Townhall Magazine caught up with New York Times bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza to talk about his new book, “America: Imagine a World Without Her.”
Townhall: Why did you write America?
D’Souza: I wrote America because I realized that the core of the modern progressive philosophy, the philosophy of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and company, is a deep and powerful critique of America, or at least of the Founders’ conception of America. And in the name of that critique, the progressives are, in Obama’s words, “remaking” America.
And the thing about remaking America is that you cannot remake America without unmaking the America that is here now. So remaking is a fundamental transformation of our country and it is being done in the name of a certain critique of America.
So in the book I take on that critique and rebut it, answer it. And so the purpose of the book is to undercut the moral ground of modern progressivism. And to give conservatives and libertarians a new handbook, a counter argument, to be able to answer their liberal friends.
Townhall: You write in the book, “I intend to show in this book that the American era is ending in part because a powerful group of Americans wants it to end.” Who is this group and what is their plan?
D’Souza: In my last couple of books I focused on one man, which is Barack Obama, and on Obama’s personal philosophy, which is anti- colonialism. But one man cannot remake a country. Even if you are the president you require a whole team and a whole movement to do that. And it has to be a team of very powerful people.
Well it turns out that there is such a movement. And it dominates most of our major institutions from Hollywood, to the major media, to the universities, even some mainline churches. This is the movement of progressivism. And Obama didn’t create the movement. The movement created him.
In this book I go beyond Obama and I look at the whole progressive operation. I look at both its arguments and the forces behind them.
Townhall: You also mention Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” in your book, and indeed many of your chapters are organized around refuting Zinn’s critique of America. Would it be fair to call this book, “A Conservative’s History of the United States?”
D’Souza: It is partly that. The reason I bring up Zinn is not because Zinn is actually an original thinker. He’s not. But in the 1960s there were several separate critiques of America that developed, many of them coming out of different interest groups and minority groups.
So you had American Indian activists talking about how America stole their land. There were civil rights activists talking about reparations for slavery and segregation. Independently there were left-wing activists talking about economic redistribution.
What Zinn did is he took all these different strands and he pulled them together into a single narrative, which could be called, “America the indefensible.” According to Zinn, if you look at American history, it’s an uninterrupted series of crimes visited upon various minorities or defenseless people. For Zinn, this is what American history is all about.
Zinn is a master at the politics of shame. He is trying to create shame in people, especially in young people. He wants them not to be proud of America, but to be disgusted with America, and to be ashamed of America.
Now interestingly, one of the hidden questions of my book is: Why? What is the benefit of this politics of shame? What purpose does it serve? Because it is being very aggressively promoted today in our schools and colleges. And there is a political motive behind it.
But it is not our American story. It leaves a whole bunch of stuff out. And part of what my book does is uncover the motives behind this politics of shame.
Townhall: So what is this politics of shame trying to accomplish?
D’Souza: What the politics of shame is trying to accomplish is to make people feel bad about America so they will agree more readily to the Obama proposition that the wealth of America is ill gotten gain.
Because if someone is coming to you and trying to take your money, you would try and stop them. But what if they could convince you that your money, not just your income, but your wealth, your house, your TV, your car, are actually stolen goods? What if he could convince you that the art treasures in your home were actually stolen by the Nazis?
You might say, “Well I didn’t do anything.” And they will respond, “No, you didn’t. But nevertheless your ancestors were Nazis. They stole these treasures. They don’t belong to you, so they have to be given back.”
So there is a major project underway of government redistribution, of government confiscation, of government trying to take not just our income but our wealth, and redistribute it not just in America, but globally.
Now in order to do that you need an army of collectors. But you
also need to make the people you are trying to shake down, you have to make them feel ashamed and defenseless so they more readily give up what they have.
The politics of shame is not innocent. It is not just aimed at teaching our history. In fact it is a cherry picked and bogus view of American history. It picks out selective facts to make its thesis and it leaves a whole bunch of stuff out.
And its political goal is shakedown. It is to create in people a sense of guilt and shame that will make them more willing to part with their stuff when the government comes to get it.