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I recently had the opportunity to listen to the book-on-tape version of Stealing America, by Dinesh D’Souza whom our readership is no doubt is familiar with.
For those who aren’t, Dinesh is an Asian Indian immigrant and naturalized American citizen who is a vocal critic of the Obama administration. His book is an attempt to explain the phenomenon of American progressivism as expressed in the Obama and impending Clinton Administrations and how they resemble in essence, criminal gangs.
How, I hear you ask, does one gain experience with criminal gangs? One possible source of experience might be to join one. Aside from the obvious hazards to one’s health there is the potential damage to one’s future career prospects, making such data-gathering impractical. However, Dinesh came by this information not directly of his own volition. He obtained it by force employed against him when he became an involuntary guest of the US prison system.
You see, in 2012, D’Souza (the man behind 2016: Obama’s America) decided to make a series of donations to then Senate Candidate and personal friend, Wendy Long in her vanity candidacy for New York’s Senate seat against incumbent Chuck Schumer. Having donated the statutory maximum of $10,000, Long requested of her old Dartmouth buddy that he donate additional money to her campaign. This, Dinesh did, through the means of recruiting friends and subordinates whom he would reimburse for providing Long with additional campaign funds, thus turning them into “straw donors.” This action is a violation of US Title 2, U.S. Code, Sec. 437g(d)(1)(D) and carries a potential maximum sentence of 2 years in prison.
When confronted with this fact in 2014 in the form of a visit from 2 FBI agents, Dinesh knew he was in pretty big trouble. He should have known he was in trouble – he sought straw donors in order to circumvent the law after all – which leads to the somewhat paradoxical claim that Dinesh was surprised that he had broken any law and had merely sidestepped it cleverly… As if nobody had ever come to the same conclusion as he had in the past.
Thus begins the story the author tells us, where the Obama Administration, irritated at D’Souza’s uncovering of the “truth” about Obama prior to the 2012 election decided to punch down and prosecute him with uncommon vigor for an offense so minor. To be fair to D’Souza’s case, there does seem to be evidence that the Administration took particular delight and care in seeking his incarceration – an allegation which itself receives far too little attention – but in the end, Dinesh admitted his guilt rather than risking the prospect of a multi-year prison term.
Thus, it came to pass that the minor conservative icon was sentenced to 8 months in overnight confinement at a dingy halfway house in San Diego, which provided him with a great deal of fodder.
It strikes me upon listening to D’Souza’s writings that rather than producing evidence for this or that proposition, he frequently seeks to psychoanalyze his targets using a series of just-so stories. In this particular instance, the targets, principally Clinton and Obama are analyzed through the lens of stories and experiences allegedly relayed to D’Souza by his fellow inmates at the lock-up. The point of all this is that there is essentially just one type of crime: Theft. The principal insight which was granted to D’Souza is that all criminals essentially engage in theft, from petty operators all the way up to the White House. The veracity of these stories is rendered somewhat questionable in hindsight if only because of how neatly they make the author’s point.
Take for instance the story of the cocaine dealer who ventured across the border into Mexico to pick up some Columbian snow from his supplier, Angel. Having successfully made the transaction, the would-be dealer returned across the border, only to find the cops waiting for him. Soon, along came Angel, money in hand to split with the cops. Angel leaves with all the drugs and half his money, the cops with the other half, and the hapless “victim” in prison. Leaving aside for a moment that the story itself would be an incredible one worthy of a crime novel, does D’Souza really expect us to believe that this in any way reflects the common interaction between criminals and cops? Cops have bosses. Criminals hate snitches. What motive would this motley crew of miscreants have to even leave this prospective dealer alive so that he could implicate those same cops? This is real life, not Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
While it is true that sometimes cops find themselves wound up in illegal activity, the notion that every cop is Vic Mackey as a result of what a few have done beggars the imagination, and wouldn’t sound out of place in a #blacklivesmatter screed. D’Souza then goes on to extrapolate this story into the tired Facebook meme that your one Libertarian friend loves to post claiming that “Taxation is Theft.”
Once you hear this tale, no matter how many obscenities you drop into the narrative for effect, it’s hard to take seriously that D’Souza actually spoke to any real criminals while in the pokey.
As the narrative wends on, we meet other earnest criminals in the lockup who conveniently have life stories that enable D’Souza’s explication of the various perfidies of the Progressive movement, chief among them being the much despised Saul Alinsky. It is true that Alinsky was a Machiavellian sort of liar and hypocrite. However, the manner of godlike power the narrative grants him in terms of his self-reported influence over events in Chicago leads one to believe that of all things Dinesh should have learned about criminals, he should have learned first that their capacity for untruth and self-promotion are unmatched.
This all leads up to the big enchilada – that of course being that the ultimate Progressive plot revolving around coopting the nation’s resources and directing them as they see fit through legalized theft. As Conservatives, we may be susceptible to believing this. Of course, it also assumes what in essence comes down to a vast conspiracy theory, where at the center of the web live infinitely devious and villainous progressives – of whom there are no doubt some. In the end, most of them are just as competent as the fictional thieves that inhabit D’Souza’s all-too-real overnight detention center. They make for a good story to scare people around the campfire, but when you actually look, it’s hard to find any who match this description.
In reality, D’Souza knows who his audience is and is ready to feed them buckets full of red meat. I have no doubt that he loves this country – it has made him unimaginably rich in comparison to his modest youth in India. It nonetheless strikes me as ironic though that even as he purports to lay out the progressive plan to “Steal America,” the principal beneficiary of his shouted warnings is most likely to be him – because with a message like this, cross-ideological persuasion has essentially gone out the door. The real irony of the situation is that in the end, it feels as if the book is itself premised upon a con: that D’Souza can simultaneously be such an obviously intelligent guy and such a rube as to have done what he did. It beggars the imagination.
Perhaps he did learn a thing or two in the Stony Lonesome after all.
“Stealing America” was read by Andrew Klavan, who is quite amusing as he reads the various fictitious criminals’ swear words.
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Broadside Books (November 17, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062366718
- ISBN-13: 978-0062366719