I'm generous with your money
Reviewed in the United States on 4 June 2020
Dinesh d'Souza is like an old friend from his articles when I first read politics in college. Along with others like
Tom Sowell and Michelle Malkin, they helped me to develop an American identity as a Filipino and Canadian.
This week as we struggle with racial justice and tension, it was helpful to review his perspective as an immigrant
from India who embraced American culture and identity. D'Souza has previously written books about Obama
and Hillary, with the Obama book showing his father's anti-colonial resentment. By contrast, d'Souza is aware
of the benefits that England gave to India as well as the bad points. He also made the movie America, and is somewhat like the Michael Moore of the right.
As the picture on the cover shows, there is a lot about Bernie, AOC, and two other members of the Squad,
Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. But there are others who are progressive but don't call themselves socialist,
like Elizabeth Warren, Bill de Blasio and Beto O'Rourke. Progressivism is on a scale that leads to socialism.
Glenn Beck showed this about a decade ago with regard to the events of a century ago. The key progressives
were Woodrow Wilson and FDR, but some of the ideas had come from Eugene Debs, who was out of the
mainstream. What's remarkable is that someone like Bernie who identifies with Debs now is the mainstream.
I remember Beck saying, no Obama's not socialist, he's progressive, and then explained the parallels with
the professorial Wilson. Socialism has been thoroughly discredited in over 25 countries, including Russia under Stalin and China with Chairman Mao. China has remained totalitarian, but economically has made capitalist reforms.
One of the most recent countries to deteriorate into socialism has been Venezuela, where d'Souza's wife
Debbie was from. He has a great deal of knowledge of the corruption where the friends of Chavez and
Maduro have gotten rich with their power. And Chavez was loved by various celebrities like Michael Moore
and Oliver Stone. The democratic socialists say their model is not Venezuela but Scandinavia. And yet, while
Sanders is the most flamboyant with his history with Marxist regimes, someone like Bill de Blasio also views himself as a part of the Castro revolution.
The main idea of the book is that of identity socialism. America is not Denmark, because they don't
have the social divisions. They have a majority white culture and are mostly post-Christian and sexually
liberated. In America all those things are subject to division. Here d'Souza echoes arguments from the
professor Paul Gottfried in books such as Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt. D'Souza shows
the influence of Herbert Marcuse and the Frankfurt School (as did Gottfried who studied under Marcuse).
Others involved might include Antonio Gramsci or Michel Foucault. The point is, this isn't the old
Marxism that depended on economics. Marx himself knew that America wouldn't embrace socialism
as quickly because the workers are bourgeois. D'Souza reviews the Founding Fathers and Lincoln and
shows the ingenuity of Ben Franklin. He then gives examples like Henry Ford (after Wilson was opposed
to the idea of cars), Ray Kroc and McDonald's, right up to Jeff Bezos and figuring out the delivery process.
Marx himself wouldn't recognize socialism as it exists today. Since the Constitution and the working
class aren't favorable to it here, it depends upon identity politics. The divisions of black and white,
women and men, gay and straight, immigrant and native born are key to overturning the social
hierarchies, just as the economic divisions were in the old Marxism. Rather than class struggle, there's
the cultural war. Wait until Roe v. Wade and abortion is sent back to the states and the democratic
process, and we'll see how democratic the champions of democracy are. D'Souza gives a wealth of
examples such as the cake baker in Indiana who went to court for five years over gay marriage,
only to have the same demand to celebrate a change in gender. There's also the actor Mario Lopez,
who talked about the sexual indoctrination of toddlers and had to take back his comments. The
cultural submission is relentless. D'Souza is intense at times but it varies, and there's always as much
light as heat. He talks about Orwell's 1984 (while acknowledging that Orwell himself was a socialist),
Macbeth and Paradise Lost.
D'Souza goes back to thinkers like John Stuart Mill and Adam Smith. Smith was a moral philosopher,
and yet The Wealth of Nations is usually interpreted as a pragmatic argument that this is how things
work, rather than that it's the best way for human flourishing and creativity. There are also more recent
thinkers like Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, John Rawls and Milton Friedman.
He closes with familiar critiques of academia, entertainment and most importantly, the media. Imagine
the Ukraine story if Hunter Biden and Don Jr. were in each other's place. He also looks at the Stormy
Daniels story and a similar story about Obama. He doesn't know whether the Obama story is true, the
point is the media interest or lack thereof.
Then there's Trump. Donald is another entrepreneur. The comeback of the early 90s shows when he
was in debt and he was poorer than the man in the street. It's a frequent criticism that Trump isn't
reflective, and it's true. As an entrepreneur, he just keeps going with action. D'Souza was pardoned
by Trump. He doesn't contest that he was guilty. He was pardoned by a president, and he was prosecuted
only because he was critical of the previous President. The point about Trump is that he fights back
against identity socialism. D'Souza is still more of a free-trader than Trump, but tries to spin the
motivation of the protectionism. I don't agree with everything in this book, but it's readable and
While Reagan's optimistic populism was appropriate then, Trump's pessimistic populism is appropriate
now. The point is that he fights back. Reagan got by on his charisma, but the Bushes were more
vulnerable. If Trump loses the left, will punish his supporters and these years will be an aberration. If
he wins he can change the country for a quarter century. Reagan's revolution survived even the Clinton
years, and lasted until Obama in 2008.
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