Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Another entry in the Orwell Watch, something that's bugged me for a while but I've never articulated it very well: "Islamofascism". Commenter ffakr at Unclaimed Territory has a pretty good dissection of the problems with this term. As he put it:

BTW, please please please.. Everyone.. stop calling terrorists "islamo-fascists"
It makes you look like dumb.

1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control (early instances of army fascism and brutality -- J. W. Aldridge}

Hitler was a fascist. Mousollini was a fascist. A de-centralized confederation of disenfranchised religious fundimentalists who are willing to kill themselves for promised glory in heaven (rather than continued misery in life) are NOT Fascists.

By definition, Islamic terrorism fails to be Fascism on several facets.

Please make up a new pejorative to properly express your hatred of jihadists, but stop calling them freaking fascists.

One commenter later in the thread argues with ffakr, but only by pointing out that Nazis and the predecessor of Pan-Arab Nationalism worked together sometimes... because they were both anti-Semitic and totalitarian. Seems unconvincing to me.

If the popular trigger word was... "democraphobe" instead of Islamofascist, to make up an example, those who use it might be sort of witty. If it was "splodeydope", those who use it would merely be stupid. If it was even "Wahhab-fascism," they would be honest, but that doesn't make for good theater, so you can see why they didn't bother.

But by associating the whole of a world religion with a specific type of justifiably-reviled government with which it has only the most superficial common ground, those bloggers, pundits and demogogues who make a name for themselves by heroically criticizing "Islamofascism" are just lazily throwing insults at the boogeyman-of-the-year without even caring about the truth of what they're saying.

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