4 Pages


WithMartin Kramer

This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the concepts discussed in preceding chapters of this book. The book describes major problem in advancing the understanding of the Middle East is that many of its interpreters have made a virtue of bias and a vice of objectivity. Errors that arise from bias are not intentional. They are fed by unconscious prejudices. Edward Said championed the view that bias is not a problem at all, and that displaying it is a mark of intellectual probity. For Lewis, bias is a vice to be checked, not celebrated; evidence needs to be weighed, not doctored; and part of judgment must be deferred to the reader, not dictated by the author(ity). The "war on error" over the Middle East will make progress to the extent that scholars, analysts, journalists, and filmmakers internalize the idea of continuous self-criticism, and embrace the self-aware struggle against their own biases.