females have two of the same kind of sex chromosomes (XX) and males have two different sex chromosomes (XY), and distinctive sex organs. So, they may feel uncomfortable sharing a public restroom, locker room or shower with others who physically appear to be of the opposite sex. This is understandable and doesn’t mean they hate or fear people who believe their psychological sex is different from their physical one. And it doesn’t make them transphobic by either valid definition.
Which brings us to contrived accusations by liberals of Islamophobia. Personally, I don’t subscribe to or practice any organized religion. But I’m not anti-religion or an atheist. Call me a spiritual free agent. While I may not share, I respect most other people’s religious beliefs. But I don’t respect all people’s religious beliefs, which include some wacky ideas in the name of religion. Unlike Tom Cruise, who I like as an actor, I’ve never thought much of L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology cult, but didn’t feel threatened by it.
Islam is a special case these days. On the one hand, I’ve known some Muslims who are fine people and basically non-violent. Of the world’s almost 2 billion Muslims these may be the majority. On the other hand there are radical, fundamentalist, Islamist militants and jihadists like the followers of Osama bin Laden who attacked America on 9/11, while other Muslims around the world joined them in shouts of “Death to America!” Then there’s the Taliban, ISIS, Hamas and Hezbollah, etc. Even within Islam, there are sects that have been killing each other for centuries like the Sunnis and Shiites inside and outside of their national borders.
Muslim fanatics fervently believe their religious faith compels them to ultimately subjugate or kill all of the world’s infidels. (That’s the rest of us.) The math on that is: 8 billion humans on the planet minus 2 billion Muslims equals the elimination of 6 billion infidels of assorted religious faiths.
You’re damn right I’m afraid of these people! But this isn’t a phobia, it’s a wholly “rational” fear. If you’re not duly apprehensive and on guard to defend us from Islamist aggression, you’re delusional. And there’s no shame in being an Islamophobe if that means hostility to fanatical terrorists who have killed Americans and intend to kill many more.
American liberals who throw around asinine epithets like “Islamophobia,” equating opposition to murderous Islamists with persecution of innocent Muslims should be ashamed of themselves ─ if they had any shame.
Longtime KOA radio talk host and columnist for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News Mike Rosen now writes for CompleteColorado.com.