Author Topic: A question for the political Right  (Read 8792 times)

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Universe Prince

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A question for the political Right
« on: March 21, 2007, 04:05:50 PM »
Dinesh D'Souza recently said:
        By suggesting that we make common cause with traditional people around the world who share our abhorrence of liberal cultural excess, I am not “blaming America” or taking the side of the Muslims. It would be one thing if we were winning that war and didn’t need new ideas and new tactics. The reality, of course, is that we are not winning and we are desperately in need of both ideas and tactics.       
   [...]
        The only way to win, I suggest, is to create a new configuration of forces. We must give up on leftists in America and Europe who will never join our side and instead find common cause with the traditional Muslims who share many of our values and can actually help us defeat radical Islam. In fact, as the limits of our military strategy have shown, they are the only ones who can.       
Those quotes are from part 4 of D'Souza's series of columns called "The Closing of the Conservative Mind". The series is his rebuttal to the conservative critics of his book The Enemy at Home.

The question is: Is D'Souza correct? He blames the political left for cultural excesses that contribute to the Muslim world believing itself to be under assault. And so, to make this brief, he says the political right should forget the liberals and make common cause with "traditional Muslims" who are closer in values to American conservatives. Is he right? If so, why?
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Amianthus

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Re: A question for the political Right
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2007, 05:23:45 PM »
It's a good point. He may well be correct, let me ruminate on it for a while.
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sirs

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Re: A question for the political Right
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2007, 05:41:43 PM »
I'll need to respond to this, hopefully this evening Prince, when i more time to dwell on the hypothesis.  At 1st glance, my initial thoughts are that he's right.  Now I need to endeavor to understand why that would be my initial respoinse, and if one's initial answer to a question is again usually the right one
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

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Re: A question for the political Right
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2007, 06:23:25 PM »
I don't know how typical I am of the Left in America, being predominantly moderate and all, but DeSousa seems to be trying to steal a march under cover of necessity, when folks like me have been arguing since quite some time back (check it out) that a full-throttle, appropriate initiative aimed at cultural and political intersecting points with the vast, moderate Muslim populace is not only the most effective way to fight this war (for the most part) but also the most humane, which is why I believe Leftists would be attracted to this approach.

sirs

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Re: A question for the political Right
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2007, 01:59:06 AM »
The question is: Is D'Souza correct? He blames the political left for cultural excesses that contribute to the Muslim world believing itself to be under assault. And so, to make this brief, he says the political right should forget the liberals and make common cause with "traditional Muslims" who are closer in values to American conservatives. Is he right? If so, why?

I fear that any answer coming from the "Political Right" will be seen as "obviously biased", by anyone not of the PR, unless it's in some way disagreeing with the author's premice.  But, we can't control that perception now, can we, so let's address that question, and I'll endeavor to give an honest objective answer, that will obviously be coming from a partisan conservative.

The left and right have become so polarized, which has become a large chunk of the country's population, that we'll never see another Reagan victory, where he won 49 out of 50 states.  Apprx 45% of the electorate leans right, 45% of the electorate leans left, and you have the Presidential candidates, once they win their respective primaries sprinting to the center to try and eek out that 2-5% electoral win.  The point being (which I raised in another thread a couple of weeks ago), is we have developed into quite a polarized society.  Now, the RW has been able to distance and minimize it's radical elements (Christian coalition, Falwell, etc.)  Yes, they still have large #'s, and yes their rhetoric is still pretty outlandsih, but for the most part they have very little pull in major policy making.  Some?, yes.  No one's denying they have influence, the point is the amount. 

Now, *Bias alert*, it does appear that not only has the LW accepted many of its radical elements, in many cases they've embraced them.  And of course these acts are embolden by other left leaning socialist minded countries and their peoples, outside of perhaps Australia.  When you have legislators seriously trying to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, shows you just how far they'll go to silence the right.  So, to think that dialog can be achieved to bring such radical elements together, in the name of taking on radical Islam, I'm going to have to agree with the author, that it can not be achieved from thru some meeting of the minds between the right & the left.  When you see folks like Rosie O'Donell berrating our supposed mistreatment of KSM, and basically laying claim that we're really the bad guys, I think the polarization has become too great.  So a new front is likely a better course of avenue, realizing how the hard core leftists of america & Europe are looking to try and "make peace" with a mindset that wants to kill us for not being Muslim, and will actively protect these malignant militants instead of surgically removing them.  We're likley to achieve better results at taking on militant Islam with the author's suggestion of forging a new coalition with traditional muslims.  If that is doable
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

_JS

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Re: A question for the political Right
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2007, 12:39:26 PM »
Wow. So you agree with the author that the culture war and war on terrorism are related? You think an alliance with the right wing of Islam and the right wing of the United States is a good idea?

