Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Educational (?) video

Boston College won’t post the video of a debate between Dinesh D’Souza and Alan Wolfe.

“It was uncivil, they talked over each other, they ... cast aspersions on each other’s character, they made jokes at each other’s expense, it was a snipe job, it was a street fight, it was a brawl. And frankly it doesn’t meet Boston College’s intellectual standards,” said Ben Birnbaum, the executive producer of Front Row.

D’Souza and Wolfe probably deserve one another. Wouldn’t it be "enlightening" for two such "public intellectuals" to be shown for who they are?

Discussions - 19 Comments

So I take it Dinesh isn't out of the doghouse yet.

Against the backdrop of what passes for "debate" on cable TV, I'm sure the D’Souza and Wolfe interchange was downright cerebral.

What would D'Souza be "in the doghouse" for? I vaguely recall some dust up from a few months ago, but no specifics come to mind.

D'Souza wrote a book that suggested we form an alliance against "radical" muslims with "traditional" muslims, you know, those "traditional" muslims that subscribe to "honour" killings and favour female circumcision etc.

For that idea, idiotic and morally depraved, he was properly excoriated, because there isn't much difference between those styled "radical" and those he identified as merely "traditional."

Robert Spencer, he of Jihadwatch and author of several books detailing the sad severities of islam, took him to task. D'Souza response was unhinged, which resulted in a couple of debates between the two men where D'Souza proceeded to thoroughly embarrass himself. D'Souza tried to burnish his moderate and intellectual credentials at the expense of Spencer. In fact what he accomplished was the mainstreaming of Spencer. Whereas before Conservatives steered clear of Spencer, because his message was so stark, so sobering, and to be honest, politically incorrect, after his debates with D'Souza it became clear that Spencer has been speaking and writing the truth about islam for years now.

D'Souza's book was so bad, the thesis so poorly thought out, that National Review Online posted a symposium of authors ripping it and him from principle to conclusion, center to circumference, stem to stern. It was as thoroughgoing a critique as one is apt to find. And it was all done in a mild and civil tone. And instead of snapping out of it, instead of saying "I'm going to rethink the premise of my book," instead of that, D'Souza went out there and tried to defend himself by viciously attacking his opponents, such as Dean Barnett, Professor Victor Davis Hanson and the aforementioned Spencer. Which prompted them and others to respond. And then things got real nasty fast.

I don't know how he'll ever live down that book and his subsequent "defense" of it. Over on his blog he STILL goes after his opponents, who simply ignore him now, no longer willing to waste time responding to him and his weird theories. The guy actually suggested that India's experience with a massive muslim minority should serve as an example for the West. Now India has been racked for centuries by violence between muslims seeking dominance and Hindus fighting for survival and sovereignty. When that uncomfortable fact, and others, was pointed out to D'Souza, he responded with calumny and the race card. The race card here being his own skin colour and his own ethnicity, which supposedly provided him some unique insight into islam and muslims. Since most of his intellectual assailants happened to be Caucasian, they lacked such rarefied knowledge.

As usual, Professor Victor Davis Hanson summed it all up rather accurately, when he concluded that D'Souza publicly committed intellectual suicide.

Now D'Souza actually wrote a well received book about Reagan some time ago. Which I purchased for my brother as a Christmas present, just this season past.

But this new book........................... it's just a stunner. An absolute stunner.

D'Souza's main flaw is that all of his ideas rest on the politically correct view of islam and islamic history. But sophistry isn't bedrock, it's sand, nothing but sand, and you can't build on it.

I had this conversation here before. Dinesh was not attacked for a "sloppy thesis." How many mass market popular conservative books don't have a sloppy thesis?



He was attacked because he strayed from the tidy narrative of America the virtuous and Muslims bad.



I don't know if there is a "traditional Islam" distinct from radical Islam. But it is at least as believable that America's cultural degeneracy and its perceived exportation is as big a factor in Muslim resentment of America as is "our freedom."



Of course the main reason they resent us is because we meddle over there, as Ron Paul and many others have said. That should really be a non-controversial assertion if people weren't so emotionally invested in their Muslim hatred and virtuous America myth.

Uhhh ... compared to the those that are waging jihad, which is the CORRECT comparison, the U.S. is most definately virtuous!

Yeah, yeah, we get it, America has her flaws and has had her flaws, but that does not mean she is not majestic and worthy of praise!

When Muslims first starting spreading their religion by the sword, the other regions conquered were NOT meddling in Muslim regions, now were they?

