D’Souza dilates on our natural friendship with Muslims
In an interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez at NRO, Dinesh D’Souza tells us more about his weird and wacky strategy for dealing with Islam as laid out in his book, The Enemy At Home: the Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 (previously discussed here). Cultural-left decadence is the main reason radical Muslims fear and hate us. Traditional Muslims are our natural allies. We should become more socially conservative ourselves, and align ourselves with the traditional Muslims against the radical Muslims.
But wait—according to D’Souza’s analysis, if we become more socially conservative, the radical Muslims would stop hating us, so we wouldn’t have to align with the traditional Muslims to protect ourselves from the radical Muslims, would we?
While the decadent American popular culture surely exacerbates Muslims’ hostility to us (I’ve said the same myself), the idea that it’s the main and decisive factor sparking jihadism and terrorism ignores the central doctrines and history of Islam. D’Souza thus joins a long list of theorists who take their own bête-noire, whatever it may be, and self-interestedly declare that Muslims hate us because of that bête-noire. If you dislike America because it doesn’t do enough for Third-World poverty, you think Muslims hate us for not doing enough for Third-World poverty. If you dislike America for being imperialistic, you think Muslims hate us for our imperialism. If you dislike Israel, you think Muslims hate us because of our support for Israel. So now D’Souza comes along, and his bête noire (at the moment) is moral decadence spread by the cultural left, and so he says Muslims hate us because of moral decadence spread by the cultural left.
The little problem is that just a few years ago, in his last AEI funded book, Why America Is the Greatest Thing that Ever Existed in the Whole Universe and Why We Must Love It Like Crazy, D’Souza was celebrating America’s cultural-leftist decadence as a subversive, liberating force that threatens and freaks out traditional hidebound Muslims and so helps spread true American individualism to the world.
It’s all terribly confusing.
However, more disturbing than S’Souza’s facile explanation of why Muslims hate us is his thesis that traditional Muslims are our friends. Reader, prepare yourself:
Our concern should be with the traditional Muslims, who are the majority in the Muslim world. These people are also religious and socially conservative, and they are our natural allies. In fact, since the cultural Left in America is de facto allied with the radical Muslims, we as conservatives have no choice but to ally with the traditional Muslims. We cannot win the war on terror without them. No matter how many Islamic radicals we kill, it’s no use if twice as many traditional Muslims join them. Now building bridges to this group doesn’t mean changing our way of life, and if we are conservative there is nothing that needs to be changed. Our values are quite similar to those of traditional Muslims. There’s no point chasing after “liberals” who believe in secularism and feminism and homosexual rights. Such people are quite rare and they have no constituency in any Muslim country. The traditional Muslims are our best bet. Besides, they’re not asking us to live like them. They’re asking us not to attack their religion, which conservatives do with depressing regularity. They’re asking us not to force secularism and separation of church and state on their society, another foolish cause to which some conservatives subscribe. And they would feel a lot better about America if they could see the “other” America, which is say, Red America, the America they don’t see on television, where people go to work and look after their families and subscribe to traditional values and go to church. Bush should project more of this America to the rest of the world, especially to the traditional cultures of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East….D’Souza did one worthy book, Illiberal Education, and then, riding a wave of success and fame, he got too ambitious. Like Francis Ford Coppola madly overreaching with Apocalypse Now, he blew his mind out with The End of Racism, a vast mess of a tome that seriously discredited him with people on both the left and the right (though the book also has some conservative fans), and ever since then, a ghost of his former young-conservative-star self, he’s produced one weird meretricious “book” for AEI after another. The guy should go into another field. At least after a certain point Coppola had the sense to stop directing movies.
D’Souza’s remarks on Islam quoted above, made after he has just written a book about the Islam problem, offer the most appalling string of false clichés about Islam I’ve ever run into. It was a dirty job, but the author of The End of Racism was clearly the man for it. (For background on D’Souza’s record as a certified liar, see this and this.)
Andrew Bostom, author and editor of The Legacy of Jihad, is also appalled at D’Souzas’ comments on Islam. He writes:
This man is distressingly ignorant and stupid. There is nothing “weird” going on here, just dangerous stupidity. He should be a laughingstock. Instead he gets an NRO interview.Howard Sutherland writes:
D’Souza seems to have lost his faith along with any common sense he may once have had. He used to be a somewhat rosary-on-his-sleeve Roman Catholic—he even wrote short guides to the Catholic classics that were useful pointers to the real thing. Now he is lamenting that conservatives “attack [Moslems’] religion … with depressing regularity.” One can “attack” Islam politely or rudely, but if one believes, as a Christian must, that Islam is a false religion, is one excused from the duty of saying so by some pragmatic desire to make common cause with Moslems against secular Leftists—even if such an alliance offered any hope of achieving anything worthwhile? And clearly it doesn’t. D’Souza must not have noticed that Moslems and Western Leftists have already made common cause—with each other in an expedient alliance against Christendom and whatever else remains to keep Western societies Western. The “traditional” Moslems have selected their enemies—and D’Souza (assuming he has not completely become a one-world Leftist himself) is one of them, whether he sees that or not.Tom S. writes:
There are so many errors in Mr. D’Souza’s book, it would take a book at least as long as his to correct them, but let’s dispose of the central argument; Muslims DO NOT hate us because of post 1960s social decay. Sayyid Qutb, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood and founder of much Islamist ideology, was radicalized against the West by a year-long stay in the United States in 1948. He was particularly scandalized by a church dance in Greeley, Colorado, where no alcohol was served. He was outraged by men and women touching each other as they danced. So let’s hope that D’Souza is ready to give up the fox-trot, as well as the twist. But earlier, in the nineteenth Century, numerous Ottoman visitors to the West had been equally shocked and horrified by the immoral waltzes danced at European courts. So none of that waltzing—it horrifies Muslims! Right, Mr. D’Souza? But even earlier, Islamic travelers to Europe in the Middle Ages commented on the licentiousness of unveiled European women. It makes sense; after all, a woman dressed in a chaperon and houppelande is just so much “uncovered meat” to an Islamist. So, none of those decadent, provocative wimples, and none of that romantic troubador trash; right, Mr. D’Souza? But even earlier … but enough. It should be obvious by now that the decadence for which we are despised is tied up with a little thing called “Western Culture.” Ready to give that up, Mr. D’Souza? Of course, we’d still be infidels …LA replies:
Thanks to Mr. S. for this. I did not know about nineteenth century and even medieval Islamic visitors to Europe being scandalized by the licentious manners of those times.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 17, 2007 10:05 AM | Send