Democrats & Liberals Archives

Who's the Enemy at Home?

Dinesh D’Souza wrote a book called “The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11.” I did not read it but I did read Andrew Sullivan’s commentary about the book in The New Republic. As a firm conservative, Sullivan is appalled at what conservatism has become. As a person on the Left, I am appalled that the so-called cultural war is becoming more like a civil war.

According to Sullivan, D'Souza believes that there are two kinds of morality: external morality that all relgious people follow, and liberal morality that he describes as follows:

For D'Souza, America has become a country dedicated to the values of "secularism, feminism, homosexuality, prostitution, and pornography." Guided by the cultural left, America is increasingly seen as "a shining beacon of global depravity, a kind of Gomorrah on a Hill."

D'Souza, of course, chooses external morality. He prefers people possessing external morality, regardless of the exact religion they profess. As Sullivan says:

It is in such a context that D'Souza praises Islamism as a global ideology. Wahhabi Islam, the kind that animated Osama bin Laden, "is not a breeding ground of Islamic radicalism," he instructs. "It is a breeding ground of Islamic obedience. The essence of the Wahhabi doctrine is doctrinal and social conservatism."

In other words, those Wahhabis are just like the social conservatives at home.

Well, if this is so, D'Souza wants American social conservatives to partner with Islamic social conservatives. Such an alliance would help beat back the American leftists who are pushing the liberal morality:

This is the central argument of D'Souza's book: that cultural globalization is the last chance for theoconservatism in its death match with liberal modernity. If a majority of Americans do not support a system of government resting on an external and divine moral order, then the obvious next move is to enlist the billions of fundamentalist believers in the developing world to forge a global alliance. If you combine the premodern patriarchs among the Christians of Africa and Asia and the Muslims of the Middle East and pit them against the degenerate, declining individualists in the West, a global theoconservative victory is possible.

Are you appalled yet? Listen to this:

Finally somebody has outdone Coulter. The central claim of The Enemy at Home is that American liberals--not Al Qaeda--caused September 11...... To purloin a rhetorical device of the far left, it is American liberals who are, in D'Souza's eyes, the real terrorists. Bin Laden, in contrast, "is not so much a terrorist as he is a religious ideologue who has chosen terrorism as the most effective way to achieve his goals." The way to defeat terrorism is not to attack bin Laden, but to co-opt a more traditional variant of his Islamism and focus on the real enemy: liberals.

Evidently the culture wars are truly wars. American religious fundamentalists want to destroy our constitutional form of government and replace it with a theocracy. You know, like the one they have in Saudi Arabia. They want the Constitution to follow external morality. All our freedoms would be replaced with obedience - whatever that means.

Is this conservatism? Sullivan does not think so. I don't see how anyone could think so. This is the worst form of subversiveness. Ever since our country was born, conservatives and liberals have been busy fighting the battle of ideas - something that happens in all thriving democracies. We called each other names. But none of us wanted to get rid of the other side so our ideas would remain supreme.

D'Souza claims the left is responsible for 9/11. He thinks that liberals like me brought about the slaughter of 3000 people. He is accusing me and other liberals of murder. And he wants to erase us. Worse, he wants to combine with our current enemies in order to get rid of the liberals, who in addition to their 9/11 perfidy want to prevent the U.S. from marching towards theocracy.

Who is the enemy at home? Liberals? Ridiculous. The enemy at home is D'Souza and other fundamentalists who want to introduce social conservative Wahhibism in America.

Posted by Paul Siegel at March 20, 2007 6:28 PM
Comments
Comment #212920

Interesting insight to the RRR mind (Rabid Rightwing Reprobates) For a while I felt bad about my flame out in the Darfur thread. No longer.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at March 20, 2007 7:19 PM
Comment #212922

Paul,

Something we can agree upon!

The sad part are the poor individuals who are just hoping for an answer to their troubles in life and end up being used by the insane fundameltalists who actually believe an invisible man is looking down upon everything they do judging them like a crazed Santa Clause…

We end up with using our police force to try and tell two people who love each other that they have no say in their partner’s healthcare or legal affairs just because they are of the same sex…

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 20, 2007 7:25 PM
Comment #212926

I think Dinesh needs to remember it was such liberal ideals that brough people named Dinesh to this country. Why do Hindus come to this country and immediately go extremist right-wing, thyey wouldn’t be here if it were up to the right wing at all. They like being part of something I guess and a conglomerate of a-holes with their hair parted to the side is none the less a conglomerate to pal around with.

