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. D’Souza, the desi Uncle Tom, is so wrong and so ignorant on so many counts:

    without the cultural left, 9/11 would not have happened……I realize that this is a strong charge, one that no one has made before.

    Actually both Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell blamed the cultural left for 9/11 right after it happened.

    I’m saying it’s foolish to blame Islam when Islam has been around for 1,300 years and Islamic terrorism has been a problem for the past 25 years.

    Firstly Islam has been around for 1400 years not 1300 years. Secondly, Islamic terrorism began with Mohammad himself 1400 years ago. Both the Quran and the Hadith gloat about it openly:

    “How many a township have We destroyed! As a raid by night, or while they slept at noon, Our terror came unto them.” (Allah in Quran 7:4-5)

    “I have been made victorious with terror” (Mohammad in Sahih Bukhari 4.220)

    from the point of view of Islamic radicals, America is not hated because it is Christian. Rather, America is hated because it is secular, what Osama bin Laden has called “the leading power of the unbelievers.

    Bin Laden has called his terrorism a war against the “crusaders”. The crusaders were staunch catholics. Not a single secular leftist amongst them. And christians by quranic definition are unbelievers.

    According to Islam, Judaism and Christianity are incomplete but genuine revelations.

    If they were genuine the Quran wouldn’t rail against them for perverting the message of Allah. The christian Trinity and idol worship is anathema to muslim. Both jews and christians are condemned to Hell by the Quran.

    As monotheists, Jews and Christians have historically been entitled to Muslim respect and even protection. In every Islamic empire, from the Umayyad to the Abbasid to the Ottoman, Jews and Christians were permitted to practice their religion

    Firstly, christians are not considered monotheists by the Quran. They are explicitly condemned for their belief that God had a son. Secondly, the polytheist and pantheist hindus were also tolerated as dhimmis by the muslim rulers of India. Dinesh is nothing but an euro-centric desi uncle tom.

    By contrast, polytheists and atheists have always been anathema to Islam. The Koran says, “Fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,” and “Slay the idolaters wherever you find them.” These passages, which bin Laden frequently quotes, do not refer to Christians, because Christians are not considered pagans or idolaters.

    So in his desire to form an alliance between american christians and conservative muslims this disgusting Indian is willing to fight the “pagans” of his motherland India along with the secularists of his adopted nation America? This boy is wicked.

    Sheikh Sayyed Muhammad Tantawi, head of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, recently argued the traditional view that “Islam has never been and will never be at war with Christianity.”

    The ignoramus has never heard of Taqqiya apparently. The Sheikh is lying through his teeth. Islam warred victoriously against christian Byzantium and still retains its territory including its capital Constantinople, now called Istanbul. The Hagia Sofia, the biggest church in christendom, was converted to a mosque. Anyone with half a brain would agree that was a war against christianity.

    Many years earlier, the radical theoretician Sayyid Qutb made the same point: The main reason for the West’s moral decay is that in the modern era, “religious convictions are no more than a matter of antiquarian interest

    What he conveniently neglects to mention is that Qutb, the ideological father of Al-Qaeda, made that point over half a century ago based on his visit to America in 1948-50, long before the rise of the “cultural left” that D’Souza blames for america’s moral decay. This point effectively makes D’Souza a liar for peddling his prime argument: “without the cultural left, 9/11 would not have happened”.

    From the perspective of bin Laden and his allies, the war is between the Muslim-led forces of monotheism and morality against the America-led forces of atheism and immorality.

    America is by far the most theist of the developed nations of the West. Its leader is a Bible-thumper who claims to have a “personal relationship with God”. The generals of its armed forces and the overwhelming proportion of its soldiers are openly christian. One american general even taunted the muslims with the claim that his God was true while the muslim Allah was a false idol. And this moron thinks that America represents the forces of atheism!

    This guy has made a complete fool of himself. His hatred for secularism identifies him as a traitor to America. For America was founded by Enlightened secularists, and the American Constitution is a secular document.

