Our Foremost Political Philosopher

dineshbook.jpg“The worst nonfiction book about terrorism published by a major house since 9/11″ is what Warren Bass, senior books editor at the Washington Post (and, the byline notes, a former staff member of the 9/11 Commission), calls the latest from desi Talking Android nonpareil Dinesh D’Souza. The book is called THE ENEMY AT HOME: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, a title that begs little further explication. Indeed, Bass points out at the end of a sharp review that’s less blustering and more cutting than that of Alan Wolfe in the New York Times, the whole exercise of D’Souza’s book seems so plainly intended to cause a kerfuffle in the blogosphere that I feel tawdry even bringing it up here, despite the Desi Angle (TM). As Bass notes:

Either D’Souza is blaming liberals for 9/11 because he truly believes that they’re culpable, or he’s blaming liberals for 9/11 because he’s cynically calculating that an incendiary polemic will sell books. I just don’t know which is scarier. One has to wonder why his publisher, agent, editors and publicists went along for the ride, and it’s hard not to conclude that they thought the thing would cause a cable-news and blogosphere sensation that would spike sales — a ruckus triggered not despite the book’s silliness but because of it. This sort of scam has worked before (think of Christopher Hitchens’s gleeful broadside against Mother Teresa or the calculated slurs of Ann Coulter), but rarely has the gap between the seriousness of the issues and the quality of the book yawned as wide. This time, let’s just not bother with the flap; this dim, dishonorable book isn’t worth it.

And perhaps, indeed, it isn’t. Still, as the rituals of the publishing biz dictate, Brother D’Souza has been getting his publicity on since the book’s release last week. Yesterday he had an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle that begins with a piece of logical reasoning that might have done Descartes proud:

The Pelosi Democrats sometimes appear to be just as eager as Osama bin Laden for President Bush to lose his war on terror. Why do I say this? Because if the Pelosi Democrats were seeking Bush’s success, then their rhetoric and actions now and over the past three years are pretty much incomprehensible. By contrast, if you presume that they want Bush’s war on terror to fail, then their words and behavior make perfect sense.

The brother then moves from logic to anthropology, with this behavioral note on that strange specimen, “the leftist”:

First there is the ritual qualification. “I’m no fan of bin Laden” or “Bin Laden is not a very nice guy.” Having gotten these hedges out of the way, the leftist proceeds to lambaste Bush and the conservatives with uncontrolled ferocity.

We proceed to linguistics:

This is typical Washington doubletalk. What [White House spokesperson] Conant cannot say is that Pelosi no more wants Bush to succeed in Iraq than bin Laden does. Whether it realizes this or not, the Bush administration is facing a kind of liberal-Islamic alliance: a sympathetic relationship that leading leftists in America have with Islamic radicals around the world.

Of course, when D’Souza says “sympathetic,” he means they hate each other:

I’m not suggesting the two groups actually like each other. Actually, they despise each other. Leftists like Pelosi, Barney Frank and Michael Moore despise bin Laden and his fellow radicals because they are religious fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic holy law. That means goodbye to women’s rights and gay rights and, in all candor, goodbye to people like Pelosi, Frank and Moore.

In all candor. But does that mean that Michael Moore is gay, or a woman? Perhaps a lesbian? Moving on:

By the same token, Islamic radicals like bin Laden detest the American left because, as they see it, the left is the party of atheism, family breakdown and cultural depravity. The left is in the vanguard of imposing secularism, no-fault divorce, gay marriage and libertine social values not only in America but also abroad.

Forestalling the great conflagration between The Left and bin Laden (and one wonders why? surely this Armageddon would cleanse the world of both horrors) is one courageous little Dutch girl with her finger in the dyke:

But the man who threatens the Islamic radicals and the American left even more than either group threatens the other is Bush. Leftists don’t like radical Muslims like bin Laden but they absolutely hate Bush. Why? Because from the left’s point of view, bin Laden threatens to impose sharia in Baghdad but Bush threatens to impose sharia in Boston. Bin Laden is the far enemy but Bush is the near enemy.

Here is the battlefield where The Left and Bush are duking it out (and believe me, I’m not skipping any passages here; this is the brother’s logic in its full step-by-step exposition):

In the past generation, the left has gone from a party that mainly cares about working people to a party that mainly cares about sex. Labor unions are now a low priority, and abortion and gay rights have become the centerpiece of the left’s social agenda.

So it all comes down to sex, although, D’Souza admits on the Colbert Report, “I’m not an expert on the homosexual lifestyle.” This moments after putting forward “gay marriage” and “people eating maggots” as the image of America that TV beams to the world, even though, as we know, true Americans neither eat maggots nor do the gay.

By now you can see my brother’s logic come together, so I shall not insult your intelligence with further exegesis. You can read the Chronicle item or watch the Colbert clips (part 1; part 2) for additional gems, for instance when D’Souza, encouraged by Colbert, blames 9/11 not just on Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, but also — “indirectly, yes” — Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In his haste to rush to market his original and timely analysis, Bro D’Souza apparently didn’t bother to fact-check, Bass points out:

D’Souza … has no particular expertise on terrorism, which may explain why he writes twice that there are U.S. troops in Mecca (someone should probably alert Bob Gates) or why he thinks that President Reagan’s 1986 airstrikes on Libya “convinced Qadafi to retire from the terrorism trade,” despite the bombing of Pan Am 103 by Libyan agents two years later.

In the Chronicle piece, D’Souza also refers to Robert Fisk as an “American leftist,” which was news to me.

