Monday, January 29, 2007

D'Souza's March

Someone help us. Is D'Souza playing stupid or actually this stupid?

From an editorial in The Washington Post:
In the pages of Esquire, Mark Warren charges that I "hate America" and have "taken to heart" Osama bin Laden's view of the United States. (Warren also challenged me to a fight and threatened to put me in the hospital.) In his New York Times review of my book last week, Alan Wolfe calls my work "a national disgrace . . . either self-delusional or dishonest." I am "a childish thinker" with "no sense of shame," he argues. "D'Souza writes like a lover spurned; despite all his efforts to reach out to Bin Laden, the man insists on joining forces with the Satanists."

It goes on. The Washington Post's Warren Bass writes that I think Jerry Falwell was "on to something" when he blamed the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, on pagans, gays and the ACLU. Slate's Timothy Noah diagnoses me with "Mullah envy," while the Nation's Katha Pollitt calls me a "surrender monkey" and the headline to her article brands me "Ayatollah D'Souza." And in my recent appearance on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," I had to fend off the insistent host. "But you agree with the Islamic radicals, don't you?" Stephen Colbert asked again and again.

Why the onslaught? Just this: In my book, published this month, I argue that the American left bears a measure of responsibility for the volcano of anger from the Muslim world that produced the 9/11 attacks. President Jimmy Carter's withdrawal of support for the shah of Iran, for example, helped Ayatollah Khomeini's regime come to power in Iran, thus giving radical Islamists control of a major state; and President Bill Clinton's failure to respond to Islamic attacks confirmed bin Laden's perceptions of U.S. weakness and emboldened him to strike on 9/11. I also argue that the policies that U.S. "progressives" promote around the world -- including abortion rights, contraception for teenagers and gay rights -- are viewed as an assault on traditional values by many cultures, and have contributed to the blowback of Islamic rage.
"All I said was that Joycelyn Elders and Dan Savage should take some responsibility for the 3,000 people who were murdered by Wahabbist Sunni sympathizers on September 11th! And somehow, people got mad at me!"

Dinesh, sahib, let me help you out. Liberal critics aren't mad at you because they want to suppress your truthiness. They're not mad at you because your theories contradict theirs. They're mad at you because you're calling them killers.

However, D'Souza's march gets back on the beat in his penultimate grafs, thus:
The second reason [that everyone's mad at me] can be gleaned from the common theme in the reviews: that mine is a dangerous book. But if a book says things that are obviously untrue and can be disproved, then it is not dangerous -- it is merely fiction and should be ignored. A book is dangerous only if it exposes something in the culture that some people are eager to keep hidden.

And what is that? It is that the far left seems to hate Bush nearly as much as it hates bin Laden. Bin Laden may want sharia, or Islamic law, in Baghdad, they reason, but Bush wants sharia in Boston. Indeed, leftists routinely portray Bush's war on terrorism as a battle of competing fundamentalisms, Islamic vs. Christian. It is Bush, more than bin Laden, they say, who threatens abortion rights and same-sex marriage and the entire social liberal agenda in the United States. So leftist activists such as Michael Moore and Howard Zinn and Cindy Sheehan seem willing to let the enemy win in Iraq so they can use that defeat in 2008 to rout Bush -- their enemy at home.
Here D'Souza touches on an overlooked weakness in Western liberalism.

In the years since America went to war with Iraq, leftists in the West have found themselves in the awkward position of defending Muslim fundamentalism ("how dare the French forbid students from wearing veils! how dare those Norwegians publish political cartoons that insult the Prophet!") while attacking Christian fundamentalism ("how dare evolution make apologies for creation myths", etc). The problem: religious fundamentalism is all of a piece. To insist that an ancient, contradictory text holds the inspired word of a god denies common sense.

D'Souza, however, is the first conservative commentator we've read who doesn't take the converse of the Left's theme (Muslim fundamentalism BAD; Christian fundamentalism GOOD) but takes, instead, the contrapositive (all forms of fundamentalism GOOD). So bravo to him for a foolish consistency, we guess.


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