  2. I think the comparisons made earlier between Roy & D’Souza are rather unfair. I do freely admit that I admire Roy and conversely deeply loathe D’Souza. Roy doesn’t just write polemics but is an activist as well, and has been willing to give up her literary cachet to write from her convictions. D’Souza, on the other hand, is nothing but a political opportunist with a writing deficit. I went to Dartmouth too, after he graduated. His writing ( and its attendant lack of logic) has not evolved beyond the sophomoric sophistry of his Dartmouth Review days.

  3. Dinesh has a point. OBL and co, as well as a large % or traditional muslin society, are repulsed by our decadent culture. The problem is that Moore, Sontag, and Chomsky have a point too. “they” also hate us for our foreign policy, which includes, among other things, US troops on the holy land (until recently) and support for Israel.

    These truths are so self-evident they are almost banal. ItÂ’s like saying the KKK is opposed to affirmative action, or that mcveigh was upset over ruby ridge. itÂ’s a form of seeing the trees while missing the forest; or even worse, projecting our own grievances with the US onto terroristsÂ…which entails forwarding certain grievances while ignoring inconvenient ones.

    But when it comes to Al qaeda, the KKK, Mcveigh, and the societies that produced them; I submit there is something going on beyond specific grievances. What that is, I’ll leave dangling…other to say I agree with our leader; “they hate us because we’re free.”

    And for all the vitrol being aimed at Dinesh on this site, and for all of you who think his argument absurdly reductionist…I hope you can see your inner dÂ’souza.

  4. And for all the vitrol being aimed at Dinesh on this site, and for all of you who think his argument absurdly reductionist…I hope you can see your inner dÂ’souza.

    Manju, I agree that we have a little inner D’Souza within each of us. The only difference is that we are ashamed of it. As opposed to brazening it out on the Colbert Report while defending a book that has been roundly panned by critics. If I were him, I’d pretend I have a fracture and make excuses not to appear on talk shows.

  5. Manju, I agree that we have a little inner D’Souza within each of us. The only difference is that we are ashamed of it.

    DDiA:

    By inner d’souza, i meant when we “blame America 1st” –as sean hannidy would put it–for 911. i’m not so much putting this impulse down, as saying its incomplete and hopelessly reductionist. chomsky, roy, and other’s have a point–that US foreign policy is wrong (i disagree) and angers many to the point of becoming terrorists (i agree)–that makes many seethe (as does dinesh’s) but is still taken seriously.

    but dinesh is met with vitrol and mocking, because his truths are inconvenient to this narrative, though very parallel.

  6. I do NOT have an inner D’Souza (thank god), but I may have a very tiny bit of inner residual liberal-foreign-policy groupthink that America’s foreign policy has at least partially, indirectly resulted the debacles of the last decade. But, let’s get one thing straight — D’Souza just hasn’t really researched what really and truly grinds the gears of OBL and co. I mean, has he bothered to read pick up any number of those books that came out after 9/11 about Al Qaeda?

    D’Souza’s contention is that it is “American Decadence” and primarily, nay exclusively, that supposed issue that motivates extremists of Bin Ladin’s vein is patently not a truth (and is an absurd suspicion to have)! The primary concern of Al Qaeda was always regional and regarding American presence in the Middle East. That D’Souza is considered a scholar is a travesty (he has all of a BA in English); his ignorance and lack of understanding of basic elements of Jihadist ideology, and recent Middle East history are inexcusable.

    Notwithstanding his anti-libertarian and anti-Enlightment (where’s Spinoza when you need him?) understanding and notion of ‘traditionalism’, the many explicitly wrong facts cited, and glaring logical flaws in his argument are why this book deserves the vitriol it is receiving. Rishwain Scholar my foot! As someone who has had the pleasure of demolishing D’Souza’s arguments in a writing class back in University (and getting an A for my troubles) I continue to be baffled by the credence given him by logical and reasonable conservatives, and the Hoover Institution.

  7. During his university years, D'Souza did some Mad Magazine sort of writing, sexist and I guess, in his own weird way, racist. However, he is not a serious thinker and not worth the time taken to brush him off your sweater.
    

    If he believes what he writes, he is also hopelessly obstuse. More likely he doesn’t believe in anything except making a buck and a name for himself, and is basically a paid shrill for the “neocons.” Washington and its satellites are crawling with them.