So, this idea of if we just somehow leave things will be better is hogwash and not evidenced by ancient or even recent history!

In other words, Dan P., you are full of it!

Does a nation and society have to be perfect before it can defend itself? Suppose a thief is walking down a street and gets mugged, are the muggers able to defend their conduct by saying the guy they robbed was a robber himself. Since when is perfection, of course perfection defined by the hard Left, or the far right which has gone round the bend, since when is absolute perfection required in human affairs?

This fetish for Western perfection harbours within it an anti-human animus.

There are barbarians on this planet slicing and dicing the clits of women. It's now going on in Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia and the birthplace of the Anglosphere, Great Britain herself.

Think for half a second of the most beautiful woman you know being sentenced to such an existence. That is the civilization that for over a thousand years has been at the throat of the West, and someone dares, dares to indict the West for lamely, feebly trying to defend itself and its achievements.

If you desire to grasp what's going on in islam, personalize it. Picture your kids on those planes, scared to death, plunging towards the World Trade Towers, picture the woman you want in the hands of those evildoers at Beslan.

All you have to do is picture it, picture it all.

We need an author to write the Uncle Tom's Cabin of islam. We need an author to describe the horrors, the mental incarceration, the totalitarian worldview, the barely veiled supremacism. We need a Tolkien who can do justice to this Mordor in the Mideast.

Dale,



"So, this idea of if we just somehow leave things will be better is hogwash and not evidenced by ancient or even recent history!"



Please cite me an example in recent history of America leaving well enough alone? The recent history of America has been interventionism. That is the problem.



I do not expect America to be perfect. It is made up of humans. That is partially the point. All nations are limited by their humanity. No nation is ever able for the long term to get past it humanity. But that is why grand schemes to spread democracy or rid the world of evil are bound to fail. Because other countries are made up of humans also. This is a CONSERVATIVE insight. Interventionism is a LIBERAL impulse.



In order to avoid confusion with "the other" Dan, I am going to start using my nom de internet that I use on a lot of other sites - Red Phillips. I am sure Dan will appreciate that so he will not be associated with my heretical paleoconservative ideas.

Here is a quote from Claes Ryn that illustrates the point I am making much better than I can.



"Conservatives see in Jacobin principles a hair-raising obliviousness of life’s complexity. To implement such principles may devastate a society. A society may be wholly unsuited or unprepared for changes demanded of it. So what, say America’s neo-Jacobins. We need moral clarity. What was there before does not matter. "Democracy" must take its place. One model fits all. To ensure a democratic world, America must establish armed and uncontested world supremacy.



The will to power is here bursting at the seams. What argument could be better for placing enormous power in the hands of the neo-Jacobins than a grandiose scheme for remaking the world. At lunch yesterday we got to hear [from Max Boot] the pure, undiluted neo-Jacobin message.



All Jacobins warn of the Enemy with a capital "E." The Enemy is the embodiment of evil, a force with which no compromise is possible. For the American neo-Jacobins the Enemy is Terrorism with a capital "T." Though the only superpower, America must be in a permanent state of emergency, be armed to the teeth and relentlessly pursue the Enemy.



One current assumption about conservatives is nothing less than weird: that they are hawks, always looking for prey and always bullying. Conservatives are in reality normally doves, looking for ways to settle conflicts peacefully. They view war differently from neo-Jacobin desk-warriors. The suffering and destruction of war are frightful realities involving actual human beings. War is the very last resort.



Conservatives harbor no illusions about the international arena. Bad people behave badly. So conservatives want to be prepared to handle threats to their own society and civilization or to international peace. But their normal way of interacting with other peoples is to try to defuse conflict and to pursue a common human ground. This is the cosmopolitan way."

Here is another quote, this one from Andrew Bacevich, that illustrate the problem with the virtuous America myth.



"In a foreign-policy context, “liberal” and “conservative” don’t have any real meaning and never have. When it comes to statecraft, the operative dichotomy does not pit Left against Right, realists against idealists, or (as President Bush has fraudulently argued) isolationists against those committed to engagement and leadership. The real divide today occurs between those who buy into the myths of the American Century and those who see those myths for what they are: once useful contrivances that have become a source of self-delusion endangering the national interest.



