Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday BookReview: Lynch on Dinesh D'Souza

Andrew Lynch at 'Orate Fratres' blog offers this analysis of one of the books by the president of King's College in New York City:

Dinesh D’Souza is best known for going head-to-head with atheists in public debates. This Catholic scholar from India, however, also has a knack for connecting faith to global affairs, foreign policy, and cultural reform on the domestic front. Indeed D’Souza’s book, The Enemy at Home, struck a cord among liberals and conservatives alike, calling out the secularists and making the case that our own moral depravity, sponsored by the secular Left, was the root cause of 9/11. D’Souza argues that conservatives have missed a perfect opportunity to link the culture war with the war on terror – that radical Muslims do not hate democracy, free markets, or new technology, but rather our permissive culture. Contrary to the Left, no Middle Easterner believes America is seeking a new hegemonic, territory-based imperialism. What struck fear into bin Laden was the new “cultural imperialism” of the radical Left which poses an existential threat to Islam.

As a native of India with a long history of relations with Indian Muslims, D’Souza quickly rids us of the liberal-conservative dichotomy which laces our discussions on politics, culture, and religion. Islam is not made up of liberals and conservatives but rather of traditionalists and radicals. The traditionalists are neither moderates nor conservatives; they simply live out the core beliefs of Islam, have high moral standards, and raise strong families. On the flip side, neither “Islamo-fascism” nor “fundamentalism” adequately describes the radicals, for the former term is only an attempt to recycle World War II imagery, painting Muslims as modern Nazis, while the latter term could describe any Muslim who follows the fundamental five pillars of Islam – none of which include terrorism. In the end, the ally we need to defeat the radicals is neither secular France nor the radical liberals in America.

The Enemy at Home argues that we need to win over the Islamic traditionalists.

D’Souza warns us, however, that the radicals are trying to win over the traditionalists as well, and the way they are doing it is by showing the traditionalists the moral bankruptcy of America and Europe. While the vast majority of traditional Muslims have never been to America or Europe, it is noteworthy that almost all the leaders of radical Islam were born here, lived here, or were educated here. As D’Souza says: “The Muslims who hate us the most are the ones who have encountered Western decadence… their hatred was not a product of ignorance but of familiarity; not of Wahhabi indoctrination but of firsthand observation.” It is here that pious Muslims witness radical individualism as the worship of the self, the renunciation of moral standards, and the celebration of those who frequently exercise a “right” to blaspheme God...
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