  8. D’Souza’s contention is that it is “American Decadence” and primarily, nay exclusively, that supposed issue that motivates extremists of Bin Ladin’s vein is patently not a truth

    u were right the 1st time. he says “primarily”, not exclusively. he conceeds their visceral rage is a reaction to foreign policy and their own prjudices, as well as american decadence (which he considers the primary source).

  9. but dinesh is met with vitrol and mocking, because his truths are inconvenient to this narrative, though very parallel

    Manju, I see your point about reductionist “blame America first” arguments by wingnuts on both sides. However, that is precisely the reason why Dinesh is met with vitriol and mocking.

    I don’t think that Dinesh’s derision derives (haha alliteration) from the inconvenience of his truths alone. As a matter of that, academic types love themselves some inconvenient truth. There is some element of truth to his statements, but to have that as a central thesis is to divert the reader away from the core drivers of terrorism. If we were to rank the order of importance of reasons “why they hate us”, Dinesh’s reason would come up only in the bottom half of that list.

    It is mostly because, like jackal says, his central thesis “American shamelessness enrages Islamic fundamentalists, so we should behave nicer” is both insignificant and wrong.

    Insignificant because Islamic fundamentalists have more deep-rooted strategic reasons for attacking America. Americans banning gay-marriage and repealing Roe-v-wade will not make America “nice enough” for the terrorists not to attack. It is not like they will take a look at it and mutter “hmm, these people are nice and conservative, let us not threaten them”. Israel and Arab cultures (and conservatism) is shockingly similar. That does not make the Israeli nation more liked by the Islamic fundamentalists.

    Wrong because it is patently untrue that banning sex-on-TV is enough. Even ultra-conservative American culture is not conservative enough to the Islamic fundamentalists. They actually believe that women and men must not mingle (think Church socials) and that bankers must not levy interest (think church investments managed by fund-managers who invest heavily in nice interest-bearing securities). No matter how far Americans move to the right, it still looks hippie-left when viewed from the fundamentalist’s perspective.

  10. DDiA:

    i more or less agree w/ you. if anything, d’souzas book may expose the limits of the “why do they hate us” argument/question (which i do believe is a legit question). i think his identification of american “cultural imperialism” (ie decadence) as a main cause of “fear of democratization” in the islamic world is a good counterpoint to the hopelessly simplistic “they hate us b/c we support their dictators” argument.

    sometimes these “wingnuts”…a.roy, d’souza, chomsky, d. pipes…have interesting and often-ignored truths lurking w/i the polemics.

  11. I do not have an inner or outer D’Souza, thank you very much. Taking a hard look at where America’s foreign policy has led this country is one thing. Sloppy writing that weakly suggests that gays and maggot-eaters brought 9/11 upon the nation is a whole other story and nothing to be proud of, even if you are politically conservative. The Dartmouth Review may have fancied itself to be “Mad magazine’-esque but in my experience they were utterly serious about maligning everything not politically Neanderthal in an irresponsible manner. He was a big part of that and and as I said, apperantly hasn’t refined much about his research and writing style since then. Most of y’all are right, though, he is a laughable hack and I don’t have time to take him seriously.

  12. Sidlicious, It’s so sad that Sepia Mutiny decided to delete my last post on you without even a warning or note to me. I don’t like reading sites that randomly delete posts without comment. As a result I’ll have to remain silent from now on, but rest assured that I’m still reading you, and still enjoying getting stimulated by you…intellectually, at least. love forever, your secret admirer

  13. However, he is not a serious thinker and not worth the time taken to brush him off your sweater.

    I’d agree with that statement, and I’ve actually read “Letters to a Young Conservative” and “Illiberal Education.” The intellectual level is comparable to that of a freshman who’s just discovered Ayn Rand or Karl Marx.

    What puzzles me is that D’Souza is a fellow of the Hoover Institute– there are some serious people working there, even if you disagree with their politics. How he got a job there is beyond me.

    Speedy

    PS: you can’t strictly compare Roy to D’Souza. Roy is shrill and hysterical when it comes to politics, true enough, but at least there’s some intellectual honesty there. I disagree with her on pretty much everything, but at least it’s an honest disagreement. D’Souza is pretty much making stuff up. A better comparison (if you’re looking for a D’Souza counterpart on the left) would be Michael Moore.

