HERNDON, Va., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Hans Christian Andersen's "The Emperor's New Clothes" is the tale of a vain emperor seeking only the finest of clothes. Two tailor "con artists" promise to make him such clothes, visible to all but those "unfit for their positions, stupid or incompetent."
When fitted, no one dares tell the emperor the clothes are invisible for fear of being labeled unfit. The emperor -- to the shock of his subjects -- eventually parades before them in the "buff." Only after a young child shouts out the emperor is naked do the townsfolk join in.
But vanity prevails as the emperor parades on.
The morale of the story is pride goeth before the fall. But certain character flaws, such as vanity, can blind one to reality -- a flaw further susceptible to manipulation when a silent majority fears voicing its concerns.
The United States suffers from a character flaw -- "political correctness." PC silences the majority, for fear speaking out will trigger the "-ist" label -- as a racist, sexist, supremacist, etc. PC proves so intimidating, it imposes a "chilling effect" upon justified criticism. It can blind one to reality, or induces one not to speak out, sometimes conveying an unintended negative message.
The Koran makes clear Islam's believers are superior to non-believers. Non-Muslims -- due to this inferior status -- are, therefore, not entitled to the same human rights attaching to believers. Interestingly, this wasn't always so.
In 1948, all existing member states of the United Nations, except Saudi Arabia, agreed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- proclaiming human rights "universal" to all humanity.
In 1981, led by Iran, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation reneged on the agreement. The OIC took the "universal" out of UDHR by limiting human rights only to those entitled under Shariah law.
Islamic law lays out a clear human rights "pecking order" -- i.e., Muslim men and then, to a much lesser degree, Muslim women. But, for non-Muslims, there simply is no entitlement under Shariah.
Islamists use Shariah law and the PC flaw to impose their cultural sensitivity upon others, emphasizing the supremacy of believers and, thus, a foreign culture's deference to them.
For U.S. agencies, such as the Defense Department, this deference has become policy. It evolves from recommendations of Islamic advisers, hired as U.S. government consultants, who seek to push an Islam-sensitive agenda without addressing the underlying message of submission to Islam such a policy conveys.
In Guantanamo, Korans are provided to prisoners. But, because non-Muslims are "unclean," prisoners won't accept a Koran touched by a guard. Therefore, guards have to wear gloves while handling the Islamic holy book. This only reinforces to Muslim observers U.S. acceptance that non-believers, being unclean, are unequal to Muslims and, therefore, entitled to diminished human rights -- if any.
Such a negative message is also conveyed by 2009 Fort Hood, Texas, massacre defendant U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan's treatment. His military trial for 13 deaths has been delayed several times over the issue of wearing a beard in court. He demands the right to do so on the basis of his Muslim faith, which conflicts with Army regulations prohibiting facial hair.
Calling the beard a distraction, military trial judge Col. Gregory Gross found Hasan in contempt six times. He ordered the defendant out of the courtroom and into a trailer to watch the proceedings on a closed-circuit television.
The judge, frustrated by Hasan's unmilitary appearance, finally ruled he could either appear clean-shaven or be forcibly shaved. On appeal, the court agreed with Gross, but said the command -- not the judge -- should enforce it. The appeals court didn't agree the beard caused a distraction and vacated the contempt convictions.
Hasan then filed a motion of bias against Gross. In December, the appeals court agreed the proceedings had become "a duel of wills," dismissing Gross and appointing Col. Tara Abbey Osborn to replace him.
Along with the dismissal, the appeals court readdressed the beard issue, ruling it wouldn't decide if and how the Religious Freedom Restoration Act might apply to Hasan's claim of right to a beard, leaving it to Osborn to decide whether it needed to be addressed as a new matter.
In Hasan's first appearance before Osborn, noting the beard violated regulations, she commented, "I'm not going to hold that against you but some people on the panel may ..."
Interestingly, while arguing his Islamic faith gives him the right to grow a beard, Hasan never felt compelled by his faith to grow one earlier, before the Fort Hood attacks. He entered and served in the U.S. Army as a beardless Muslim; he should stand trial as one. Why allow him to claim otherwise now?
The appeals court, and perhaps Osborn, may be guilty of bias themselves. It is a bias influenced by a commander in chief who prohibits any reference to "Islam" or "jihadist" in national security documents. It is a bias prohibiting any reference to Hasan's act as one of "radical Islamism," instead calling it "workplace violence." It is a bias more appropriately known as PC.
Sadly, a silent majority refuses to question it.
Ironically, Hasan can tell us he acts now in accordance with his Islamic faith but PC prevents us from raising his faith as his motivation for the massacre.
Vladimir Lenin said, "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them." Similarly, political correctness is the rope we sell Islamists -- with which they will hang us -- as we naively allow it, through our PC-motivated actions or silent inaction, to subvert the "universal" equality message.
(Retired U.S. Marine Corps officer James G. Zumwalt is author of "Bare Feet, Iron Will--Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields," "Living the Juche Lie--North Korea's Kim Dynasty" and "Doomsday: Iran--The Clock is Ticking.")
(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)