The “selective myopia” to which my title refers is not limited to Diana West, of course. It pertains also to Robert Spencer and Hugh Fitzgerald, and many others in the sadly too small minority of people who have woken up to the problem of Islam.
As I have analyzed in more depth on my other blog, The Hesperado—here, here and here—this selective myopia refers to one type of myopia out of two types of myopia that now beset our ability to defend ourselves from Islam.
The first myopia is the grandest, so to speak: it is the general myopia in the West to Islam itself as the source of the problems of terrorism and of a more amorphous campaign to insinuate the anti-liberal tenets of Islam into the West.
The second myopia is the inability to see the accurate nature and dimension of the first myopia.
It is this second myopia which I believe continues to hobble the efforts of sincere anti-jihadists such as Spencer, Fitzgerald and West (among many others). Many of these anti-jihadists may claim that they have a proper appreciation of the problem of PC (the first myopia)—and they may even complain about it regularly—, but few of them, if any, in my estimation, seem to grasp the nature and dimensions of this problem. Instead, they tend, in their brief forays into analyzing the internal Western problem (of PC), to delimit their focus, and in doing so, they demonstrate a myopia of their own, a “selective myopia”.
Diana West, in an article cited at Jihad Watch today (June 2, 2007), appropiately criticizes General Petraeus and his adviser, David Kilcullen, who basically equated Muslim jihadists with swashbuckling adventurers and, by implication, romantic guerillas and freedom fighters. West is not wrong in criticizing these absurd equivalencies of Petraeus and Kilcullen; but she begins to err when she so forcefully implies that the problem is delimited to a few—even if a powerful and influential few—rather than a much broader, deeper and more diffusely mainstream problem of PC throughout the West. Influential figures like Petraeus and Kilcullen would not have the traction for their ridiculous equivalency theories were there not this larger problem of PC; nor would Petraeus and Kilcullen even dare to make those equivalency theories were they not so comfortably dovetailed with the prevailing PC; and finally, the substance of Petraeus’s and Kilcullen’s equivalency theory is likely derived from that larger sea and atmosphere of axioms which most people in the West unthinkingly drink up and breathe. But one would never even glimpse these wider dimensions of the problem from West’s articulated complaint.
Thus West writes:
“Such remarks [by Petraeus and Kilcullen] convey either non-comprehension or indifference to the evil nature of jihad.”
To which I would say: “Gee, ya think...!!!???” I.e., it should be utterly unremarkable that Petraeus and Kilcullen do not comprehend, or are indiffferent to, the evil nature of jihad—for the simple reason that such incomprehension and/or indifference (really it is just incomprehension) is the dominant and mainstream way of regarding Islam throughout the West. One should only be surprised if a Petraeus or a Kilcullen actually says anything that goes against the prevailing grain.
Thus, one must conclude that such a remark by West conveys either non-comprehension or indifference to the depth and breadth of the problem of PC, by which her story of Petraeus and Kilcullen would inspire nothing more than a yawn.
Now, of course, this does not mean one should not call critical attention to the influential likes of Petraeus and Kilcullen whenever they express these prevailing shibboleths; but the point is, one should not frame this criticism in terms that persistently imply that it is not a larger, deeper, systemic and sociological problem.