Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Mullah at Home

Andrew Sullivan does a good job on unpacking Dinesh D'Souza's new book, The Enemy at Home:The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11. It is terrifying, at least to those of us who believe that America is about invidualism and the freedom of the marketplace of ideas.

Read the full review, it seems pretty damning and, unfortunately, consistent with other reviews from the Right I have read on the same book. I was kind of hoping AS was being hysterical, but it seems he's on the money.

What is that path? At its core is a deepening rejection of cultural and philosophical modernity. D'Souza believes that the defining new distinction in American politics is no longer between the economic right and the economic left. The size of government and its role as a guardian of the public welfare are increasingly dead issues, or issues where no vital energy crackles. D'Souza rightly holds that the real divide in the new century is between authority and autonomy, between faith-based politics and individual freedom. And in this struggle at the level of first principles, D'Souza chooses his own side. He is at war with the modern West. If forced to choose between a theocratic order that upheld traditional morality and a secular order that saw such morality marginalized, D'Souza is with the former. He puts it more graphically himself: "Yes, I would rather go to a baseball game or have a drink with Michael Moore than with the grand mufti of Egypt. But when it comes to core beliefs, I'd have to confess that I'm closer to the dignified fellow in the long robe and prayer beads than to the slovenly fellow with the baseball cap."

Micheal Moore is the Right's boogy man in the same way that Ann Coulter is the Left's, so double props to DD for this construction.

One has to admire at least the frankness with which this secessionist strategy for conservatism is laid out. "How can we use the war on terror to win the culture war?" D'Souza asks in a final chapter called "Battle Plan for the Right." Notice here that defeating the forces of Islamist terror is merely instrumental to the deeper struggle to defeat modern individualism and autonomy. The idea of a common American commitment to the Constitution's guarantees of individual freedom and autonomy is secondary to the global battle for the "external moral order." Loyalty is not to country, but to a worldwide theoconservative ideology. Like the Marxists of old, the theoconservatives see their movement increasingly as global, resting on eternal truths, and not compatible with the "liberal morality" of their autonomous bourgeois fellow Westerners.

No wonder the libertarians on the Right are upset with their party. I certainly am.

Monday, March 12, 2007

"We Can't Assume What We Don't Believe"

This is well worth a read and a think

Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years

(via) and News Blog and PZ Meyers
The thing to do here is bold the ones you've read and italicize the one's you started but never finished. Green are, IMHO, extra awesome.

It can't be a very good list though, where's Eragon?

The Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years, 1953-2002

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
Dune, Frank Herbert

Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
Neuromancer, William Gibson
Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
Cities in Flight, James Blish
The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester

Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
Gateway, Frederik Pohl
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
Little, Big, John Crowley
Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
On the Beach, Nevil Shute
Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
Ringworld, Larry Niven

Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks

Timescape, Gregory Benford
To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

Seems I have some reading to do...