Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Book Review: Stealing America by Dinesh D’Souza

 

stealing americaI 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

There are 45 comments.

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  1. Titus Techera Contributor

    I didn’t get the point about the con at the end. Could you please explain?

    • #1
    • October 4, 2016, at 2:57 PM PDT
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  2. JimGoneWild Coolidge

    Whether the stories told to Dinesh are true or not is not the issue. Do they explain Obama and Hillary’s actions? Are they stealing America and how are they doing it?

    • #2
    • October 4, 2016, at 3:40 PM PDT
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  3. Titus Techera Contributor

    JimGoneWild:Whether the stories told to Dinesh are true or not is not the issue. Do they explain Obama and Hillary’s actions? Are they stealing America and how are they doing it?

    Yes, they are. All liberals are evil or stooges for evil–all conservatives are good people or their little helpers, not to say paladins. Mr. D’Souza is not the first to see this, but it’s useful to learn it again. Liberals are stealing America because they’re evil & because conservatives are too good-natured to notice. Instead, conservatives should abandon all shame & all thinking that they have anything in common with liberals & do harsh justice unto them. After all, what does the party of thieves deserve!

    • #3
    • October 4, 2016, at 3:43 PM PDT
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  4. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor

    Titus Techera:I didn’t get the point about the con at the end. Could you please explain?

    The con is that on the one hand D’Souza accuses the left and progressives of trying to steal America while offering no meaningful policy prescriptions to roll the progressives back.

    If, as D’Souza says, the progressives are a criminal gang that operates a shakedown racket, he is in some sense a confidence man. A confidence man relies not upon threat of physical force to separate money from his mark, but upon the cooperation of the mark in the belief that they are getting something out of this.

    I don’t dispute that the left has many of the attributes that Dinesh assigns to them. However, absent some positive program, he’s merely separating funds from his willing marks to tell them things they already know, albeit with spurious-sounding stories.

    • #4
    • October 4, 2016, at 4:05 PM PDT
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  5. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Titus Techera: Yes, they are. All liberals are evil or stooges for evil–all conservatives are good people or their little helpers, not to say paladins. Mr. D’Souza is not the first to see this, but it’s useful to learn it again. Liberals are stealing America because they’re evil & because conservatives are too good-natured to notice. Instead, conservatives should abandon all shame & all thinking that they have anything in common with liberals & do harsh justice unto them. After all, what does the party of thieves deserve!

    This needs to be on a t-shirt!

    • #5
    • October 4, 2016, at 4:09 PM PDT
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  6. Hoyacon Member

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Titus Techera: Yes, they are. All liberals are evil or stooges for evil–all conservatives are good people or their little helpers, not to say paladins. Mr. D’Souza is not the first to see this, but it’s useful to learn it again. Liberals are stealing America because they’re evil & because conservatives are too good-natured to notice. Instead, conservatives should abandon all shame & all thinking that they have anything in common with liberals & do harsh justice unto them. After all, what does the party of thieves deserve!

    This needs to be on a t-shirt!

    XXXL

    • #6
    • October 4, 2016, at 4:25 PM PDT
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  7. Hoyacon Member

    I have not read this book. My main question would be–Is it a necessary work or, cynically, just the product of D’Souza making the best out of a bad situation by preaching to the choir?

    Going all of the way back to Illiberal Education, my thought has been that he is an intelligent, thinking person who has something to say. And I would contrast that with some (nameless) “celebrity conservatives” who churn out books that are a mile wide and an inch deep. Has D’Souza succumbed to this temptation? I hope not, because it diminishes his brand.

    • #7
    • October 4, 2016, at 4:38 PM PDT
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  8. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Majestyk: The veracity of these stories is rendered somewhat questionable in hindsight if only because of how neatly they make the author’s point.

    In other words, Mr. D’Souza must be a liar because his anecdotes support his thesis. I’d need better evidence than that to come to that conclusion. At this point, the assertion is just libel.

    • #8
    • October 4, 2016, at 4:43 PM PDT
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  9. Profile Photo Member

    Wendy Long ran her “vanity candidacy” in 2012 against Kirsten Gillibrand, not Chuck Schumer.

    • #9
    • October 4, 2016, at 5:16 PM PDT
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  10. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    BD:

    Wendy Long ran her “vanity candidacy” in 2012 against Kirsten Gillibrand, not Chuck Schumer.

    Details, details. Don’t distract us with facts from the main points: D’Sousa is a criminal and a liar. Right?