The American Century is a morality tale. It instructs and inspires but also warns. It tells of how Americans, having lost their innocence on Dec. 7, 1941, rose up in righteous anger to smite a succession of evildoers. The American Century began when the nation finally embraced its providentially assigned mission to spread liberty around the world. Present-day adherents to this school—self-described liberals like Peter Beinart no less than self-described conservatives like William Kristol—do not doubt that the events of Sept. 11, 2001 simply inaugurated the next phase of this grand undertaking. Absent a failure of nerve on the part of the American people—the bogeyman of isolationism always lurks nearby—final victory in the global war on terror is certain to be ours, thereby securing the utopia of permanent U.S. global dominion. The story of the American Century, endlessly reiterated by members of the political elite, has become our substitute for history."

It's good to see that you're able to think for yourself, Red. Two points: one, even if we weren't involved in the politics of the Middle East Osama Bin Laden would still have attacked America. Read either of his two declarations of war. He lays it out. Push the USSR out of Muslim lands. Push America out of Muslim lands. Unify the Muslim lands under a restored caliphate. Wage jihad. I'm not, however, expecting those facts to change your mind.

Two, I think if you would look back at history, you'll see America is not Jacobin at all. Like Athens, Rome, England, France, USSR, etc., etc., we simply ante-up when faced with a threat and when we win we fill in the power vacuum. Was the Roman Senate fomenting Revolution when they decided Carthage shouldn't establish a toe-hold in Sicily? I think you have a tendency to look at the facts through the lense of your conclusions.

Andrew, something tells me that if I had just spouted off I would be accused of not backing up my opinions. Whatever works, I guess.



Part of the question is what is a threat. OBL is not, never has been, and never can be a military threat. All of Islam is not a military threat to the US. That is why they have to resort to the irregular and criminal act of terrorism.



"...even if we weren't involved in the politics of the Middle East Osama Bin Laden would still have attacked America... Push America out of Muslim lands." Isn't that a little contradictory? If we weren't there he would have nothing to push. You are admitting that our presence over there is part of the problem.

t is true that the forces of islam, at present, are not a military challenge to the United States.

But we are allowing them to become such a threat. The acquisition of nukes, if not actually used, will be used as leverage to coerce arm sales. Islam has done this in the past. Islam coerced foreign states to build them weapons of war, they did so with Great Britain, they even tried that with the United States. And but a couple of years ago, Iran presented the Europeans a list of weapons they desired as part of any negotiation between the EU3 and Iran. The list was so extensive, included such high technology items, that it shocked even the Europeans, who are so jaded as to be beyond shock.

Right now, Europe is threatened as it hasn't been since the Poles drove off hundreds of thousands of muslims besieging Vienna, in 1683. Europeans are fleeing cities plagued by crime, assault, rape, gang rape. Europeans are even fleeing their homelands, in numbers unseen for a long, long time. Because the threat is not that the Soviets and the Warsaw Bloc presented, doesn't mean it's not a real, genuine menace.

It's true that the dirtball bin laden is but the terrorist du jour. But what's also true is that he, and terrorists like him, enjoys the support of muslim states. Terror can't exist absent state support. It has to enjoy the overt or covert patronage of intelligence agencies. And that's' what we see today. Hezbollah is a thing of the Iranians. Hamas relies upon the house of saud, even though saud involvement is not as extensive and operational as is the Iranian in relation to Hezbollah.

Don't think too, that Hezbollah is only a thing to trouble Jews, or Israelis. Hezbollah has established cells in South America, the United States and Western Europe. Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence has been REPEATEDLY caught conducting surveillance of Western targets. EVEN AFTER 9/11. And some of those targets were in the United States.

If the Iranians get the bomb, they will ALREADY have established a clandestine network for its insertion into the body of the West.

We could easily see a situation where the Iranians privately inform our leaders that certain Western cities exist on Iranian sufferance, for the Iranians have already placed the nukes within them. And that those bombs will detonate, if the Iranians don't send out every day certain coded language, which tells those terror cells not to employ their weapons.

We are running out of time, which we are wasting with parlour discussions about the motivations of our enemies.

Islam has a track record THAT PREDATES the birth of the United States. Islam has a track record of aggression against the West that again, PREDATES modern times, that again, PREDATES the colonial era.

The only thing new about what we're experiencing is the misnomer attached to their actions. We call their actions "terror," when the proper term is jihad. This is the way they make war, this is ALWAYS the way they've made war. They've ALWAYS taken captives, they've ALWAYS coerced ransoms. Mohammad began as a fricken' caravan raider for cryin' out loud.

