Phi Beta Cons

The West’s ‘Golden Threads’

 …celebrated by Bruce S. Thornton in an excellent review of  Ibn Warraq’s Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism.

 

The threads? Rationalism, universalism, and self-criticism.

 

And the dual “cultural pathology” Said has wrought?

The West hasn’t been doing well in the war of ideas against Islamic jihadists. We fail to understand the true nature of Muslim doctrine, and a self-loathing long entrenched in our public discourse often cripples us. The eagerness of our intellectuals, scholars, and artists to don the hair shirt of colonial, imperial, racist, and xenophobic guilt has heartened our enemies and convinced them that for all of our economic and military power, we are rotten to the core and ripe for destruction…

Said’s Orientalism asserted that Western scholars had constructed a false image of the inferior Middle Eastern “Other” to facilitate and justify colonial and imperial oppression. Said’s incoherent amalgam of dubious postmodern theory, sentimental Third Worldism, glaring historical errors, and Western guilt corrupted not just Middle Eastern Studies departments but other disciplines, too, such as English and “culture studies.” More: it provided justifications for Islamic failure and aggression as understandable responses to Western crimes. (hat tip: Cinnamon Stillwell)

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