  14. well i do welcome the psec civil war between the mughal-wannabe roy and the brit-licker d’souza. notice that their approach to india is the basically same while their allegiances to the ummah or to whitey may differ considerably. signficantly, they are also both aligned as “leftists” in india against the indigineous cultures.

  15. I’d agree with that statement, and I’ve actually read “Letters to a Young Conservative” and “Illiberal Education.” The intellectual level is comparable to that of a freshman who’s just discovered Ayn Rand or Karl Marx.

    i thought illiberal ed was solid. it’s no “closing of thse american mind”–which is rich, elegant, and complex–but it lays down a very cogent critique of the modern university betraying liberal education…a thesis which has since become generally accepted today (even by liberals like arthur schlessinger jr) and a problem that continues in a diminished form. (for example, duke’s clueless group of 86).

    dinish is a solid middle brow thinker. i would take him about as seriously as chris mathews. he’s also a VERY skilled debater.

    as far as rand and marx goes, he doesn’t really strike me as a hard core ideologue. i don’t think that’s where he coming from as he’s a mixture of libertarian (illiberal ed) and classic conservative (enemy at home). i think he likes to pick fights with intellectual orthodoxy, and shock them by overcompensating in the other direction (like he did at the darthmouth review).

  16. I question his libertarian credentials, especially in light of this latest book of his — see http://www.classicalvalues.com/archives/004470.html for a good dissection of this.

    He comes across mostly as an opportunist to me. And while he may be on par (imho, much lower.. closer to Michael Moore) with a Chris Matthews or someone similar, the key difference is that he purports to be a “Scholar”. Chris Matthews makes no such claim, and this is why he deserves our scorn and castigation. He portrays himself, and is portrayed by others, as an academic and scholar, but fails to meet the minimal standards of academia (citations, fact-checking, editing, peer-review) in his works.

    I do hope that this book spells the demise of his credibility among most conservatives, as it rightly should. As others have pointed out, Fareed Zakaria is probably much more widely known and read nowadays, and looks like he won’t face much competition on the intellectual front from D’Souza for the title of ‘most prominent desi in U.S. political debate’.

  17. “In her introduction to the pamphlet, Ms Roy poses thirteen questions in a childish gimmick that implies there would have been fourteen if the attack had happened the day after.”

    • my favourite part of the linked Tavleen Singh column.
  18. Quizman, Thanks for that link of Tavleen Singh’s article.

    I found this little gem in that article:

    Ms Roy poses thirteen questions in a childish gimmick that implies there would have been fourteen if the attack had happened the day after. Question 5 and 6 indicate that she believes the Indian government organised the attack on Parliament as an excuse to go to war with Pakistan.

    How is it that Ms. Roy is still taken seriously ??? Isnt it amazing ???

  19. RC,

    People who take her seriously are the same sort who hate India and the US (and I use that word carefully). Note that these folks forget that for all the faults that India and the US have, they allow constructive and critical dialogue. I don’t see the same kind of venal hatred by these lefties to China (inspite of genocide in Tibet, censorship, oppression etc), Saudi Arabia (countless human rights abuses) and so on. [Note, I am not talking about the criticism that we do here on SM or folks like Andrew Sullivan do to specific US policies.)

    They criticise the US and India, because theyget a platform. The great feminist Madhu Kishwar of Manushi had written excellent articles on this sort. See this, this and this. She asked specifically of the Anti-globalization brigade (with Roy as the shrill ‘head’):

    = Those who seriously oppose the inflow of foreign investments in India ought to set an example by resolving in Mumbai that:

    a) They will not take consultancies with foreign aid organisations;
    
    b) They will not write books for foreign publishers;
    
    c) They will write textbooks only for Indian readers and publish only with desi publishers rather than for ‘‘imperialist’’ West’s intellectual markets
    

    d) They will run their NGOs only with local resources;

    e) They will not take teaching or research assignments in foreign universities;

    f) They will not participate in global networks financed by international donor agencies of ‘‘imperialist’’ countries to fight local causes;

    g) They will not issue press releases to international news channels about local issues and struggles in India.

