Bernard Lewis does not use the Internet. Someone, however, should alert him to the misuse of him as authority, or “auctoritee” (we are back with Chaucer), by the homo unius libri, Dinesh D’Souza, who apparently thinks that he has “studied” Islam when he has read, most imperfectly, Bernard Lewis.
What would one think of anyone who said he had “studied” any subject by reading Authority X, or Y, or Z, and that was the end of the matter?
What would one think of anyone who read that “authority” who was himself pulling his punches, or himself widely criticized for his strange inattention to important matters? In The Middle East: The Last 2000 Years Bernard Lewis manages, in 400 pages, to discuss the treatment of non-Muslims as dhimmis in only three paragraphs, all of them sequential, and two of them essentially exculpatory. In any case, on this point a great many others have flatly contradicted Lewis, including not only Bat Ye’or, the great scholar of the dhimmi condition. Lewis’s nasty and envious attempt to belittle her with that word “dhimmi-tude” has not escaped notice. Lewis has been more and more revealed over the past few years to be not quite The Authority that his acolytes, including some in the Pentagon and in the Vice President’s office, took him to be.
But of course taking him as such relieved them all of the need to go and read fifty others. Clearly D’Souza felt that he had no need to read Antoine Fattal on the legal status of non-Muslims, nor Joseph Schacht. He had no need to read Gustav von Grunebaum, or S. D Goitein. Nor Zwemer, nor St. Clair Tisdall, nor Henri Lammens, nor Muir, nor perhaps the greatest Orientalist of all, Snouck Hurgronje, or a hundred others. Not their books, not their articles, nothing at all.
D”Souza had bits and pieces of Lewis. And even there, he overlooked so much of what Lewis wrote earlier — before, out of vanity perhaps, he began to support the Oslo Accords, and then the farce of transplanting “democracy.” That “democracy” has been defined primitively as mere head-counting, without any of the other elements it has in advanced Western democracies, including the rights of minorities. Such elements appear to have been overlooked by so many of the praters, from Bush to D’Souza, about how it is “racist” to claim that “democracy” cannot everywhere be spread, is not everywhere welcome. It is not “racist” at all to analyze, as so many Orientalists have analyzed, the nature of the belief-system of Islam.
But Dinesh D’Souza hasn’t time to do that. He’s a crowd-pleaser and check-casher, is Dinesh D’Souza. He’s got to offer up those cheap phrases, and get on to the next event.
He is ignorant, and he is stupid. But he is even worse than that: he is someone who felt he had to come up with Something New, Something that could be offered up, however dangerous, however wrong, that he as the Bright Not-Quite-So-Young (46) Conservative, could publish, and sell, and tell us, as he titles his latest article, one that is on the cover of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, “Radical Islam: Why We’ve Got It All Wrong.”
He doesn’t care. He’s selling. And some may be buying. And if he’s wrong, so what? He’s a Holocaust Denier: he denies the Hindu Holocaust. He claims that the wonderful Muslims who conquered and ruled much of India did not kill any Hindus. They killed 60-70 million Hindus, over 250 years. A Holocaust Denier.
But Dinesh D’Souza needs to maintain a certain level of income. What do 60-70 million dead Hindus, and the Jizyah inflicted on the rest, matter? Does the name “Mahmoud of Ghazni” mean anything, or the name “Aurganzeb,” to Dinesh D’Souza? If so, what? And what does he make of the work of Indian historians, and of non-Indians, such as Koenraad Elst and Francois Gautier? Or wasn’t “Islam in India” part of his intensive study of Islam, sitting at the metaphorical feet of Bernard Lewis, who of course hasn’t ever written about Islam in India, not a word?
If the Holocaust Denier and Revisionist “Historian” Dinesh D’Souza, with his criminally negligent presentation of Islam’s teachings, and the history of Jihad-conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims, helps delay the necessary recognition by some Infidels of what it is they are menaced by, and of the true sources of that menace, and why the division of the world between Believer and Infidel predates by 1350 years the appearance among us of such people as Michael Jackson (now becoming a Muslim), and Paris Hilton, and Britney Spears, then Dinesh D’Souza is not merely a bad historian and badly misinformed about the belief-system of Islam, but is also a traitor to the West. He is hurting that West which he claims to be a part of, claims that he helps to buttress, claims that he knows all about, for he is a self-described expert — bestriding the world like a colossus — on Western and non-Western “cultures.”
He knows everything, Dinesh D’Souza. Just don’t bother him with facts. Or logic. Or sense. Or appeals to intellectual coherence.