My point is not to attack D’Souza but to look at the larger lessons that can be gained from an examination of his career. I don’t claim any special insight into his thought processes, but his public statements can be parsed quite easily. And my overall reason for writing about him is that he’s still a very influential voice in American politics. I doubt that anyone is unaware of his most recent film, Hillary’s America.
D’Souza’s first successful book was published in 1991: An Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus. In it he made the point that so-called “political correctness” was strangling free speech on American college campuses. While there was much praise for the book from conservative critics, there were also protests from professors and academic associations who said that their work and words had been maliciously distorted. I’m planning to read this book and have put it on hold at the library.
From there D’Souza went on from strength to strength, writing best-selling books and working for conservative think tanks. (I’ve never, ever understood what a “think tank” is, or who pays the salaries of those who work for them, but never mind.) He was married in 1992 to Dixie Brubaker, and the couple had one daughter. His books became more and more controversial, with the alarm bells starting to become audible to a larger audience in 2007 with the publication of The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11. Now see if you can follow this argument (admittedly gained from my reading of reviews and summaries): Because traditional Muslim society is based on modesty and reverence for the family, the liberal West with its racy movies, music and literature, its disrespect for the family, indeed its rejection of all conservative values, fueled the rage that led to the 9/11 attacks. So the real blame for the hijacking of the four planes and the loss of thousands of lives lies, not at the feet of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda but of . . . Americans, but just those nasty liberal ones. I guess I’d better plan to read this book too (sigh) to see if D’Souza actually says what the reviews say that he said. If the reports are accurate about his words (and I can barely believe some of the quotes I read) then he is betraying a fundamental lack of knowledge about the roots of radical Islam. Sure, many devout Muslims are disturbed by what they see in Western culture. So am I. Does that make me a potential terrorist?
Well, time has marched on here, and I haven’t even gotten to The Roots of Obama’s Rage or D’Souza’s moral missteps. The Hillary movie is getting its own post later on this week. (Yes, I actually paid for a ticket to see it at a theater this past Saturday. I’m kind of ashamed of myself, but now I can write about it with some authority.) So I’m going to quit for now. See you tomorrow!