    If the government were to impose similar restrictions on their receiving foreign money as they would like to impose on lesser mortals in the industrial sector and the farm sector, our NGOs would go screaming all over the world that their democratic rights and civil liberties are being violated. They want a jet-setting globalised politics for themselves but a closed-door economy for Indian farmers and industry.

    Read the articles in full.

  20. The real reason Dinesh D’Souza has gotten so far is simply because he fulfills the need for a colored face to front for white racism towards blacks. There are other desis like him as well, using scientific quackery to “prove” that africans are genetically inferior to whites and that desis are actually the same race under their skin as their white masters. Whats funny and obscene at the same time is that these uncle toms themselves look like nerdy black-americans, albeit with wavy hair. Here’s a desi-american take on Dinesh:

    http://www.progressive.org/node/4444

    “As a fellow Indian immigrant, I have a particular interest in DÂ’Souza. I have been following his work since the early 1990s, when he first made a name for himself with “Illiberal Education,” which lambasted the supposed epidemic of political correctness on campuses by stringing together the worst incidents of this phenomenon and making it seem like an all-pervasive curse across the nation. He followed this up a few years later with “The End of Racism,” which posited that African Americans suffer from inherent cultural pathologies that keep them down. The bookÂ’s take on race was so vile that two African-American conservatives associated with the American Enterprise Institute, Glenn Loury and Robert Woodson, resigned from the think tank in protest over “The End of Racism” and Charles MurrayÂ’s “Bell Curve.” Both DÂ’Souza and Murray were fellows at American Enterprise. “The End of Racism” wasnÂ’t the first time that DÂ’Souza has faced accusations of racial bias. When he was the editor of the Dartmouth Review as an undergrad, it “published an interview with a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, using a mock photograph of a black man hanging from a campus tree,” the Post reports.”

    ““The Enemy at Home” is so ridiculous that I donÂ’t even know where to begin my demolition job. Much of it is a tiresome rant at the perceived excesses of the left, rather than a coherent attempt to buttress his thesis statements. It is true, as DÂ’Souza points out, that bin Laden has, on occasion, decried the moral decline of America. However, bin LadenÂ’s main grouse with the United States has been its foreign policy, ranging from its stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia and support of Israel to the sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s and support of pro-Western autocracies. (“Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden,” edited by Duke University Professor Bruce Lawrence, is a useful compendium of bin LadenÂ’s public declarations over the years.) DÂ’Souza knows this, and hence in a sleight of hand focuses a lot of attention on the writings of earlier Islamic fundamentalists like Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb.

    As for DÂ’SouzaÂ’s assertion that the liberal-left resembles Islamic radicals since both groups share a critique of the United States, his logic follows a path like this: The Nazis and American conservatives shared a passionate dislike for communism and socialism. Ergo, conservatives and Nazis have had a similar worldview.

    D’Souza’s logic is so over the top that on “The Colbert Report,” he even blamed FDR in part for setting off the chain of events that culminated in 9/11. Bizarrely, he admitted to Colbert that he shared some of Osama’s assessment about the immorality of American culture.

    DÂ’Souza has reportedly made good money over the years through his books and lecture appearances, satisfying the rightÂ’s desire to have a nonwhite face amplifying its most ludicrous assertions. Maybe the moolah he has raked in compensates him enough for selling his soul.”

  21. i thought illiberal ed was solid.

    SOLID? … to manipulate the worlds of Martin Luther King, the world’s most famous Black civil rights leader, and say that his dream had been ‘destroyed’ by affirmative action?

    it was a SOLID piece of shit when I glanced through it to use it for an essay on affirmative action. And now he’s got another crapfest to add to the collection.

    In fact, D’Souza’s writing is an insult to intelligent right-wing thinkers and analysts – can’t think of any right now (hmmm…), but there are articulate, engaging right-leaning bloggers on this site, like Vinod.

    If you do roll on the other side of the fence, WHY would you use Dinesh D’Souza as an exemplary writer?… He’s just…there are no words for him…just one of the biggest PRICKS any community has ever seen.

