Teachable moment

Heather Mac Donald isn’t happy with Dinish D’Souza.

When, some of have wondered, is the takeover of the Republican party by lunatics going to provoke a backlash among either the voters or the non-lunatic conservative thinkers?

There’s still no hint of a voter backlash, but Dinesh D’Souza’s hate-filled rant against the President, and its endorsement by Newt Gingrich, seem to be causing widespread disgruntlement on the literate right.

Heather Mac Donald, for example, is far from gruntled:

Forbes magazine has now “fact-checked” Dinesh D’Souza’s infamous September 27 cover story, “How Obama Thinks,” and has uncovered one “slight” misrepresentation, it says, of an Obama speech on the BP oil spill. Such a “fact-checking” feint is irrelevant to this travesty of an article; you can’t “fact-check” a fever dream of paranoia and irrationality. Sickeningly, while “How Obama Thinks” is useless as a guide to the Obama presidency, it is all too representative of the hysteria that now runs through a significant portion of the right-wing media establishment. The article is worth analyzing at some length as an example of the lunacy that is poisoning much conservative discourse.

And analyze it at some length she does. By the time Mac Donald is finished with him, there’s nothing left of D’Souza but a small, stinking puddle.

If D’Souza and Gingrich have, at long last, awakened what’s left of the actual conservative movement in this country to the dangers of associating with the neo-Birchers, they will, for the first time in their lives, have performed an actual public service. Kudos to Mac Donald for calling them out.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

5 thoughts on “Teachable moment”

  1. I like Heather Mac Donald and I appreciate her comments on many things, but she is only falling in lockstep with her own branch of the inclusive republican umbrella here. Her agenda shows through in this piece; she is not dealing in facts as she clearly states the facts are not worth disputing. She's wrong and her party is going to tell her so at the ballot box in a little over a month. Thems be the facts.

  2. It would be one thing to say that Obama's liberalism is inspired by fascination and solidarity with his African heritage, but that is not what D'Souza says.

    D'Souza puts forward the claim that specific anti-colonialist principles play a decisive role in specific policies (widely held on the left and in the American public) of Obama because it is "How He Thinks" because of a specific ideological influence of Obama the elder on Obama the younger. This influence is hypothesized without evidence (that would be without facts). This is a very different idea from that in the first sentence of this comment. There is no evidence of a close study of or devotion to anti-colonialist policies by Obama and much evidence that his political model is closer to one that is based on integration into a liberal American status quo (escalation of war abroad and discussion of domestic minorities in a way that kicks out Shirley Sherrod and has Jesse Jackson fantasizing about castration). Even if O were more against war and less conciliatory in racial issues, that would still not prove anything considering the popularity of these ideas on the American left among people who have no personal connection at all to Africa.

    What D'Souza writes, on the other hand, has the advantages of being able to be understood easily by people who have difficulty thinking in abstract ideas and when they try often only grasp them as the hidden ideas of conspiracies. Secondly, it has the short-term political advantage and moral flaw of suggesting osmosis from the fairely flawed father to the flawed son, who of course has made much of his disagreement with his father's life. Thirdly and most importantly, it suggests disloyalty to America on the part of Obama, not only in the sense of cosmopolitanism "well look at the whole world" but also in the sense of a specific hostility to the interests of powerful "colonial" countries.

    The issue for is not that "Oh no! How dare D suggest that African heritage plays a role in O's politics?" But rather "That is clearly not the role that African heritage plays in O's politics."

    But there's more to the right than paranoia.

  3. The literate right has long been complaining about the mouth-breathers. Look at theamericanscene.com or the better precincts of amconmag.com for some examples. It doesn't make any real difference.

  4. Falling in lockstep, Bux?

    Or just recognizing bull-s for what it is.

    But I suppose you are correct – this election may prove that bull-s does suffice to get you elected. I have hopes to the contrary.

  5. Has Heather Mac Donald long been considered part of the "respectable right"? I remember not too long ago some folks placing her beyond the bounds of respectability.

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