In Death of a Nation, Dinesh D'Souza tackles the biggest lie of the leftthat America is a society based on white supremacy.
Who is killing America? Is it really Donald Trump and a GOP filled with white supremacists? In a major new work of historical revisionism, Dinesh D’Souza makes the provocative case that Democrats are the ones killing America by turning it into a massive nanny state modeled on the Southern plantation system.
This sweeping alternative history of the Democratic Party goes back to its foundations in the antebellum South. The slaveholding elite devised the plantation as a means of organizing labor and political support. It was a mini welfare state, a cradle to grave system that bred dependency and punished any urge to independence. This model impressed northern Democrats, inspiring the political machines that traded government handouts for votes from ethnic immigrant blocs.
Today's Democrats have expanded to a multiracial plantation of ghettos for blacks, barrios for Latinos, and reservations for Native Americans. Whites are the only holdouts resisting full dependency, and so they are blamed for the bigotry and racial exploitation that is actually perpetrated by the left.
Death of a Nation's bracing alternative vision of American history explains the Democratic Party's dark past, reinterprets the roles of figures like Van Buren, FDR and LBJ, and exposes the hidden truth that racism comes not from Trump or the conservative right but rather from Democrats and progressives on the left.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Publishing Group|
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About the Author
DINESH D'SOUZA has had a prominent career as a writer, scholar, public intellectual, and filmmaker. Born in India, D’SOUZA came to the U.S. as an exchange student at the age of 17 and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College. The author of many bestselling booksIlliberal Education, Obama’s America, America and The Big Liehe is also the creator of three of the top ten highest-grossing political documentaries ever made.
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Who Is Killing America?
Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.
— Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia
On July 6, 2017, President Donald Trump addressed the issue of the death of America in an address to the Polish people in Warsaw's Krasinski Square. There he spoke not of America but of Western civilization, a civilization arising out of "bonds of history, culture, and memory," now facing "dire threats to our security and to our way of life." At first it seemed Trump was speaking only about the terrorist threat from radical Islamists. But it soon became clear to Poles and to the world that Trump was addressing a much larger issue.
The West, Trump said, is a particular type of civilization. "We write symphonies. We pursue innovation ... We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression. We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives ... And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom. That is who we are. Those are the priceless ties that bind us together."
These values, Trump said, do not uphold themselves. We must uphold them. "The fundamental question of our time," he said, "is whether the West has the will to survive." Specifically, "Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?" Even while suggesting that larger forces posed an existential threat to America and the West, Trump did not clearly enumerate what those forces were. Instead he issued a call to resistance, resoundingly concluding that "our own fight for the West does not begin on the battlefield — it begins with our minds, our wills, and our souls." Trump expressed confidence that in the end "our people will thrive. And our civilization will triumph." This speech, encapsulating characteristic Trump themes, brought the Polish crowd to its feet in enthusiastic applause. But in America it evoked a reaction that has defined the mainstream media response to Trump since he first declared his candidacy. Vox insisted that Trump's remarks "sounded like an alt-right manifesto," a reference to an allegedly racist faction that Trump has imported into the political right and the Republican Party. The progressive website Common Dreams detected "an ominous current running beneath Trump's words" that evoked the "infamous 1935 Nazi propaganda film 'Triumph of the Will.'" The Atlantic, in an article by Peter Beinart, deplored Trump for his "racial and religious paranoia."
Let's stay with Beinart's logic on this. According to Beinart, when Trump uses the term "our civilization," he is speaking in a kind of code. "His white nationalist supporters will understand exactly what he means." Beinart begins with a disarmingly simple question: what is the West? He argues that it cannot be merely a geographic term since "Poland is further east than Morocco. France is further east than Haiti. Australia is further east than Egypt. Yet Poland, France, and Australia are all considered part of 'the West.' Morocco, Haiti, and Egypt are not."
Nor can the West be an ideological term referring to democracy or industrialization, in Beinart's view. After all, "India is the world's largest democracy." Japan is fully industrialized. Yet obviously Trump does not include these nations in his definition of the West. Beinart concludes that for Trump, "The West is a racial and religious term. To be considered Western, a country must be largely Christian ... and largely white."