All in all, a command performance by a gentleman who remains, for all his ridiculousness, the most prominent desi in U.S. political debate, and certainly the one who’s made the most money peddling his ideas. Some of you might agree with Bass, that it’s a waste of space even talking about him. I don’t. The brother might be an embarrassing buffoon, but we can’t wish him away.

146 thoughts on “Our Foremost Political Philosopher

  1. MD,

    But have terrorists used what D’Souza is talking about as one of their major, many justifications? I guess I missed the Osama bin Laden tape where he says “We must kill the infidel, for he watches Britney Spears videos.” Is it on YouTube?

  2. This is the specific garbage that OBL wrote amidst his racist, fascist, diatribe:

    iii) You are a nation that permits the production, trading and usage of intoxicants. You also permit drugs, and only forbid the trade of them, even though your nation is the largest consumer of them.

    (iv) You are a nation that permits acts of immorality, and you consider them to be pillars of personal freedom. You have continued to sink down this abyss from level to level until incest has spread amongst you, in the face of which neither your sense of honour nor your laws object.

    Who can forget your President Clinton’s immoral acts committed in the official Oval office? After that you did not even bring him to account, other than that he ‘made a mistake’, after which everything passed with no punishment. Is there a worse kind of event for which your name will go down in history and remembered by nations?

    (v) You are a nation that permits gambling in its all forms. The companies practice this as well, resulting in the investments becoming active and the criminals becoming rich.

    (vi) You are a nation that exploits women like consumer products or advertising tools calling upon customers to purchase them. You use women to serve passengers, visitors, and strangers to increase your profit margins. You then rant that you support the liberation of women.

    (vii) You are a nation that practices the trade of sex in all its forms, directly and indirectly. Giant corporations and establishments are established on this, under the name of art, entertainment, tourism and freedom, and other deceptive names you attribute to it.

    (viii) And because of all this, you have been described in history as a nation that spreads diseases that were unknown to man in the past. Go ahead and boast to the nations of man, that you brought them AIDS as a Satanic American Invention.

  3. All of Roys critics have the same pattern. None of them ever question her on the facts or what she wrote.

    “The attack on Indian Parliament was made by India itself to justify a war with Pakistan” …. Is this kind of A. Roy ‘facts’ that you are talking about??? LOL.

  4. “The attack on Indian Parliament was made by India itself to justify a war with Pakistan”

    She doesn’t make such an accusation, she only points to many contradictions in the govt story.

  5. “Whenever this issue of compensatory or preferential treatment for the Negro is raised, some of our friends recoil in horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they agree, but he should ask for nothing more. On the surface, this appears reasonable, but it is not realistic. For it is obvious that if a man enters the starting line of a race three hundred years after another man, the first would have to perform some incredible feat in order to catch up.”
    “A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for him, in order to equip him to compete on a just and equal basis.”

    HMF:

    Thanks for the additional MLK quotes. They bolster DD’s argument that AA has dstroyed MLK’s dream, as Tash puts it. MLK makes the “shackled runner metaphor” argument. In his view, AA is a temporary bridge between govt sponsered racism and a time in the future when individuals will be looked upon as individuals, not members of a race. And the program was only meant for blacks, since their ancestors came here on slaveships.

    But currently AA relies on the diversity argument, partly because of multiculturalism and also b/c of the strange bakke Scotus case where 1 justice broke the 4-4 tie for AA on a diversity basis and that bacame law. Such programs insitutionalize judging someone by the color of their skin, and even worse, benefit those who came to this country freely and even even worse benefit white women whose ancestors were slaveholders, and even even even worse discriminate against racial minorities like in the berkely case studey DD foucses on.

    in other words, the bridge has been destroyed, permanant sysem of racial calssification has relaced it and the dream that america will live up to its creed of indivualism is at risk. DD is right.

  6. There is a difference between saying that 9-11 happened because of US Mid-East Policy and the US deserved 9-11. No serious left wing analyst is making the claim that America deserved 9-11.

    amfd:

    DD doesnt say this. he says 911 occurred because of american decadence, just like many say it occurred b/c of american foreign policy. both are right but oversimplify. DD’s argument is radical enough as is, no need to exagerate.

  7. Manju,

    I have a tinfoil helmet by my PC and I make sure to put it on when I read your comments. Not for fear of becoming a right-winger but you dance a strange dance and I don’t want to learn those steps. It’s like watching Chris Farley do the tango. Or better yet, maybe you think you’re on a horse when you’re really banging coconuts. Oh nevermind. Have a laugh courtesy of Python.

    Guard: Who goes there? Arthur: It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle of Camelot. King of the Britons, defeater of the Saxons, Sovereign of all England! Guard: Pull the other one! Arthur: I am! And this is my trusty servant Patsy. We have ridden the length and breadth of the land in search of knights who will join me in my court at Camelot. I must speak with your lord and master. Guard: What, ridden on a horse? Arthur: Yes. Guard: You’re using coconuts! Arthur: What? Guard: You’ve got two empty halves of coconut and you’re banging ‘em together. Arthur: So? We have ridden since the snows of winter covered this land, through the kingdom of Mercia, through… Guard: Where’d you get the coconuts? Arthur: We found them. Guard: Found them? In Mercia?! The coconut’s tropical! Arthur: What do you mean? Guard: Well, Mercia’s a temperate zone! Arthur: The swallow may fly south with the sun, and the house martin or the plover may seek warmer climes in winter, yet these are not strangers to our land. Guard: … Are you suggesting that coconuts migrate? Arthur: Not at all. They could be carried. Guard: What?! A swallow carrying a coconut?! Arthur: He could grip it by the husk! Guard: It’s not a question of where he grips it! It’s a simple matter of weight ratios! A five-ounce bird could not carry a one-pound coconut! Arthur: Well it doesn’t matter! Will you go and tell your master that Arthur from the Court of Camelot is here? Guard: Listen, in order to maintain air-speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second, right? Arthur: PLEASE! Guard: Am I right? Arthur: I’m not interested! 2nd Guard: It could be carried by an African swallow! Guard: Oh, yeah, an African swallow maybe, but not a European swallow, that’s my point. 2nd Guard: Oh, yeah, I agree with that. Arthur: Will you ask your master if he wants to join my court at Camelot?! Guard: Then again, the African Swallow is non-migratory. So they couldn’t bring a coconut back anyway. 2nd Guard: Wait a minute! Supposing two European swallows carried it together? Guard: No, they’d have to have it on a line. 2nd Guard: Simple! They’d just use a strand of creeper! Guard: Held under the dorsal guidance feathers? 2nd Guard: Well why not?!

