Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dinesh D'Souza: A Modern Right-Wing Intellectual?

There are a lot of right-wing intellectuals out there these days, just as there are those of the left. Avik Roy of Forbes and many other prestigious publications as well as a healthcare adviser to Mitt Romney; Dr. Charles Krauthammer, a well know face of modern conservatism (I grew up reading his syndicated column in the Chicago Tribune, and while rarely agreeing with his politics, I can acknowledge he's more than able to formulate a rational argument); Rich Lowry of the National Review, who took an admirable stand against those who defended George Zimmerman in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting (under the unironic headline: "Al Sharpton Is Right"), and his famously severing National Review ties with John Derbyshire for what many considered an overtly racist article the latter wrote for Taki's Magazine. (I might also mention Jonah Goldberg, another National Review writer who'd be viewed more favorably by me if not for his ideologically bound Liberal Fascism, a book I really can't easily get past for a lot of its specious to out-and-out mendacious claims.) With all those listed I would say there's no doubt in conversation we'd disagree far more than we ever agree. But I respect where they're coming from generally, and for their courage to not always toe the party line, or to say things out of keeping with it.

Despite his Ivy-League credentials and an undoubtedly knowledgeable manner, the same really can't be said of Dinesh D'Souza. An ideologue's ideologue, who apparently has decided to become the right-wing equivalent of Michael Moore by way of his highly partisan documentary, 2016: Obama's America. I had no idea this movie existed until just this past weekend, when I came upon a Facebook friend's comment about it. The premise is really unreal. Where Moore's documentary implied some complicity, either directly or indirectly, by the Bush administration in the events of 9/11 D'Souza's cryptically pronounces Obama as having a secret agenda built upon the aspirations of his "socialistic" birth father, with whom the president it ought to be said barely had a relationship, meeting with Obama only once in his lifetime. Now I'm sure the film addresses their relatively non-existent relationship, maybe in the same way The Dark Knight Rises resolves SPOILER ALERT the relationship between Ra's al Ghul and his daughter, Talia. I don't pretend to know. But I do know it's unlikely to have much more than the most tenuous grip on the facts. And that has more to do with the one from whom its source material is derived, D'Souza himself. D'Souza has long beguiled me with his claims that liberal America must own its fair share of the blame for the 9/11 attacks. Of course he'll repeatedly point to the Shah of Iran's losing support from the Carter administration. What he's less wont to note is it was American and European intervention that foisted the Shah to authoritarian rule in the 1950, and it's also far more likely the ones who own that blame are the corporations who were unhappy with the elected government's nationalizing Iranian oil fields. That tidbit doesn't jibe well with D'Souza's very purposeful and, yes, very unfair message. I'd watch the movie if I thought it would give me any  more but the same from this unabashed ideologue. Sadly, it's been and will continue to be very popular with his target demographic (sigh). Please, though, enjoy Stephen Colbert satirizing the hell out of D'Souza's unreasonable beliefs on the Colbert Report circa 2007:

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