A Word: Saying What We Mean

ShrinkWrapped: Language Matters

Language Matters

Dafydd ab Hugh …. has a post up today on ‘Why I Don’t Write “Islamofascist”’. He makes some excellent points:

“But the more important point is that the word “fascism” has a magical power: it overwhelms every other word you connect it to. In the real world, “Islamofascism” transsubstantiates into (islamo)-FASCISM! Kaboom!

The danger we face is Islamism and the willingness to murder hundreds of thousands in the name of jihad. What matters is the religion itself and the militancy by which it’s spread — not some putative connection to Mussolini or Hitler. To understand the jihadi, we need to confront the true source of the danger: the death cult that animates the slayer-of-thousands.”

“I have written before (A Ticking Clock) about the importance of maintaining the distinction between the enemy actively fighting us around the world and the mass of mainstream Muslims, many of whom support them passively.” -ShrinkWrapped

This was an interesting look into two points which arise from two bloggers who generally agree on eschewing the use of the “Islamofascist” term.

I used the term, myself, as a distinction for which others use the term, “extremists”. I don’t think the point may be made that Islam has a peaceful type and a jihad type. Not if you look at the religion itself. The main hope that many have in speaking of a peaceful Islam is in those Muslims willing to modify their traditional religion. There are many who have found loopholes, who simply ignore large parts of those things uncomfortable in their religion. Human beings have that tendency. I understand the point that was made against using the word, but I am not sure it is a strong point. The fascism part is to identify the result of the extreme emphasis on the jihad component of their religion.
I guess that is what we usually mean by “extremist”: someone who is extreme in emphasis of one part of their religions doctrine. We tend to misuse the word extremist more often. It is connotated with aggressive actions, and that would not apply to all Christians who are fanatical. Some are extreme on points of peace, political process, or of spiritual focus. That is very different from what we mean by Islamic extremists. By those we almost exclusively mean jihadists who terrorize, maim, and kill. The term Fascism fits that, because the purpose of it is to control and gain power.

So while I appreciate the moderating attempts of these writers, it wasn’t a point satisfactorally made … or emphasized? Don’t know.

But the Big Lizard writer, Dafydd (good Welsh name, that) says,”Yet the distinguishing characteristic of fascism — what differentiates it from garden-variety socialism, racism, and antisemitism — is intensely economic: fascism is totalitarianism that operates through corporatism” and in this he places the emphasis on the concept of economics, while I think the emphasis in all examples is on control.

It doesn’t matter what the vehicle is as much as the goal of totalitarianism. And Islamic extremism applies. Its goal is that of total control, and I might add that it is more ambitious than other sorts, since it includes the spiritual part, which the other forms simply addressed as an adjunct, until it got in the way.

====excuse me while I digress====
-but I couldn’t help it, as I was thinking about Sharia and how unmercifully it crushes the very life out of women, especially. I started to think about how Muslim men probably think that it upholds their freedom to act as agents in their society and that it is only their women who are “kept in line”, but you know… how free is a Muslim man? Can he have say in how his wife should dress or act? Not really… it is policed by the society, and the man is as constrained as the woman, but he lies to himself that he is giving the rights to his family to those who are in control. Really he is ruled as a little child, one who cannot think or act outside of the police gangs… and who would be helpless to save his wife or daughter from their wrath.

They have to tell themselves it is for God or they would lose their minds. So it is in societies where the women are oppressed. Because every man knows that the woman and family he loves is his greatest and most precious worth in this life. Women who must live vulnerable to the whims of vicious predatory men, in a state which makes a society less free and valuble for its citizens, are the characteristic of the lost freedom of men.

That is the rule of freedom: to the degree that some are not free, all are not free.