    • #10
    • October 4, 2016, at 5:25 PM PDT
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  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ignore the horrible things the Clintons do. Clearly this man, put away for the crime of free speech, does not know what he is talking about.

    • #11
    • October 4, 2016, at 5:29 PM PDT
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  12. Front Seat Cat Member

    He has done numerous documentaries and many interviews. I’ve not read the book but thanks for the review. As an immigrant, who didn’t have much when he arrived, he tells many who will listen, that this is the greatest country and anyone can have a chance at a better life. He feels the Clinton/Obama/Progressive agenda is ruining it’s very foundation and we are seeing the fruits of it. I agree with that. The crime and jail time he admitted to, and took the consequences. The Clintons could certainly learn at least that much.

    • #12
    • October 4, 2016, at 5:35 PM PDT
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  13. DocJay Inactive

    I’d sooner have a beer with D’Souza than almost anyone in this country.

    He’s no more guilty of being a huckster than any of the editors here or Jonah Goldberg .

    • #13
    • October 4, 2016, at 6:23 PM PDT
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  14. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    ‘ “Stealing America” was read by Andrew Klavan,…..”

    With that, Majestyk, you sold the audio book. I just spent my one credit on it.

    • #14
    • October 4, 2016, at 6:25 PM PDT
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  15. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor

    Ansonia:‘ “Stealing America” was read by Andrew Klavan,…..”

    With that, you sold the audio book. I just spent my one credit on it.

    He’s very droll.

    • #15
    • October 4, 2016, at 6:26 PM PDT
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  16. Hoyacon Member

    DocJay:I’d sooner have a beer with D’Souza than almost anyone in this country.

    He’s no more guilty of being a huckster than any of the editors here or Jonah Goldberg .

    Being a Bruins fan almost, but not quite, gets you a pass on this. Do you consider Liberal Fascism the work of a huckster? From my perspective, Goldberg’s strident NeverTrumpism gets the mother of all passes if he’d never done anything but write that book.

    In other news, Brad Marchand will be a Bruin for life–8 years, 50 mil.

    • #16
    • October 4, 2016, at 6:27 PM PDT
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  17. DocJay Inactive

    I took my kids to Hillary’s America and found it pretty reasonable for kids being brainwashed by a progressive school system.

    I do believe that many politicians are part of a criminal enterprise on some level ( Nevada is so corrupt it’s maddening) but that the Clintons are the most egregious example in the country.

    Electing a Teflon crime machine is going to have major long term consequences but one short term oneswill be the message sent to people that cheating is how to go through life.

    • #17
    • October 4, 2016, at 6:33 PM PDT
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  18. DocJay Inactive

    Hoyacon:

    DocJay:I’d sooner have a beer with D’Souza than almost anyone in this country.

    He’s no more guilty of being a huckster than any of the editors here or Jonah Goldberg .

    Being a Bruins fan almost, but not quite, gets you a pass on this. Do you consider Liberal Fascism the work of a huckster? From my perspective, Goldberg’s strident NeverTrumpism gets the mother of all passes if he’d never done anything but write that book.

    In other news, Brad Marchand will be a Bruin for life–8 years, 50 mil.

    Good book. Would the leaders of our country elect Jonah or anyone like him some day for president.

    Plus good news on the ‘nose killa’

    • #18
    • October 4, 2016, at 6:37 PM PDT
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  19. BettyW Inactive

    I read Hillary’s America but not Stealing America. SA must just have been about what his time in detention taught him, which was also in HA. I would bet that most of those guys overnighting there were very familiar with stealing one thing or another from people who don’t steal for a living. HA does go more into what the country is doing wrong and how it got that way, (painful wrongs and things done that made us better,) and how not electing HA or her ilk would improve the country and citizens’ lives. I purchased the book of my own free will, Mr. D. didn’t come around with a new law telling me I must purchase or pay a fine. I appreciate that he is trying to warn people of the pit of misery Alinskyites, globalists, marxists, etc are taking us to. If the above finish the job of stealing the USA, it will be a tragedy for all humankind.

    • #19
    • October 4, 2016, at 6:45 PM PDT
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  20. Larry Koler Inactive

    I agree about Jonah’s book, Liberal Fascism, he has a lot in my bank of warm feelings for that.

    But, please everyone: D’Souza’s “America: Imagine the World without Her” is his best work and the most important thing he has done. For that alone (and I love the other movies, too) he, too, has a lot in the bank.

