15 September 2010

Idiots of the Week: Dinesh D'Souza and Newt Gingrich

Liberal columnists are having a field day blasting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for endorsing and publicizing an absurd interpretation of President Obama promulgated by Dinesh D'Souza in a Forbes magazine column and a forthcoming book. The D'Souza thesis has been described as a pseudo-intellectual version of birtherism. His premise, based upon the title of Obama's memoir (Dreams From My Father)and a single newspaper article written by Obama's father, is that the President, who saw relatively little of his father and was not raised by him, has thoroughly absorbed the elder Obama's "anticolonialist" ideology. A breathtaking range of Obama policies, D'Souza asserts, can be explained by his anticolonial bias against the United States and the western world.

D'Souza, a native of India who is a Christian chauvinist as well as a right-wing Republican, claims to know the anticolonial mentality from firsthand experience. Anticolonialism, he writes, is "the doctrine that rich countries of the West got rich by invading, occupying and looting poor countries of Asia, Africa and South America." He defines the term with care, because he sees anticolonialism as the Third World's excuse for not doing the reasonable thing by emulating European capitalism. He'd have you think that third-worlders believe that capitalism doesn't really work on its own terms, but flourished only through territorial conquest. But to my knowledge, anticolonialism or anti-imperialism, while a characteristic attitude of the "left," is not innately anti-capitalist. If anticolonialists resent the rich countries of the West, the invasion, occupation and looting of their countries is a sufficient explanation in its own right, regardless of how much any western country profited from it. But it's important for D'Souza to define anticolonialism in implicitly economic terms because he ascribes to Barack Obama an "anticolonial" desire to redistribute wealth from the West to the third world.

Obama's father appears to have advocated state expropriation of private wealth and property in order to prevent an alleged handful of individuals from controlling Kenya's resources. To D'Souza, this 1965 article is a dirty secret that the President and his acolytes in the liberal media have tried to hide from the American public, a Rosebud that reveals all the ideals and aspirations of the author's son.

It may seem incredible to suggest that the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. is espoused by his son, the President of the United States. That is what I am saying. From a very young age and through his formative years, Obama learned to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America's military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father's position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder. Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America. In his worldview, profits are a measure of how effectively you have ripped off the rest of society, and America's power in the world is a measure of how selfishly it consumes the globe's resources and how ruthlessly it bullies and dominates the rest of the planet.

D'Souza didn't need to qualify that first sentence. It doesn't seem incredible, after all. But our scholar is so captivated by his discovery that he can write the following -- "If Obama shares his father's anticolonial crusade, that would explain why he wants people who are already paying close to 50% of their income in overall taxes to pay even more" -- with the prose equivalent of a straight face. That sample represents the whole of the article quite fairly. For Gingrich, it proved a revelation akin to the vision of John. Thus inspired, he takes the D'Souza thesis to the ad hominem heights.

What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]? That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior. This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president. I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating — none of which was true. In the [Saul] Alinksy tradition, he was being the person he needed to be in order to achieve the position he needed to achieve . . . He was authentically dishonest.

This analysis seems consistent with Gingrich's career as a writer who converts history to fiction. I don't mean to imply that he's lying, however; he may well be sincerely caught up in D'Souza's delusion. In which case, I leave you to determine the bigger idiot: the man who comes up with such a stupid idea, or the one who falls for it.


Anonymous said...

Well, considering America is a force for destruction - at least since the time of Bush. It is readily understandable why any people whose country is ransacked and looted by America and it's erstwhile compatriots would hate those who steal from and enslave them.

But in the beginning, could it not be rightly argued that our founding fathers were also "anti-colonialists"?

sammarlia said...

Are you saying that this isn't true?

"he wants people who are already paying close to 50% of their income in overall taxes to pay even more"

Samuel Wilson said...

sammarlia: I'm only saying that attributing such a policy to Old Man Obama's anticolonial attitudes is asinine. Or are you saying that D'Souza's claim is true?

Crhymethinc: your last point strikes home, and back then we Americans had much the same attitude about English and European exploitation. Conservatives might argue that we got over it by learning capitalism, but I don't know if they'd approve of the means (tariffs, tariffs, tariffs) our ancestors learned along the way.

Anonymous said...

So sammarlia, you're saying that a person who makes 10,000,000/year is paying 5,000,000 in taxes? You are definitely full of something. These people have all kinds of legal loopholes they use to get out of paying their fair share. But let's be comparative. Let's say that guy does, in fact, pay 50% of his "earnings" in taxes. Compare that with the average American who, according to recent studies, earns about 50,000/year and pays about 25% of that in taxes. So the average American nets about $37,500 and the other guy nets $5,000,000. He still has no cause to complain, considering the ample lifestyle he can afford to live. Let's call higher taxes on the wealthy the "price" of living the high life in the United States. Anyone not willing to pay that price definitely has the option and the means to find another country to live in.

Bottom line - when it comes to social obligation vs. individual "freedom", social obligation MUST ALWAYS COME FIRST. Assuming you want your civilization to continue. Otherwise you will go the way of every other fallen civilization that has put individual wealth above the national interest.

Anonymous said...

The attitude of the wealthy towards those of us who actually labor to create that wealth was most accurately summed up by Marie Antoinette. If there is any true justice in this country, the outcome will also be the same.