Gitlin charges D'Souza with "overkill," says he "overdoes his case," "is likely to inflame a controversy that dearly requires the calm and civil reason that D'Souza rages he believes in," and that "his hysteria will only exacerbate the illiberal moods."
When I was a child, I spent the summer on an uncle's farm. One day, while trying to milk a fractious cow, he finally gave up attempting to gentle the animal to settle down and give its milk, knowing well that if it didn't get properly milked it would subsequently create other problems for itself and for him.
In exasperation, he reached for a nearby 2-by-4 and gave the cow a solid whack. The cow settled down to perform. I was shocked. When I protested, he said, "That was to get the cow's attention, not to hurt it."
Prof. Gitlin is absolutely correct: Calm and civil discourse is necessary to find a reasonable balance. But, a bully is a bully is a bully, no matter if it takes the form of Saddam Hussein or an agenda, the representatives of which shout down those like the good professor attempting to find balance through reason.