19 October 2009

The evil whose name we dare not speak

As I never tire of repeating, in today's Globally Enlightened World there is no shortage of fierce verbal political enmities. Really, it almost strains the imagination to think they could get any fiercer without guns going off. Yet somehow, in the past year or two, this same globe appears to have taken yet another of its astoundingly nimble turns, if not for the worse, then for the more incredible.

What seems to have emerged is two distinct, completely non-overlapping classes of political opponent. In other words, there are now two rigidly separate categories of people whom you and I politically don't like and don't trust. There is that first and more familiarly contemptible kind, towards whom no suspicion is too unfounded, no accusation too improbable, no epithet too extreme or exaggerated, no verbal weapon too damning, either in this life or in the next. No, nowadays we don't weigh our words any too carefully around our domestic political enemies - mainly (I suspect) because, when you get right down to it, we're really not all that afraid of what these folks might do to us. And then there's that other class of opponent, around whom we tiptoe with the utmost verbal delicacy, because basically we're more or less - well - terrified. And so it is that, eight years on, an ideology which manages to clothe the most hellish atrocities in the language of holiness and God goes tripping along its merry global way. And for the most part - notwithstanding all our fancy weapons and wars and espionages - nobody so much as says "Boo!" to it.

Then again, even supposing anyone had the courage to mutter that one syllable, when would we Americans find the time? Most of us are already too busy screaming "Bigot!" and "Blasphemer!" at each other.

Funny, though. I don't remember anyone being afraid to call Communism evil. At least not the Russian variety . . .

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