It has been amazing to see how much Dinesh D’Souza gets away with. I have yet to see any of his movies, but I have his books, and I’ve listened to interviews and watched his speeches.
Nobody seems to come to D’Souza’s presentations prepared, and that’s a problem.* It is difficult to argue history extemporaneously. You have to be able to point to a source. In D’Souza’s case, you can point to his own sources and show how he has misrepresented them. But nobody does that.
Nobody catches his crooked rhetoric either, like when he sidetracks an important objection to his thesis onto some trivial point. The obvious point that Southern segregationist voters en masse migrated to the GOP — which blasts a giant hole in D’Souza’s thesis — is obfuscated with a trivia-quiz about politicians who supported Strom Thurmond’s third-party presidential campaign in 1948.
Nobody catches the fact that he pretends that there were always only two political parties in US history, and that everyone is either a Democrat or a Republican. He is able to call the Democrats “the party of slavery” because Whigs and Federalists and NPAs do not exist in D’Souza’s narrative. Somebody pointed out that Ulysses S. Grant had owned a slave before he became president. D’Souza’s comeback is that Grant had not yet become a Republican and was therefore a Democrat at the time. While it is true that Grant had not yet become a Republican, I see no indication that he was ever a Democrat; he seems to have had no party-affiliation until he was drafted to run for president. The point is, MANY non-Democrats — like George Washington! — owned slaves, and did so long before the Democratic Party even existed, so that it is not correct to call the Democrats the party of slavery. This should be extremely OBVIOUS.
How does he get away with it?
Somebody has suggested to me that there has been hesitation to take Dinesh D’Souza to task because he is not White. I don’t know.
I have been especially disappointed that Republican talkshow hosts like Rush Limbaugh take no trouble to stifle dangerous nonsense being propagated among the GOP faithful. Limbaugh certainly knows better, because I’ve been sending him information about D’Souza for the past year. Even without such advice, Limbaugh surely knows that the Ku Klux Klan were not “progressives,” but he lets D’Souza get away with that on his show.
In Limbaugh’s case, the profit motive seems to be a corrupting factor, because D’Souza has bought wall-to-wall advertising for his movie on Limbaugh’s show. Last year Limbaugh was touting D’Souza’s book The Big Lie, declaring, “It’s all true!” — but that was before I started sending him information, and maybe back then he didn’t know what he was endorsing, but he knows now, and is doing it anyway.
D’Souza’s material is dangerous to Republicans because it can easily boomerang against them. For example it was Republicans first and foremost who supported eugenic sterilization. It was a Republican Supreme Court justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, who wrote, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” And then there’s the plain fact that D’Souza shows that a significant number of Republicans will believe, or pretend to believe, almost anything. It does not look good.
* Here is preparation: Hit Dinesh D’Souza on his Most Vulnerable Points. If you are going to one of D’Souza’s presentations, read that, print it out, and take it with you.