Your inability to understand Europe and Islam has been raised to new and bold levels Sirs. Pride and ignorance are a powerful combination.
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sirs

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Re: A question for the political Right
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2007, 01:16:22 PM »
Your inability to understand Europe and Islam has been raised to new and bold levels Sirs. Pride and ignorance are a powerful combination.

I apparently learned from the master, on how best to combine pride & ignorance.  Your influence over me has been brought to a new "powerful" level it would seem        :-\     Let me know if you ever want to have a rational discussion on this, and why my position is what it is
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

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Re: A question for the political Right
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2007, 01:50:15 PM »
Apologies, that was a brash response.

By all means, please explain why you agree with this gentleman.
I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
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Plane

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Re: A question for the political Right
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2007, 05:33:47 PM »
In several European countrys there are laws resricting the number of hours that a TV station can use for American produced programming .

There is a feeling of seige in traditional communitys that are exposed to American entertainment products , where the young the blond the beautifull the gaunt and the wealthy are idealised lionised exaulted and exploited for the purpose of selling highly perfumed shampoo.

We bother Europeans with the way we woo their young, how much more do those who are even more distinct in social mores than the Europeans get bothered ?

Lanya

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Re: A question for the political Right
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2007, 01:45:15 AM »
I just read this article in the NYTimes.  This is what they think of his latest book.

None (but Me) Dare Call It Treason

 
By ALAN WOLFE
Published: January 21, 2007

At first Dinesh D’Souza considered him “a dark-eyed fanatic, a gun-toting extremist, a monster who laughs at the deaths of 3,000 innocent civilians.” But once he learned how Osama bin Laden was viewed in the Muslim world, D’Souza changed his mind. Now he finds bin Laden to be “a quiet, well-mannered, thoughtful, eloquent and deeply religious person.” Despite being considered a friend of the Palestinians, he “has not launched a single attack against Israel.” We denounce him as a terrorist, but he uses “a different compass to assess America than Americans use to assess him.” Bin Laden killed only 3,000 of us, with “every victim counted, every death mourned, every victim’s family generously compensated.” But look what we did in return: many thousands of Muslims dead in Afghanistan and Iraq, “and few Americans seem distressed over these numbers.”
Skip to next paragraph
Wink

THE ENEMY AT HOME
The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11.

By Dinesh D’Souza.

333 pp. Doubleday. $26.95.
Readers’ Opinions
Forum: Book News and Reviews

I never thought a book by D’Souza, the aging enfant terrible of American conservatism, would, like the Stalinist apologetics of the popular front period, contain such a soft spot for radical evil. But in “The Enemy at Home,” D’Souza’s cultural relativism hardly stops with bin Laden. He finds Ayatollah Khomeini still to be “highly regarded for his modest demeanor, frugal lifestyle and soft-spoken manner.” Islamic punishment tends to be harsh — flogging adulterers and that sort of thing — but this, D’Souza says “with only a hint of irony,” simply puts Muslims “in the Old Testament tradition.” Polygamy exists under Islamic law, but the sexual freedom produced by feminism in this country is, at least for men, “even better than polygamy.” And the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statement that the West has a taboo against questioning the existence of the Holocaust, while “pooh-poohed by Western commentators,” was “undoubtedly accurate.” Unlike President Bush, who once said he could not understand how anyone could hate America, D’Souza knows why Islamic radicals attack us. “Painful though it may be to admit,” he admits, “some of what the critics or even enemies say about America and the West ... may be true.” Susan Sontag never said we brought Sept. 11 on ourselves. Dinesh D’Souza does say it.

Dreadful things happened to America on that day, but, truth be told, D’Souza is not all that upset by them. America is fighting two wars simultaneously, he argues, a war against terror abroad and a culture war at home. We should be using the former, less important, one to fight the latter, really crucial, one. The way to do so is to encourage a split between “radical” Muslims like bin Laden, who engage in jihad, and “traditional” Muslims who are conservative in their political views and deeply devout in their religious practices; understanding the radical Muslims, even being sympathetic to some of their complaints, is the best way to win the support of the traditionalists. We should stand with conservative Muslims in protest against the publication of the Danish cartoons that depicted the Prophet Muhammad rather than rallying to the liberal ideal of free speech. We should drop our alliance with decadent Europe and “should openly ally” with “governments that reflect Muslim interests, not ... Israeli interests.” And, most important of all, conservative religious believers in America should join forces with conservative religious believers in the Islamic world to combat their common enemy: the cultural left.

