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What’s so great about America? September 11, 2007

Posted by monish in 9/11 Anniversary, Conservative, Conservative commentator, Dinesh D'Souza, Immigrant, Letters to a young conservative, Liberal hate, Republican, Whats so great about America.

Before you begin to think this post is going to be one full of glorious praise for the greatest nation on earth, let me tell you it’s not. “What’s so great about America?” is the name of the book I’m currently reading, authored by Dinesh D’Souza. I picked it up at the library last week. It’s a book I’ve heard about for many years, It was published in the year 2002 and made it to the New York Times Best Sellers list that year.  

Few reasons why I chose the book, it’s in keeping with my recent trend of reading material by authors whose idealogies I don’t completely agree with (Rudy Giuliani’s book, The Bible etc.). Dinesh D’Souza is of Indian origin, born in the city where I come from, Mumbai.  He was appointed senior domestic policy advisor in the Raegan administration 20 years ago at the age of 26. I thought the background of the author was pretty extraordinary.  I knew I could relate to many oh his observances of the US as an immigrant. But really what I was curious about is how does a guy from a multicultural city in a very diverse country such as India, become the darling social commentator for neocons in the United States? What he should be standing for and what he does defies logic. Finally, I hoped D’Souza did answer the question his book poses. I have my own ideas and opinions on what makes the US “Great” (and what doesn’t), I wanted to see what D’Souza thought and so far I’d have to say he’s made a decent assesment. 

While I haven’t completed reading the book quite yet, I figured I might post in some thoughts on the author himself and follow it up with a book review  at some later point.  

I had the opportunity to sit through a D’Souza talk at BGSU last year. He was invited over by the college republicans group and I was as curious back then to find out more about this conservative writer and his views.  While I wasn’t surprised at his ultra conservative, pro Republican, rightist political views, I was pretty dissapointed at the crowd which showed up at the talk. These were fellow university students who cheered D’Souza’s arrival and applauded his statements on the necessity of the War on Iraq, why Bush is the right president of the US, re-inforcing the US versus them theory etc. etc. Virtually every statment D’Souza made was in tune with extreme right wing sentiments. Ofcourse the talk being held by the college republicans, this was music to their ears.  Maybe I shouldn’t have been that surprised at the students reaction, not only because they were possibly all Republicans but also because this was in the middle-of- nowhere, a hellhole of a conservative town in Ohio.

Needless to say, I’m not a big fan of D’Souza’s conservative views. However, D’Souza is unique in that he is not your typical neocon commentator. He’s not your White Anglo Saxon Protestant, born n bred midwestern or Southern conservative, ignorant, republican. Rather he’s your brown, Indian, Dartmouth educated, highly intelligent, immigrant republican. Not many of those around from what I’ve seen.  Yet, he seems to seemlessly adjust within the greater demographics of the Neocons. Regardless of D’Souza’s brownness and obvious physical differences, the conservatives have accepted him as one of their own.  D’Souza uses this strongly as an argument for acceptance and the “greatness” of America he so cherishes. 

As great as the welcoming nature of the conservatives in this country is,  it’s slightly disturbing and raises many questions in my mind.  I believe D’Souza has leveraged his unique position to his utmost advantage. Not only can he tell the conservative base what they want to hear but he backs up his points by pointing to his immigrant background and basically telling his supporters, look I’m not from this country but I’ve bought into everything the US has to offer and because I’ve seen otherwise I can tell you this IS the greatest country ever. On the otherhand the republicans use D’Souza as a symbol of US multiculturalism and opportunity. Now that I think of it, I see a unique opportunity for someone from a unique background to kiss some serious republican ass, tell them what they want to hear and eventually make the most of the opportunity. Michelle Malkin is another name that comes to mind who’s leveraged her minority status to a big advantage.

D’Souza’s book reads more like an assessment of the peculiar behavior of Americans,  the subtle message behind these asessment hinting towards the greatness he seeks to explain.  Along the way he goes on to explain events in US history which have shaped the country as it is today. And it’s these events that I’ve enjoyed thus far.

What I haven’t enjoyed is D’Souza’s blatant conservative ass kissing. The man is shrewed enough to know he can make controversial points and back it up with his own experiences. Points almost every conservative wishes he could make but would not dare for fear of the repercussions. This is where D’Souza steps in and does the dirty work for them.

His explanantions for why colonialism is a wonderful thing and how he’s benefitted from it, look at me, I was born in India and now I’m an English writer in America. Thanks colonialists, without you guys D’Souza would’ve never learnt English.

His arguments for why we should just accept it that Black people are inferior to Whites and Asians? Well,  no invention or significant contribution to the arts or science have ever emenated from the dark continent.  Further, impoverished whites and Asians perform better in tests such as the SAT, LSAT and GRE than even rich Black kids in America today so this must be a genetic fault.

I doubt there is any Republican in the US today who could write an article or deliver a speech telling people that there is no such thing as racism in the US today and that black people are genetically stupid. Although I don’t doubt there are scores of people who actually believe that. Amazing how D’Souza gets away with it. D’Souza’s core competence seems to be in delivering skewed, biased and even racist messages to a group of people who’re unable to deliver these messages themselves, yet they so dearly wish to hear these because it validates they’re beliefs, and this is why this man is still in demand.

As much as I disagree with the man’s personal belief’s, I find his book intriguing and maybe by the time I’m done with it, I’ll have an answer to the question, “What’s so great about America?”



1. Nicole - November 13, 2007

nice blog. I read the book, and i actually enjoyed it. I’m also an immigrant and i’ve always appreciated America. I guess i dont know much about this country to say if it’s great or not, but i enjoy life here, more than my native land…. so thats all that matters. Selfishness, sure.

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