The author of the new book “America: Imagine a world without her” and the producer of the film with the same name spoke to Human Events on the eve of the July 2 release of the film from his national touring coach.
The founding fathers warned that, although the freedoms they gave American were hard fought, they could very easily be lost, said Dinesh D’Souza, the creator of “2016: Obama’s America.”
“America stands at a crossroads, and the way we understand our past will determine our future. ‘America’ the movie takes 21st-century Americans into the future by first visiting our past,” he said.
D’Souza was joined by a team: Gerald Molen, who won an Oscar for producing “Schindler’s List” and John Sullivan, who wrote, directed and produced “2016: Obama’s America.” In the new film, Molen was the executive producer with D’Souza and Sullivan sharing the writing and directing credits.
“America” is premised on the idea that the world is better off with America in it. To make this point, the filmmakers juxtapose patriots who built up America, such as, George Washington, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln against the nation’s detractors.
In a particularly poignant set piece, which features an interview with Sen. Randall H. “Rand” Paul (R.-Ky.), D’Souza tells the story of Aaron Swartz, the 26-year-old Internet genius, who was hounded into suicide by federal prosecutors because he cared to posted taxpayer-financed studies, whose copyright was claimed by a private company.
As the Justice Department pressured Swartz to plead guilty, the company supposedly injured asked the government to drop the case. Two days after turning down a plea bargain that would have sent him to jail for six months, the co-owner of Reddit took his own life.
Central to D’Souza’s understanding of America and the world today, is threat to America by President Barack Obama and his ilk, who actually believe that America is the problem.
“I had a theory about Obama going back to when he was first elected which was that he was a civil rights guy,” he said.
“Because of his involvement in the civil rights movement, he had developed an attachment to big government because as you look at the history of the civil rights movement, big government was the friend of securing equal rights and ultimately affirmative action and also jobs for many African-Americans,” he said.
“When I started reading Obama’s book that I realized that his life is very different from the lives of the people who marched in Selma or Montgomery and that his history and his affections had far more to do with Kenya and his father and anti-colonialism than anything to do with civil rights,” he said.
In fact, if reparations were paid to the descendants of American slaves, Obama would receive nothing, he said. His father was a Kenyan exchange student and his mother was a white American.
D’Souza said the president’s anti-colonialism filter makes him more radical than anyone could have imagined and fuels his transformation of America.
It is tempting to see things going wrong and assume that Obama is incompetent, but the mess the country is in is his design, he said.
“Obama is not incompetent. He’s not a bungler. He promised the remaking of America and he’s doing it,” he said.
“He’s the most successful president since Reagan in accomplishing the things that he set out to do,” said the former Reagan White House staffer.
“Initially, I thought he was merely trying to undo the Reagan revolution, but his goal is actually more ambitious,” he said. “He wants to undo the America Era. The American Era began in 1945, and it’s existed now for 60 years and it is the era that established American superiority around the world, which meant an outsized American standard of living, the abundance of ordinary life for Americans, and also America having a large footprint, a large influence in the world.”
Obama does not want America to be exceptional, he said. “Obama’s trying to make us a normal country and Americans don’t know what that means, but being a normal country means being largely irrelevant.”
America be more like Canada in Obama’s eyes, he said.
“When things happen in the world, the Canadians can state their point of view, but no one really cares, and that’s a big change for America because until now, nothing can really happen in South America or the Middle East or Asia without America controlling it or at least having a big say so,” he said. “Obama’s out to change that.”
D’Souza has gone through his own transformation in the last three years.
It is remarkable that he is still in the game at all.
After his 2012 project “2016: Obama’s America,” the public intellectual, was buffeted by scandals and challenges.
On the whole, the attacks have come from leftists, who have loathed him since as a young man, he typified Reagan youth writing for Dartmouth Review and went on to work in the Ronald W. Reagan’s White House. In 1991, he took the phrase “politically correct” and exposed it as a tool by campus liberals to shutter the marketplace of ideas in his book “Illiberal Education.”
His October 2012 resignation as president of Manhattan’s King’s College, however was an “own goal.” The man leading a Christian college was seen, as his own marriage was unwinding, entering and leaving a hotel with a woman whose own marriage was unwinding.
Then, of course, there was his May plea agreement for violations of election laws. Those charges came about after the FBI claimed it was making routine examinations of federal filings and stumbled upon D’Souza’s creative bundling.
In fact, he reimbursed $20,000 to people, who donated to a friend’s 2012 Senate campaign.
Judicial Watch, the Washington-based government watchdog, filed Freedom of Information Act requests for all communications between government officials regarding the case, citing it as an example of the government targeting the president’s opponents.
Those issues aside, something did change in the way D’Souza was treated after he sharpened his pencil and went after Obama.
“I have always enjoyed a certain respectability among the liberals if not on the far left, and the reason is that my work has been scholarly,” he said.
“I’ve been published in The Atlantic, in Harper’s, in the New York Times. I’ve been on all the liberal TV shows. I’m always affable to the leading liberals and leftists, and so I’ve had good relations with all of them, but it does seem that with “2016,” I’ve burned a lot of my bridges,” he said. “Not because of anything I’ve done, but because they are so wedded to the success of Obama.”
The liberal establishment and the press as its organ cannot accept any challenges to Obama’s presidency and legacy, he said.
“There’s so many people in the press that consider it a moral imperative that this first African-American President succeed, they’re desperate that he not fail and they will go to almost any length to make sure that happens,” he said. “From that framework, they have to demonize me. It doesn’t matter how right I am. They can’t admit anything, so we’re in a very perverse moment in American politics, but it only redoubles my enthusiasm.”
“I began to see the way in which the administration and the faculty were so draconian and heavy-handed and unfair in the way that they treated conservatives, so that had a somewhat radicalizing effect on me and it also helped me to overcome my natural shyness and timidity and to realize that sometimes you’re in a sling fight and you absolutely have to go for it,” he said. “You can’t let these people intimidate you.”
Twenty-five years later, he said he is fighting the same crowd.
“The only difference is that they now have federal jobs and they command much more power at their disposal,” he said.
“I’m ready for it and I’m not going to let any personal troubles, serious though they might be, interfere with my ability to articulate my point of view or take on the current administration. I feel like I’ve got something unique to say, and I’m absolutely determined to say it.”