  8. No von Mises:

    I’m laughing my ass off over here. Ah, good ol’ Monty Python. Perfect.

    Oh, and let me get this in: Dinesh D’Souza is a jackass. Yeah, we all know that. Fine, he has no academic credentials (or no better ones than our President, anyway), whatever. It just galls me that anyone…ANYONE…can take this nutjob seriously. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from his area of the room to the facist part of the room. The guy just hates things that make him uncomfortable, and draws some nutty correlations based on those internal emotional responses of his. He scorns the dialectic while appearing to participate in it (although that’s hardly unique…hell, I think people say that about me), and he touts some truly dangerous ideas. It’s sad that these do fall onto fertile ground often enough that people invite him onto shows, read his books, and generally let him play on the playground without throwing dirtclods at his head.

    Gays, reality television, and “liberals” didn’t create Middle Eastern terrorism. I’m fairly certain that the 1972 Olympic Games predated “Fear Factor” and all that. The line he draws is skewed; it ignores root causes and tries to create another picture that’s fallacious. He’s like the Erich von Daniken of America’s foreign policy: instead of aliens, he sees liberals behind everything.

  9. Dinesh D’Souza – 1. A desi fool who has some “Uncle Tom” tendencies. 2. A Desi who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding. Example, Amit says: I think that racism is the fault of civil rights activist and that poverty statistic are grossly exaggerated. Harjeet says: Ay yo Dinesh D’Souza, shut ya bloodclot!

  10. Don’t know where to post this..anyhow I was listening to East Midlands Apnapunjab radio last night and was shocked to hear that that dude Rupe Dhillon was on it and has sucessfully had his novel Nila Noor published in Punjabi by a British publisher! Even weirder.. he was called the Godfather of British PunjabiLit.

    I went through the net today and discovered that Amazon sells his book as do a company called Diggory. May be of interest to someone. I can’t read Punjabi but it would be great to hear the opinion of someone who can. Maybe Preston or Amarjeet can preview it?

    Heard he’s been heavily marketed, like some kinda actor in Des Pardes, Sanjh Savera and Ajit…don’t know if that is true or false.

    Here is the link

    http://diggorypress.com/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=446&products_id=823 http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1846855640?tag=diggorypress-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=am1&creativeASIN=1846855640&adid=04NSWG12PERV5VGCBNMD&

  11. I’d be very intersted to know how this statement is an argument against affirmative action:

    “A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for him, in order to equip him to compete on a just and equal basis.”

    What you’re saying is AA doesn’t achieve this, and it may not be the best method, but AA is in no way a contravention of MLK’s clear as day position. In fact, MLK makes allusions to that dirty “R” word, in a Playboy magazine interview:

    “For two centuries the Negro was enslaved and robbed of any wages: potential accrued wealth which would have been the legacy of his descendants. All of America’s wealth could not adequately compensate its Negroes for his centuries of exploitation and humiliation.”

    And in your view, DD may be “right” but the point is, DD and MLK were in no way ideological soulmates, both him and you must make do with Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly.

  12. By the way, the purpose of AA is not to “balance” things out, or make the workplace/school/etc more “diverse” It’s not to make every school 12% African American because the US pop is 12% African American. The purpose is to give everyone an equal shot at proving themselves – that is, a counteracting measure to the “old boys” network, mostly white” In fact, MLK supported “Operation Breadbasket” [link], a platform which is exactly more “Affirmative action”-y than affirmative action itself.

  13. Do you think it is ideology that supports the idea that civilians are a fair target in an ‘assymetrical’ war?

    I think it’s a component, yes. But the ideology is an easier sell to the “lay-folk” they’re preaching to when America provides it with a less than stellar (read: imperialistic) foreign policy, history of region destabilization. You still haven’t answered the question. If it’s purely ideology, why does America have the largest bulls-eye?

  14. I’d be very intersted to know how this statement is an argument against affirmative action:

    HMF:

    I don’t think DD claims MLK would be oppossed to AA, rather that AA contradicts his “dream” speech. MLK himself conceeds this interpretation is “reasonable” altough he disagrees with it:

    Whenever this issue of compensatory or preferential treatment for the Negro is raised, some of our friends recoil in horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they agree, but he should ask for nothing more. On the surface, this appears reasonable, but it is not realistic.

    Also, you completely ignore the distincton between MLK’s “shackled runner” argument and the new “diversity” argument. To the extent we know that MLK supported AA it was as a temporary system meant to help those who were victims of govt sponsered discrimination (as your quotes demonstrate), not a permanant system meant to help white women, latinos, irish, italians, indians etc have equal representaion. In fact this form of AA threatens MLKs dream of a colorblind society, as it institutionalizes seperatism…and MLK was certainly not a seperatist.

