...I am currently in Bangladesh, a Muslim country where conservative social mores are very much in force--alcohol is almost entirely unavailable, women dress extremely modestly (even on the beach), men dominate the business world, public displays of affection are unheard-of, etc. But every single Bangladeshi I have encountered expresses strong dislike for President Bush--and, without prompting, many mention their respect for President Clinton and their hope that Hillary Clinton will be president some day.Update 2/24 from Vanity Press taking on Beck and D'Souza:
This is partly because Hillary Clinton actually visited Bangladesh while first lady, impressing local people with her interest and openness. But it is mainly because they feel that both Clintons respect Muslim people and culture, while Bush, by contrast, is viewed as an arrogant bully.
As for Clinton's personal morality, which social conservatives in the US find so distressing--and which you might assume would horrify the strait-laced Muslims: When Bill is mentioned in conversation, I often recount my favorite anecdote about him, which is about the time Mary-Jo and I were having dinner in a French bistro in Chappaqua and Bill came in to have dinner with not one but two beautiful young women. (True story.)
When I told this tale to a group of six or seven Bangladeshi men the other night, they all reacted exactly the way Americans usually react--with a big, appreciative laugh, as if to say, "That dog!" There was certainly no suggestion that Clinton lost any stature in their eyes as a result.
Dinesh D'Souza may wish that the typical Muslim hated the cultural decadence of the American left and admired the rigid moralism of American conservatives. He may even believe that to be the case. The only problem is that there is no evidence to suggest he is right.
There's a lot more to the question of morality than sexual behavior, of course, but sexual behavior is one of the things Beck is thinking about when he makes his claims about moral collapse. And he's simply full of it. The facts (those, yes) just don't bear these claims out.
And that's the real problem with culture-war critiques like D'Souza's, Beck's, and, yes, Helmy's: they have nothing to do with what's happening in the real world. If you want to look at real immorality, then you might want to consider things like torture, corruption, crooked elections, and misleading countries into war. But people like D'Souza and Beck don't want you to think about that. D'Souza, Beck, and an army of others have made up a fake version of Western society, and promoted it so hard and so effectively that it's become more real to them, and apparently to some others, than the actual society in which they live.
If that imaginary society really is hated worldwide, and is mistaken for the real one, well, then whose fault is that?