Dinesh and I locked horns a few years back when he attacked me in his book The Enemy At Home, saying that books like mine should not be written. His line was that Islam was a religion of peace, that pious, morally upright Muslims had been driven to lash out against the U.S. because of the immorality of our pop culture, and that American conservatives should ally with what he termed “conservative Muslims” against their common, amoral Leftist foe.
He and I debated this at CPAC in 2007 and on several radio shows, which grew increasingly heated as he charged me with “Islamophobia” (a term used by Muslim Brotherhood entities to stigmatize opposition to jihad terror) and invoked Saudi-funded Islamic apologist John Esposito as an authority.
The ensuing years have only shown more vividly what nonsense Dinesh’s position was, as “conservative Muslims” the world over wage jihad against America, and non-Muslims everywhere, more furiously than ever.
I rehash all this to show the falsehood of the line that has been circulating around in the Leftist media ever since Dinesh D’Souza was indicted: that only people who share D’Souza’s views are concerned about his indictment. As Tal Kopan put it in Politico, “In the wake of the indictment of conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza for alleged fraud, conservatives are crying foul that it is evidence of the Obama administration punishing its critics.”
Liberals should be as concerned about this as conservatives. Foes of jihad should be just as concerned about it as those who share D’Souza’s worries about “Islamophobia.” For the evidence is mounting that D’Souza has indeed been targeted for being a public and high-profile foe of Barack Obama – a development that should disquiet anyone who believes in the value of a stable, functioning republic with a loyal opposition. Pamela Geller notes here that D’Souza is not remotely the only conservative or Obama critic who has been targeted for prosecution, while Obama’s Justice Department has turned a blind eye to illegal campaign contributions from Gaza during Obama’s 2008 campaign. And then there was the Obama Justice Department’s dismissal of the New Black Panthers voter intimidation case.
What’s more, bail for D’Souza was set higher than that given to several people accused of attempted murder, rape, assault, and the like. To whom is Dinesh D’Souza more dangerous than a man who sexually assaulted a teenager, or a man who kept old men captive in a filthy “dungeon”?
This is something new in American politics. When I was six years old, I took notice of the presidential campaign, and asked my father who was the “good guy”: Richard Nixon or Hubert Humphrey. My father answered, “They’re both good men. They both want to do what is right for the country. They just disagree on what some of the right things to do may be.”
That kind of respect for the opposition was commonplace in America back in 1968, but it has all but vanished now. I remember being taken aback in college by the obscene, relentless, vicious hatred that the Left directed toward Ronald Reagan – I was at that time entirely sympathetic with their disdain for him, but the frenzy with which they expressed it, their wild furious contempt, shocked me. And that was nothing compared to what they had in store for George W. Bush. The Democratic Party as a whole, along with the entire Leftist establishment, adopted the Alinskyite tactic of ridiculing, mocking and smearing their foes instead of engaging them on the level of ideas. Leftists now routinely portray their opponents as simultaneously stupid and evil, idiotic but crafty; it’s practically a reflex.
Decades of this have poisoned the well of American politics, and paved the way for Obama to take the demonization to the next level by unleashing the law on them. Arresting prominent members of the opposition is the kind of behavior we have seen from the likes of Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler; it is a hallmark of authoritarianism, not (until now) of politics in the United States. Of course, Stalin and Hitler didn’t stop with arresting their foes; they had them murdered as well, usually after a show trial. Obama is not doing that, but is even one step down this road one that Americans want to take?
Leftist pundits who are waving away concern over the arrest of D’Souza should bear in mind that the worm could turn. They could, for some reason or another, find themselves somewhere down the line opposing the Obama regime or some other presidency that apes Obama’s strategy. Then those who are claiming that only believers in crazy “conspiracy theories” are concerned about the Obama Justice Department’s (to say nothing of the Obama IRS) clear pattern of singling out opponents of the President for prosecution while ignoring more serious crimes among his friends may find themselves on the receiving end of this tactic.
Civility and mutual respect are in dire need of restoration in the American public square, but two have to play at that game, and only one side is even interested in the game at all. With the arrest of Dinesh D’Souza, Barack Obama has adopted a key feature of the Stalinist style of politics. Before he or anyone else gets the idea of adopting anything else from the authoritarians’ playbook, Americans – Left and Right – would be well-advised to stand together to repudiate him and these tactics once and for all, and resoundingly.
But by relentlessly demonizing their opponents, Barack Obama and his cohorts have almost certainly already made that impossible.
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