    And in your view, DD may be “right” but the point is, DD and MLK were in no way ideological soulmates, both him and you must make do with Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly.

    MLK was an integrationist, not a speratist like Malcolm X. his political philosophy was deeply intwined in the liberal tradition of individualism, and he appealed to the american values embedded in the constitution. he knew how to make the suffering of his own people the suffering af all huamnity. it was a universlist appeal, as he rejected the cultural relativism of “black power”. he wanted balcks to be repected as individuals (“i am a man”) not as blacks. So in this reagard at least, MLK, myself, DD, Hannidy, and o’reilly are ideological soulmates.

    By the way, the purpose of AA is not to “balance” things out, or make the workplace/school/etc more “diverse” It’s not to make every school 12% African American because the US pop is 12% African American

    read up on the SCOTUS Bakke case. In short, SCOTUS was divided 4-4 over the constutionality of AA. 1 justice broke the tie by saying its constitutional as long as the purpose is diversity. since then, this has been the law of the land, made stronger by the emergence of multiculuralism. bakke has been more or less affirmed by SCOTUS, most recently in the michiagan case, thought the strict quotas of which you speak have been found unconstiutiional (basicly race had to be one of many factors and had to be for the prupose of a diverse student body).

    Needless to say, this was not MLK’s dream nor was this his justification for AA.

  15. HMF: you’re an interesting person. When I press you, you redefine the game to your advantage. Quite slippery.

    America is the biggest target because:

    1. It is the biggest. I mean, it’s the sole superpower and with no Soviet Union anymore, and China quietly ramping up in the background, that’s where the attention is focused.
    2. America is intentionally scapegoated by powers that be in many countries. How much better to have your poor and disadvantaged citizens angry at the US, instead of “insert bad politician/dictator du jour”, here. There is an active propoganda arm to this.
    3. America has a heavy footprint because of the success of it’s international business sphere, the success of exporting it’s culture (Hollywood, and the like).
    4. The US has an involved history around the world, as you stated, and is much less isolationist than it’s popular imagination leads it to think it is. Hmm, awkward sentence. As an example, American boys died keeping Seoul from being taken over by the North Koreans and maintains a military force there, and yet, is pretty reviled because it’s much easier to see the problems that causes because they are there and the North Koreans are behind a curtain. So, the day to day problems of US troops being in that country overshadows everything else.

    Answer me this, HMF. Why does it seem that America is singled out so vociferously disdain, when there are many other countries doing the same thing? The Russians and Germans sold more weapons to Saddam than the US ever did. And, yet, I’m sure Germany’s intransigience doesn’t cause the same emotional reponse. Why?

  16. I don’t think DD claims MLK would be oppossed to AA, rather that AA contradicts his “dream” speech. MLK himself conceeds this interpretation is “reasonable” altough he disagrees with it:

    From DD’s book, the end of racism: “affirmative action seems to be a repudiation of King’s vision, in that it involves a celebration and affirmation of group identity.” He then claims King’s doctrine that “race should be ignored and we should be judged on our merits as persons.” As far as the dream speech is concerned, conservatives that wack off to the “content of their character” line conveniently forget this line in the very same speech:

    “This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”"

    So, obviously he believed in recognition of color differences in his personal vision of change.

    Also, you completely ignore the distincton between MLK’s “shackled runner” argument and the new “diversity” argument.

    Isn’t obvious that one follows naturally from the other? Diversity is desired insofar as it allows everyone an equal shot at making it, not for some morbid reason to have a rainbow of people everywhere you go. If MLK supported measures to counteract discrimination against blacks, what reason would he have to not support similar measures to counteract discrimination against other groups? On the one hand you call him a universalist, but on the other hand say his statements stand in stark contrast to unraveling the effects of state sponsered discrimination against all groups.

    MLK was an integrationist, not a speratist like Malcolm X.
    it was a universlist appeal, as he rejected the cultural relativism of “black power”.

    Really?

    it’s really funny when MLK says things like this:

    “The Negro will only be free when he reaches down to the inner depths of his own being and signs with the pen and ink of assertive manhood his own emancipation proclamation. And with a spirit straining towards true self esteem, the Negro…must say, “I am somebody, I am a person, I am a man with dignity and honor. I have a rich and noble history. How painful and exploited that history has been. Yes, I was a slave.. and I’m not ashamed of that, I am ashamed of the people who were so sinful to make me a slave.” Yes we must stand up and say, “I’m black and I’m beautiful” ” – New York Magazine article, 1967

    in fact, in his autobiography, Malcolm X utters similar statements:

    “The American black man should be focusing his every effort towards building his own businesses, and decent homes for himself. .. That’s the only way the American black man is going to get respect. One thing the white man can never give the black man is his self respect. The black man can never become independent and recognized as a human being who is truly equal with other human beings until he has what they have, until he is doing for himself what others are doing for themselves.”

    Both King and Malcolm realized a certain degree of “cultural relativism” was necessary to extricate black people from years of psychological oppression, which is just as powerful as physical oppression. Secondly, Malcolm X had very much altered his ideology after his first trip to Mecca, where he discarded most of the “hardcore” cultural relativistic positions purported by the Nation of Islam (for example, The tale of Yacub).

    his political philosophy was deeply intwined in the liberal tradition of individualism … So in this reagard at least, MLK, myself, DD, Hannidy, and o’reilly are ideological soulmates.