IDEA: What if how they part their hair is what determines who will be a right winger from who is a left winger. I mean I can’t think of any right winger with their hair parted in the middle or a leftie with his hair parted to one side—other than those in some type of political office (Edwards etcetera). Hmmmmm something to think about here. Okay well Ted Nugent but I think he’s more the whacko racist variety. Karl Rove is out being he’s bald.

Posted by: Gleep the chimp at March 20, 2007 8:13 PM
Comment #212928

Talk about “Blame America First”!

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 20, 2007 8:33 PM
Comment #212953

Where’s Pat Robetson when you need him?

Posted by: gergle at March 21, 2007 1:26 AM
Comment #212955

Paul,

Possibly the most troubling thing about Mr. Distort D’Newsa is that he served as senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. It becomes somewhat easy to see how the Neocons and the Religious Right became such comfortable bedfellows.

Anyone that didn’t see D’Souza on the Colbert Report a couple of months ago really should check out the video:

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/01/17/colbert-nails-dinesh-dsouza/

Sullivan’s the one we should be really concerned about. If he’s hell bent on remaining a conservative why doesn’t he become a Libertarian, at least they’re honest, and certainly more fiscally and constitutionally conservative.

Posted by: KansasDem at March 21, 2007 1:31 AM
Comment #212959

KansasDem,

Normally I would shout out YES and agree with you about the Libertarian Party, but now that they’ve given the reigns over to Bob Barr it may not be so simple anymore. :(

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 21, 2007 2:24 AM
Comment #212966

I don’t know which is worse D’Souza’s remarks on his book or the Democrats who have consistently screwed over true progressive liberals, most recently in the nomination of Bush Lite, I mean John Kerry.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at March 21, 2007 3:45 AM
Comment #212973
D’Souza claims the left is responsible for 9/11. He thinks that liberals like me brought about the slaughter of 3000 people.

This guy is a total idiot!
Everybody knows since years that Saddam Hussein the french Iran Hezbollah corrupt UN Clinton global warming supporters planes are responsible for 9/11…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at March 21, 2007 6:30 AM
Comment #212983

He didn’t seem as nutty in the video linked by KansasDem as he comes across in Paul’s post.

But I do sense that demonizing the less spiritually inclined is likely to gain momentum.

Posted by: Schwamp at March 21, 2007 9:33 AM
Comment #212988

Phillipe,

That’s “Plame” not “plane”

Rhodes,

Don’t confuse bad political advice (Kerry trying to seem acceptable to r-leaning centrists) with his actual philosophy.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at March 21, 2007 10:04 AM
Comment #212994

“now that they’ve given the reigns over to Bob Barr it may not be so simple anymore.”

Rhinehold,

I hadn’t followed the change, guess I’ll have to do some googling.

Posted by: KansasDem at March 21, 2007 11:04 AM
Comment #212999

Paul,

You are saying a few things that do not go together.

First you said:

“American religious fundamentalists want to destroy our constitutional form of government and replace it with a theocracy.”

Then you said:

“The enemy at home is D’Souza and other fundamentalists who want to introduce social conservative Wahhibism in America.”

So are you saying that all “American religious fundamentalists” want social conservative Wahhibism in America?

It’s quite evident that you do not understand “American religious fundamentalist” to group them in this way…

Just like your explanation defending any link between liberalism and 9/11 as being ridiculous, the same can be said for conservatives and 9/11.

Are there extremists on both sides of the political paradigm….YES, INDEED… they are crazy and dangerous…AND they are labeled as conservatives and liberals…

Everyone has a religion of some type that guides what they believe. All of these religions have a god of some kind that they worship.

Some worship:

Themselves.
Themselves and their intellect.
Themselves and their social action.
Themselves and their environment.
The environment to exclusion of mankind.
A religion.
A book.
A man.
gods.
God.

There are more…
But lumping people together, labeling them and showing disgust for them is myopic at best, and may categorize oneself as an extremist at worst.