  22. SOLID? … to manipulate the worlds of Martin Luther King, the world’s most famous Black civil rights leader, and say that his dream had been ‘destroyed’ by affirmative action?

    i don’t have my copy in front of me, but if i recall it begins with a case study of an asian student who doesn’t get into berkley despite much higher grades and sat score than admitted blacks, and higher even than admitted whites. if i recall berkley was using a system where applicants were compared within their particular ethnic group, which has since been dropped, exonerting d’souza.

    i don’t know if he “manipulated” mlks words, using mlk “dream” speech as an argument against AA has been a staple conservative argument, and its fair even though mlk would probably approve of AA. d’souza showed the human cost in his case study. that AA could be used to discriminate against another minority is a powerful argument. i thopught it was DD at his best, and the title of the book “illiberal…” shows it is this work where he finds the most common ground with liberalism. after all, anyone who has read marx or marcuse knows it is liberalism, not conservatism, that is their real target.

    one of the biggest PRICKS any community has ever seen.

    well, i guess that explains the ann coulter/laura ingaram thing.

  23. D’Souza quite clearly is just trying to make money by going Coulter on us.

    It won’t work though, while both their faces posess the same amount of masculinity, Ann does have nicer legs. Republicans can therefore masturbate physically and mentally to Coulter’s “work”, where as D’Souza’s only offers the latter. If anyone deserves the monicker uncle tom, it’s him.

    i don’t know if he “manipulated” mlks words, using mlk “dream” speech as an argument against AA has been a staple conservative argument, and its fair even though mlk would probably approve of AA.

    How is it fair to take one line out of context, from quite possibly the only speech he’s ever read into intently? D’souza claims he’s read “every word the man has written” but seems to have skipped this paragraph, from the book ‘Why we can’t wait’, published 1963,

    “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.”

    or how about this one

    “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.” [link]

  24. I don’t have much use for the ‘great feminist’ Madhu Kishwar ever since she turned apologist for sati - she takes her personal chip on the shoulder about desis overseas and defensiveness a bit far, and it’s an embarrassment to her (not to mention a waste of her obvious intelligence and energy).

    Outlook had an article on why desis love to hate Arundhati Roy, and while I have mixed feelings about Roy myself, I enjoyed it. Tavleen Singh writes very intelligently even though I disagree with her about almost everything, but she’s lost a good deal of credibility in the journalistic community for switching her positions based on who she’s dating at the moment…most famously, her radical about-turn on the BJP in the early 1990s, so I’d want to see her citation for the Roy quote rather than take it on faith…

    The one vaguely interesting thing Dinesh D’Souza pointed out was that conservative Americans agree with the likes of OBL about American decadence, and that’s actually been written about – far more intelligently – by Margalit and Buruma in “Occidentalism.”

  25. jihadi wannabe arundhati would do well if she could reach the honesty levels of a kishwar or a tavleen within a few lifetimes. but rather than discussing personalities, wouldn’t it make more sense to found out why americans are funding both “leftist” islamic and “rightist” missionary strains of psec opinion in india. surely, they are not seaching for higher truths!! the latest cases being promotion of sundry romilas, jindals, and udit rajs..

    stewart probably did the ultimate deep six on psecs like arundhati in the following piece: see insight on india and pakistan: http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/the_daily_show/videos/john_hodgman/index.jhtml

  26. Troll Singh – it’s the intellectual honesty or lack thereof that I was trying to point out re: Madhu Kishwar and Tavleen Singh. There are many points on which I agree with and admire Kishwar (e.g. criticising leftist economic dinosaurs, commitment to making a difference on the ground rather than going on the speaking tour circuit) but her beef with lefties who take foreign money or Indians overseas who “exploit” their nationality and claim to speak for all India are really over the top and I can’t take her too seriously in that regard (also hypocritical as she writes in English and arguably claims to speak for all of Indian womanhood). The point of the sati article was to show how nutty she can be in her defensiveness of “the people’s culture” and “elite intellectuals.”

    Quizman said:

    People who take her seriously are the same sort who hate India and the US (and I use that word carefully). Note that these folks forget that for all the faults that India and the US have, they allow constructive and critical dialogue. I don’t see the same kind of venal hatred by these lefties to China (inspite of genocide in Tibet, censorship, oppression etc), Saudi Arabia (countless human rights abuses) and so on.

