On Dinesh D’Souza’s The Enemy At Home

Charles Taylor reviews Dinesh D’Souza’s The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 in Dissent.

DINESH D’SOUZA’S The Enemy at Home is a declaration of common cause with people who have declared themselves against the basic concept of democracy. It doesn’t much matter that D’Souza is courting “traditional Muslims,” the phrase he uses to denote those who don’t share the radical Muslim belief in terrorism. His vision is of America as the altar of a West-East theocracy that would root out any American who doesn’t share its values. D’Souza, he is careful to point out, does not support terrorism. The question The Enemy at Home leaves you with is, why not?

In The Enemy at Home, D’Souza claims that the American left makes up a “domestic insurgency.” (Going Joe McCarthy one better, he helpfully supplies a list of names.) In this reactionary romance, the left, hating Bush more than Osama bin Laden, wants to see the president defeated. Understanding that Muslims, given the chance at democratic elections, will establish states ruled by the traditional morality they despise, the left wants to halt the potential for democracy in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, D’Souza dreams of halting democracy at home. He posits the depraved, atheistic values of the American left as the source of Muslim anger toward America and concludes that terrorism can’t be defeated abroad unless the left is defeated at home. To achieve this, D’Souza, seeing what he believes is an obvious alliance, ominously calls for the American right to “convince traditional Muslims that there are two Americas, and that one of these has a lot in common with them.”

D’Souza shares the Islamic radicals’ disgust with contemporary America, which he sees as a sewer of unutterable depravity. He respects the radicals for their commitment to a strict “traditional” moral code—none more so than Osama bin Laden, whom he dotes on in passages that suggest a schoolboy crush: “Just about everyone who has met bin Laden describes him as a quiet, well-mannered, thoughtful, eloquent, and deeply religious man . . . it is remarkable that a man born into a multimillion-dollar empire, a man who could be on a yacht in San Tropez with a blonde on one arm and a brunette on the other, has chosen to live in a cave in Afghanistan and risk his life for his beliefs.”