The “domestic insurgents” who, in D’Souza’s view, constitute the cultural left want “America to be a shining beacon of global depravity, a kind of Gomorrah on a Hill.” “I intend to name the enemy at home,” D’Souza proclaims, and so he does. Twenty recent members of Congress, including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ted Kennedy, are on one of his lists, and 17 intellectuals (one dead, one British) are on another, with similar numbers of Hollywood figures, activists, foreign policy experts, cultural leaders and organizations. Some of those he identifies — Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark, Ward Churchill — might not be surprised to find themselves here. Others — the sociologist Paul Starr, the historian Sean Wilentz, the clergyman Jim Wallis, the philosopher Martha Nussbaum — are less obvious candidates for inclusion. (One person, Thomas Frank, is mentioned on two different lists.) All these people might charge D’Souza with “McCarthyism” for supposedly exposing them, but he accepts the challenge. McCarthy, after all, was “largely right.”

Lest one think that D’Souza exaggerates the danger the cultural left presents to America, he has an ace in the hole to back him up: Osama bin Laden himself. Bin Laden, it seems, has taken pains to identify his natural allies within the United States and regularly engages in “signaling” them through videotapes in “an effort to establish a broader political alliance.” In particular, his fall 2004 tape, generally believed to have helped George W. Bush defeat John F. Kerry, contained a secret message to the cultural left that D’Souza, and D’Souza alone, has decoded. “Whichever state does not encroach upon our security thereby ensures its own,” bin Laden declared. Anyone who thinks bin Laden used the term “state” to mean “country” — common usage in Europe and the Middle East — is wrong. He was actually telling residents of New York and Massachusetts that if they voted for the Democrats, he would refrain from killing them. D’Souza writes like a lover spurned; despite all his efforts to reach out to bin Laden, the man insists on joining forces with the Satanists.

D’Souza has fallen on hard times lately. Political correctness and affirmative action — the issues he has addressed in inflammatory ways in the past — no longer inspire the same passion. “The Enemy at Home” is clearly designed to restore his reputation as the man who will say anything to call attention to his views; charging prominent senators and presidential candidates with treason can do that. (One can dismiss D’Souza’s claim that “I am not accusing anyone of treason or even of anti-Americanism” as either self-delusional or dishonest; my guess is the former.) Yet despite all his heated rhetoric, D’Souza’s book is unlikely to make much of a dent. It relies on a distinction between traditional and radical Islam that even he does not take seriously; there are no theological differences between the two camps, he suggests at one point, and even the “few” political differences between them are disappearing. It is filled with factual errors (Milton Himmelfarb, not Irving Kristol, compared the voting behavior of Jews to that of Puerto Ricans; Diana Eck is not a historian, but Thomas Frank, wrongly identified as a political scientist, is). In a line D’Souza will surely wish he had never written, he brags of the “remarkable progress” in Iraq “since Hussein’s removal from power.” Some of the people he elevates to the status of major enemies of the United States — Kristine Holmgren, Robert Jensen, Glenda Gilmore — are (no offense intended) anything but household names.

At one point in “The Enemy at Home,” D’Souza appeals to “decent liberals and Democrats” to join him in rejecting the American left. Although he does not name me as one of them, I sense he is appealing to people like me because I write for The New Republic, a liberal magazine that distances itself from leftism. So let this “decent” liberal make perfectly clear how thoroughly indecent Dinesh D’Souza is. Like his hero Joe McCarthy, he has no sense of shame. He is a childish thinker and writer tackling subjects about which he knows little to make arguments that reek of political extremism. His book is a national disgrace, a sorry example of a publishing culture more concerned with the sensational than the sensible. People on the left, especially those who have been subjects of D’Souza’s previous books, will shrug their shoulders at his latest screed. I look forward to the reaction from decent conservatives and Republicans who will, if they have any sense of honor, distance themselves, quickly and cleanly, from the Rishwain research scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Alan Wolfe teaches political science at Boston College and is the author of “Does American Democracy Still Work?”
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/21/books/review/Wolfe.t.html?ex=1327035600&en=ec31237277885996&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
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BT

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Re: A question for the political Right
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2007, 03:26:02 AM »
Ah

The clamor for distancing, denouncing and differentiating else one be accused of tacit approval is alive and well in Mr. Wolfe's world.

Same as D’Souza's world.

silly rabbits

sirs

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Re: A question for the political Right
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2007, 04:07:41 AM »
Apologies, that was a brash response.  By all means, please explain why you agree with this gentleman.