    With due respect, I take Roy seriously (though don’t agree with her on everything) and don’t fit any of these criteria, actually. Perhaps some indian lefties apologise for China these days. But everyone I know who admires Roy strongly opposes the likes of Saudi Arabia (I mean, what’s not to hate for a lefty – oppressive oil-rich misognynistic monarchy). Roy may go a bit overboard in her bashing of corporations and globalisation but she lives her democratic principles, seems genuinely committed to the poor and their interests, and certainly doesn’t deserve the kind of strong reaction that she’s got from a lot of people in India (e.g. the attempt by, was it the Gujarat govt, a few years ago to hold her in contempt of court and try to arrest her for some political criticism).

  27. You know, D’Souza is really no different from wacko leftists who say that American deserved 9-11 for “insert pet cause here”. Note, I say wacko leftists, not progressives or Democrats. There are wacko rightists, too. I’m not sure what his purpose was with this book, other than book sales…….I thought Letters to a Young Conservative was a bit simple-minded, but basically okay. I haven’t read the current book in question and doubt I will.

  28. SP but her beef with lefties who take foreign money or Indians overseas who “exploit” their nationality and claim to speak for all India are really over the top and I can’t take her too seriously in that regard

    You missed her point. It was not as if she opposes getting foreign grants. She just wants those who oppose foreign investment to practice what they preach. I agree with her. Roy, Patkar and others of their ilk (notably Vandana Shiva) want multinationals out of India, but they do not hesitate to go on the US lecture circuit, especially in Universities whose programs are funded by the very same multinationals they oppose. That is the hypocrisy that Kishwar was pointing out. Why is it okay for these ‘celebrities’ and not okay for a lower middle class guy to have employment opportunities to work in India?

    Btw, Kishwar also writes and speaks in Hindi.

  29. You know, D’Souza is really no different from wacko leftists who say that American deserved 9-11 for “insert pet cause here”.

    What left-leaning political commentator who has significant publishing and distribution capacity (as D’Souza has) would ever state America deserved 9-11? I’d be interested in any examples you had in mind when making that statement.

  30. HMF: I don’t think you got my point. My point was, there were commenters who said 9-11 happened because of such and such a policy, which slips into the, you kind of deserved it because of: your relations with Israel, Mid-East policy, imperialism, etc, etc. You know what I mean. Don’t be such a partisan-type.

  31. My point was, there were commenters who said 9-11 happened because of such and such a policy, which slips into the, you kind of deserved it because of: your relations with Israel, Mid-East policy

    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.

    Also Dinesh D Souza is not that fringe. He is pretty mainstream in conservative circles. His other vile books were all loudly cheered by the right wing.

  32. Poor wording on my part. Both D’Souza and Sontag say 9-11 happened because of certain things certain Americans have done. Better wording?

    Jeez, guys.

  33. Not sure what quote you’re speaking of, but a quick wiki search turns up:

    “Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a ‘cowardly’ attack on ‘civilization’ or ‘liberty’ or ‘humanity’ or ‘the free world’ but an attack on the world’s self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions? How many citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq? And if the word “cowardly” is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill others. In the matter of courage (a morally neutral virtue): Whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday’s slaughter, they were not cowards.”

    While this quote might not sit well with most, it’s nowhere near “America deserved 9-11″ The most contentious component I’d say is, “…undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions?”, but seriously, who gets in planes and flies them into buildings unless they feel compelled to for whatever reason? (Not that I agree, condone, or even believe those events achieved what the terrorists wanted) But a good vs evil categorization is presidential at best, destructive at worst.

  34. Did you read my subsequent clarification, HMF? There is a symmetry in what D’Souza says and what Sontag says, provided you believe that it is really the radical Islamist ideology that is the reason that 9-11 happened, whatever ‘provocations’ Osama gives as justifications.

  35. You say:

    is really no different from wacko leftists who say that American deserved 9-11 for

    then follow it up with:

    Don’t be such a partisan-type

    I’ll let that irony speak for itself.

  36. Nice ellipses. Why did you leave the rest of my quote out? Do you work for the Times? I followed it up with: there are wackos on the right, too.

