[Marxism] The fall of Dinesh D'Souza

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Oct 22 08:58:05 MDT 2012


Counterpunch October 22, 2012

Unholy Dalliance
The Fall of My Friend Dinesh
by VIJAY PRASHAD

Poor Dinesh D’Souza. He was hoisted on his own “petar,” Shakespeare’s 
little joke in Hamlet, substituting the old word for flatulence in place 
of petard, the spear. There he was on Rick Scarborough’s windy 
conference call pillorying President Obama for “attacking the 
traditional values agenda.” It was the typical stuff: Gay Marriage and 
Abortion are bad, Obama like them, so ergo “Obama doesn’t like 
traditional Christianity because he identifies it with colonialism.” 
This is all material that appears in his soporiferous movie, 2016: 
Obama’s America. It is not new. It is a cliché.

Then, from World Magazine, the Christian publication that tries to be 
“salt not sugar,” came a story on October 16 that D’Souza arrived at a 
conference in Spartanburg, South Carolina in late September, and checked 
into a Comfort Suites motel with his partner, Denise Odie Joseph II, a 
right-wing blogger. Joseph, it turns out, is not D’Souza’s wife, and nor 
could she be his fiancé. Not only is D’Souza married to someone else 
(although he says they are separated), but that Joseph herself has only 
recently been married. In any other planet, this would be a non-story: 
two consenting adults should be allowed to do what they like. But the 
world of conservative Christianity is not that planet.

A conference organizer, Alex McFarland, confronted D’Souza, who told him 
that Joseph was his fiancé, and that “nothing happened.” The World’s 
Warren Cole Smith called D’Souza, who told him that he had filed for 
divorce and was now engaged to Joseph. Smith’s sleuthing found out that 
D’Souza only filed those divorce papers after the Spartanburg tryst.

As Jeffrey St. Clair put it, D’Souza “was apparently just preparing 
himself for the coming Mormon Republic of the US” with the impending 
electoral sweep of what is now called Romneysia.

The World’s article set the ball rolling, and within a few days, D’Souza 
lost his seven-figure salary from the presidency of King’s College in 
New York City.

There is a rat in this tale. The World’s Smith had been on the payroll 
of King’s College, till D’Souza ended his contract, and The World’s 
publisher, Marvin Olasky had been the College’s Provost before he left, 
having irreconcilable differences with D’Souza. There is a tincture of 
suspicion that this might have been some kind of sting operation, with 
King’s College itself not unhappy to see the back of their celebrity 
hire. Their own statement, released on October 18, stank of 
high-handedness, with a lot of “glory of your Name” and “progress of 
your Kingdom” thrown in to mask a sanctimonious claim that such scandals 
only highlight “our own flaws and failures.”

D’Souza, it seems, had not kept the “marriage bed pure.” There are all 
those terrible passages from Deuteronomy and Leviticus that say that the 
adulterers must be “put to death.” The finger of God burned this 
commandment into stone. There is no sidebar on these matters, no “may I 
approach the bench” to get some forgiveness for betrayal. D’Souza’s 
brand of Christianity was stern toward gays and lesbians, stern towards 
abortion providers, and even sterner towards the poor.

I have before me his appallingly moralistic Letters to a Young 
Conservative (2005), which Jonah Goldberg of the National Review called 
“an intellectual Swiss Army Knife for the young conservative. It’s handy 
and yet lethal.” The book whips between an old-fashioned conservative 
tolerance and a 21st century conservative cruelty. D’Souza tells us that 
in “philosophy seminars, the choice is usually between good and evil.” 
Not this kind of black and white for him. He seems to prefer the grays, 
for “in the real world, the choice is often between a bad guy and a 
worse guy.” If that were the case, there should be room for compassion 
and for understanding, for forging a social system that would be able to 
make the “worse guy” not so bad after all. But this kind of 
old-fashioned whiggishness is intolerable on its own. It sits beside the 
new-fangled cruelty, laced with wicked and harsh humor, “There is a 
legitimate argument over whether the death penalty effectively deters 
violent crime, although my personal observation is that not one of the 
criminals who have been executed over the years has ever killed again.”

