Know Your Right Wingers
SOURCE: August Pollak
Dinesh D’Souza, known to conscientious commentators everywhere as “Distort D’Newsa,” has been – for far too long – one of the Right’s rising stars. Known for his bigoted-sounding theories on race, gender, and sexuality, D’Souza has been flown around to college campus after college campus by his benefactors at Young America’s Foundation and The Heritage Foundation, spewing his shock-value material to budding college conservatives.
D’Souza’s rise is the perfect illustration of the success that right-wing foundations have had in cultivating a generation of conservative thinkers and leaders by throwing money at them, supporting their academic work, and hooking them up with internships, government jobs, and the right conservative network.
A darling of the right-wing-campus-newspaper-backing Collegiate Network, D’Souza helped found the infamous ultra-conservative Dartmouth Review as an undergrad. Under D’Souza’s “leadership,” The Review ran notoriously tasteless, bigoted, and just downright offensive articles of all stripes. Among his signature pieces: a parody of African American students at Dartmouth entitled “This Sho Ain’t No Jive Bro”; an interview with a Ku Klux Klan member featuring a graphic of a hanged black man; and selected words of wisdom from Adolf Hitler. The Review consistently referred to gay men as sodomites, and D’Souza himself publicly outed one gay student in an article based on stolen correspondence between members of the Dartmouth Gay Student Alliance.
With his journalistic career on the upswing (if not the up and up), D’Souza was hired as the editor of Prospect, a magazine started by a conservative Princeton alum. D’Souza’s stint as editor helped him expand his already outrageous repertoire to include a sexist attack on the field of women’s studies. Also while he was editor, the magazine published an expose of a female undergrad’s sex life without her permission.
In 1987 his free-flowing conservative prose, which by now included a glowing biography of Moral Majority Leader, Jerry Falwell ironically titled “Jerry Falwell: A Critical Biography,” got him a job inside the Beltway as a domestic policy analyst for Reagan. He served in the administration for only about a year, which was long enough for him to collect enough material to write his second celebrity bio ten years later, this time a fawning portrait of his former boss, titled Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader.
By 1989, he began receiving annual grants from the Olin Foundation, which funds the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research amongst other conservative intellectual beacons. He now seems to be on Olin’s permanent payroll, receiving annual payouts, often of upwards of $100,000.
The piece de resistance – so far (feel free to cross your fingers, hold your breath) – of D’Souza’s career, “The End of Racism: Principles for a Multiracial Society,” was published in 1995. The book was received with a collective gasp by people who have any appreciation at all for civil rights and the struggles of Americans to overcome discrimination. Ostensibly an attack on affirmative action and multiculturalism, The End of Racism is a nasty attack on African-Americans and all aspects of African-American culture. D’Souza blames "black cultural defects" for what he predicts will be the ultimate failure of affirmative action. He creates a laundry list of the "dysfunctional" aspects of African-American culture: "high rates of criminal activity…the normalization of illegitimacy…the predominance of single-parent families…high levels of addiction to alcohol and drugs…a parasitic reliance on government provision…a hostility to academic achievement…and…a scarcity of independent enterprises." He attacks rap music for allegedly fostering a tendency toward violence through the worship of the "cult of the bad nigger," a symbol of rebellion nurtured in the days of slavery. In addition, he cites "racial paranoia-a reflexive tendency to blame racism for every failure," "rage that threatens to erupt in an orgy of destruction or self-destruction," "a heavy dependence on government," "repudiation of standard English and academic achievement," "violence," and the "bastardization of black America." In sum, D’Souza’s book offers a remarkably offensive portrait of African American culture and a reckless discussion of race and racism in America.
In the book, D’Souza also calls for the repeal of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed racial discrimination in employment and in access to public places like restaurants and hotels. He argues for "rational discrimination" in the areas of housing, crime control, banking, and education. "A bigot is simply a sociologist without credentials," he explains. In addition to arguing that slavery was not a racist institution, he concludes that white racism isn’t actually racism at all, but a logical response to alleged deficiencies among minorities and that “the American obsession with race is fueled by a civil rights establishment that has a vested interest in perpetuating black dependency.”
The book was so extreme that two prominent African American conservatives, Robert Woodson Sr. and Glenn Loury, ended their affiliation with the American Enterprise Institute, where D’Souza was a fellow, in protest of the book. In reviewing the book, Loury called D’Souza "the Mark Fuhrman of public policy," and went on to note that AEI had extensively marketed the book to the business community and that "Republican staffers on Capitol Hill are said to have eagerly anticipated how the book might move the affirmative action debate in the ‘right direction.’”
D’Souza is currently a CNN analyst and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, as well as at another conservative think tank, the Hoover Institute.
In D’Souza’s newest book, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and its Responsibility for 9/11 the notorious political hack sinks to new lows. Armed with a highly selective and creative reading of bin Laden’s “Letter to America,” D’Souza insists that terrorists hate America not for our foreign policy but for our moral depravity. Empathizing with “traditional Muslims,” who are compelled to violence by secularism and scandalous Will & Grace episodes, D’Souza declares the cultural left responsible for 9/11.
When D’Souza enters the mind of the leftist, he discovers their cynical political calculus: They criticize the war because military defeat is an acceptable price for defeating Bush. In response to the left’s de facto alliance with bin Laden, D’Souza urges “traditional” Americans to fight the leftists and make our culture more palatable abroad. D’Souza’s attempt to conflate the War on Terror with the culture war is a desperate plea for the disillusioned and fragmenting conservative movement to hold together through 2008. D’Souza fails not because of his tortured logic, ridiculous leftist straw man, or absurd conclusions, but because no amount of re-framing and blaming can disguise the Right’s disastrous policy failures.
Campus Progress captured Dinesh D'Souza in a debate with the Center for American Progress' P.J. Crowley about the war on terror. D'Souza states he supports the torture of suspected terrorists, including the use of tactics such as waterboarding.
A few of our favorite Dinesh D’Souza Quotes:
“The American slave was treated like property, which is to say, pretty well.” (from D’Souza’s book, The End of Racism)
“If America as a nation owes blacks as a group reparations for slavery, what do blacks as a group owe America for the abolition of slavery?” (from The End of Racism)
"Am I calling for the repeal of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Actually, yes." (from The End of Racism)
“...within the United States, black males have (you may be surprised to discover) the highest self-esteem of any group. Yet on academic measures black males score the lowest. The reason is that self-esteem in these cases is generated by factors unrelated to studies, such as the ability to beat up other students or a high estimation of one’s sexual prowess.” (from D’Souza’s book Letters to a Young Conservative)
"[f]or many whites the criminal and irresponsible black underclass represents a revival of barbarism in the midst of Western civilization." (from D’Souza’s book The End of Racism)
“What impact did the abortionists, the feminists, the homosexual activists, and the secularists have on the Islamic radicals who conspired to blow up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Unfortunately, this crucial question got buried, and virtually no one has raised it publicly.” (from The Enemy at Home)
“What disgusts [Muslims] is not free elections but the sights of hundreds of homosexuals kissing one another and taking marriage vows. The person that horrifies them the most is not John Locke but Hillary Clinton.” (from The Enemy at Home)
“In reality, the left already has a foreign policy and a strategy, and it’s called working in tandem with bin Laden to defeat Bush.” (from The Enemy at Home)
Illustration: August J. Pollak