What’s so great about America: Ayers vs. D’Souza

On Thursday night unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers and Dinesh D’Souza engaged on the subject “what’s so great about America?” at Dartmouth College courtesy of Young America’s Foundation and sponsored by The Dartmouth Review. They met on stage before a large audience at Spaulding Auditorium in the college’s Hopkins Center.

Katie Pavlich calls it a “must see debate.” Ann Kane provides an interesting assessment here.

The Right Scoop offers this rundown on the debate, which runs about two hours long: “They begin by each taking 18 minutes to state their positions. After that is complete they respond to each others positions for 5 or 10 minutes each, and then they begin asking each other questions directly. After that ends the Q&A begins. If you don’t have too much time I’d recommend skipping the 18 minute speeches and begin where they are responding to each others speeches at around the 42 minute mark. But you’ll be missing out on some great stuff, I assure you, especially D’Souza’s view of the greatness of America.”

Immediately after 9/11, D’Souza wrote a book titled What’s So Great About America (no question mark). D’Souza subsequently revised his thoughts in The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11. The former is not bad; the latter may be the worst book I’ve ever read cover to cover. (I set forth my findings in the New Criterion essay “D’Souza goes native,” behind the TNC paywall.)

D’Souza appears to have returned to a point of view closer to the former book. As for Bill Ayers: “same as it ever was,” more or less, without the explosives, though Dinesh wonders if he “has thrown in the revolutionary towel.” Ayers’s response elicits the wry observation from Dinesh, alluding to his current ordeal, that the “lock ’em up impulse” is getting out of hand.