When Lunacy Masquerades As Scholarship
In the most recent edition of Forbes Magazine, Dinesh D’Souza writes that “Barack Obama is the most antibusiness president in a generation, perhaps in American history.” Given the renewed health of Wall Street and the fact that General Motors is once again turning a profit, D’Souza’s assertion is certainly suspect.
But even more suspect is what Newt Gingrich has called D’Souza’s “stunning insight” into Obama’s character. D’Souza, claims that — you’ve heard this one before — the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. He first paints a scurrilous portrait of the president’s father. “So who was Barack Obama Sr?” he asks:
He was a Luo tribesman who grew up in Kenya and studied at Harvard. He was a polygamist who had, over the course of his lifetime, four wives and eight children. One of his sons, Mark Obama, has accused him of abuse and wife beating. He was also a regular drunk driver who got into numerous accidents, killing a man in one and causing his own legs to be amputated due to injury in another. In 1982 he got drunk in a bar in Nairobi and drove into a tree, killing himself.
The president is not the first man to have had a no count for a father. He’s certainly not the first president who has risen from less than auspicious circumstances. President Reagan’s father had a less than healthy taste for strong brew. And President Clinton’s stepfather — whose name Clinton bears — could be, we are told, a very hard man. None of us gets to choose our parents.
But having maligned the senior Obama, D’Sousa then goes on to assert that the president is living out his father’s frustrated dreams. Like his father, D’Sousa writes, the president is an anti-colonialist:
From a very young age and through his formative years, Obama learned to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America’s military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father’s position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder. Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America. In his worldview, profits are a measure of how effectively you have ripped off the rest of society, and America’s power in the world is a measure of how selfishly it consumes the globe’s resources and how ruthlessly it bullies and dominates the rest of the planet.
These assertions seem to be directly at odds with Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan. But D’Souza simply ignores Afghanistan. In fact, the whole article ignores facts which contradict its central assertions. It is an example of argument from innuendo; and, as scholarship, it is pure bunk.
Mr. D’Souza is a graduate of Dartmouth. He is currently president of King’s College in New York City. Mr. Gingrich holds a doctorate from Tulane. Both men are reputedly smart fellows. One wonders. . .
Owen Gray grew up in Montreal, where he received a B. A. from Concordia University. After crossing the border and completing a Master’s degree at the University of North Carolina, he returned to Canada, married, raised a family and taught high school for 32 years. Now retired, he lives — with his wife and youngest son — on the northern shores of Lake Ontario. This is cross posted from his blog Northern Reflections.