    I liked “Stealing America” a lot. It’s a nice way to look at it. It’s what leftists do — they steal other peoples’ money and things. It IS a con job.

    • #20
    • October 4, 2016, at 7:36 PM PDT
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  21. Titus Techera Contributor

    Larry Koler:I agree about Jonah’s book, Liberal Fascism, he has a lot in my bank of warm feelings for that.

    But, please everyone: D’Souza’s “America: Imagine the World without Her” is his best work and the most important thing he has done. For that alone (and I love the other movies, too) he, too, has a lot in the bank.

    I liked “Stealing America” a lot. It’s a nice way to look at it. It’s what leftists do — they steal other peoples’ money and things. It IS a con job.

    I don’t see GOP/conservative/pro-Trump politicians winning unless they understand the Dem victories as American democracy voting. There’s gotta be more attention to the people voting & more respect for them. I think the one great thing about Mr. Trump’s campaign is, people that used to be ignored by the GOP are now voicing their concerns. Someone needs to speak for them, because that’s how democracy works. Nothing else will work in America. But someone also needs to show people on Ricochet & elsewhere that the Dem electorate is similar. People on our side need to understand–those people are also American & we can persuade some to vote our way & the others to see, they’ve got a good future with us!

    • #21
    • October 4, 2016, at 7:45 PM PDT
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  22. Larry Koler Inactive

    Titus Techera:

    Larry Koler:I agree about Jonah’s book, Liberal Fascism, he has a lot in my bank of warm feelings for that.

    But, please everyone: D’Souza’s “America: Imagine the World without Her” is his best work and the most important thing he has done. For that alone (and I love the other movies, too) he, too, has a lot in the bank.

    I liked “Stealing America” a lot. It’s a nice way to look at it. It’s what leftists do — they steal other peoples’ money and things. It IS a con job.

    I don’t see GOP/conservative/pro-Trump politicians winning unless they understand the Dem victories as American democracy voting. There’s gotta be more attention to the people voting & more respect for them. I think the one great thing about Mr. Trump’s campaign is, people that used to be ignored by the GOP are now voicing their concerns. Someone needs to speak for them, because that’s how democracy works. Nothing else will work in America. But someone also needs to show people on Ricochet & elsewhere that the Dem electorate is similar. People on our side need to understand–those people are also American & we can persuade some to vote our way & the others to see, they’ve got a good future with us!

    I’m not certain you are right on this, TT. The left is supported by pawns — much more so than on the right. That’s why they always work on identity politics rather than ideological approaches. That’s what gets them votes.

    • #22
    • October 4, 2016, at 8:11 PM PDT
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  23. Titus Techera Contributor

    Identity politics is misunderstood. It should be understood as lack of opportunity. People come up with identities when they don’t think they’ve got the stuff that matters to all Americans, but they see it on TV!

    • #23
    • October 4, 2016, at 8:14 PM PDT
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  24. Larry Koler Inactive

    Titus Techera:Identity politics is misunderstood. It should be understood as lack of opportunity. People come up with identities when they don’t think they’ve got the stuff that matters to all Americans, but they see it on TV!

    That’s the motivation of the pawns for sure. I don’t believe that our conservative leaders are as out of step with us as the leftist leaders are out of step with their pawns.

    No matter that we are looking similar in that we are lamenting how the elites are non responsive. The difference is that we really want our leaders to follow through. Do you see the blacks and other people of identity politics (gays, feminists, etc.) being as upset with their leaders as we are?

    I like your idea of the symmetry and it does have some merit in appearance but the underlying facts are very different.

    • #24
    • October 4, 2016, at 8:21 PM PDT
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  25. Larry Koler Inactive

    Here’s another major difference. Most of us on the right have come to the conclusion that the left is the enemy of the American project.

    People on the left have painted the right as their enemies but this is a fraud. It is a con job — as D’Souza says. Newt Gingrich has been saying for years that we are an 80-20 nation on most things. 80% share (but do not vote) conservative or traditional values but a large part of the electorate (esp. those with certain identities) are scared out of supporting the right. They truly have been taught to fear us. That’s why they concentrate on terms like hate and racism, etc.

    Dennis Prager calls the litany of lies against the right SIXHIRB. Acronym for Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamaphobic, Racist and Bigoted.

    • #25
    • October 4, 2016, at 8:27 PM PDT
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  26. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    DocJay:I took my kids to Hillary’s America and found it pretty reasonable for kids being brainwashed by a progressive school system.

