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Dinesh D'Souza and Andrew Sullivan: Both Miserably Wrong

By now, dear reader, you have likely heard about the brouhaha Dinesh D'Souza's latest tome has fomented. Mr. D'Souza, a veteran right-wing culture warrior, wrote The Enemy at Home a silly screed that blames the American Left entirely for 9/11.

Although this thesis naturally enraged many of our pals on the political Left, sundry conservatives also found Mr. D'Souza's book wanting--to say the least. For, throughout his book, Mr. D'Souza consistently apologizes for Islamist terrorism. His "Jimmy Carter Made Us Do It" line of argument appallingly lets al Qaeda off the hook for its evil. Accordingly, numerous right-leaning outfits--National Review, The New Criterion, Powerline--have proved distinctly hostile to Mr. D'Souza's pontifications.

Enter Andrew Sullivan. In the pages of the newly expanded New Republic, Mr. Sullivan offered a longish review of Mr. D'Souza's latest opus. And this review is instructive not because it presents numerous reasons to distrust Mr. D'Souza's conclusions (any child could provide that), but rather because it demonstrates the ways in which Mr. Sullivan's preoccupations hamper his ability to write an honest reflection on American conservatism.

Having declared at the outset that "American conservatism is in crisis," Mr. Sullivan goes on to argue that Mr. D'Souza's book is a logical outgrowth of so-called theoconservatism. Mr. D'Souza believes that American social conservatives ought to make common cause with radical Islamists, and Mr. Sullivan perceives that this is an entirely natural view for theoconservatives. After all, both groups dislike gay marriage, abortion, and pornography, and so they're (abracadabra!) a natural fit.

Accordingly, Mr. Sullivan labels the conservative criticism of The Enemy at Home "libertarian." To him, the right-wingers who have excoriated Mr. D'Souza's polemic hail from the Cato Institute end of the political spectrum and that's the only reason why they're bothered by his book.

But this is nonsense--and Andrew Sullivan must know it. Just take two of the most prominent (and vociferous) critics of Mr. D'Souza'a book: Roger Kimball and Victor Davis Hanson.

Mr. Kimball, the co-editor of The New Criterion, is himself a veteran culture warrior. As even a cursory examination of his writing would suggest, he's no libertarian. Ditto Victor Davis Hanson, a man whose criticisms of liberals have often dwelled on moral matters.

It seems clear, in fact, that Mr. Sullivan must label such thinkers "libertarians" merely to suit his own polemical purposes. Mr. Sullivan, that is to say, needs to make his reader believe that theoconservatism is the American corollary to Islamic fascism. In short, he needs to make Dinesh D'Souza's argument seem attractive to social conservatives so that he can demonize them as Christian jihadists (or, as Mr. Sullivan calls them, in a foolish neologism, Christianists).

Why does he want to do this? For one reason and one reason only: Theoconservative hostility to gay marriage. To Mr. Sullivan, theoconservatives and Islamists are both evil because they both oppose gay marriage. Thus there is nary a difference between them.

This, of course, is arrant nonsense. If you can't tell the difference between Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and Osama bin Laden, you have some real problems.

Pace Andrew Sullivan, Dinesh D'Souza's thesis in The Enemy at Home is not a logical outgrowth of social conservatism. That's much like saying that Louis Farrakhan's view of American foreign policy is a logical outgrowth of liberalism.

Just because American liberals have qualms with aspects of America's post-9/11 foreign policy doesn't mean that they all should logically pine for a US defeat in the War on Terrorism. Similarly, just because American conservatives have qualms with aspects of contemporary American culture doesn't mean that they all should logically pine to make common cause with al Qaeda.

This should be glaringly obvious to the average third-grader. Shame on Andrew Sullivan for allowing his own preoccupations to distort so violently his view of reality.

(Note: The crack young staff normally "weblog" at "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," where they are currently wondering whether Andrew Sullivan would argue that Michael Scheuer's blame-everything-on-Israel attitude is a "logical outgrowth" of American liberalism.)


Comments (14)

FYI: Imagine Sideshow Bob a... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

FYI: Imagine Sideshow Bob as The Narrator. FUNNY!

I also attacked D'Souza's n... (Below threshold)

I also attacked D'Souza's nonsense thesis some weeks ago on my website as well. D'Souza's foolishness may appeal to those with a James Dobson one track mind intellect that assumes that a liberal American culture is the decline of everything good, when in fact our culture, movies, books, CDs are some of our greatest exports to the world and what is most admired by much of the world. Russia and China may not always like George Bush, but they love Britney Spears music though, which keeps good feelings about the U.S. open despite open political differences.

It was of course many of the 9/11 highjackers including Mohamad Atta that were spending money like water at a strip club the night before the 9/11 attacks on alcohol and naked women. Apparently Atta's Muslim faith had no problems with either alcohol or naked women, so it must be assumed that he was moltivated by radical politics, not religion. Atta also was a lover of pork chops and other things in direct odds with the Muslim faith as well. The nonsense indictment on American culture by D'Souza avoids all these facts to paint up a blantantly wrong analysis.

It is pathetic the ends that cultural conservatives like D'Souza go to try to destroy culture they do not like. But in the end this American Taliban will not succeed, and eventually the Gay community will have full equal rights in our society, and efforts to destroy free speech will mostly fall short, and outrageous and unconstitutional laws against "indecency" or "obscenity" or other unreasonable free speech restraints on the entertainment industry will be less enforced. Eventually the U.S. will catch up with 1960's Europe in cultural freedom, and slowly toss aside the social retardation of D'Souza, Dobson and other self-righteous cultural dinosaurs.