That's what Beinart sees Trump as defending: religious and racial exclusivity. From Beinart's perspective, Trump's main target is not an Islamic threat from abroad, but a perceived threat coming from nonwhite, non-Christian immigrants to the United States. In Beinart's words, "The 'south' and 'east' only threaten the West's 'survival' if you see non-white, non-Christian immigrants as invaders. They only threaten the West's 'survival' if by 'West' you mean white, Christian hegemony."
Something very interesting is going on here and it's slightly camouflaged by Beinart's apparent hostility to every word Trump spoke. When Trump says that America faces an existential threat to its values and way of life, Beinart actually agrees. So the disagreement between Trump and Beinart is not over whether America is vitally threatened but over the nature and source of the threat.
For Beinart and many others in the progressive or leftist camp, the threat does not come from Islamic radicals or immigrants but rather from "racial and religious paranoia," and the source of the threat is Trump and his white Christian supporters — a group we may call the Trumpsters. In other words, from Beinart and the left's point of view, it is Trump's and the Trumpsters' dangerous crusade on behalf of whiteness and Christianity that is killing America.
I am going to dive into these waters more deeply, but first I want to establish that Beinart is hardly alone in considering Trump to be the serial killer of America's most cherished values and institutions, if not of the country itself. Here are some representative articles from recent months.
Also in The Atlantic, Jack Goldsmith asks, "Will Donald Trump Destroy the Presidency?" Short answer: Yes. From Salon: "Donald Trump Is Destroying America's Standing in the World and May End Up Destroying the World." Title of a recent column in the Baltimore Sun: "Trump Is Killing American Ideals." Writing in the New York Times, Yascha Mounk declares on August 1, 2017, "The Past Week Proves That Trump Is Destroying Our Democracy." Not to be outdone, Ryu Spaeth in the New Republic offers "Donald Trump Is Killing Us: Notes from the End of the World as We Know It." And on a personal note, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post wants us to know that "President Trump Is Killing Me. Really." Evidently Milbank has been suffering from fatigue, headaches, lack of sleep, even chest pain, and since his health was previously good he attributes the deterioration to you-know-who. In sum, Trump and the Trumpsters pose a clear and present danger to the presidency, to American ideals, to democracy and to the planet. As for Dana Milbank, that poor dude is just trying to shake off his anxiety and get some sleep, and Donald Trump won't even let him do that.
TWO TRUMP CARDS
Ordinarily we could dismiss this rhetoric as part of the routine hyperbole of American politics, especially in the aftermath of a hard-fought election. In this case, however, that would be a mistake. The sheer passion, hatred and fear directed toward Trump is widespread and genuine. A year and a half after the 2016 election, it has not gone away and in many places it has hardly abated. In fact, it goes beyond the progressive left and is shared by many independents, and even some Republicans and conservatives. Deep down, they are convinced that Trump poses a fundamental danger to America's survival as a diverse, open, lawful democratic society.
The whole manic resistance to Trump — from mainstream Democrats refusing to attend his inauguration to the violent disruptions of inaugural events; to the aggressive, if unsuccessful, attempt to get Trump's electors to defect away from him and invalidate his electoral majority; to calls for his impeachment from virtually the day he assumed office; to the nonstop blasting of Trump across virtually all media platforms; to the continuing disruptions, blockades and protests against Trump in cities and on campuses; to a grim, continuing project to oust Trump by showing Russia collusion, or obstruction of justice, or sexual harassment, in other words, by any means necessary — would be inexplicable absent this enduring perception of the man and what he represents.
Here are just a couple of examples of this anti-Trump fever. Writing just a few months after Trump's inauguration, progressive legal scholar Laurence Tribe insisted that "Trump must be impeached." Despite numerous ongoing investigations, Tribe argued that "to wait for the results of the multiple investigations underway is to risk tying our nation's fate to the whims of an authoritarian leader." Trump must be removed immediately because "he poses a danger to our system of government."
