Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The terminal myopia of Hugh Fitzgerald

My first post is a response to a recent essay by Hugh Fitzgerald, Number Two Man at Jihad Watch, titled: Fitzgerald: The terminal naivete of Westerners.

Before getting into my objection to one of Mr. Fitzgerald’s points in this essay of his, I reiterate that for the most part I agree with him about most of his hobbyhorses, and for the most part I support Jihad Watch.

Mr. Fitzgerald’s essay is based upon this piece of news, concerning a U.S.A. naval commander who will be helping Muslims build madrassas in Afghanistan:

“We are saying that we respect their culture and religion,” said naval commander Eduardo Fernandez, the man in charge of American aid efforts in the Sharana district of Paktika. “We have to give the religious leaders the respect they feel they deserve.”


“The American government is also paying for the refurbishment of mosques in the area, in the hope of winning over religious leaders.”

Of this insane travesty, Mr. Fitzgerald writes:

“Get that naval commander out of the Sharana district, out of Afghanistan, and possibly out of the navy, fast. Start educating the members of the armed forces on the tenets of Islam. Make them read, and reread, and reread, Qur'an, Hadith, and sira. Teach them about naskh, or abrogation. Teach them to distinguish the "authoritative" muhaddithin from the less authoritative ones, and the "authentic" Hadith from the kind that Karen Armstrong likes to quote.”

Of course, I agree that it would be nice to actualize every one of Mr. Fitzgerald’s jussives here, but the larger more important point that seems to be lost on him is that the very sources of sociopolitical power that would be capable of enacting his recommendations—not to mention intelligent enough to be willing to do so—are, for the most part, incapable and unwilling. Mr. Fitzgerald’s prescriptive jussives, then, reveal the embarrassing predicament of a man issuing commands to... nobody there. And when it is pointed out to him that, for the most part, nobody is there to hear the commands, and that this in turn points to a larger, stranger quandary we are all in—this madness whereby our Western societies for the most part cannot rationally analyze and act upon the dire threats of Islam—, he affects a fastidiously annoyed manner that cannot be bothered with such sublunary trifles that would distract him from his colluctations on high.

My judgement about Mr. Fitzgerald is evinced not only in the essay of his I quote today, but also in countless of his essays in the past as well as a few pointed barbs at me in the Comments sections of various previous threads, when this, my “hobbyhorse” about the problem of Political Correctness, came up.

In the essay in question, Mr. Fitzgerald continues with another jussive:

“Expose every single one of the tricks of Muslim apologists and undercut them...”

And he goes on to list those tricks in a helpful manner. But again, what he misses is not only that his audience is not there, or not there to hearken him—preoccupied as they are with the U.N.-type earpieces piping in the PC bromides that so soothe and smooth out the wrinkles of the world for their worldview—but also another very important, closely related point: those tricks of the Muslim apologists would not work at all, or would only work very rarely, were there not already the fertile soil and rich atmosphere of Political Correctness here in the West to receive, nourish, and water them on a daily basis.

Therefore, it only stands to reason that if Mr. Fitzgerald would like to see his jussives begin to take root and become effective, then the problem of Political Correctness—which is not only hindering his recommendations but also actually favoring the tricks of the Muslim apologists—must be dealt with first.

Why doesn’t he care about the problem of Political Correctness? He writes, further on, that:

“The policy of building madrassas and refurbishing mosques in Afghanistan is madness.”

Yes, it is madness. But it is also a sort of madness to be willfully blind about, or to not care to analyze, why this madness comes so easily, so prevalently, to not only America, but to all Western societies. Mr. Fitzgerald’s essay then does not really usefully comment on what it purports to—viz., the terminal naivete of Westerners—but rather unwittingly demonstrates the probably terminal myopia of a small minority of Westerners—a myopia which is to a great extent in fact hindering our ability to do anything about that naivete. For, how can we set about to deal with a problem when so many among us—particularly those among us in influential positions—minimize, distort or even dismiss that problem?

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