Monday, January 22, 2007


It always hurts to see a good insight go bad. Dinesh D’Souza is looking to pin the blame for 9-11 on “The Cultural Left”. He’s interviewed by Alex Koppelman at Salon (

Souza’s starting premise, which he actually doesn’t say as such (but let me be a little generous here; he had a bad day in that interview, that’s for sure), is that the roots of 9-11 go back a way. Yes. And that the “cultural Left” had some role in that. Yes indeedy. But whether the aforesaid Left “caused” 9-11 is another question, and then whether the aforesaid Left intended to create such a wrack is yet another question. And they are all valid and good questions. So far so good.

But that’s about as far as things get before D’Souza derails. The weight of public discourse as it must be carried on in our modern American reality deforms things for the rest of the trip. Bypassing the chance to explore his perfectly good thesis, he has to recast it as ‘the Left caused 9-11’, that accusatory, black&white, either-or, gotcha, sensationalist casting of discourse that has everyone reaching for their revolvers before the ideas are even considered. Alas.

But of course, this is the type of ‘casting’ that enabled 9-11 in the first place. By politicizing public discourse from the get-go, by simplifying and sensationalizing topics through adolescent illogic and heaty rhetoric, by demanding an instant response and condemning any effort at deliberation or questioning, by insisting that all positions are ‘equal’ and that there are no grounds for any particular thought or policy to be considered as objectively true, by stampeding public opinion right past Thought and headlong into Passion … by all that and more the ability of this People and its government in all its Branches was gravely impaired and deformed, perhaps – in some of the consequences – irreparably.

And this set of ‘-ings’ has pretty much been the modus operandi of the cultural Left for decades. What this site calls the ‘Revolutions of the Identities’ were abetted by advanced-level ‘Advocacies’. And the objective of those Revolutions and those Advocacies was not reflection and deliberation nor the formulation of reasonable and consensual truth but was rather the quick emotional stunning of the citizenry (as many as possible) so that the Advocated outrage could be fumed at, and the Advocated ‘enemy’ be demonized, and the Advocated ‘reform’ be immediately enacted, supported by the police power of the State.

As has been discussed elsewhere on this site, numerous ‘Revolutions’ have been conducted in numerous ‘good causes’ over the past 40 years in this country. That’s a lot of change for a society and a culture to process; it would take quite a while to do properly, allowing the citizenry, The People, to consider and approve and adapt themselves in the most fundamental levels of our cultural and societal communion. But these Advocated Revolutions were not willing to wait that long – they were righteously impatient as all revolutions are, nor were they willing to risk the possibility that The People might ask too many questions or simply take the time that it takes to reshape a society and a culture widely and deeply. Instead, the modus operandi of each of the Revolutions was to either stampede or bully The People. The People were blitzed by this or that ‘emergency’ or ‘outrage’, by this or that ‘demon’, by this or that threat that if the Advocated position were doubted then the doubter him/herself would be ‘proven’ to be a supporter of the said ‘outrage’.

And there were a lot of Revolutions, so The People were subjected to wave upon wave of these tactics, these blitzes. And to support a ‘good’, even a ‘Good’, cause – the media joined in on the pigpile, giving up on even the pretext of objective and factual reporting and instead picking the good and the bad and the ugly for the daily and nightly melodrama of TV ‘news’; print journalism abandoned its ideals and its role as Informer of The People and began to regress to its less-evolved “yellow” form. And by 9-11 this had been going on for 35 years.

You can make a very good case that if The People of this Republic had not been slaphappy from the sustained blitzing of the Advocacies and the consequences that flowed from the policies and laws enacted under the pressure of those Revolutions, then they might have been able to pay more attention to foreign affairs.

You can make an even better case that if The People’s ability to conduct public discourse and deliberation was not blocked by the revolutionary censoriousness of Political Correctness and a sensationalist media, then This People might have been able to muster more seriousness in matters involving the deployment of lethal force and the projection of violence on Its authority – on Our authority.

You can make an even better case that if the fundamental thought processes of the citizenry were not deranged by the adolescent and primitive illogic and rhetoric that not only enabled each of the ‘Revolutions’ to crow-bar open some space for itself but also enabled each of them to demand that no doubt or even hesitation could be tolerated in the face of its self-declared ‘emergency’, then This People might have been better equipped to think things through.

You can make an even better case that if Objectivity and Reason and Truth had not been declared to be not only impossible to achieve but utterly non-existent, that if Feeling had not been elevated over Thinking, that if all of the Ideals toward which This People and this almost-chosen Nation had been imperfectly staggering all these centuries had not been declared vicious and oppressive delusions, that if all matters public and private, moral and ethical, personal and societal, had not been reduced to ‘the political’, such that many citizens felt that any effort toward Peopling the Republic was not only hopeless but utterly fatuous and maybe even evil as well … if all of those conceptual and procedural gambits had not been released into the cultural atmosphere and their toxins dispersed – amplified by the media and propelled by the power of political conniving, then This People might have been less inclined to retreat into unthinking passion and into the clutches of calculated manipulations toward the ‘vision’ of this and that Revolution and – after 9-11 – of the government. After all, how can you speak Truth to power if there is no such thing as Truth? (And thus the Democrats' awefull problem nowadays.)