Posted by: Cliff at March 21, 2007 11:33 AM
Comment #213006

Cliff,

As is far too common, the American “conservative” likes to infect the terms “religion” and “worship” and it’s inherent implication of obsequious faith onto observable phenomena such as being for the environment, etc… There is no comparison between bowing to a mythologic supernatural being vs. financially burdening polluting industries because Mercury causes birth defects. There is no foundation to that observation beyond puerile partisan rhetoric.

Also, there is no difference between the rhetorical “social conservative Wahhibism” and more technical “theocracy”.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at March 21, 2007 12:18 PM
Comment #213009

dave1-20-09,

Thanks for proving my point…

Posted by: Cliff at March 21, 2007 12:43 PM
Comment #213018

really? I’m curious how you think “As is far too common” proves YOUR point. YOU, the person who said “worship … The environment to exclusion of mankind” Open your eyes or doom yourself. Don’t include me.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at March 21, 2007 2:02 PM
Comment #213036

Dave1-20-2009,

I will answer your question shortly…

But first tell me what do you believe in?

Posted by: Cliff at March 21, 2007 3:45 PM
Comment #213039

What I believe in?
Religion: Secular Humanist (Agnostic crossed with an atheistic view of Universal truth and Pantheism)
Any other subjects? Do you need elaboration?

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at March 21, 2007 3:59 PM
Comment #213085

Paul
Good post. This guy is crazy. However, when you lump in all social conservatives as wanting to create a Wahhabist society, you go too far. There are not many people these days that want to deny women the right to vote, choose their own husband, etc. And fewer want to force people to convert to Christianity. And I should know, I live in an ultra-conservative part of California.

Dave
If there is no God, and man is the highest life form, where does any sense of morality come from?

Posted by: Silima at March 21, 2007 6:51 PM
Comment #213105

Silima,

I ask you, why does morality have to come from some supernatural being? Have you ever investigated the concept of “universal truth”?

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at March 21, 2007 8:00 PM
Comment #213145

Andrew Sullivan is a “firm conservative” in the same way that Ronald Reagan was a firm Communist.

Dinesh D’Souza’s book has been brutally attacked and repudiated EVERYWHERE in the conservative press and on conservative blogs, so using him as an example of anything even remotely related to mainstream conservative thinking is absolutely absurd.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 22, 2007 12:25 AM
Comment #213146

The Religious Right and Dinesh D’Souza can kneel down and kiss my firm, agnostic, liberal behind.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 22, 2007 12:26 AM
Comment #213193

dave1-20-2009,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

Now, to answer your question.

Your belief structure forms your opinions, drives your behavior, and your thought processes, as does mine. For you to say that your beliefs are the only “beliefs” that anyone is allowed to have, is exactly what you are dictating to me.

Politics aside, I will say, do not force your belief system on me, and require me to think as you do. On the other hand, I will not force my belief system on you.

Politically speaking, each one of us has a right to express our opinions and votes to move our country in the direction that we individually deem best. Are we all legislating a belief system? The simple answer is YES, we are. People will say, “You cannot legislate morality”, but the fact is, we do. It’s just defining what “morality” is, by what belief structure.

Back to the topic:
Sullivan & D’Souza are both nut cases…
I may be misclassified by Paul as in that group, but these 2 men do not represent myself or anyone I know.

Posted by: Cliff at March 22, 2007 10:18 AM
Comment #213196

Silima,

If there is no God, and man is the highest life form, where does any sense of morality come from?

Wind?

Morality is not written on stone. It’s alive. It’s culture contextual. What used to be moral yesterday could become immoral tomorrow. Like Jack Bauer’s systematic torture usage. Hum… sorry, not yet.

Anyway, I think sense of morality comes from human guilt capacity on their actions unexpected/feared consequences. It’s highly subjectiveat individual level, and today morality is not some set of objectives values of good vs bad behavior but more the current de-facto /common ground set of values of a culture.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at March 22, 2007 10:35 AM
Comment #213208

Philippe,

If morals come from guilt and fear, and a culture removes the guilt and fear, what is left?

A culture that does this has to create more laws…or it will move itself into anarchy…

Is that the answer?