    I dont think I’ve ever laughed and puked simultaneously until I read this. To say “King doesn’t agree with the NOI’s perspective of Black America, therefore, he’s just like Sean Hannity!” is proposterous. For a black person to gain respect as an individual, they must gain respect as a black man. The two cannot be separated because the “black”ness was historically a pre-requisite to the derision and discrimination.

    read up on the SCOTUS Bakke case. In short, SCOTUS was divided 4-4 over the constutionality of AA. 1 justice broke the tie by saying its constitutional as long as the purpose is diversity.

    According to this link, Justice Powell (who was the deciding vote) voted against “AA” based on this statement:

    “Racial and ethnic classifications of any sort are inherently suspect and call for the most exacting judicial scrutiny. While the goal of achieving a diverse student body is sufficiently compelling to justify consideration of race in admissions decisions under some circumstances, petitioner’s special admissions program, which forecloses consideration to persons like respondent, is unnecessary to the achievement of this compelling goal, and therefore invalid under the Equal Protection Clause.”

    So he stated “achieving a diverse student body is sufficiently compelling” to justify consideration of race in admissions decisions under some circumstances. And then he proceeded to vote against it. Far cry from, “It’ flies in the face of everything Dr. King stood for!”

  17. 1. It is the biggest. I mean, it’s the sole superpower and with no Soviet Union anymore, and China quietly ramping up in the background, that’s where the attention is focused.

    And you act as if that occurred out of some kind of natural progression, irrespective of active decisions the United States took to achieve that position?

    2. America is intentionally scapegoated by powers that be in many countries. How much better to have your poor and disadvantaged citizens angry at the US, instead of “insert bad politician/dictator du jour”, here. There is an active propoganda arm to this.

    I’ll give you this. but like I said, America can actively do things to not make it such an easy sell.

    4. The US has an involved history around the world, as you stated, and is much less isolationist than it’s popular imagination leads it to think it is.

    How about Mossadegh? How about Pinochet? How about Allende? How about Arbenz? To think of America as some altruistic world police is for the lack of a better, word, nuts.

    Why does it seem that America is singled out so vociferously disdain, when there are many other countries doing the same thing? The Russians and Germans sold more weapons to Saddam than the US ever did. And, yet, I’m sure Germany’s intransigience doesn’t cause the same emotional reponse. Why?

    Talk about redefining the game. I think the foreign policy issue that resonates deepest with the larger middle east community is the Israel-Palestine issue, and this is where America is most unilateral in its approach, more so than any other European country.

  18. MD,

    As far as perception goes, if that’s what we are concerned about, America is the biggest target because it manufactured and manipulated a crisis that an apolitical, illiterate could understand. And it did so with a sprinkle of chauvinism. It’s the Schumpeterian imperialism narrative upfront, in person, legible and easily translated across continents for the casual observer.

  19. So, obviously he believed in recognition of color differences in his personal vision of change.

    Only for “negroes.” And just as important he did not advocate lowering admissions standards for blacks. His vision of AA (though the term was not in use during his life) was compensation to blacks–via scholarships, money , etc–which I agree with. And it was temporary. Other than that, he advocated neutral non-discrimination laws. DD is right in saying that AA as practiced today (different standards and inclusion of different ethnic groups), violates MLKs dream.

    Isn’t obvious that one follows naturally from the other? Diversity is desired insofar as it allows everyone an equal shot at making it, not for some morbid reason to have a rainbow of people everywhere you go.

    You’re entitled to your opinion. My opinion is that its obvious diversity contradicts the dream. either way, MLK did not address diversity. In fact, I do not know of any word MLK spoke where he advocated a form of AA for women or non-blacks (other than native Americans). If what you’re saying is true then such quotes would exist. please supply them.

    If MLK supported measures to counteract discrimination against blacks, what reason would he have to not support similar measures to counteract discrimination against other groups?

    Because they didn’t come here on slaveships. they didn’t have to face govt sponsored discrimination (well, women did but the context is very different). so the govt does not owe them any compensation. as far as private/non-govt sponsored discrimination goes, that was to be dealt with by the civil rights act he championed. Look at the very quote you provide (in full):

    When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

    no mention of immigrants, women, or private discrimination. he refers to the constitution. the implication is that only those whose constitutional rights were violated are owed compensation (AA)…and even then, no mention of lowered standards. To the extent MLK advocated AA, it was to help the shackled runner run, not shorten the track.

    So he stated “achieving a diverse student body is sufficiently compelling” to justify consideration of race in admissions decisions under some circumstances. And then he proceeded to vote against it. Far cry from, “It’ flies in the face of everything Dr. King stood for!”

    Bakke won his case against CA. the way CA practiced AA was deemed unconstitutional. But justice Powell ruled that race could be taken into consideration for the purpose of a diverse student body. And thatÂ’s been the law of the land ever since.

    I do not recall MLK arguing for a diverse student body. for him, AA was an check owed to BLACKS for being denied their constitutional rights, not to whites, Hispanics, desis, etc. In fact, a diverse student body would presumably benefit whites (b/c they get the educational benefit of interacting with minorities). so this does fly “in the face of everything Dr. King stood for!” (your words not mine).

    In short, MLK supported programs targeting blacks, but did not support whites and blacks being judged by different standards. To be fair, its possible he may have adopted these programs had he lived, but thatÂ’s just speculation and he would be still vulnerable to the charge of hypocrisy. right now, you, not DD, are projecting your own agenda onto king

    that white women, new immigrants, hispanics, irish, italians are benefiting from a program originally meant for blacks is a moral travesty. DD is right to condemn it.

