Spencer: The D'Souza Follies
The featured article at FrontPage this morning is my full review of Dinesh D'Souza's The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11:
In response, D’Souza calls for the American right to build a traditional values coalition with what he calls “traditional Muslims,” who abhor both bin Laden and Britney Spears. “Admittedly,” he acknowledges, “some on the right may feel uncomfortable about teaming up with Muslims. 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.” Which core beliefs? D’Souza doesn’t say, but the grand mufti of Egypt has declared sculpture un-Islamic, so perhaps he and D’Souza could get together for a fun evening of statue-smashing. Of course, that is one of the core beliefs of the mufti that no doubt D’Souza does not share. But this is just one example of D’Souza’s propensity to make statements without apparently having examined their implications.
For although his book is focused on the Left, D’Souza has criticism for the Right also. He asserts that in order to cement the necessary alliance with these “traditional” Muslims, “the right must take three critical steps. First, stop attacking Islam. Conservatives have to cease blaming Islam for the behavior of the radical Muslims. Recently the right has produced a spate of Islamophobic tracts with titles like Islam Unveiled, Sword of the Prophet, and The Myth of Islamic Tolerance. There is probably no better way to repel traditional Muslims, and push them into the radical camp, than to attack their religion and their prophet.” He offers no prescription for how his “traditional Muslims” can repel the appeal to violence that jihadists everywhere base on the teachings of “their religion and their prophet,” for presumably in D’Souza’s ideal world even Muslim reformers, since they insult Muslim sensibilities, would be forbidden to discuss the Islamic teachings that jihadists use today to make their case among Muslims. How anyone would in that case counter or repel this jihadist appeal D’Souza does not explain.
Conservatives also must also “stop holding silly seminars on whether Islam is compatible with democracy. In reality, a majority of the world’s Muslims today live under democratic governments – in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Turkey, not to mention Muslims living in Western countries. There is nothing in the Koran or the Islamic tradition that forbids democracy.” And “if they want Sharia, let them have it.” Of course, even if most Muslims today do live under democracies, to assume that this means Islam is compatible with democracy is like saying that most Russians loved Stalin’s reign of terror, since they lived under it regime for so long.
But that is just a small example from one of the most poorly reasoned books I have ever read. There is so much wrong with it that a review that noted it all would be as long as the book itself, and many have already pointed out some of the holes in D’Souza’s thesis: although Kathryn Lopez fawned over D’Souza in National Review, the New York Times, Glenn Beck, and others have given him a hard time. D’Souza’s central contention, that the left has allied with Islamic jihadists and therefore the right should ally with “traditional Muslims” on the basis of shared moral values, is wrong in numerous ways. First, who are these “traditional Muslims”? In his entire book, D’Souza offers not a single name, although his criticism of conservative opposition to the Dubai ports deal last year suggests that he may consider the United Arab Emirates (which he calls “the small country of Dubai”) a “traditional Muslim” state. D’Souza doesn’t mention the fact that the 9/11 hijackers used the Emirates as a base of operations, or that Al-Qaeda has claimed to have infiltrated the Emirati government.
Read it all.