D'Souza Jujitsu

Some headlines just write themselves, don't they? Peter Berkowitz has a must-read on Alan Wolfe in the Weekly Standard. The piece is not a defense of Dinesh D'Souza but an attempt to apply Wolfe's censorious logic with respect to D'Souza on Wolfe himself. Since I'm in the midst of writing a real piece on this issue, I won't comment further. Except to say that Berkowitz seems to me to get the better of Wolfe on the issue of Carl Schmitt; but that Peter under-estimates the authoritarian strains among elements of the American right.

Let me give one example from only recently. Hugh Hewitt's blog once had the slogan: "The Power of the Democrats Must Be Destroyed." Not countered; out-argued; or debated. But destroyed. I agree with Peter that this kind of rhetoric is not strictly Schmittian; but I don't agree that it isn't corrosive to the spirit of liberal democracy as conservatives have long understood it. I do believe that the conservative endorsement of torture, contempt for constitutional processes, indifference to habeas corpus, and naked hatred of the opposition represent real and dark developments. Peter is too sanguine about them, in my view. Yes, the left has its counterparts. In fact, there are strains of intolerance and illiberalism on the left that are just as dark. But the left hasn't been in power for so long; and hasn't been turbo-charged with war-powers. Wolfe over-reached. But Peter has under-reached.