I've been a lead singer in a band that played with Frank Zappa's band and other national acts, as well as had radio airplay of at least one song that I know of. Music and movies are two of America's greatest gifts to the world. D'Souza is unAmerican to attack our greatest cultural gifts and exports to the world that will stand the sands of time, unlike D'Souza's dinosaur opinions or book. D'Souza reminds me of the socially retarded persons who burnt Beatles albums back in the 1960's, but produced nothing significant for the culture themselves. If it was up to D'Souza or Dobson, America would have no meaningful culture. Movies, music and books are the art of the U.S., equal in value to the great works of European painters of the past.

Sullivan is an embarassment... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Sullivan is an embarassment, and a caricature of what straights believe about gay men (illogical, easily aroused, contradictory).

His thinking is as changeable as a chameleon's colors. And there is no logic that doesn't yield to a whiney, silly emotional rant.

I'm not a religious person,... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

I'm not a religious person, but even can see the basic difference between the extreme Christians and the Islamic fanatics. While it is true they both oppose similar things the major difference is the Christians are annoying with their attempts to "save" me from my multitude of sins. Their ultimate judge is God and their belief is that what I get in the afterlife will be what I deserve. As I said, they are annoying but I don't fear them.

The radical Islamists want to be the judge, jury, and executioner. They openly advocate the murdering of anyone they have deemed offensive--and it seems damn near everything offends them.

Saying they are equivalent is like claiming an adult who scolds a child for misbehaving is morally equivalent to a child molester.

Just because American li... (Below threshold)

Just because American liberals have qualms with aspects of America's post-9/11 foreign policy doesn't mean that they all should logically pine for a US defeat in the War on Terrorism.

Actually, the democrats in the House seem to be pining for our defeat in Iraq, especially that blubbering tub of goo Murtha.

I do not recall any Christi... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I do not recall any Christian conservative leader advocating censorship, book burning and the like. I do recall many saying to the PARENTS to filter what your kids see and hear. I suppose the lefty above does not support parental rights. Your whole comment is based on crazy thinking. How on earth can you say being Christian and a leader is being like a powerful Imam in a theocracy? That is nuts. I believe homosexual acts are a deviant, depraved behavior, but I strongly do not want any violence done to them for sinning. I believe parents are responsible for what their children see and read over their developmental years. Just because I am Christian does not mean I have to be quiet when I see indecency in my neighborhood. What are YOU? I think your comment tells more about you then Christians. ww

Oh. That's "Paul Hooson" w... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Oh. That's "Paul Hooson" who plays in a band.

Don't mind him, he's irrelevant.

Mr. D'Souza believ... (Below threshold)
Mr. D'Souza believes that American social conservatives ought to make common cause with radical Islamists

No he doesn't. I believe D'Souza argues that American social conservatives ought to make common cause with moderate Moslems as a bulwark against the radical Islamists.

I'm not a fan of D'Souza's book, which I consider to be an embarrassment, and the above argument is dicey at best, but let's not put words in his mouth.

Also, if you really can't see the difference between Christian conservatives in prayer meetings and psycho Islamist terrorists who have threatened our entire civilization with bloody war and death, you need to stop writing comments on blogs and do something more in line with your limited abilities, such as playing with toy trucks in a sandbox or maybe fingerpainting.

Well, OM, it's the old 'out... (Below threshold)
kim:

Well, OM, it's the old 'out of the mouths of babes' bit. Completely unknowingly, he's illustrated quite brilliantly, but conversely and unconsciously, the parallel between the fascism of the left and the fascism of the radical islamists.

We need people like him.
=============================

er, I mean, people like the... (Below threshold)
kim:

er, I mean, people like them.
==================

Carterism is once again rea... (Below threshold)
jainphx:

Carterism is once again rearing its ugly head.444 days our captives were held,the inept Carter WAS the Main building blocks of Al Qaeda.Just why do you think the Phrase paper tiger was used by Osama.Watch if hard line is not taken by the Brits the world will be on the verge of Atomic war.I think your refutation of Mr D'Sousa misses the mark.

Only the introduction of th... (Below threshold)

Only the introduction of the flamboyant Andrew Sullivan could elevate Dinesh's little kerfluffle into brouhaha status.

I take great solace in the knowledge that every time an idea is murdered by one of these two chaps, somewhere, somehow, a Drama Club is born.

:-)

Poor Sully's cognitively di... (Below threshold)
kim:

Poor Sully's cognitively dissonant with the left's love affair with Islamofascism. Yes, I know he's a wingnut; so he tells us.
======================================

Conservatives furiously bac... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Conservatives furiously backpeddling on D'Souza's claims are being laughably disingenuous, if not brazenly hypocritical. Rather amazing, with the appearance of the D'Souza book, they suddenly decide to take a sobriety check after having politically capitalized on over-the-top, far right "Big Lie" rhetoric accusing the left of being godless traitors for the last several years. It's as though they're saying: "well, we weren't really endorsing dominionism, we just wanted to sound like dominionists, that's all."

Gimmie a break. Far right conservatives have been talking out of two sides of their mouth, playing a rhetorical game of "chicken," seeing how far they can push it, how much they can get away with. D'Souza, the simpleton, makes the gauche mistake of taking them at their word and outlining a teleology for a neo-medieval global order.




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