Posted by: Cliff at March 22, 2007 12:37 PM
Comment #213327

Cliff,

Your questions show that you make no distinctions between a “religious faith” and a “personal belief”. You believe in your god and that your bible is the only real word of that god. I don’t believe in it and do not want my society to found it’s laws on your bible or on any faith.
I don’t want to force my beliefs on you as you imply but you justify your attempts to do so immediately after you say you don’t want to. You seem to think that because you are religious my beliefs in what makes a good society is a religion, i.e. a “belief”. They are not, they are fluid and adapt over time to the real world. A religion is faith, is completely vested in status quo, and by definition will never be evidenced by reality unless you already believe in it or are too weak individually to stand without it. Religion is all fatih and dissapears into nothingness the moment no one believes it or needs it. Sorry for being direct.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at March 23, 2007 10:18 AM
Comment #213354

dave1-20-2009,

No need to apologize…

I disagree that you do not want to push your beliefs on me, because politically speaking, it is being done. Why is it OK for one group to push their agenda, but not OK for another? It makes no sense…”let the people speak and then vote”…

Our belief structures are what they are. We can debate about there relevance, but it is what guides us. Yours is no more viable or better then mine is. But, because we both believe we are correct, we both have the right to present and push whatever agenda we do believe in.

Calling it a weakness is a little myopic on your part I believe.

We do have several beliefs in common by the way:

We both believe the other is misguided and mislead.

We both believe that eventually the other will “see the light”.

We both believe that our ways of looking at life, death and eternity are correct.

Eventually we will both have our beliefs actually proven to us and we will know.

Posted by: cliff at March 23, 2007 2:09 PM
Comment #213370

Cliff,

Again, and I can’t emphasize this enough, you make no distinctions between a ‘religious faith’ and a ‘personal belief’. My choices for laws do not effect how you want to live or believe yet the religious right in this country does. My choices are all about letting you live in your private space any way you want with controls over the fewest possible elements of public life as possible. And yes, to direct governement services so they benefit the most number of people in the most efficient way.
The right, on the other hand, want to remove abortion as an option for women, that forces them to behave the way you want them to. (Save the -defend the unborn- for another day). The religious right want to prohibit same sex marriage for reasons of faith. I don’t think the government should prevent consenting adults from commiting to each other (skip the -society will decompose if we degrade marriage that way- for another day). The religious right want to force nonsense nonscience (ID) into public schools whereas science says evolution is the best evidenced force.

I’m curious, though. Exactly what “agenda” do I have that forces you to live and believe in your private space in a way you don’t want to? And how is that agenda “faith” based?

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at March 23, 2007 2:48 PM
Comment #213391

dave1-20-2009,

First of all, there is no “religious faith”, it’s all “personal belief” to me. There are lots of religions and faiths out there, but my belief is personal with my God. Your faith is not in a god or gods, but it is based on something.

Suffice it to say, I believe in different things then you do. Are my beliefs to be discounted because they are different then yours? Should your beliefs be the only ones that are to be considered?

I’m curious, though. Exactly what “agenda” do I have that forces you to live and believe in your private space in a way you don’t want to?

Sure, there is abortion, but I believe it’s murder. You don’t…

Sure there’s the marriage thing, but it is socially demoralizing, similar to porn and illegal drug use. It should be treated as such.
(There are a lot of non-religious people who think the same way)

All political agendas are faith-based. My faith is in God, you faith is in something, it may be yourself, or a philosophy, or a person. The origin of an “agenda” does not matter. What the agenda is about, is critical…

Posted by: cliff at March 23, 2007 5:33 PM
Comment #213765

Cliff,

Sorry for the delay, I wasn’t online this weekend. But, I think I can now understand why “your” side of the equation is percieved as so dangerous to “mine”.

You are refusing to acknowledge that your failth driven initiatives are not based on the obeservable real world but on the tenets of your religion. Those tenets are inalterable, you can not change them, and you want everyone to follow them.

My preferences for society are based on what is observable and verifiable. If an idea doesn’t work, change it. The goal is to enable everyone to lead their life the best way possible to their choice. And that the society should be their to help out when those chioces don’t work out well and the person wants to change. It is not a “faith” or a “belief”, it is an “understanding”. An absolutely fundamental difference that I’m having trouble finding the right words for.

The basis of my choice for an ideal society is to allow individuals to make their own choices. “My rights end at your nose” approach. The religious conservatives choice seems to be “Your rights end when it bothers my nose”

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at March 26, 2007 10:35 AM
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