Has Dinesh D’Souza read either The Myth of Islamic Tolerance or the other works by those who contributed to that anthology? What would lead him to call this a book of the “right” or its authors of the “right”? Does he know something about them, about their views on anything other than Islam?
Ibn Warraq, for example. What are his views on the world that Dinesh D’Souza thinks make him someone on the “right”? Is it his contempt for Edward Said and the influence he has had on the study of history and literature? Does that make someone on the “right”? Is it his views on the environment, or taxation, or home-schooling, or possibly on what he thinks of free trade, or the unfettered free market? Does Dinesh D’Souza know a thing about what Ibn Warraq thinks about these things?
And what of the volume’s main contributor, Bat Ye’or? What does Dinesh D’Souza know about her views of taxation, the free market, education, and so on? I suspect he knows nothing at all, because like Ibn Warraq, she has not revealed a thing about her views on such matters. And why should she?
The cheapness of D’Souza, with his reductionism that cannot accommodate scholarship (real, not false) and that offers only phrases such as those about “left” and “right,” can be seen more clearly if one actually examines the contents of The Myth of Islamic Tolerance.
What qualifies Walter Short, author of “The Jizya Tax: Equality and Dignity Under Islamic Law?” to be considered on the right? And what of Samuel Shahid, author of the article “Rights of Non-Muslims in an Islamic State? What, in Dinesh D’Souza’s tiny universe, makes Patrick Sookhdeo’s review of “Christians in the Muslim World” a product of the “right”? And Mark Durie, the Australian who contributed several articles, including “Documentation of Oppression of Religious Freedom in Aceh, Indonesia”?
And does Robert Wistrich’s article “The Ideology of Jihad: Antisemitism/Genocide/Slavery” offend Dinesh D’Souza?
What does Dinesh D’Souza find troubling about the article “Apostasy, Human Rights, Religion and Belief–New Threats or the Freedom of Opinion and Expression: The Problem of Apostasy in an Islamic-Christian Context” by Paul Cook, or the other articles on threats to those who, born into Islam, wish to leave Islam for Christianity or another faith or no faith at all?
What does any of this have to do with “right” or “left”?
Dinesh D”Souza seems unable to think beyond these terms that are so irrelevant to the matter and menace at hand, and in general terms so easy to invoke and wave about. They are a magic wand for someone at the end of his mental tether, struggling to make a media splash and a fast buck, and then a series of slower bucks through the lecture circuit. His inability to go beyond this shallow level is shown in everything about this book and indeed, sheds light on the unedifying career and mental state of Dinesh D’Souza.
He is simply not intelligent enough to discuss these matters. The cheap reductiveness of his thought comes shining through. It was always there. But now it is less difficult, it is easy, to discern.
Someone recently asked: “What religion is D’Souza? I’m trying to get a grip on where he’s coming from.” But this is the wrong question to ask. It is his ideas and worldview that matter. Sometimes knowledge of a particularly piquant private history can help, but often it means little. There are Christians who are apologists for Islam, and Christians who regard Islam with horror. And Jews, ditto. And Hindus, ditto. There are atheists who offer merely a plague on all their houses, equally, and those atheists who distinguish that belief-system that not only makes universalist claims, but also makes no distinction between religion and politics or any other area of life — and does distinguish, however, quite clearly, between Believer and Infidel.
Recently some convert to Islam, in ranting about my proposal to withdraw from Iraq as amounting to “genocide” (i.e., if the Americans don’t stay to keep the Sunnis and Shi’a at each other’s throats, but instead simply leave), described me to Robert as a “Christian fascist.” When Robert corrected at least the epithet, and explained that I was an atheist, the revert-ranter seemed genuinely confused, because he was under the distinct impression that only “Christian fascists” (you know, the ones who have been running around taking over America, and threatening to take over the rest of the world, as Chris Hedges and similar malevolences like to point out) thought this way.
Surely the main point about Dinesh D’Souza is that he is ignorant, is arrogantly unaware of the depths of his ignorance, and is, essentially, stupid. Isn’t that the real problem?
Everything was all right, said the Frenchman, until la betise s’est mise a penser. When Stupidity Began to Think. Whole lot of stupid people at a whole lot of think-tanks, getting a whole lot of grants and fellowships, or still worse, hired and promoted in universities, and meanwhile, with Captain Good attending Captain Ill — well, you get the picture, don’t you?