Friday, January 26, 2007

Not a Fan.

Rod has been commenting on Dinesh D'Souza's controversial -- and, from what I can tell, wrong-headed -- book, which asserts that the radical cultural Left is responsible for provoking 9/11 and other acts of Islamic terrorism. It appears that Rod thinks Dinesh doesn't go far enough: responsibility for provoking the jihadists lies at the feet of both social liberals and economic conservatives.

(And -- who woulda thought? -- Rod just happens to consider himself a social conservative and economic, um, "populist.")

He writes, "What I'm saying is that if D'Souza's critique were more honest and accurate, he would have to parcel blame to capitalists who push a system that does to traditional cultures precisely what the Islamists fear it will do. But he can't do that, because that would mean that the 'enemy' is not solely the cultural left, but the economic right. It's very hard for US conservatives to see this, because we are soaked in free-market dogmatism, we rarely if ever question whether the market is a limited good."

It just doesn't seem to me that Rod Dreher is much of a fan of freedom, certainly not economic freedom, which is in some ways the bedrock for political freedom.

I'm not suggesting he's an enemy of freedom, explicitly or implicitly. When asked, he would almost certainly say that freedom is worth defending.

But you'd probably have to ask to find this out.

Here, he says that we rarely question whether the market is a limited good, but you rarely hear him argue that it is even a limited good. But he hardly needs an excuse to vilify its defenders as godless hedonists or to point out that it weakens cultural stability. And now he notes that economic freedom is disrupting the culture of Islam in the Arab world, but nothing about whether the misogynistic culture there ought to be disrupted or whether at least that such cultural disruption is worth the price of personal economic freedom -- or that, since geopolitical stability is an illusion and cultures are always either gaining ground or losing ground, collision between Islam and the West is inevitable, and it's better for that collision to occur such that its outcome is favorable for the cause of liberty.

On the subject of particularly economic freedom, he's just not a fan.


Blogger kathleen said...

so rod, capitalism precludes tradition, huh? tell that to the saudis. the saudi government/royal family and society exist in an extremely tradition-based culture. women can't drive. the leaders of saudi tribes pay obeisance to the saudi king, get handouts from him, etc. non-muslims can't enter mecca. nothing much has changed there -- oh, except they have shopping malls, air conditioning, and more money than they know what to do with.

in other words, money and "cultural deracination", as the crunchy cons would put it, don't always go hand in hand. in fact, as in the saudi case, a good chunk of money can great exacerbate the ill-effects of the particular tradition (further refuting the lame crunchy-con argument that ancient traditional cultures are, or were, paradise on earth).

3:17 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"[Dreher] notes that economic freedom is disrupting the culture of Islam in the Arab world"

hey Rod, you mean like on this website selling saudi women swimsuits? me, i prefer "Fishgirl".

3:26 PM  

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