  20. It’s worth remembering that when Dr. King was assassinated, he was working on a Poor People’s Campaign, an anti-poverty campaign that gathered together poor Americans of all races. The plan was to bring 1,500 poor Americans, black, white, Latino, Native American, Asian American, for a mass tent-city like occupation on the National Mall in Washington D.C. There were differences in the movement as to the effectiveness of that particular political tactic, but there was general agreement on the importance of cross-racial mass action against poverty and entrenched economic inequity.

    The action was planned for the late spring of 1968. The preparation was going full speed when on April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated. Of course that changed the entire tenor of the movement and the national political atmosphere, and although the planned D.C. tent city went ahead, it fizzled out after several weeks.

    Consideration of what Dr. King and other theorists of the civil rights movement believed in with respect to the position of African-Americans and other ethnic communities needs to keep this important part of the historical record in mind.

  21. You’re right Siddhartha. It’s worth remembering. And I concede it’s almost certain he would’ve championed redistributionist policies that included other poor minorities. DD himself recognizes this and champions a class based AA (i do not) b/c it would be more in line w/ the dream.

    but while it’s almost certain he would have wanted other ethnic minorites to be included in various economic programs, it’s just as certain he wouild have excluded us from color conscious polices that he justified on the basis of slavery and jim crow; ie, since the govt sponsored discrimination on the basis of color the govt must sponsor compensation on this basis too.

    it’s quite shocking how jim crow and slavery are left out of our current debates over AA, which revolve around diversity and alledged non-govt discrimination. MLK thought blacks were owed a check because their constitutional rights were violated. It now seems other ethnic minorities, who came to this country by their own free will and faced no government sponsored discrimination, have got their hands in the jar in an attempt to get an unearned slice of the pie that rightfully belongs to black Americans.

  22. In fact, I do not know of any word MLK spoke where he advocated a form of AA for women or non-blacks (other than native Americans). If what you’re saying is true then such quotes would exist. please supply them.

    At the time blacks and native americans were the groups who’s rights were most in question.

    In short, MLK supported programs targeting blacks, but did not support whites and blacks being judged by different standards. To be fair, its possible he may have adopted these programs had he lived, but thatÂ’s just speculation and he would be still vulnerable to the charge of hypocrisy. right now, you, not DD, are projecting your own agenda onto king

    This is absolutely incorrect, by all measures of decency, King wouldve supported action to help anyone, I repeat anyone who faced real barriers to advancement. Now, I’ll concede that we as desis have less barriers to said advancement but I owe that to two things 1. Efforts of the great Dr. King to lay the framework for minority acceptance in the workforce. 2. State selected immigration providing a biased pool of “quality” immigrants.

    However, I’d be very interested in any statements supporting this pure “diversity argument” of yours, and lowering of standards. Show me a statement that says, “Standards should be lowerable just to get people from ethnicity X, Y, Z in” No real supporter or proponent of AA believes in standards being lowered or “diversity for diversity’s sake”

    The universalist (your words, not mine) mindset of Dr. King would never say, “We came on slaveships, so we should get all the payments, the same white superiority complex affects you and can be used to keep you down, but tough sh*t…”

    In fact, I do not know of any word MLK spoke where he advocated a form of AA for women or non-blacks (other than native Americans). If what you’re saying is true then such quotes would exist. please supply them.

    Asking King to comment directly on situations that didn’t exist is pure stupidity. In fact, the question you ask wouldn’t even be askable unless the efforts of people like Dr. King and Malcolm X. It’s like asking Plato for direct quotes illustrating his philosophical view on the TV set. All you can do is take ideas from their time and speculate onto the future. To continue to graft your conservative agenda onto this great man is vile and putrid. I wonder how you sleep at night.

  23. From King’s quote re: Poor People’s Campaign:

    “The campaign also differed from previous SCLC campaigns in that it aimed to address the struggles of a cross-section of minority groups. “It must not be just black people,” argued King, “it must be all poor people. We must include American Indians, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and even poor whites.

  24. have got their hands in the jar in an attempt to get an unearned slice of the pie

    If it’s a pie that fits in a jar, it’s probably not worth fighting over.

    By the way, Manju and anyone else serious about this topic, here’s some essential reading. “Be prepared to revise your understanding of civil rights,” says one newspaper review, and that’s the truth. The best book, and probably the most important, I’ve read in years.

  25. This is absolutely incorrect, by all measures of decency, King wouldve supported action to help anyone, I repeat anyone who faced real barriers to advancement

    HMF:

    i think we’re talking past each other now. YouÂ’re talking about anti-discriminatory policies (civil rights act) and anti-poverty programs for other ethnic minorities, and I’m referring to AA as defined as race conscious positive discrimination or preferential treatment based on gender or ethnicity. It’s the latter that needs to be squared w/ kings dream speech, and indeed his whole philosophy of constitutional law, which he in fact does quite effectively by restricting it to those who faced govt (not private) discrimination.

    modern AA–which is based on diversity and private discrimination, is permanent, and entails different standard for different groups–cannot be squared with a colorblind society where one is not judged by the color of ones skin. I understand this aspect of mlk has been played down by the civil rights movement (w/ the excerption of CORE) mostly b/c of the rise of black power and other philosophies outside the great liberal American tradition king championed. But it is still critical to understanding king, as he repeated this philosophy ad nauseam when he was alive

    To continue to graft your conservative agenda onto this great man is vile and putrid. I wonder how you sleep at night.

    Rush supplies me with pills.

    conservatives that wack off to the “content of their character” line

    We do not whack off. Masturbation is a sin. It’s a major cause of terrorism, not to mention global warming.

  26. We do not whack off. Masturbation is a sin. It’s a major cause of terrorism, not to mention global warming.

    You are a whackjob for sure.

