Today, Hugh at Jihad Watch raises up another Straw Muslim to knock down—thereby effectively ignoring the larger problem that enables such Muslims to have traction in the West.
The Muslim in question is Farah Pandith, an American Muslim woman of Indian origin, who was recently appointed by the Bush Administration to the freshly created position of senior advisor for Muslim Engagement in the State Department’s European and Eurasian Affairs Bureau.
Hugh writes about an address she gave recently in Rome to some multiculturalist organization, in which she issued the usual politically correct platitudes, and comments:
“Her understanding of Islam is clearly deficient. Her experience of Islam, in societies suffused with Islam where there is no need to mute or hide it, is apparently non-existent.”
Again, Hugh is correct about the small picture, but myopic to the larger picture. He is correct that her understanding of Islam is deficient, but he is ignoring the fact that her deficient understanding of Islam jibes and dovetails neatly with the understanding of Islam which prevails throughout the entire West—the politically correct multiculturalist paradigm. If Ms. Pandith’s understanding (or, rather, misunderstanding) is due directly to her cultural background as an Americanized Muslim, that is of secondary importance to the fact that her subcultural prejudice would have little or no traction, were she not, as an American, firmly ensconced within the culture of Political Correctness that is dominant and mainstream in America, and also throughout the West.
Hugh goes on to ask stupid rhetorical questions:
“Is the American government completely run by the naive?”
“Does it think this is a useful exercise, to make it appear that the United States wishes to ‘reach out’ to Muslims—in Western Europe, for god’s sake, as well as elsewhere—and tell them untruths?”
Well, the answer, of course, is “Yes”. But that answer does not stop at the American government, nor at the only slightly wider penumbra of those bugaboos, the “Elites”. The American government is run by the naive because all Western societies are deeply infused, and broadly suffused, with Political Correctness. So it should be no surprise that the American government comports itself thusly. It should be so unsurprising that the rhetorical questions should not even be raised. Instead, Hugh and Robert should redirect their otherwise intelligent and useful energies elsewhere—at the larger systemic sociopolitical paradigm that enables, nourishes and sustains all these examples of “dumbness” and “naivete” about which they gripe and whine, day in and day out.
About the same story, Robert Spencer had these thoughts, also today on Jihad Watch:
“Farah Pandith's job is evidently to convince Muslims that America is really their friend. The assumption here is that we can win hearts and minds with enough gestures of goodwill. Evidence to the contrary has never registered on anyone’s radar screen.”
Okay. But why has it never registered on anyone’s radar screen? Robert has never seemed interested in analyzing why—nor has he ever made a comment or written an article that expresses the recognition that any answer to this question must take into account the systemic and sociological nature of this broadly and deeply inhibiting factor in the West, by which such screamingly reasonable intelligence never registers on anyone’s radar screen. While Robert’s occasional and parenthetical remarks of recognition of Politically Correct Multiculturalism demonstrate, unlike Hugh’s, at least an awareness of its prevalent influence, they also betray a curious disinterest in identifying, exploring and analyzing the nature and dimensions of this sociopolitical phenomenon that is the single most effective hindrance to the West doing anything significant about the problem of Islam.
In the same comment, Robert—again, parenthetically—mentions what he calls the “...unconscious paternalism of this [progam of Ms. Pandith under the aegis of the Bush Administration], coming from avowed multiculturalists...” But this wording delimits the problem too much. By targeting “avowed multiculturalists”, Robert is ignoring the much deeper and broader Ism of multiculuralism—itself a part of the broader current of Political Correctness—which enables the agents, the “multiculturalists”, whom we can point our fingers at. But in pointing our fingers at them, we miss the larger picture around them—and all around us—of the sociopolitical phenomenon of PC Multiculturalism by which those agents would have little or no traction to pursue their agendas.
When Robert does seem to notice the larger picture, it is in terms of his curious posture of recognizing only an amorphous atmosphere all around us that we simply must take for granted, but about which we do not care to spend time analyzing in order to do something constructive about it. So, in his dereliction of the duty to analyze the larger picture, Robert routinely falls back on the more identifiable agents who are merely unremarkably following the currents and breathing the air of that larger picture. While of course it is useful to identify and criticize any particular agents who purvey PC multiculturalism, the problem comes when, by delimiting our focus and analytical concern only to those agents, we lose sight of the larger picture and begin to build strange culprits—whether “Leftists” or “Elites” or some other sinister and/or stupid cabal—who are to blame for the West’s continuing inability to take rational action against Islam.
It is the larger picture which explains this continuing inability that enervates the limbs of the West. The West will not be able to do anything significant about the problem of Islam until we first dismantle the dominant and mainstream apparatus of Politically Correct Multiculturalism which continues to protect Islam from all significant critical analysis—let alone the condemnation it so richly deserves.
And we will not be able to dismantle the dominant and mainstream apparatus of Politically Correct Multiculturalism if we persist in denying, or unduly minimizing, its systemic and sociological nature and dimensions.