Sivarajan: In Defense of D’Souza

The Dartmouth community has yet to respect its conservative minority.

by Eashwar Sivarajan | 2/28/19 2:15am

In their Feb. 12 Opinion Asks series, writers for The Dartmouth opinion staff unanimously condemned Dinesh D’Souza ’83 and the Dartmouth College Republicans for inviting him to deliver a lecture sponsored by the Young America’s Foundation, a seminal organization for young conservatives. Moreover, in its Feb. 22 Verbum Ultimum on minority identities, The Dartmouth editorial board proclaimed that Dartmouth is an institution “where conservatives invite individuals such as Dinesh D’Souza ’83 who spread hateful and intolerant ideas.” Notice that these writers fail to adhere to a journalistic maxim: support all claims with evidence. These two articles are part of a trend that I have observed among many students belonging to the Dartmouth left, some of whom are writers for and editors of the ostensibly conservative publication The Dartmouth Review. These individuals lambast Mr. D’Souza as a poor representative of American conservatism, to which I would quote National Review’s Jonah Goldberg and say, “If D’Souza is a ‘phony conservative,’ it’s hard to know who the real deal is.” Further, it is conceited to believe the College Republicans invite speakers solely to evoke a reaction from the Dartmouth left.

Mr. D’Souza’s illustrious career was summarized during the event, and so, will not be mentioned here except to say that he has been at the forefront of the conservative movement since he was a student at this small college over 35 years ago. The content of his speech on Feb. 11, like most of his early writings, did not deviate radically from the conservative mainstream. Little in his lecture was anything but criticism of the inconsistent screed of leftism that is engulfing the Democratic Party, with the rest being attacks on the pernicious progressivism that dominates the Dartmouth administration and the minds of The Dartmouth opinion staff.

I do not seek to individually respond to D’Souza’s critics in this column, but rather to defend the College Republicans against the ludicrous charges being levelled against us. I do this not as the organization’s treasurer, but as a conservative concerned about the direction the College is headed in. Dinesh D’Souza ’83 has worked for former President Ronald Reagan, the think-tank The Heritage Foundation and was a fellow at the Hoover Institution, making him as respectable as any conservative can expect to be. Though he has, as of late, broken with the intellectual conservative movement on some issues, there is no reason to believe the man who wrote the monumental work “The End of Racism,” with its hundred pages of notes and citations, is any different from the one who directed “Death of a Nation.”

It was D’Souza’s past comments, not the content of his speech, that angered the Dartmouth left. Even if one were to ignore the fact that some of these comments were falsely attributed to him (some alleged he once said that the question was if women should be educated at all), it is unfortunate that people found the need to strip quotes out of context to try to paint D’Souza as a bigot. The great ex-communist Whittaker Chambers once declared, “Charity without the Crucifixion is liberalism.” The Dartmouth left will engage in crucifixion without charity, acting as an unforgiving behemoth intent on destroying all who oppose its utopian ideals, and whose members respond to criticism in either periphrasis or an apothegm, depending on how much knowledge tangential to the question they possess.

In the 1960s and 70s, people protested the likes of vocal segregationist George Wallace and quasi-eugenicist William Shockley. Outrage at those men, whose views were far outside the Overton window, was perhaps justifiable. To act in a similar fashion when David Horowitz or Dinesh D’Souza comes to Dartmouth is to be ridiculous, juvenile and yes, evil. It is evil to falsely compare someone to Hitler or to call them fascists, just as it is evil to say liberals desire the destruction of all order in society. 

I strongly disagree on almost every issue with the Dartmouth left. Unlike their antics, however, I would rather sit across a table from the protesters and have a civil discussion. I invite every student at the College, and particularly in The Dartmouth opinion staff, who wishes to discuss the supposed evils of the College Republicans or the speakers they sponsor in the future to email me. I give my word that I will respond to any reasonable concerns people might have. 

Members of The Dartmouth opinion staff were perhaps too busy complaining about alleged oppression to devote time to actually listening to what D’Souza had to say. Chantal Elias ’22 declared, “It is indisputable that D’Souza’s comments personally targeted a great part of our student population.” Instead of making a broad statement, and using the word “indisputable,” it would be helpful if Ms. Elias clarified how D’Souza was indeed targeting “a great part” of the student population. In reality, she would be able to do no such thing, because D’Souza targeted no one. The leftists writing for The Dartmouth opinion staff, and those who “courageously” protested the racism exhibited by a person of color, should take the time to appreciate diversity of thought instead of condemning it.

Sivarajan is a member of the Class of 2021 and the treasurer of the Dartmouth College Republicans.

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