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Dinesh the Diarist

Dinesh D'Souza has a blog hosted by AOL. Who knew? Lots of people apparently, since he gets not five or six, or one or two dozen, but hundreds of comments on every post. (If Nick Gillespie hadn't pointed it out, … Read More

By / December 23, 2007

Dinesh D'Souza has a blog hosted by AOL. Who knew? Lots of people apparently, since he gets not five or six, or one or two dozen, but hundreds of comments on every post. (If Nick Gillespie hadn't pointed it out, I at least wouldn't have known.)

I find D'Souza an infuriating figure, because he is, on the one hand, an extremely formidable debater with a far more comprehensive understanding of the philosophical tradition than most pundits, and on the other hand, enthusiastically prepared to trade in ugly and half-baked arguments in order to advance an agenda. For an example of the former, check out the debate with Christopher Hitchens on D'Souza's website; I'd say D'Souza gets the better of the affair though I basically agree with Hitchens on all the issues. For an example of the latter, see here. Or check out D'Souza's latest blog post, in which he cuts through the arguments of libertarians and gets at their core motivations:

Many libertarians are basically conservatives who are either gay or druggies or people who generally find the conservative moral agenda too restrictive. So they flee from the conservative to the libertarian camp where much wider parameters of personal behavior are embraced. To the sensible idea of political and economic freedom many libertarians add the more controversial principle of moral freedom, the freedom to live however you want as long as you don't harm others.

This from somebody who insists that non-believers need to make an effort to get inside the Christian worldview and understand it in its own term, before they criticize it. What makes D'Souza's caricature particularly galling is its sheer laziness; he could have been disabused of his misperceptions by talking to actual libertarians, the vast majority of whom, shockingly, are neither gay nor junkies. As for finding "the conservative moral agenda too restrictive," there are two ways to interpret this. (1) Libertarians think the conservative moral agenda is wrong. And that's true; libertarians do think this, and have arguments for their position. (2) Libertarians live in ways that violate conservative moral precepts. Perhaps, but not more so than any other group, like, for example, conservatives.

D'Souza is at his absolute most infuriating, however when his philosophical training augments rather than restrains his tendency toward cheap point-scoring.

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