One can almost hear George W. Bush’s cackle when discussing in 1999 his 
denial of clemency to Karla Faye Tucker. One can hear as well the harsh 
bromides of that other sexual hypocrite Newt Gingrich, of Congressman 
Henry Hyde and his “youthful indiscretion” at age 41, Congressman David 
Vitter and his trips to the DC Madam, Governor Mark Sanford and what he 
called his journey down the Appalachian Trial – all right-wing 
politicians, many of whom made their mark by running down Bill Clinton’s 
shudder-worthy affronts. The luster of the Republican Bad Boys comes 
from their paradigmatic resemblance to the Wild and Crazy Frat Guys. 
Dinesh D’Souza will now forever be in their company. In another circle 
of Hell, where the sun is silent (i sol tace) will sit that other 
cohort, Jimmy Swaggart and Ted Haggard, wizened preachers who fulminated 
against sex of all kinds, and then were found addicted to what they 
disdained.

Denise Odie Joseph II was one of D’Souza’s groupies. On April 6, she 
wrote on her blog, I Denise Lust After…, that D’Souza was “one of our 
favorite conservative activist philosophers,” and that she could not 
wait to see his new movie on Obama, “I hope it’s as interesting and 
hard-hitting as the preview suggests.” A month later, on May 15, Joseph 
writes, “Dinesh D’Souza all but proves how dangerously and definitively 
our President’s past has influenced his present policies.” By Obama’s 
past, Joseph and D’Souza mean the story of his father, a Kenyan 
government bureaucrat. The film is preposterous, but it has struck a 
nerve amongst those who want some kind of right-wing crud to 
breakthrough into the mainstream (as Joseph put it, “It looks like it’s 
going to be the blockbuster as many of us wanted the recent Atlas 
Shrugged film to be but knew it couldn’t”).

But D’Souza did deliver, as he has since his early success, Illiberal 
Education (1991), which ranted against diversity and affirmative action, 
and which set the terms for his pseudo-academic bestseller The Ends of 
Racism (1995). He was the dark-skinned man who stood up against 
anti-racism, the intellectual precursor to Governor Bobby Jindal, who 
channeled old segregationist language in his condemnation of the Jena 6 
and sanctified David Duke’s constituency of supremacists. Even Glenn 
Lowry, otherwise in step with D’Souza on affirmative action and 
diversity, said that the 1995 book “violated the canons of civility and 
commonality.” [One of my early books, The Karma of Brown Folk, 2000, was 
a response, in many ways, to D’Souza’s work on race]. D’Souza dedicated 
his 1995 book to Dixie. I thought he meant the Old South. Fortunately it 
is the name of his now estranged wife.

In 1999, D’Souza and I met to debate the question of Affirmative Action. 
I found him to be a very pleasant man, quick with the right-wing jokes 
(“I sort of like climate change; I get chilly very often”). He defended 
the status quo based on the Pareto Optimal – no-one can be made better 
off without making one person worse off. In his case, he took the 
example of the sandwich. He complained that no-one, not himself at 
least, would like to share his sandwich or even a part of it with 
others. But the world, I said to him, does not consist of two people and 
one sandwich. It consists of one person with 99 sandwiches and 99 people 
with one sandwich, to which he glared at me, smiled and moved on. World 
Magazine and King’s College have taken away his sandwich. But men of the 
Right are never hungry for long. They are hastily redeemed and brought 
back into the fray. There is always the Gingrich Group or Swaggart’s 
World Evangelism Bible College. If these white guys don’t rehabilitate 
him, D’Souza might have to revisit his own views on the end of racism. 
When you rise parroting the manure of the Right, your skin color might 
be forgiven; when you fall, I’m not so sure.

Vijay Prashad is the author of Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK) and Uncle 
Swami (New Press).




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