Haven't any of you gone to a ball game in some bad neighborhood, where some shady teenager comes up to you after you've parked your car and offers to "watch out" for your car as you're at the game? Of course it's a petty protection racket. He pretends that he's on the level, while you too are supposed to pretend that you're not looking at the guy who will probably mangle your car if you don't go along with it. He's pretending, and what's more, he's INDUCING YOU into likewise pretending. You're supposed to pay him, otherwise HE'LL be the one to damage your car, {key it, steal it, take the hubs, etc.}. That's islam. Got it? That's islam. Mohammad began with such a protection racket on the caravans moving in and out of ancient Mecca. TODAY, you see the same type of mentality by Syria, by Pakistan, by the Sauds and Iran.

Don't be fooled by it. It's a gimmick, but that gimmick induces a spirit of paralysis. It's low level, it's meant to appear that it's easier to go along with it. But it slowly expands. Look at the Barbary war. Europeans put up with captives and ransom demands for centuries. They constantly paid tribute. It was only the United States that finally refused tribute, and tribute was what it was.

Don't play the game of the enemy. The enemy fears escalation, because he can't handle it. He prefers these episodic market square bombings, he prefers the dirtball that fires from a crowd of women and children. He can't handle escalation, so escalate!

Most of the victims of Islamic terror are Muslims. Algeria, Indonesia, Darfur have nothing to do with "American Occupation' yet the bombs go off there anyway. Not to mention Rushdie, the Dutch Filmaker, the cartoonists, and all the rest of the free thinkers who live with very real death threats hanging over their heads. They have been very clear that their war is against Western civilisation as a whole, not just American foreign policy.

Dan and Kevin,



Perhaps you need to re-read this quote.



"All Jacobins warn of the Enemy with a capital "E." The Enemy is the embodiment of evil, a force with which no compromise is possible."



That is not the real world. No group is the embodiment of evil. That is a ploy used by the supporters of a war to demonize and dehumanize an enemy. And it is childish. It is cartoonish. It is like the old Saturday morning cartoons where the evil doers were always setting around plotting to take over the world. Not knock over the local convenience store which is what bad guys generally do.



I don't know if Islam is inherently Jihadist. I have heard good cases for both sides. But you can't make one to one comparisons of the Ottoman Empire to today. First, people have to be viewed with respect to when they lived. Those were different times. Empire is what powerful countries did. By your reasoning, Euros are inherently violent because of the evidence of the Roman, Austrian-Hungarian, and British Empires. (Of course the radical leftists believe that.)



Also, it is hard to determine how much of Ottoman violence was directly related to their religious beliefs vs. just plain old Empire building. There is evidence that the Ottoman Empire was not particularly religious. And much Jihadist theology is relatively modern.

Yes, it's occasionally true that people will describe their enemies as evil, with a capital E.

At the beginning of World War II, there were those who scoffed at the evil and the rumoured brutalities of Hitler. The Cliveden set for instance. People were reminded of the propaganda of the Great War, and they were offered soothing platitudes about Germany, about the quiet, quaint towns, about German culture, about their being a Christian nation.

But Hitler was evil, with a most tremendous capital "E." And the rumours fell far short of the reality, a reality that to this day shockens, sickens, stuns, stupefies.

Islam has a track record.

That track record requires intense examination.

Red,

The nature of evil has nothing to do with my response you. If calling me a "Jacobin" brings you pleasure, go right ahead. Can radical Islam achieve all of their goals today? Of course not. But they have made considerable progress in the last decade and more importantly they have shown no inclination of giving up their openly stated goals. We are
"bargaining' with the government of Sudan and the world has achieved the slowdown of the massacre of the non-Muslim minority in Darfur. It will take them ten years to accomplish their work rather then three years. We talk as we watch Syria go from a relativly free, by modest middle east standards,country to a new addition to the modern Caliphate. Once again, this will take time to achieve but the work goes on.

Iran will continue to talk with International Organizations and will announce their entry into the nuclear weapons club in about 2 to 5 years. And of course those free thinking Muslims, er, I mean "apostates, who live in the West will still be receiving death threats for openly speaking their minds and will still have to hire security firms to make sure that they are not butchered in the streets like the Dutch filmaker.

lebanon, not Syria, duh

Mr. Philips, are you seriously arguing that the tradition of characterizing one's enemies as Evil began with the Jacobins? Perhaps you should acquaint yourself with the writings of Martin Luther or (to show that I'm nothing if not ecumenical) the Catholic Church during the Crusades. To identify Evil in one's opponents is as old as mankind itself, making it odd for a self-proclaimed conservative to reject it.

Just because there were those who stretched the point in the past, by branding their enemies evil, doesn't mean that there aren't enemies who are, without a doubt, evil, tremendously, monstrously evil, demonically evil.

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