There is no excuse for ignorance. We have at our disposal instant access to unlimited knowledge and commentary on every subject conceivable, a resource so powerful that it penetrates even the densest government veils.
Yet each day the inbox is crammed with messages alerting us to horrific threats to our way of life, mindlessly passed along as gospel without the slightest effort having been made to verify its truthfulness.
One such message now making the rounds warns of “dhimmitude.” If you don’t know what that means, the message shouts, “YOU BETTER LEARN IT” because dhimmitude “is found in the new health care bill.” It even cites the specific page. No, it is not in there.
Then, after urging the reader to look dhimmitude up on Google, the author saves the bother and tells us what it means: “Dhimmitude is the Muslim system of controlling non-Muslim populations conquered through jihad.” Well, not exactly.
Persistent misunderstanding of jihad aside, dhimmitude is in fact a word coined by a modern scholar and is not to be found in any Muslim tenet. It is a derivative of “dhimmis” – protected non-Muslim inhabitants of Muslim empires – a word dating back to the 7th century. Dhimmitude describes the taxation of dhimmis, in exchange for which they were allowed to keep their land and practice their faith. The tax pales in comparison to the impositions of other conquerors of the age.
The presumed intent of the message is to foster discontentment with the healthcare law, but rather than raise real issues it takes the shortcut of playing upon our prejudices. “Muslims are specifically exempted from the government mandate to purchase insurance, and also from the penalty tax for being uninsured,” it proclaims. No, they are not.
The bill does provide exemption for religious groups that have previously been granted exemption from paying Social Security payroll taxes. Out of 3,000 plus such exemptions that have been granted to date – which, by the way, are given to individual churches, not entire religions – every single one has been to a Christian group.
The final indignity, claims the author, is that while Muslims slip through Scott free, he “will face hard prison time” for refusing to buy insurance or pay the penalty. No, he will not. Although that issue did come up in House debate, it never made it into law.
Here we have a perfect opportunity to dissect a massive piece of legislation and debate the innumerable real issues buried within it. Instead we opt for patent falsehoods and misleading innuendo because it lets us keep our heads buried in the sand.
Ignorance is not bliss, however. It is a morbidly delusional state. We have no one to blame but ourselves if we succumb to it.