Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Idiocy of Dinesh D'Souza

Last week, Fox News’ Sean Hannity had fellow demagogue Dinesh D’Souza on his show so that the proud immigrant-cum-old-white-man’s-proponent could cry foul for Costco pulling his book, “America,” out of its stores. Costco defended its actions on grounds that the book was selling poorly. D’Souza, whining like the cowardly liberal babies he’s always attacking, went on to make a number of logical fallacies in his defense. This really shouldn’t surprise us since logical fallacies are consistently D’Souza’s soup-de-jour.

Does D’Souza have a right to be upset about Costco’s actions? Sure, he has a right to be upset but that doesn’t mean that his being upset is justified. As a Republican and, moreover, the fact that D’Souza extols the virtue of free markets without or with minimal regulation in his latest book, Costco should be able to sell or not sell whatever it wants. This is where D’Souza’s defenders, Hannity among them, cry ‘censorship’ apparently not knowing what the word ‘censorship’ means in relation to free markets. So here you have Costco acting in exactly the manner Republicans want businesses to act, that is, until one of their own doesn’t like it. If Costco is guilty of censorship, aren’t Christian book stores guilty of censorship for not selling books that criticize Christian beliefs? (Remember, Christian book stores are not churches and therefore are for-profit, meaning they have to play by the same rules as every other business. Hypothetically, anyway, since we know which way the Supreme Court currently leans. Thanks, Hobby Lobby.)

But Hannity and D’Souza’s main argument is to tie Costco to the Obama Administration, basically saying that there was a conspiracy to pull the book from the store. Nevermind that a score of other books by Conservative authors remain on Costco’s shelves; the decision to pull “America” was purely political. I see. So, by that argument, whenever a company contributes campaign funds to a politician, we should be wary of those types of relationships. I do not necessarily disagree, but you can’t say Fox News ever brings such
Old White Guy in Indian clothing.
relationships to light when it’s their politicians and their lobbyists. If Fox News doesn’t report it, we can’t decide. Clever. But the strangest thing about this particular argument is that Hannity and D’Souza claim a mere $303, 000 in contributions to the Obama Administration from Costco, which they consider excessive but which the rest of us consider paltry compared to what, say, oil and coal energy companies contribute to the Republican party. (Yes, they contribute to Democrats, too, though not nearly as much.) So D’Souza isn’t being any more consistent than he’s being logical. We should be wary of people like that.

If for no other reason, D’Souza’s book “America” should be pulled for being a screed minimally based in logic or reasoning, though we should expect such a book from someone can’t operate without his logical fallacies. A quick flip through his book at Costco (they restocked it) is all that is needed to observe the same tired, old fallacies and poor reasoning. A very quick analysis in no particular order  reveals:

1 - D’Souza criticizes Obama and social progressives for trying to install an all-watching, all-knowing government whose mission is to keep us all ‘safe’ for our own good, nevermind that it was Bush Jr. who signed the Patriot Act into law. Hmm, sounds like Cherry-picking to me. Yeah, you’re never going to see D’Souza criticize Republicans who actions harm the country. It’s just that goddamn all-powerful Obama and those 900 Executive Orders. Nevermind that this number is an out and out lie and that currently the last Prez, Bush Jr., has signed more Executive Orders. 2 – The U.S. is set for a radical cultural change (and by extension, political change) that will demolish traditional American values. First, traditional values doesn't mean those values are inherently good. Second, the U.S. today is radically different than the U.S. in 1950, which was radically different form the U.S. in 1900, which was radically different from…Wow, D’Souza is a visionary. 3 – D’Souza implies that (the philosopher) Foucault’s political philosophies are mistaken by invoking Foucalt’s sex life. Ad hominem and genetic fallacies. 4 – The U.S. should not be morally condemned for conquering America and taking it from Native Americans since conquering other peoples is simply how humanity operates. On this account, I don’t see why D’Souza is upset by the growth and progress of social liberals in the U.S. since this is simply how humans operate. 5 – The U.S. is in decline, basically on all accounts, nevermind that this has been the case long before D’Souza came on the scene. So, again, not prophetic. The idea of “American Exceptionalism” was never real to begin with, but apparently no one told D’Souza. 6 – D’Souza decries the loss of the Constitution’s real meaning, where all men were created equal except slaves, while at the same time condemning slavery; these are internally inconsistent viewpoints. (At least we agree that reparations for slavery should not be paid.)

Most of us know D’Souza’s history as an immigrant who came to the U.S. and “made it” though he “made it” by basically believing and espousing all the things old white men with power believe and espouse. If someone like D’Souza “makes it” but is on the other side of the political spectrum, D’Souza regards that person as a threat to the U.S., nevermind that such success is what D’Souza is supposed to love about the U.S. I guess, but success only on his terms. 

[Oh, and btw, D'Souza pleaded guilty to illegal campaign contributions in May 2014. Way to display good ol' American values, Dinesh.]

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