Around the same time, Noah Millman published an article in The Week raising the prospect of a military coup. Millman's real objective was to prod the Republican leadership into ousting Trump. He warned them to "consider what steps might be necessary to take" before the military generals "take whatever steps they deem necessary in defense of their country." Such steps, Millman predicted, would involve "cordoning off the president" from the chain of command and ensuring "that the president of the United States is, in effect, no longer the president."
In early 2018, psychiatrist Bandy Lee called for Trump to be removed from office and subjected to "forcible commitment" on account of mental instability. Lee hadn't examined Trump, yet this did not prevent her from diagnosing from his tweets and actions a psychological condition that could lead to Trump initiating nuclear war and threatening the extinction of the human species. Several Democratic lawmakers met with Lee for briefings on her "findings."
What, then, does Trump represent that legitimizes even the contemplation of such extreme responses? The first and most incendiary charge is that Trump is a racist and a white supremacist. Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren calls him a "racist bully." Joy Reid of MSNBC calls him "blatantly bigoted" and an "unabashed white nationalist." Invoking what he considers Trump's unrelenting hostility to nonwhite immigrants, especially Muslims and Mexicans, Jay Pearson in the Los Angeles Times describes him as a "textbook racist." Writing in New York magazine, Frank Rich scorns Trump as a bigot who displays empathy for "neo-Nazis." Rolling Stone offers a catalog of Trump's misdeeds — "he built a presidential campaign on racial resentment and fear" and has sustained that theme ever since — in an article titled "Trump's Long History of Racism."
It isn't just Trump; the indictment even includes the people who voted for Trump. These are voters for whom "whiteness is the unifying force," according to progressive novelist and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. Trump's people seek to "restore whiteness to its former status as a marker of national identity," and they are willing to train "their guns on the unarmed, the innocent, the scared," even to "kill small children attending Sunday school," to "set fire to churches" and to "shoot black children in the street."
"There's No Such Thing as a Good Trump Voter," Jamelle Bouie wrote in Slate. "People voted for a racist who promised racist outcomes." Based on a survey of Trump's demographic base of support, a headline in the left-wing Nation stated, "Economic Anxiety Didn't Make People Vote Trump, Racism Did." Frank Rich accuses "so-called GOP leaders" of being "Vichy collaborators" who enable Trump. According to Chauncey DeVega of Salon, far from being anomalous, "Donald Trump is a normal Republican" and "the Republican Party is the country's largest white identity organization: It mobilizes anti-black and anti-brown animus for political gain." A columnist for The Hill, Michael Starr Hopkins, insists that as a consequence of representing and promoting white nationalism, "Republicans and their identity politics are destroying America."
The clear proof of Trump's bigotry, as progressives see it, is those indelible images from Charlottesville of Ku Klux Klansmen and neo-Nazis carrying Trump signs and wearing hats that bear Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again." On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow highlighted white nationalists like Richard Spencer, David Duke and the organizers of Charlottesville and noted that Trump is the champion of this so-called Alt-Right. Trump is rebuilding "something that was a long-standing force for political power and terror in this country for generations and he is now doing what he can to help them come back."
During the campaign, Hillary made commercials seeking to link Trump to the most extreme figures on the so-called Alt-Right. Asked after his election whether Trump was racist, Hillary Clinton responded that she didn't know what was in his heart but, as Trump's "acceptance" of David Duke's endorsement and his behavior following the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville indicated, "I believe that he has given a lot of encouragement and rhetorical support to the Ku Klux Klan." Calling up the ghosts of "racists and Nazis and white supremacists of all stripes," Rolling Stone insists that Trump "supports them in the deepest, darkest, most wizened recesses of his heart."
