People bustled into the EUC Auditorium on Thursday, as the man of the hour, Dinesh D’Souza, prepared backstage. Thunderous applause filled the air along with a sense of pride and comfort as many in the audience, and many across the nation, have found refuge in the books, lectures and movies made by D’Souza. This lecture was no exception to the expressions of anti-government sentiment that conservatives such as D’Souza and people with similar views hold dear. But the focus of the lecture was not on such views; rather it was a heavy critique of opposing views, a headstrong indictment collected and organized by historical analyzes that, deemed by D’Souza himself, are true as true can be.
This lecture was part of his campus-to-campus tour organized and funded by Young America Foundation (YAF), entitled: “D’Souza Unchained,” in which the main subject of the lectures was his new book, “The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left.”
This book is only one of many in D’Souza’s lengthy resume. D’Souza has also produced movies. Despite negative reviews—Metacritic proclaimed it the worst-received film of 2016—his movie “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party,” is the eighth highest grossing political documentary ever.
“The media have been trying for months to drag that crooked hag across the finish line.” This was one of the many jabs D’Souza opened with, receiving stentorian laughter and cheering that lasted for some time, bouncing off the walls of the auditorium and surely heard outside.
His lecture consisted of two main focuses: race and fascism. D’Souza went on to speak on Charlottesville and the accusation that Donald Trump is a fascist. “We are very familiar of the philosopher of Marxism. Marx. We are familiar of the philosopher of capitalism. Adam Smith. Who’s the philosopher of fascism?”
Here, D’Souza begins to unravel his argument against liberals and their unyielding claim that Trump is a fascist, but he does so in an unorganized manner. The logic behind his argument is constructed by small tidbits of facts and history, but relies more heavily on the style of argument, cemented in anger, rather than fully explaining his position. “Ghandi was a nationalist,” said D’Souza, “Mandela was a nationalist… All the anti-colonial leaders…were nationalists.” D’Souza attempted to convey that not all nationalists are fascists, but refused to continue that point by not addressing the second half of that statement: “but all fascists are nationalists.”
The second part of D’Souza’s lecture revolved around blurring the ideas of fascism and communism, drawing almost no line of distinction between the two. He ties his elusive illustration of history to the Democratic Party with the following quote: “The left has figured out a way to take out ‘socialism’ out of National Socialism…to pretend that the Nazi’s weren’t really socialists at all.” While provocative, this statement is based in shaky historical evidence.
Originally, the paramilitary wing of the Nazi party was Sturmabteibung, known as SA, put some focus on socialist principles such as rights for workers as many SA soldiers came from a working class background. Hitler however, profited off of the financial backings of Industrial leaders, so the socialist, “second revolution,” Hitler feared among his ranks, could not happen. Arguably then, the socialist tendencies within the ranks of the Nazi Party were seen as an inherent threat to the development of National Socialism itself. It is also important to contextualize, however, that both the embrace of socialist ideals and rejection of communism and Social Democrats, stemmed from a hatred of Jews. The reason SA some members had some socialist tendencies, is because they associated capitalism with Jews, and ironically, by the same stroke, opposed communism because they associated it with Jews.
D’Souza continued by breaking down the ideas of Giovanni Gentile, the philosopher of fascism and yet again conflates communism and fascism. ‘“Everything in the state and nothing outside the state’ and this is the core meaning of fascism,” D’Souza said, quoting Benito Mussolini to describe all authoritarian and totalitarian states, forms of states, he argued, materialized on both the right in the form of fascism, and the left in the form of communism.
D’Souza, for the third part of his lecture, grounds his arguments about the racism of the Democratic Party on the refusal of believing that a party switch ever happened. “All the Democratic Klansman have buildings named after them,” he said with confidence as chuckles bounced about in the audience, laughter that was pinched with a sense of unease.
D’Souza ended with a bold statement. “The big lie is to take all the bad stuff that you do, the left, the Democrats and project it onto the other side. Normally you can’t get away with a big lie…but the left can do it in this country because it controls the three biggest megaphones of our culture: academia, media and Hollywood.”
He goes on to explain his reason for making movies and how making such films gives the voiceless a voice, while adding a joke about Michael Moore’s weight. D’Souza finished with the following statement: “It’s an attempt to pin the racist tail on the Republican elephant, it’s an attempt to pin the fascists’ tail on the Republican elephant, when in reality, both tails belong on the behind of the Democratic donkey.” This was received with booming applause.
In the lobby outside of the auditorium, 19-year-old Roger Cooper, the President of the College Democrats at UNCG, stood with confidence. “I expected this to be a very interesting event,” said Cooper, “however; I didn’t expect such great reception of many basic notions.” When asked what he got out of it, he said he valued the information and the visual he got of a conservative’s thought process.
Many students may have had the great privilege of being able to say, “I don’t want anything to do with politics,” but we must realize that politics is the tool with which we structure society. It is a verbal dance and as the saying goes, it takes two to tango.