I found this at Balko’s place and I’m just shaking my head in disbelief. Like he did, I’m going to quote the publisher’s description of a new book by Dinesh D’Souza, a guy I previously considered one of the more bright and serious conservative thinkers. After reading this, I think that assessment has to be reevaluated. A long quote begins below the fold:
In THE ENEMY AT HOME, bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza makes the startling claim that the 9/11 attacks and other terrorist acts around the world can be directly traced to the ideas and attitudes perpetrated by America’s cultural left.
D’Souza shows that liberals–people like Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, Bill Moyers, and Michael Moore–are responsible for fostering a culture that angers and repulses not just Muslim countries but also traditional and religious societies around the world…He argues that it is not our exercise of freedom that enrages our enemies, but our abuse of that freedom–from the sexual liberty of women to the support of gay marriage, birth control, and no-fault divorce, to the aggressive exportation of our vulgar, licentious popular culture.
The cultural wars at home and the global war on terror are usually viewed as separate problems. In this groundbreaking book, D’Souza shows that they are one and the same. It is only by curtailing the left’s attacks on religion, family, and traditional values that we can persuade moderate Muslims and others around the world to cooperate with us and begin to shun the extremists in their own countries.
I love this notion that if someone is free to do something he doesn’t approve of, like take birth control or watch movies he thinks are naughty, then suddenly they’re “abusing” that freedom. Freedom, to him and most social conservatives (whether of the Christian or Muslim variety), really just means that you’re free to do what they approve of you doing. The moment you do things they don’t approve of you’re engaging in “licentiousness” and “abuse of freedom” rather than exercising your freedom. A bit like telling a slave that they’re now free, as long as they don’t leave the plantation. The moment they leave the planation, then they’re “abusing” that freedom and we will take it away from them again. Congratulations, you’ve allowed the caged bird to sing, but you’ve still kept him in the cage.
Balko asks an appropriate question about the logic of D’Souza’s argument:
Which is more likely to inspire an angry young Muslim man to pick up and move to the United States, live and train here for years, then carry out a suicide attack:
(A) That he sees U.S. troops and U.S. military equipment in Muslim holy lands; reads the names of U.S. companies on Israeli missiles and weapons used against Palestiniana; and sees reports of U.S. sanctions starving Iraqi children…
(B) He is aware that American women take birth control, gay couples can get married in Massachusetts, and — I can’t believe anyone would take D’Souza seriously as a thinker after this — no-fault divorce.
But here’s the thing: even if he was absolutely correct and it really is our freedom to do things they hate that makes the radical Muslims so angry at us, the argument is still insanely ridiculous. Let’s grant him the premise of the argument. The argument still boils down to “they hate us for our freedom, so let’s get rid of our freedom.” And they call other people “appeasers”? Had D’Souza been alive in 1941, this book would have argued that the Nazis hate us because we harbor Jews and let them live in peace, and therefore we should kill all the Jews and they would stop hating us. This is a whole new level of stupidity. This is meta-stupidity. This is uber-stupidity. This makes Ann Coulter sound like the voice of reason, for crying out loud. How anyone in their right mind would seriously make such an argument is beyond my ability to comprehend.