By Amitabh Pal on September 15, 2010

Dinesh D’Souza is exceeding even himself.

The conservative flamethrower’s recent article in Forbes magazine served as the inspiration for Newt Gingrich’s notorious comment about President Obama’s “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior” being the essence of his character. Gingrich thinks D’Souza’s piece to be a “stunning insight,” the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama.”

If that is so, Gingrich has been reading pure garbage for a long time. D’Souza’s piece is psychobabble of the worst sort, replete with errors, falsehoods, and half-truths. Let me cite just two instances.

There’s the very first example in the article. “Consider this headline from the August 18, 2009, issue of the Wall Street Journal: ‘Obama Underwrites Offshore Drilling.’ Did you read that correctly? You did. The Administration supports offshore drilling--but drilling off the shores of Brazil.” There’s only one problem here. The organization that approved the funds for Brazil, the Export-Import Bank, did this in April 2009 when the board was dominated by Bush appointees, as David Weigel points out in his helpful dissection at Slate.

And this is the sort of character analysis that D’Souza engages in: “Here is a man who spent his formative years—the first 17 years of his life—off the American mainland, in Hawaii, Indonesia and Pakistan, with multiple subsequent journeys to Africa.” Note the ominous insertion of Pakistan, the place here with the most negative connotations for an average American. Obama was in Pakistan for a couple of weeks during college, for heaven’s sake! If that makes him a closet Pakistani, then I’m the heir to Socrates and Plato courtesy of the vacation I had in Greece some years ago. (And it’s bizarre for D’Souza to be playing this game, since he was born and brought up in India.)

I won’t bore readers much further. D’Souza’s piece is a complete smear, accusing Obama of aiming to achieve as President all that his father stood for. It ends on a really vile note: “The U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation's agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son.”

D’Souza has been down this awful road before. His 1995 book, “The End of Racism,” was so vicious that two African-American conservatives associated with the American Enterprise Institute, Glenn Loury and Robert Woodson, resigned from the think tank in protest over the book and Charles Murray’s “Bell Curve.” Both D’Souza and Murray were fellows at American Enterprise. That wasn’t the first time that D’Souza has faced accusations of racial bias. When he was the editor of the Dartmouth Review as an undergrad, it “published an interview with a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, using a mock photograph of a black man hanging from a campus tree,” the Washington Post reported in 1995.

Then there was his 2007 book, “The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11,” in which he blamed pretty much all progressives (including FDR) for the September 11 attacks. Thankfully, some conservatives at the National Review took him on.

And not all conservatives are on his side even on this one. David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, is downright furious. “When last was there such a brazen outburst of race-baiting in the service of partisan politics at the national level?” Frum asks, and adds, “Here is racial animus, unconcealed and unapologetic … an insult to every conservative in America.”

D’Souza’s modus operandi is to use his Indian immigrant background to say things that a white person cannot. He tries to use this as a cover again in his Obama hatchet job. But his background provides no immunity for his hateful views.

If you liked this article by Amitabh Pal, the managing editor of The Progressive magazine, please check out his article entitled "French Strike Shows Resistance to Austerity."

Follow Amitabh Pal @amitpal on Twitter

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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