When describing the enemy commanders, such as Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri or the late Abu Musab al Zarqawi, people usually include the phrase "very intelligent". However, some my friends (BTW not as pro-American as I am) say that the above mentioned organisms aren't significantly smarter than the average person or at least we do not need to assume this in order to account for their successes. While generally agreeing with the opinion that they ARE very intelligent, I'll try to argue for my friends' opinion in this post.
First, the enemy's agenda is 100% destructive. If they win, I guess they will be in a complete dismay what to do further, similarly to the Spartans after crushing Athens and the Barbarians after ruining Rome. And, owing to the inherent tendency of all matter to take the simplest possible form, a destructive program is much easier to execute than a constructive one. Remember the viruses that subdue and kill cells and organisms million times more complex. Is HIV more intelligent than the human it overwhelms? I would say no.
Second, our and the enemy's combatants operate on a profoundly different background. The Islamic world, while formally disliking Al Qaida, supplies it not only with money but also with unconditional approval of every anti-Western act, no matter how inhumane, and with unlimited numbers of brainwashed young men keen to become martyrs in the name of Allah. The commanders of the Western troops, on the contrary, have to act under the pressure of a pluralized and highly critical society. They are demanded to achieve a military victory without losing a significant number of soldiers, without killing a significant number of civilians, without shooting at enemy combatants if the latter aren't shooting at them at the same moment and without violating the human rights of captured (proven or suspected) enemy combatants. Quite a difficult thing to do, isn't it?
Third (this is related to the above), the enemy attacks not only our infrastructure and people but also the ideological basis of our society, while we try to attack only the enemy's active combatants while praising the ideology (passing as religion) which creates them in the first place. This is the multiculturalist aspect of political correctness.
Political correctness can be defined as deliberate modification of language in an effort to avoid offending a specific group of people. A Bulgarian example of political correctness is the term "Roma", which most Gypsies and human rights activists insist to be used instead of Gypsy. I complied and used it for some years, but then I mentioned that it wasn't serving any useful purpose. It didn't help the Roma integrate, didn't bring them to work, didn't bring their children to school, didn't turn their thieves into law-abiding citizens and didn't dissuade Bulgarian skinheads from randomly attacking innocent Roma just because they were Gypsies. So I reverted to the old term "Gypsy", as readers of this blog know.
I disapprove political correctness because it takes away freedom of expression, impairs the communicational function of language and often tries to obscure or dismiss a real problem by cancelling the words used to indicate the problem. Worse, if you agree to follow the terms of political correctness, you cannot speak against any behaviour accepted by another group, no matter how intolerable this behaviour can be. "There are no moral compasses to tell what is right from wrong. The very notion of right and wrong has come under question... Morality is a politically incorrect subject" (http://www.faithfreedom.org/oped/sina60219p4.htm). So political correctness ties our tongues and hands, renders us uncapable of self-defence and inevitably brings moral relativism.
This is bad enough even when the other group also tries to be politically correct. But when it is free from the bondage of political correctness, our political correctness is a recipe for self-defeat, an invitation for hostile action. Bulgarians describe such behaviour with the expression "Ela, Valcho, izyazh me" - that is, "Come, Wolfie, eat me!". Once I commented on Highlander's blog about multiculturalist political correctness: "All people are good, all religions are good. What about the old Mexican religion?" (http://lonehighlander.blogspot.com/2006/08/unreachable-just-cause-i-had-one-of.html). Leilouta's husband independently came to the same argument and expressed it much better: "The pretensions of multculturalism and political correctness would break down if an Aztec was in the room asking for volunteers to help make the sun come up the next day" (http://leilouta.blogspot.com/2007/06/any-volunteers.html).
Of course the fact that "Multiculturalism in fact has served as the incubator of Islamism" can be explained, keeping in mind that "small minorities can overwhelm the majority by use of coercion" (http://www.news.faithfreedom.org/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1072). As a commentor mentioned, the caption "CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons out of respect for Islam" actually means "CNN has chosen not to show the cartoons because we don't want any of our offices bombed" (http://www.tech-unity.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-9109.html).