So Trump doesn't just support racists; he also supports Nazis. This brings us to the second, related charge against Trump — one no less explosive than the first — that Trump is also a fascist, perhaps even a Nazi. This charge is related to the racism one in that the Nazis were anti-Semites and white supremacists. But Nazism goes beyond racism in that it suggests authoritarianism; lawlessness; a willingness to suspend liberty and override the Constitution and the democratic process; extreme violence, including state-sponsored terrorism against minorities; the possibility of death camps and extermination. Progressives insist that even if Trump hasn't gotten there yet, he is moving in Hitler's direction.
"Fascism, American Style" is the title of columnist Paul Krugman's August 28, 2017 column in the New York Times. Following Trump's pardon of Joe Arpaio, an Arizona sheriff who sought to round up and deport illegal immigrants, Krugman invokes the memory of Auschwitz. "There's a word for political regimes that round up members of minority groups and send them to concentration camps." In an interview with Isaac Chotiner of Slate, historian Richard Evans says that Trump's election shows "echoes" of the Third Reich, notably in its "stigmatization of minorities." Writing in Time, historian Timothy Snyder reminds us that just like the early twentieth-century fascists who ran roughshod over normal political processes, "there is little reason to believe" that Trump and his team "support the American constitutional system as it stands."
Even those on the progressive left who concede that Trump isn't a fascist usually end up concluding that, well, he sort of is. This mentality is conveyed in the title of columnist Charles Blow's October 19, 2017, column in the New York Times, "Trump Isn't Hitler. But the Lying ..." Writing in Salon, Andrew O'Hehir grants that Trump is "not exactly Hitler" but goes on to identify him as "an authoritarian political leader with undeniable fascist tendencies." Economist Joseph Stiglitz insists that Trump is a "fascist kind of figure" who displays "fascist tendencies." Historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat, while conceding that "Trump is not aiming to establish a one-party state," proceeds to compare him with Hitler and Mussolini for attacking "the judiciary, the media, the institutions, hollowing them out." Before it's too late, she says, "I've been trying to warn the public ... about the dangers that these men bring with them."
As with the charge of racism, the Nazi label is applied by progressives not merely to Trump but to conservatives and Republicans. Columnist Chris Hedges rails against "Trump and the Christian Fascists," whom he describes as "American fascists, clutching Christian crosses, waving American flags, and orchestrating mass recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance," riding the horses of religious and political bigotry to political power. Matthew MacWilliams writes in Politico that, as with the Germans who supported the Nazis, an affinity for authoritarianism is the "statistically significant variable" defining Trump voters. In another column, "The Other Inconvenient Truth," Charles Blow fumes that Trump, the racists and the neo-Nazis are all "a logical extension of a party that has too often refused to rebuke them" and it "is the Republican Party through which Trump burst that has been courting, coddling and accommodating these people for decades."
So Trump and the right are accused of promoting the deadliest strains of both European and American bigotry. We are, according to Kirk Noden in The Nation, living through "the darkest moment of America's history," one defined by "fascism, misogyny, and hate." The umbrella term here is white supremacy, which represents an escalation from previous terms like religious prejudice, racism, even institutional racism. Prejudice connotes mere ignorance and can presumably be rectified through exposure and experience. Even institutional racism refers to the disparate impact that facially neutral policies have on minorities; again, these effects may be unintentional.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Death of a Nation"
Copyright © 2018 Dinesh D'Souza.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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Table of Contents
Preface: On Gaining and Losing a Country ix
1 Introduction: Who Is Killing America? 1
2 Dilemma of the Plantation: The Antislavery Founding 30
3 Party of Enslavement: The Psychology of the Democratic Master Class 48
4 Urban Plantation: Martin Van Buren and the Creation of the Northern Political Machine 72
5 The Plantation in Crisis: How Democrats North and South Fought to Extend Slavery 95
6 Progressive Plantation: White Supremacy as a Weapon of Reenslavement 119
7 The State as Big House: What FDR Learned from Fascism and Nazism 149
8 Civil Rights and Wrongs: LBJ, Nixon and the Myth of the Southern Strategy 179
9 Multicultural Plantations: Expanding the Culture of Dependency 212
10 Holdouts: Democrats and the Problem of White People 243
11 Emancipation: How American Nationalism Can Save the Country 273