It's a cold day in May when I think someone is exaggerating the significance of America's culture war. Usually the problem is the opposite: wishful liberals writing off the culture war as a myth. Well, my moment of culture-war overload has finally arrived. I've just finished Dinesh D'Souza's new book, The Enemy at Home, which argues that the war on terror and America's culture war are the same war.
As D'Souza puts it in his intentionally startling opening: "The cultural left in this country is responsible for causing 9/11." No, D'Souza isn't accusing Frank Rich of piloting a plane into the World Trade Center. Instead, D'Souza's arguing that the "deluge of gross depravity and immorality" let loose by the cultural left has not only split our country politically, but has provoked a backlash among the world's traditional societies -- Muslim societies above all. Hollywood depravity and feminist activism aren't just American phenomena, D'Souza reminds us. American movies play worldwide, just as leftist-dominated U.N. agencies impose Western feminist radicalism across the globe. Absent these provocations by the cultural left, claims D'Souza, "9/11 would not have happened."
So to simultaneously win the war on terror and America's culture war, D'Souza proposes a grand coalition between traditional Muslims and America's conservatives -- a union that would ultimately embrace traditionalists in every culture and corner of the world. This coalition would marginalize the secular left in the United States, while turning against Muslim terrorists abroad. If U.S. conservatives could only let pious Muslims see the moral and religious America that disdains the values of the cultural Left, D'Souza promises, Muslim traditionalists would reciprocate by rejecting the violent, anti-American radicals in their midst. Yes, D'Souza grants, these traditionalists may use democracy to establish sharia law abroad. But Islamic law doesn't cause terrorism. Placate Islamic traditionalists by showing them that America has traditionalists of its own, and the wave of terror will stop.
Read the entire article on the National Review website (new window will open).