World domination through the back door

14 03 2007

back doorGreat article in TNR from Andrew Sullivan, “The Global Moral Majority”. He talks about Dinesh D’Souza’s latest screed, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, in which the one-time agent provocateur of the university set attempts to lay the blame for 9/11 solidly at the feet of U.S. liberals.

Yup, that’s right. Liberals caused 9/11. Because, according to D’Souza, they led America to worship individualism and hold consumerism and ego satisfaction above all else—not to mention their contempt for religion.

A lot has already been written about The Enemy at Home, all of it by people a lot smarter than me, but this latest piece is notable for coming from a writer who in the days following the terrorist strikes on the Twin Towers, gave a chummy shout-out—and a not-so-veiled warning—to everybody’s favourite America-haters:

The decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead – and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column.

So if anyone should know about how U.S. citizens are stymieing the War on Terror, it’s Andrew Sullivan. Of course, Sullivan would later strongly veer left on the war, due largely to his principled opposition to the U.S.’s handling of the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.

What’s also important about this new piece is that, as Sullivan points out, D’Souza is nakedly (and refreshingly, as far as Sullivan is concerned) stating what his true aim is:

The sole merit of Dinesh D’Souza’s new book is that it acknowledges this intellectual collapse, even as it is itself a document of that collapse; and it proposes a new way forward. Whatever else may be said about The Enemy at Home–and the maledictions from left and right have been ferocious–it has at least the courage to pursue the logic of Bush-era conservatism all the way to its end. In this sense, it is a mainstream conservative book, in its own way even a visionary one, expanding on the direction that American conservatism has taken and daring it to continue aggressively on that very path.

What is that path? At its core is a deepening rejection of cultural and philosophical modernity. D’Souza believes that the defining new distinction in American politics is no longer between the economic right and the economic left. The size of government and its role as a guardian of the public welfare are increasingly dead issues, or issues where no vital energy crackles. D’Souza rightly holds that the real divide in the new century is between authority and autonomy, between faith-based politics and individual freedom. And in this struggle at the level of first principles, D’Souza chooses his own side. He is at war with the modern West. If forced to choose between a theocratic order that upheld traditional morality and a secular order that saw such morality marginalized, D’Souza is with the former. He puts it more graphically himself: “Yes, I would rather go to a baseball game or have a drink with Michael Moore than with the grand mufti of Egypt. But when it comes to core beliefs, I’d have to confess that I’m closer to the dignified fellow in the long robe and prayer beads than to the slovenly fellow with the baseball cap.”

That pretty much says it all (but I encourage you to read the whole thing).

I remember being in an honours year literature course when our lecturer, a handle-bar moustachioed Canadian who identified as a conservative and once read out his poems naked at an arts festival in Edinburgh (though that’s neither here nor there), had us debate one of D’Souza’s earlier books, a tirade against affirmative action. I don’t remember much about the book or the debate except to say that the lecturer was a very smart cookie who had us all on the ropes.

Back then, he encouraged us impressionable young students to think outside the liberal box, and to see D’Souza as a principled conservative. I wonder what he thinks of him now.

[image by destinelee, at Flickr]

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