The Corner

Boy Genius

Should western governments describe “honor killings” or female genital mutilation as “barbaric”? The son of the late Canadian colossus Pierre Trudeau thinks such terms have unfortunate pejorative overtones:

Liberal MP Justin Trudeau said the government should not call honour killings “barbaric” in a study guide for would-be Canadian citizens…

“There’s nothing that the word ‘barbaric’ achieves that the words ’absolutely unacceptable’ would not have achieved,” Trudeau, the Liberal immigration critic, said.

“We accept that these acts are absolutely unacceptable. That’s not the debate. In casual conversation, I’d even use the word barbaric to describe female circumcision, for example, but in an official Government of Canada publication, there needs to be a little bit of an attempt at responsible neutrality.”

I suppose one should be relieved that he absolutely accepts that it’s absolutely unacceptable. The trouble is, as your average honor killer or clitoridectomist around the planet well understands, “absolutely unacceptable” is Liberal Weeniepants-speak for “we entirely accept it”. Last month:

Libya Must Stop ‘Unacceptable Bloodshed’ Now: Hillary Clinton

This month:

Obama Warns Violence By Libya Government ‘Unacceptable’

Alas, all this absolutely unacceptable unacceptableness is spreading. Secretary Clinton on Bahrain:

We do not want to see any violence. We deplore it. We think it is absolutely unacceptable.

When a western politician says something’s “unacceptable”, the rest of the planet understands it means “carry on until it drops off the front page, and I no longer have to talk about it”. Justin Trudeau’s observation is characteristically moronic – whoops, I mean “absolutely unacceptable”.

[UPDATE: When you’re in a clitoridectomy clinic, stop digging: M Trudeau has now clarified that, by “absolutely unacceptable”, he means “totally unacceptable“.]

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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