As many analysts have noted, political correctness has insinuated itself into the analysis of the murders at Fort Hood, Texas.
Far better to rationalize the atrocity by referring to the assailant, Major Nidal Hasan, as a deranged individual, rather than a radical Muslim intent on bloodshed.
It is self evident that not all Muslims are intent on violence, but as the history of the past few decades indicates, much of the premeditated violence can be attributed to radical Muslims. Common sense tells us avoidance of this reality will lead inexorably to additional deaths since the power of politically correct assertions trumps all other considerations.
Why should this be the case? In the Korematsu v. United States decision that led to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, Justice Jackson wrote “ the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution do not constitute a suicide pact.”
Applied to the present, this observance of common sense suggests that the Constitution, in this case the First Amendment, cannot be employed to excuse violence. Jihadism, in its oral form as well as its manifest reality, cannot be tolerated, even if proponents claim it is protected by the freedom of religion.
Islam may be a religion embraced by as many as 3 million Americans, but when there are calls for violence against apostates and non-believers, intolerance must be exercised.
George Santanna argued that the overarching responsibility for the tolerant man is to be intolerant of intolerance. Unfortunately this is a position many Americans have forgotten.
Had someone in authority at Fort Hood raised concerns about the Muslim psychiatrist, he would have been brought up on charges and opportunity for promotion would have been thwarted. Islamophobia is a demerit that is not overcome easily.
During the Cold War, President Reagan was excoriated for calling the Soviet Union “an evil empire.” The myrmidons of political correctness said this claim was undiplomatic, likely to offend, oafish, and worse. Reagan defied his detractors, realizing that the truth is a powerful antidote to political correctness.
But these are different times. Students have been proselytized by left-wing instructors with the belief that tolerance for designated groups must prevail despite the implicit danger in doing so. Courage is often defined as standing by these political shibboleths. But there are times when this adherence to correctness runs smack into common sense.
Although the CIA claims to have known of Hasan’s attempt to contact al-Qaida and his radical sensibility, there was the fear that acting on this knowledge would potentially heighten a backlash against Muslim soldiers. As a consequence, the safety of GIs was put at risk in order to avoid offending Muslims in the military.
I’m reminded of the response to Winston Churchill’s blistering critique of Neville Chamberlain’s Munich Accord in the House of Commons. Members of Parliament derided Churchill as a “fool” who through his febrile ranting would offend Adolf Hitler. Of course, history pointed out who the real fools were in this scenario.
At the moment, avatars of political correctness are in the ascendency. They are far more concerned about offending those in designated victim groups, including Muslims, rather than the general welfare and security of the nation. And they can be found in every crevice of national life from universities to corporations and military installations.
Will Americans wake up to this madness or are the murders in Fort Hood a momentary nightmare soon overtaken by other events?
The jury is still out on this matter, but the deadly effects of political correctness are palpable and apparent every passing day.
Herbert London is president of Hudson Institute and professor emeritus of New York University. He is the author of "Decade of Denial" and "America's Secular Challenge."
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