Thursday, May 07, 2009

Jihad Watch: Fitzgerald: Dumbing up: The case of Madeleine Albright

There are many like her all over Washington. When they make pronouncements on the subject of Islam, without having studied -- really studied -- the matter, when they lightheartedly assume that reading the newspapers and “talking to the leaders” is all that is necessary (a kind of Tom-Friedman approach to the world), they reveal that they have no idea what level of knowledge is required of them, what level they should demand of themselves. In this respect, they remind me of those interviews with high school students in big-city schools who, with dyed hair and studs in their noses, reply so enthusiastically to a question about what they want to be as adults. One says he wants to be an astronaut, and another says she intends to be a nuclear physicist, and still a third is going to find a cure for cancer, or possibly come up with a way to establish permanent peace. We laugh, or cry, depending on our mood, knowing that the students in question can hardly keep from flunking first-year algebra or second-year English, but think no more of it. And then we realize, when we come across these badly-misinformed but powerful madeleine-albrights, that the same phenomenon, at a level where the stakes are higher, can be observed. She is just like those high school students who have no idea what is required for the kind of things they grandly plan for. She has no idea what she’s talking about, and has no idea what would be required to attain the level of knowledge that would be necessary for her to make, in her position, any statement at all, about the nature of Islam.

Dumbing down. Yes, of course. It's all over. But there’s an even graver problem. It’s the dumbing up. Case in point: Madeleine Albright.

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