    I do believe that many politicians are part of a criminal enterprise on some level ( Nevada is so corrupt it’s maddening) but that the Clintons are the most egregious example in the country.

    Electing a Teflon crime machine is going to have major long term consequences but one short term oneswill be the message sent to people that cheating is how to go through life.

    The movie is a very limited subset of the book. Spend the time / money on the book / audio book. It is worth it.

    • #26
    • October 4, 2016, at 8:37 PM PDT
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  27. Titus Techera Contributor

    We don’t have to be symmetric with the other side: We need an electoral majority. For the rest, we only need Americans to think–I can live with this, it kinda sounds like it’s going somewhere!

    We need to see in the attitudes of young people especially a negative side of American aspirations. Without that, there’s no chance electorally.

    & I know, this is not my fight & it’s not my problem–but so far as I see it, it’s a fight worth fighting & it’s not being fought & it’s not a losing fight. Conservatives have so much to offer if only they see it!

    I just saw a cretin on Fox talking about how stop & frisk is about ‘those people’–he did not use his short time to say: There are real Americans calling the cops who need safety & we’re asking the police to risk their lives to protect them, so they can take their kids for a walk in the park, down the street to the shop, &c.!

    Of course, then Mrs. Megyn Kelly brought up how Sen.Kaine married whoever was talking there. Crazy.

    So my point is that conservatives are not doing the work necessary to see American aspirations in people whose votes they need, especially young people–& they have no idea how to talk with them–& they use excuses about ideology or whatever else instead of saying, those things don’t matter–this is an election–we’ll persuade’em!

    • #27
    • October 4, 2016, at 8:41 PM PDT
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  28. Titus Techera Contributor

    Larry Koler:Here’s another major difference. Most of us on the right have come to the conclusion that the left is the enemy of the American project.

    People on the left have painted the right as their enemies but this is a fraud. It is a con job — as D’Souza says. Newt Gingrich has been saying for years that we are an 80-20 nation on most things. 80% share (but do not vote) conservative or traditional values but a large part of the electorate (esp. those with certain identities) are scared out of supporting the right. They truly have been taught to fear us. That’s why they concentrate on terms like hate and racism, etc.

    Dennis Prager calls the litany of lies against the right SIXHIRB. Acronym for Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamaphobic, Racist and Bigoted.

    The question is, can you get an electoral coalition? If not, that’s the end for conservatism in a democracy. If you want an electoral coalition–don’t bother with the accusations, think instead about why they resonate with audiences as opposed to activists or hacks or the media–then go to that real audience.

    • #28
    • October 4, 2016, at 8:43 PM PDT
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  29. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Hoyacon:I have not read this book. My main question would be–Is it a necessary work or, cynically, just the product of D’Souza making the best out of a bad situation by preaching to the choir?

    Going all of the way back to Illiberal Education, my thought has been that he is an intelligent, thinking person who has something to say. And I would contrast that with some (nameless) “celebrity conservatives” who churn out books that are a mile wide and an inch deep. Has D’Souza succumbed to this temptation? I hope not, because it diminishes his brand.

    No, D’Souza says his time in jail changed his perspective on the way he viewed things. I am a little biased because his new perspective is pretty much what mine has been for quite a while. From my point of view he speaks truth to those unwilling to hear it and live in the world of rose color glasses.

    • #29
    • October 4, 2016, at 8:46 PM PDT
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  30. I Walton Member

    Of course they are stealing America, that is what governments do. And it’s theft at passive gun point. What is it that the Federal government does, besides provide for the common defense, that is necessary and even if useful, that couldn’t be done by following the constitution, i.e. done by the states? Which parts of the Federal government are accountable for their decisions? What happens over time to people who can spend other peoples money and are not accountable for their decisions? And to monopolies with punitive power? Over time is the key to this. We could put a man on the moon but with time the people who came from outside government who did it, left and were replaced by folks who didn’t go back to where they came from. Still good very intelligent people but not accountable, not driven by the dream that brought them in. Same with all governments’ amazing accomplishments, such as the Manhattan project, winning WWII, encouraging the rebuilding of Europe and Japan, the interstate highway. With time, because it is not accountable and because it pushes vast resources around it becomes captured, all of it, and it rots. It has to be cut up with a chainsaw and whittled down so it can begin again. Throughout history when civilizations became wealthy they centralized to defend the wealth and then rotted. If rebirth happened at all, it was by being concurred by more vigorous folks. We must do the conquering.

    • #30
    • October 5, 2016, at 3:37 AM PDT
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