The Corner

Neuhaus on D’Souza

This certainly seems to be D’Souza week, what with Jonah’s review of The Enemy at Home out, and D’Souza’s four-part answer to his critics here on NRO.  I suspect we’ll be hearing more from D’Souza’s critics–myself included–shortly.

At any rate, it’s apparent that a wide array of conservative writers have in one form or another repudiated The Enemy at Home.  But what about strongly religious conservative intellectuals with a special interest in the sort of issues implicated in America’s culture war?  You’d think that if any American conservatives were going to embrace D’Souza’s controversial strategy for winning the culture war, it would be the folks some people like to call “theocons.”  Well it appears that the theocons aren’t biting.  In the just-published April issue of First Things, Richard John Neuhaus (honorary “theocon” commander-in-chief), rejects D’Souza’s argument in no uncertain terms.  Here’s the passage:

“‘In order to defeat the Islamic radicals abroad,’ writes Dinesh D’Souza, ‘we must defeat the enemy at home.’  That is the argument of his new book, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11.  Mr. D’Souza is undoubtedly right that radical Jihadists exploit–among many other things they exploit–the pervasiveness of pornography, sexual licentiousness, and other depravities America exports through its commanding role in the global media.  And there is in this country an intense and open-ended conflict, commonly called a culture war, between ‘the cultural left’ and its opponents.  But to suggest that those associated with the cultural left are ‘the enemy’ in a way comparable to [the way in which] al-Qaeda and its allies are the enemy is over the top.  The ‘responsibility for 9/11′ rests solidly with the international network of Jihadists who have declared their determination to use any means necessary to defeat the U.S. and force the world’s submission to Islam.  The idea that they or the millions of Muslims sympathetic to them will have a change of heart about America and the West if only we put our house in moral order is not persuasive.  More troubling is the implication that America, if only the American left, is responsible for the war being waged by the Jihadists.  Recall the late Jeanne Kirkpatrick’s speech at the 1984 Republican convention and the ‘blame-America-first-crowd.’  That crowd is large enough as it is.  There’s no call for self-identified conservatives to join it.”

Et tu, Neuhaus?  Then fall, D’Souza.

I suppose some on the left might see D’Souza’s work as confirmation of their darkest fears about conservatism.  Yet it seems to me that the near universal rejection of The Enemy at Home by the conservative commentariat makes exactly the opposite point: this is decidedly not what conservatism today is all about.

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Kat Timpf Chased Out of Brooklyn Bar

Fox News personality and National Review contributor Kat Timpf was forced to leave a bar in Brooklyn over the weekend after a woman she had never met became enraged upon learning she worked in conservative media. Timpf, who has twice previously been harassed while socializing in New York City, first described ... Read More
U.S.

The Present American Revolution

The revolution of 1776 sought to turn a colony of Great Britain into a new independent republic based on constitutionally protected freedom. It succeeded with the creation of the United States. The failed revolution of 1861, by a slave-owning South declaring its independence from the Union, sought to bifurcate ... Read More
Film & TV

The Dan Crenshaw Moment

Given the spirit of our times, things could have gone so differently. On November 3, when Saturday Night Live comic Pete Davidson mocked Texas Republican Dan Crenshaw’s eye patch, saying he looked like a “hit man in a porno movie” — then adding, “I know he lost his eye in war or whatever” — it was a ... Read More
Elections

Florida’s Shame, and Ours

Conspiracy theories are bad for civic life. So are conspiracies. I wonder if there is one mentally normal adult walking these fruited plains -- even the most craven, abject, brain-dead partisan Democrat -- who believes that what has been going on in Broward County, Fla., is anything other than a brazen ... Read More