  37. Sorry, but the “there are wackos on the right, too” read like an afterthought, very much a CYA clause.

    Both D’Souza and Sontag say 9-11 happened because of certain things certain Americans have done
    provided you believe that it is really the radical Islamist ideology that is the reason that 9-11 happened

    If it’s totally disconnected from American action, and is solely radical Islamist ideology as you put it, why hasn’t each majority Christian nation gotten planes into their buildings (London, Mumbai, Madrid all have been hit, but I think even you’d agree the biggest notch in Al Qaida’s belt is an attack on the US)? How did America get the largest bullseye ?

  38. MD,

    No, there is not symmetry between Sontag and D’Souza for the very simple reason that terrorists have specifically justified their attacks on the U.S. based on America’s foreign policy actions. The average Muslim doesn’t really care whether Britney Spears shakes her bonbons, but does take a big interest in the Israel/ Palestine question. Sontag simply pointed out that Al Qaeda SAYS it is pissed off about U.S. foreign policy. D’Souza, unhappy with this explanation, instead wants to say that the thing HE doesn’t like — decadent liberal culture — is actually what spurs support for terrorism. We can acknowledge what it is our enemies want without saying, “Hey, let’s give it to them!” I don’t think it was considered inappropriate during the Civil War to say, “Gosh, the South probably wouldn’t have seceded if we’d just been cool about slavery expansion,” as long as the speaker recognized that slavery expansion was wrong. But it would have been utterly moronic and pointless to say, “Gosh, the South probably wouldn’t have seceded if Northern girls just learned how to sit down in a hoopskirt properly.”

  39. Quizman, All of Roys critics have the same pattern. None of them ever question her on the facts or what she wrote. They stretch her words to draw their own conclusions and criticize those. There is much that i disagree on her take on iraq, but that is a different matter.

    Roy, Patkar and others of their ilk (notably Vandana Shiva) want multinationals out of India, but they do not hesitate to go on the US lecture circuit, especially in Universities whose programs are funded by the very same multinationals they oppose. That is the hypocrisy that Kishwar was pointing out. Why is it okay for these ‘celebrities’ and not okay for a lower middle class guy to have employment opportunities to work in India

    If you use that yardstick no one is exempt. Are you saying Kishwar is somehow morally honest because she takes money from MNCs and does not critique them. By that yardstick kishwar would be soldout. Come on you can’t club Shiva with Roy. Roy doesn’t want MNCs out of India, she only wants them to play the game fairly. I didn’t know Roy wrote against middle-class not to work for MNCs.

  40. If it were cultural decadence that stressed Al Qaeda out, why not attack Japan (until recent approval of birth control pill, had high abortion rate) or Canada (like America, with nationwide gay marriage and legalized pot) or the Netherlands (like Canada, but more so)? It is a disgusting, self-serving strategy to fault something that clearly is NOT the reason for terrorism.

  41. Okay, HMF, riddle me this: Do you think it is ideology that supports the idea that civilians are a fair target in an ‘assymetrical’ war? YOu really don’t get what I am saying? I’m not defending D’Souza or Sontag. I’m saying, it is ideology that says killing civilians is fair game to protest foreign policy, fight the US, etc. That’s what I’m saying.

  42. None of them ever question her on the facts or what she wrote.

    Why take the time to rebut insane accusations like the one on the Indian govt in her most recent article. It is akin to the crazy “jewish conspiracy of 9/11″ theory. Other articles have been rebutted before. Just search on google.

    And here international articles (on the US mostly) are straightforward parroting from The Nation. One may disagree with The Nation, but one can’t accuse them of not being original. She merely rehashes stuff from here and there. [Stuff about Calpert etc]. Was it Ashish Nandy who had written a scathing rebuttal of one of her articles on Outlook? It was a while ago, I don’t recall.

    See 1 (Roy later published an apology in Outlook), for example.

    It is quite tragic that people took Narmada Bachao quite seriously before such celebrities started meddling in it and made it a global issue rather than a serious regional one. People even lost respect for Patkar for associating with her type. The NBA spent half their energy on her battles with the Supreme Court. The displaced farmers of course, were mere pawns for both sides. :-(