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Dinesh comes to Amherst

By Isabel Lyman
web posted April 29, 2002

Multiculturalists, wearing hijabs and keffiyehs, in earnest anxiety, attended Dinesh D'Souza's speech on "The Superiority of Western Civilization" at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst on April 24.

So, if you thought that a topic like this would be a d'snooza on a campus where bored students elevator surf for fun, you would be wrong.

The multicultis showed up - not to listen and learn - but to protest. A South Asian (anti-) American named Sonny Suchev said he came "to show my resistance to this bigoted man."

Ignorance, as the leftists say, is no excuse for bigotry, sonny boy.

A heckler clad in a Teamsters jacket shouted that he was "going to be extremely disruptive," because he was opposed to "this man's racist lies."

Ever try reading the UMass code of conduct, pal? Even the libertines who run this university have standards. The code says: "No student shall intentionally and substantially interfere with the freedom of expression of another person on University premises."

The Republican Club members, who organized the event, were prepared to manhandle this drama king to the door, but he shut up, and the presentation began. Dinesh posed this question to the audience: Why has the West been able to accumulate so much economic, political, and military power? Slavery, colonialism, and imperialism, by the way, are not the correct responses.

Dinesh D'Souza"There is nothing particularly western about either slavery or colonialism," began Dinesh. "Every known civilization has had slavery. The Chinese had it; the Indians had it; the Greeks and Romans, of course, had it. Slavery was common all over Africa. American Indians had slaves long before Columbus put one foot on this continent."

He continued, "If you want to know what is exclusively and uniquely western, it is not slavery, but emancipation. Never in the history of the world, outside the West, has a group of people, who are eligible not to be slaves but to be slave owners, mobilized against slavery."

Game, Western Civ.

He then offered the three reasons why western civilization has become rich and powerful: science, democracy and capitalism.

"Science, by which I mean, experimentation and verification and checking and laboratories ... and the scientific method. It explains why 95 per cent of all the major inventions of the last 200 years have occurred in the West," he said.

He defined capitalism as property rights and contracts, and the courts to enforce them. Democracy is equated with free elections, peaceful transitions of power, and the separation of powers. "Science, democracy, and capitalism acting together are the real internal source of western affluence and western success," he noted.

Set, Western Civ.

Finally, Dinesh, who is the author of What's So Great About America, shared this paradox: The best ideals of western civilization have been implemented in the United States. Consequently, while many foreigners are resentful, even hateful, of America and America's success, she never ceases to attract hordes of immigrants across her borders. Why?

He noted that we are a nation in which construction workers spend four dollars for a non-fat latte at Starbucks and "where the poor people," as one of Dinesh's countrymen from India has observed, "are fat."

"More than any other country, America gives a very good life to the ordinary guy," he noted. But the material affluence, while important, pales in comparison to the ability for any newcomer or young person to be "the architect of your own destiny."

It is this "subversive" idea of freedom that caused the jihad against Miss America. "The Islamic view is that you cannot selectively import the West. If you take some of it, you are going to get most, if not all, of it. And, if you get all of it, the effects of it would be disastrous. It would be to undermine people's faith in Allah, and it would be to capsize political and religious hierarchies. It would create a moral revolution in society," explained Dinesh.

And we will never forget the horror that resulted when our enemies tried to halt this revolution. They came, they saw, and they bombed ... but they didn't conquer.

Match, Western Civ.

The end of Dinesh's powerful speech signaled the beginning of the audience participation time - a low moment for both higher education and western civilization. International students criticized Mr. D'Souza for the Americanized pronunciation of his name and for not displaying enough loyalty to his native country. One coed chastised him for calling women "girls" and for using the term "third world." Another airhead complained that the Shah had required Iranian women to wear mini-skirts. What?!

English isn't the first language of Zohreh Rastegar - the Iranian television journalist who was sitting in front of me - but the two adjectives she chose to describe Dinesh's young critics were fitting: immature and brainwashed.

I would add, desagradecidos. That's multicultural for 'ungrateful.'

Izzy Lyman, author of The Homeschooling Revolution and operator of Icky's Blog, can be reached at ilyman7449@aol.com.

Buy Dinesh D'Souza's What's So Great About America at Amazon.com for only $19.57 (30% off)

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