However, the dictate of political correctness cannot be explained by the violence factor alone. The groups demanding modification of language typically aren't violent, aren't rich enough to exert economic pressure, aren't a majority (except in the case of women) and are underprivileged or at least with a history of oppression. And they need not be particularly intelligent. Have we any reason to believe that our Gypsies, on average, are smarter than the ethnic Bulgarians? No, we haven't. But fasten your seatbelts, the most surprising thing is to come now.
Several days ago, as I was serfing on some blogs, I realized that the term "mental retardation" is becoming politically incorrect. In a 2005 statement, Down Syndrome self-advocates demanded the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) "to stop using the word mental retardation and change their name... In the Civil Rights movement, the "N" word was hurtful to African Americans. Likewise, the "M" word is offensive to individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities" (http://www.sabeusa.org/documents/Chester%20Finn2-14-05.pdf). Two years later, the website of the critisized organization states, "WELCOME TO AAIDD"(FORMERLY AAMR) Mental Retardation No more —New Name is Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities" (http://www.aamr.org/).
It is not just the professionals in the "intellectual disabilities" area who have to change their vocabulary. Black Eyed Peas group had a song titled Let's Get Retarded with lyric including the following verses:
Everybody, everybody, let's get into it
Get retarded, get retarded, get retarded
This text didn't survive for long. The song is now in a new version titled Let's Get It Started. Journalist Bridget Johnson writes, "I figured there's always a lobby of politically correct police that is the catalyst in these situations, so I e-mailed a representative at the Arc of the United States, formerly known as the Association for Retarded Citizens, the group that had recently tsk-tsk'd teen actress Lindsay Lohan for saying breast-implant rumors involving her were "retarded," a term Ms. Lohan also used to describe the paparazzi. "Did the Arc have anything to do with the change in lyrics of the Black Eyed Peas song 'Let's Get Retarded' to 'Let's Get it Started'?" I asked.
The first thing I noticed on the return e-mail was that the subject line of my e-mail had been changed from "Let's Get Retarded" to "Let's Get It Started."
"Thanks for your inquiry regarding Let's Get it Started/Let's Get Retarded," wrote communications director Chris Privett. "The Arc did publicly call for the song's lyrics to be changed, which included writing several letters to record company executives. We hope our actions played a role in getting the lyrics changed, but as we never heard any response from the record company or the group's management, we're not sure whether they planned to make the change anyway or whether we convinced them that the language was offensive."
In the same essay (read it all at http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110005723), Johnson asks, what about "the words 'idiot,' 'imbecile, 'moron,' etc.?" All are medical terms once used to define different degrees of mental retardation that eventually took on slang meanings synonymous with "stupid"... Language is constantly evolving. Special Olympics now uses "people with intellectual disabilities" instead of the now frowned-upon "mental disabilities." However, I think we could point out plenty of intellectually disabled people who aren't retarded--particularly in an election year--and vice-versa. But what happens when this term, too, evolves into slang? "Dude, you are so intellectually disabled." "Getting breast implants is intellectually disabled." "Let's Get Intellectually Disabled"--new revision of the Peas track?"
So we see that two important attributes of our culture - freedom of expression and clarity of language, can be successfully attacked by an unarmed, unfunded minority of people who not only aren't particularly intelligent but have proven and self-confessed mental retardation. Now just think about the chances of this culture to survive if facing an enemy with some arms, some funds and intellectual abilities generally within the normal range.
Disclaimer: I have nothing against mentally retarded people in general. I dislike only those of them who want to censor my language (see above), plus the precious few who come to our Medical University with the aspiration to become doctors (http://mayas-corner.blogspot.com/2006/09/update-on-our-islamist-students-or-how.html).