Apologies accepted.  And without going into too much detail, a large problem I have in trying to accept the notion that the LW & RW can come to some understanding in dealing with the threat of militant Islam, is that it does appear the LW either minimizes the threat of militant Islam (thus no need to consider such avenues as violence/military intervention), or worse, attempts to claim the U.S. is the greater threat (Bush is evil, Bush is Hitler, our Nation is some Fascist Imperialist country, just setting up puppet Governments where it can).  Garbage like that

So, we could keep going back and forth refuting both notions, getting us no where, or we could attempt a different tact, such as the one the author is hypothesizing.  When you have such radical elements of the left, such as Rosie O'Donnel, Danny Glover, Michael Moore, appearing to be the mainstream of leftist thought, (an assumption on my part, since I see very little denoucncement and criticizing of their rhetoric), and you have such an active policy in trying to give more rights to terrorists trying to kill us, that despite how much an optimist I am, I see no rational or logical meeting of the minds.  And since the threat continues to grow, as a malignancy in need of being surgically addressed, the author's premise of trying to move foward has significant merit.  Does it mean getting into bed with the radical conservative elements of Islam?  It doesn't appear that's what the author is advocating.  He seems to want to focus a coalition with like minded conservative and moderate elements of Islam (whoever they may be)
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

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Re: A question for the political Right
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2007, 12:19:52 PM »
Quote
When you have such radical elements of the left, such as Rosie O'Donnel, Danny Glover, Michael Moore, appearing to be the mainstream of leftist thought

Two actors and a filmmaker? Seriously? It is interesting to note that you employ the same tactic as BT denounces in the previous post. Your definition of "radical" likely needs some work. In general, American "leftists" and American "rightists" are very close in overall thought. The disparity of thought for the majority of American voters is very small on the classical political spectrum.

Quote
and you have such an active policy in trying to give more rights to terrorists trying to kill us

Specific examples of "giving terrorists more rights to try to kill us?"

Quote
Does it mean getting into bed with the radical conservative elements of Islam?  It doesn't appear that's what the author is advocating.  He seems to want to focus a coalition with like minded conservative and moderate elements of Islam

So you agree with his initial premise that the decline in American culture is the cause of the September 11 attacks?
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   So stuff my nose with garlic
   Coat my eyes with butter
   Fill my ears with silver
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   Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Plane

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Re: A question for the political Right
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2007, 08:36:05 PM »
To the serious radical Muslim there is little common ground with the right or the left in our politics , our right would strike them as Crusaders and our left as debauched. Little reason to prefer either one.


But to a Muslim who was willing to live and let live there might be slightly less irritation from our factions that are somewhat conservative and somewhat more from those who woo the youth with a media full of seduction.

In Europe many country's have put limits on the number of hours a week that television can broadcast American programs , they feel an onslaught against their culture and their mores from the seductive product of Hollywood, how much more are our violent and sarcastic programs irritating to those whose culture is even more divergent from ours than Europes is?

I am glad that Mr. D’Souza is willing to let some of us off the hook. I don't expect his attitude is the most common one.

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Re: A question for the political Right
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2007, 12:49:26 AM »
Al Gore has said very little with which I wholeheartedly agree but in his (second) concession speech he siad this:  That which unites us is greater than that which divides us.

That statement is equally true of Americans (irrespective of political [persuasion) and of Muslims (irrespective of sect).  Though we have strong disagreements with the left, our basic values are not particularly different.  We all believe in freedoms of speech, press and religion.  We all believe in fair treatment of other people.  We all reject the notion that a certain class of people are superior by birth.  Of course, we interpret these ideas differently, and there are bigots and PC police types who believe the old "some are more equal than others" idea.  But by and large we are Americans - and culturally that is a breed apart from the rest of the world.

Muslims, too, have far more in common culturally than things that are in conflict.   Members of two conflicting Muslim sects will still have cultural institutions and shared values with which to resolve conflicts.  Americans have litigation, Muslims have Sharia.  Americans have endless interpretations of the Constitution; Muslims have endless interpretation of the Koran.

Probably most importantly, American conservatives and Muslim conservatives have a defining characteristic which makes them immediately hostile to one another: Religion.  Each thinks the other is going to hell.  As Plane pointed out, Muslims of any sect would view our left as hell-bound for licentiousness and our right hellbound for false religion.  Either way we all burn in the same Muslim hell.  Meanwhile, any shared traditional values we hold with Muslims would be overshadowed by that whole Jesus vs. Mohammed thing.  Sure, we'd band together to stone the adulterers, but once those sinners were dead we would turn our attention to each other. 

And of course, while our Christian RW folks were busy thinking all of those Muslims were going to burn just as quickly as the gays and the abortionists, Muslims worldwide would be thinking we Christians would be in just as much fire as the guys we stoned. 

Attempting a coalition of cross-cultured groups with certain shared traditional values seems like a good idea at first glance, at least from a "can't we all just get along" perspective.  But in the end, while our moral standards may have some similarities, our cultural differences are irreconcilable.
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