Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Busy-ness is not the problem, Hugh
In this essay at Jihad Watch, Hugh Fitzgerald repeats a point—specifically here about Richard Perle, which could apply to any number of intelligent elites out there—which he has made many times before:
Like others, he was too busy to really study, and in Washington, with all of its meetings, and consultancies (see Hollinger Publishing), and all the trips everywhere, and all the everything, the kind of uninterrupted study in tranquillity that Islam demands, that the texts of Islam, and the making sense of the texts of Islam, and the history of Jihad-conquest, and subsequent subjugation of non-Muslims under Muslim rule, requires the kind of study that cannot rely on the bullet-riddled executive summaries of others, and that certainly cannot be obtained merely by reading “What Went Wrong” or one or two other books by Bernard Lewis.
This is absurd. This logic would effectively exclude all those Jihad Watchers who have, through their common sense and level of study far below the heights of an ivory tower professor or an august Orientalist—digesting with their normal intelligence the mountain of data out there about Islam—, come to the conclusion that Islam is evil and dangerous. If anything, a Richard Perle (let alone a Bernard Lewis) has less of an excuse to fail to come to that conclusion, given that he has, as Dick Cavett once with innocent guile rhetorically accused Norman Mailer of having: to wit, a giant intellect requiring “two chairs to contain”. We should not let these busy Beltway pundits off the hook just because they cannot stay up burning the midnight oil reading all the dusty scholars Hugh has unearthed. Ridiculous.
No: Richard Perle’s busy-ness is not the problem: that is not why he does not get the problem of Islam. It is because his intelligence operates within a larger paradigm—the dominant and mainstream paradigm of PC Multiculturalism.
Where does Hugh get these notions? I think they stem from his refusal to see the larger, sociologically systemic nature and scope of the problem of PC.