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July 25th 2009 print

Bill Muehlenberg

How PC is Putting Us All at Risk

Political Correctness is certainly annoying, foolish and a pain in the neck. However, it can also be quite dangerous, especially when it is applied to issues of national security, policing and justice. In the attempt of our elites to make sure we do not offend anyone, ordinary citizens can find themselves in positions of real danger.

Political Correctness is certainly annoying, foolish and a pain in the neck. However, it can also be quite dangerous, especially when it is applied to issues of national security, policing and justice. In the attempt of our elites to make sure we do not offend anyone, ordinary citizens can find themselves in positions of real danger.

Consider a recent news item about the effort to turn all of our leaders – including the police – into politically correct lackies, regardless of the harmful consequences. Here is how an Age article describes this situation:

“A guidebook for politicians, police and public servants on how to talk about Muslims and terrorism without implicating the religion of Islam should be released by the end of the year. The book, A Lexicon on Terror, was conceived by Victoria Police and the Australian Multicultural Foundation, but was so popular it became a national project, an international conference on Islamophobia at Monash University heard yesterday.”

The article continues, “Multicultural Foundation head Hass Dellal told The Age many Muslims interpreted ‘war on terror’ as a war on Islam. Other terms to be avoided included ‘Islamic terrorism’, ‘Islamo-fascists’, ‘Middle Eastern appearance’, and ‘moderate Muslim’, which suggested to Muslims they were inadequate in their faith.”

While seeking to help different groups get along in order to achieve a harmonious society may be praiseworthy, there are at least three big problems with all of this. First, this attempt at PC simply denies reality. The sad truth is, the overwhelming majority of the acts of terrorism which we read about on a regular basis, including last week’s attacks on two hotels in Jakarta, are committed by Muslims.

No amount of PC can deny the truth that there is a war against the West taking place, and that this comes primarily from those who call themselves Muslim. From the September 11 attacks to the Bali bombings, the Madrid train bombings, the London underground attacks, the Mumbai terrorist attack, and the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, to name just a few, what we have is violence done by Muslims in the name of Islam.

To ignore or seek to downplay the source of these attacks does nothing except benefit those who are carrying them out – Muslims. When we are faced with mortal danger, the first step in self defence is to know who the enemy is. Sure, not all Muslims approve of such violent jihad, but that does not do away with the fact that the terrorist threat we face is overwhelmingly an Islamic terrorist threat.

Second, it is ludicrous in the extreme to tell the police and other authorities that they cannot use certain accurate phrases. When a crime is committed and those responsible are still at large, the police need to know who they are after. And an innocent public also has a right to know who they may be at threat from.

But in our idiotic age of PC, we have libertarians and Muslims complaining about racial profiling. This has to do with determining whether a racial or ethnic group might be more likely to commit a particular crime. But the forces of PC do not want our security personnel to make use of such things.

But given what was just said in point one, it is pretty clear that such categorising is indeed appropriate. It makes perfect sense for people to ask hard questions if a group of Middle Eastern men suddenly develops a keen interest in learning how to fly airplanes, especially large passenger jets.

We can rightly worry much less if a group of middle-aged women from Ballarat want to take up flying lessons. In the same way, one can be much more fearful walking down a dark alley if one encounters a bunch of young men – of whatever nationality –with knives in their hands, than a group of teenagers with bibles under their arms.

Knowing who is more likely to commit a crime is an important part of crime fighting, and to not even be able to use certain phrases for fear of offending a group is quite bizarre. What are the police to do when they want to do tell a crime stoppers program about who they are after? Suppose they are after a rapist of "Middle Eastern appearance". Should they not be allowed to use that phrase for fear of vilifying Middle Easterners?

And how far do we extend this? What if a bank robber is a young black woman? If it is politically incorrect to mention the racial or ethnic background, what about gender? We wouldn’t want to be sexist now would we? And what about age? Perhaps we should not be ageist either.

And with some PC types concerned about species-ism, perhaps we cannot even mention that the robber is Homo sapiens. So what are we left with? What can the police tell the public in order to warn them about this offender who is still at large?

If PC goes the whole hog, then all we can be left with is the police very helpfully informing us that some vertebrate was responsible for this morning’s bank heist. So be on the lookout for a vertebrate with bags of cash. That should both comfort the public and greatly assist the police – unless of course it is also wrong to “discriminate” against those with backbones.

Third, will other minorities be extended the same treatment? What about other minorities, such as Bible-believing Christians who wish to take their faith seriously in the public arena? Will they no longer be vilified on a regular basis by politicians and others? Will they no longer be referred to as fundamentalists, intolerant, narrow-minded and bigoted?

In the interests of social harmony and inter-religious relations, will the long-running open season on Christians no longer be tolerated? Will sensitivity classes be compulsory for all public servants so that they do not offend the sensibilities of Christians? Somehow I just don’t think so.

All in all this is just another dumb idea. Our bureaucrats and ruling elites have become so fearful of even possibly offending a Muslim member of the community that they are willing to put us all at risk as a result. The stultifying effects of PC have already cost us far too much. We really do not need any more.

As I mentioned, we can all work toward social harmony and cooperation. But this should not be at the expense of common sense and the wellbeing of the whole community. The sad truth is, the terrorist threat which we face today comes primarily from the Islamic world.

What would really be of help here is for moderate Muslims (oops, I am not supposed to use that phrase) to come out and denounce Islamic terrorism (oops again) unequivocally and unreservedly. Until they do, no amount of political correctness and bureaucratic sensitivity training will relieve the real problems we face.