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Friday, September 08, 2006

ABF Friday:  Blame America First edition!

While everyone else in the liberal blogosphere is focused on the world-historical shenanigans of ABC-Disney-Rove’s fictionalized docudrama, The Path to 9/11: Clinton Did It (original title: A Million Little Pieces of the Democrats’ Plan to Undermine America), I figure that somebody around here ought to be paying attention to the Old Media, namely, books. 

So it is in the spirit of bookselling hucksterism that I bring you the new fall line for Outer Wingnuttia, courtesy of Dinesh D’Souza:

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. Their outspoken opposition to American foreign policy—including the way the Bush administration is conducting the war on terror—contributes to the growing hostility, encouraging people both at home and abroad to blame America for the problems of 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.

No, dear friends, this is not one of my parody posts. 

According to D’Souza, 9/11 was brought to you by people legitimately outraged by the sexual liberty of women, gay marriage, birth control, and no-fault divorce.  Not to mention Bill Moyers.  For who can forget Osama bin Laden’s searing videotape of fall 2001, in which he speaks of “eighty years” of Arab “humiliation and disgrace,” calls for the restoration of the Caliphate, and condemns the United States for “no-fault divorce” and its impact on the traditional family?  “Your Barney Frank has always repelled me,” added bin Laden in the October 2004 tape that is widely credited with boosting George Bush’s re-election campaign.  “I was most pleased when your Dick Armey called him ‘Barney Fag,’ and I urge your homosexuals to stop abusing the freedom to choose their life partners.  Also, your Michael Moore is considerably overweight.”

D’Souza, you’ll recall, began his post-Dartmouth Review career as a public intellectual in 1984 with a hagiography of Jerry Falwell, entitled Falwell:  Before the Millenium.  That’s the book in which D’Souza writes, “listening to Falwell speak, one gets a sense that something is right about America, after all.” The Enemy at Home, far from advancing a “startling claim,” is just more of the same old same old: Falwell’s once-notorious post-9/11 remarks in book form.

I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say “you helped this happen.”

“All right, Michael,” you say, “you’ve gone after D’Souza before, haven’t you?”

Why, yes, I have.  Ten years ago I published a review of The End of Racism, the book in which D’Souza dilates on the “civilizational differences” between blacks and whites, poses the searching question, “what do blacks as a group owe America for the abolition of slavery?” and argues that “the American slave was treated like property, which is to say, pretty well.” I ended that review by saying, “As I contemplate The End of Racism, I await the requisite soul-searching on the Right.” My old pal Mark Bauerlein dismissively replied to this sentence, in his oft-cited review of one of my books, by calling it “piously contemplative.” Bauerlein said nothing about the actual D’Souza volume that gave rise to my pious moment, however, and in the intervening years I haven’t seen any other conservatives taking their distance from D’Souza.  So I suppose you could say that I’m still waiting for that soul-searching, even though the decade hand on my watch has moved and I’m beginning to think that the conservative repudiation of D’Souza might never show up at all, and you know, it’s getting kind of cold out here.

“Yes, yes, Michael, we know.  You and D’Souza go way back, blah blah blah.  But he’s a marginal figure at best, just one of the Coulteresque figures in those crazy ‘culture wars’ that only a handful of talking heads and campus blowhards care about.  The American mainstream doesn’t go for this kind of thing—really, most Americans are in the vital center, and people like you should stop worrying about the radical fringe and help us restore civility to public discourse along with Katie Couric and Rush Limbaugh.  After all, who publishes Dinesh D’Souza anymore?  Regnery, right?  Or maybe Thomas Nelson, the home of Michael Savage and other obscure Christian authors?”

Well, actually, no, you increasingly annoying imaginary interlocutor. Falwell: Before the Millenium was published by Regnery, that much is true, as was D’Souza’s 2002 tome, What’s So Great About America? (Answer: not teh gays and loose women!) But The Enemy at Home was published by Random House.

And that probably explains why D’Souza had to drop his working title, Al-Qaeda Was Right

Posted by Michael on 09/08 at 08:03 AM
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