  27. i think we’re talking past each other now. YouÂ’re talking about anti-discriminatory policies (civil rights act) and anti-poverty programs for other ethnic minorities, and I’m referring to AA as defined as race conscious positive discrimination or preferential treatment based on gender or ethnicity

    Again, my point is the preferential treatment is a direct result of rectifying the anti-discriminatory policies. It’s what King referred to as “the second stage” of civil rights. From this very link:

    ““Affirmative action” means positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded.

    There has always been a legitamite impetus (whether it be arriving on slave ships, or shipped over as indentured servants, or being exploited as cheap labor, or even just a psychological bias against a certain group due to mass media perceptions of laziness, lack of intelligence, etc..) for the policies. These policies in no way contravene any of Dr. King’s message. Yet you keep throwing out the word “diversity” like it’s a four letter word, irrespective of why it’s desired in the first place.

    “which he in fact does quite effectively by restricting it to those who faced govt (not private) discrimination.”

    Those were speeches on washington dc, so of course govt will be the primary focus. Those who read king’s works a bit deeper, will see he even targetted “institutional” discrimination. For example, what gov’t entity is culpable here:

    “Even semantics have conspired to make that which is black seem ugly and degrading. In Roget’s Thesaurus there are 120 synonyms for blackness and at least 60 of them are offensive, for example, blot, soot, grim, devil and foul. And there are 134 synonyms for whiteness and all are favorable, expressed in such words as purity, cleanliness chastity and innocence. Ossie Davis has suggested the English language should be reconstructed so that teachers will not be forced to teach the Negro 60 ways to despise himself, and the white child 134 ways to adore himself, and thereby perpetuate his false sense of superiority”

    Different standards are required for different groups, if those groups historically have been excluded!! Back to King’s statement:

    “”A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for him, in order to equip him to compete on a just and equal basis.”

    And you say, “Well thats because they came on slave ships bla bla bla” And I’m all for AA benefiting those who most deserve it. But that doesn’t completely nullify his support for any groups that have been systematically excluded, to any degree.

    It’s the danger of looking at one line of one speech, taken wildly out of context, the full line from the dream speech:

    “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

    Last I checked, King’s children were all black.

    Rush supplies me with pills.

    Take some more

    We do not whack off. Masturbation is a sin. It’s a major cause of terrorism, not to mention global warming.

    Im sure you’ll make an exception.

  28. meant to read:

    “Again, my point is the preferential treatment is a direct result of rectifying the discriminatory policies. It’s what King referred to as “the second stage” of civil rights. From this very link:”

  29. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

    HMF:

    I think we’re at an impasse. Let me just say that King grounded the civil rights movement in the ideals of the constitution and implored America to live up to its creed by treating its citizens as individuals. It is this context that you’re ignoring. In fact, even his defence of prefential treatment was grounded in these ideals–ie, since the constitutional rights of blacks have been viloated due to their race, they are owed compensation based on their race. It is this tradition, left behind by the civil rights movement, that D’Souza is resurrecting.

    It’s a resonalbe argument. Shelby Steele uses is, as does William F bennett (who was a member of the movemnt in the 60′s) and Roy Innis. To be fair, King died too soon so we will never klnow for certain where he would have stood. He never used the words “affirmative action” (at least not in the context we use it today, he used it to mean the govt must take action to enforce the civil rights act) and never spoke of diversity, preferential treatment for non-blacks, and different standards for differnt ethnic groups in regards to college admissions. It’s possible he would have embraced this as he was clearly moving to the left, but it is also possibe he would have rejected this because it contradicts his dream speech and constituional grounding that he repeated ad nauseam.

  30. “I think we’re at an impasse. Let me just say that King grounded the civil rights movement in the ideals of the constitution and implored America to live up to its creed by treating its citizens as individuals. It is this context that you’re ignoring.”

    See I disagree, slightly anyway. I think his constant references to the constitution in the “I have a dream” speech were location specific. He was in Washington DC, in a highly controlled, basically gov’t sponsored event. It was tactical. What would be more effective? To say “I’m a second class citizen because the gov. is basically f*cked up” or “I’m a second class citizen because the gov didn’t live up to it’s founding principles.”

    But as we know, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal” didn’t include non-white, non-landowning, non-protestant, non-men. I’m sure King was aware of this, but he used it because it’s more powerful to use one’s own words against them (which I’m sure you know quite a bit about)

    King believed the basic human rights of blacks were violated, the constitution just so happened to document them.

    he used it to mean the govt must take action to enforce the civil rights act) and never spoke of diversity, preferential treatment for non-blacks, and different standards for differnt ethnic groups in regards to college admissions

    As did Plato never said anything about the television set, DVD player or Ipod.

  31. “A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for him, in order to equip him to compete on a just and equal basis.”

    Case in point. This statement was made by King, outside the context of a government sponsored march. Society is a general term, which includes but is not limited to government.

  32. Case in point. This statement was made by King, outside the context of a government sponsored march. Society is a general term, which includes but is not limited to government

    i think he’s still talking about slavery and jim crow. he says “something special” and he refers to “hundreds of years.”

    also, he mentions “equip him to compete on a just and equal basis.” in other words, help the shackled runner run, not shorten the track. In every instance in which he talked about race conscious compensation, he was referring to $$$ and programs, not lowered standards. In the full quote he recognizes how even this is an extraordinary request, so i don’t see how he would take it further to mean a permanent program that benefits the descendents of slaveholders (white women) and non-poor ethnic minorities (who currently benefit the most, at least in academics) and for the purpose of diversity (as opposed to righting great historical wrongs like slavery) .