None of the foregoing is to say or even to imply that all the good-intentioned folks of the past 40 years purposely sought to undermine the country. Nor even that the shrewd and calculating advanced-stage Advocates and the pols and media honchos planned to bring the country to its present situation and condition. But though utterly unintended, the abovementioned Conseqences have come; they are here. And their name is legion.

And in the hottest and most lethal irony, the Consequences – building now to a Nemesis – are confronted only by a befuddled Congress and a quite-possibly deranged Executive, watched at a distance by a Supreme Court that compromised itself with a breath-taking awefulness by installing the said deranged Executive in the first place.

Nor can we take comfort in the fact that even if – somehow, incredibly – this nation is now the ‘underdog’ in the coming encounter with the Consequences of its own actions, it will all be OK because ‘the little guy’ always wins in these David&Goliath scripts. ‘Innocence’ may win in these things, but we – We – are not exactly ‘innocent’. Nor can we hope that “God” will simply ride in and save the day because “God” is clearly trapped in ironic quotation marks and can no longer muster His former force-projection capacities on our behalf.

Perhaps it was that very perception of the discomfiture of “God” (considered by the Revolutions and their guiding Theory as an evil, oppressive fantasy cooked up to keep the oppressed from liberation) that inflamed the long-dormant volcano of whackjob Fundamentalism. And so the vacuum created by the Left when it effectively closed The People out of public discourse and then failed to provide a successful outcome to the ‘visions’ in whose urgent service its assorted revolutions had debauched The People … that vacuum was filled by the grandiose, desperate Fundamentalists, whipped into a froth by toothy, well-coiffed Bible Bhagwans who took their donations and funded a long march through the political casinos of Washington City.

But then that brings us back to the Right (our present Right cannot be called ‘conservative’ in any meaningful sense of that word). And to 9-11. Maybe we could ask if the ticket agent who let a couple of Middle-Eastern males run quickly along to catch a flight had felt a little more confident that s/he would not lose employment if the media got wind of it, maybe that agent would have stopped Atta and his squad before they ever got on a plane. Maybe if the citizenry weren’t trapped in the conundrum of ‘if you stop a non-white (however the heck that is defined here) then you are profiling regardless of your intent’ then maybe somebody somewhere might have acted on their suspicions and 9-11 might have been foiled before it got off the ground. But who in their right mind would risk losing a job if it turned out that your action had merely ‘victimized’ a ‘minority’? All interesting questions.

But of course 9-11 was just that: an event that happened on 9-11. Our current problem, the Eastern Front that bids fair to deeply derange our position in the world, is not ‘part of’ 9-11. Fewer people (and upon them be peace) were lost than troops now lost in Iraq, and if any country on the planet can absorb the loss of two elderly skyscrapers, it’s ours. No, Bush and the Gang had always planned to invade Iraq and they simply used 9-11 – awful as it was – as a pretext to start their war. Which – and for this rivers of blood cry out from the earth in witness against them – they callously and cockily bungled, lying as if the depth of your dishonesty marks the height of your nobility.

And now D’Souza’s concept seems to be that the Cultural Left caused 9-11. To which I say: there is no way in Hell or Heaven that Bush – and all his Gang and all his supporters and all his enablers – can escape responsibility for the mess we are all in now. And if there is anybody who even now looks forward to the Angels of the Apocalypse pulling up to the curb any time before we have all had the opportunity to make suitable confession and do penance, well … any such person should not be operating heavy machinery.

But that being said, if We want to consider carefully the consequences that sitting through 40 years of revolutionary blitzes from the ‘cultural Left’ and its Theory have had on our society and our culture and our ability to be The People, the indispensable People without which the lesser machinery of the government’s counter-balancing Branches will simply rock off its foundations… well, I would very strongly approve that inquiry.

D’Souza is what he is. But the situation we face just now is monstrous and it is in large part of our making. Our authority – exercised with our approval or our failure to disapprove – has created a vortex that is belching ferocious death and voraciously sucking in blood and souls.

I disagree with the Incumbent. I do not recommend that we go to the mall and shop. I don’t object to D’Souza, as far as he goes – which ain’t hardly far enough. But We are The People and we have many, many miles to go … lives still living are in need of Us, and lives now gone watch Us. Answer must be made.

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Blogger Davidco said...

D'Souza is a charlatan who, like Coulter, fans the flames of Bush base anger with outrageous prose and then laughs all the way to the bank as the Rove-bots snap up his dreck at 30% off in bookstore bargain bins.

He has never had a 'good interview'. Colbert ate him for lunch a few days ago (1-16-07). There's video if you're interested.

12:59 PM  

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