    I am aware of the fact that this has been a troublesome concept for many liberals, since it conflicts with their traditional ideal of equal opportunity and equal treatment of people according to their individual merits. But this is a day which demands new thinking and the re-evaluation of old concepts. A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for him, in order to equip him to compete on a just and equal basis.
  33. i think he’s still talking about slavery and jim crow. he says “something special” and he refers to “hundreds of years.”

    It’s included, but not limited to. The institutional effects of those “special” actions would have no reason to be excluded.

    in other words, help the shackled runner run, not shorten the track.

    As far as the runner is concerned, removing the shackles and shortening his track (relative to others) is perceptually equivalent. But like I said, I don’t favor lowering of standards, and neither do most proponents of AA.

    and non-poor ethnic minorities (who currently benefit the most, at least in academics) and for the purpose of diversity (as opposed to righting great historical wrongs like slavery)

    Comparisons should be made within social class. Comparing a wealthy black man and a poor white man neglects the fact that they’re running on different sections of track. And I’m still waiting for a source (other than your head) that supports “diversity” without the historical context of exclusionary practices.

  34. I think Chris Rock’s description of affirmative action is the best:

    “I don’t think I deserve a job over a more qualified white man. But if it’s a tie, fuck ‘em – You had a 400 year headstart”

  35. And I’m still waiting for a source (other than your head) that supports “diversity” without the historical context of exclusionary practices.

    Well, that would be the single most important opinion on AA, justice powell in the Bakke case. powell argued that race could be used as a factor as long as it is done for the purpose of a diverse student body, w/o having to prove past exclusionary practices (not unlike schools who give preference to students form the midwest or southern states)

    i understand your argument that race-conscious policies for the sake of diversity are a natural extension of race-conscious policies for the sake of righting past exclusionary practices. After all, all exclusionary practices would result in a lack of diversity. But it does not follow that all lack of diversity is a product of exclusionary practices. This is a critical distinction.

    Furthermore, diversity focuses on results, or equality of results. MLK, in every known quote about race conscious policies, focused not on results, but on equal opportunities. Another critical distinction.

    so for these 2 reasons, the reliance on diversity has shifted the landscape dramatically, to a point where AA cannot be squared w/ the Dream.

  36. But it does not follow that all lack of diversity is a product of exclusionary practices.

    True. A case is the NBA. Whiteboys just can’t handle the rock.

    Well, that would be the single most important opinion on AA, justice powell in the Bakke case. powell argued that race could be used as a factor as long as it is done for the purpose of a diverse student body, w/o having to prove past exclusionary practices

    Taken from this link:

    “The central purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was to protect discreet and insular minorities, and it would be cruel of the Court to turn this Amendment into a weapon against state government efforts to redress cumulative racial injustices. The purpose of University of California’s admission system is to promote racial diversity in a school marked by white dominance in both the faculty and the administration.”

    Any statements Powell (or any other judge) made regarding diversity must be understood in the context put forth by the petitioner.

  37. Yo, because of this spirited point/counterpoint exchange between Manju and HMF, Dinesh is going to appear on CSPAN2 this Sunday (Feb. 4, 12pm EST) for a 3-hour in-depth conversation. It will settle everything. Ailments will be cured, lingering questions, such as “Do coconuts migrate?”, will be answered, forever even.

  38. Any statements Powell (or any other judge) made regarding diversity must be understood in the context put forth by the petitioner.

    the petitioner lost the case. powell’s prevailing opinion does not include the context of redressing cumulative racial injustices.

    this partially explains how recent immigrants, for example, can get preferential treatment in college admissions, when nothing “special” was done against them. a far cry from:

    A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for him, in order to equip him to compete on a just and equal basis

    .

  39. I havnt really been following the debate between Manju and HMF but I must say that the Court itself has changed its rationale for Affirmative Action. In the 70s it was more about redressing past grievances which arose out of institutionalized discrimination against blacks to the 2000 post arguments which tend to rely upon the benefits of diversity.

  40. the petitioner lost the case. powell’s prevailing opinion does not include the context of redressing cumulative racial injustices.

    I saw this coming a mile away. The petitioner losing the case is irrelevent. The result doesn’t negate the statement of purpose. Why Powell would agree with race being used to increase diversity, but not at the very least have one reason be to redress racial injustices – when it’s clearly stated in the petitioner’s statement, is beyond me.

    Indeed, I’d say any institution where white dominance exists, in particular ones that are intrinsic to human existence, i.e. employment, shelter (housing), and to some extent schooling, posess said white dominance due to “cumulative racial injustices” Asking it to be stated over and over is like asking a physicist to state fundamentals of number theory in each scientific theory he proposes.

    this partially explains how recent immigrants, for example, can get preferential treatment in college admissions, when nothing “special” was done against them. a far cry from:

    This is a little tricky. I agree with you partially, but as I said before, it just means better methods of classification are required. But anything King says won’t support or contravene it, because the situation wasn’t in the national discussion at the time.

    But, I will also say that racial classification and discrimination doesn’t necessarily have to account for “length of stay” so to speak. An immigrant from the Gabon is immediately classifed as “black” the second he arrives, and I’d argue, inherits most of the socially ingrained stereotypes a black slave descendent would endure, within their social class. Either way, King’s words are orthogonal to this entire line of discussion.

  41. HMF:

    I’m tired. And I need a cigarette. I’d say I feel like we just had rough sex…but I don’t want to cause more terrorism.

  42. Fine by me, just as long as you use a diverse set of cigarettes instead of sticking to one brand.

  43. Just wanted to let people know that the NYT finally did it’s review of Dinesh’s book and it’s pretty funny. I believe they called him a male Ann Coulter, amongst other things…