Editor’s Note: In the current issue of National Review, Jay Nordlinger has a piece called “Take Two: D’Souza films again.” It’s about Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative author and filmmaker, and his new movie, America: Imagine the World without Her. Nordlinger is expanding on his piece in Impromptus. For Part I of the series, go here.
Dinesh’s movie is two movies, I think — that is, it’s in two distinct parts. The first deals with the “shame narrative.” The second deals with today’s politics, and in particular presidential politics.
He portrays Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as Alinskyites, i.e., followers of Saul Alinsky, the author of Rules for Radicals, and the original community organizer. There is now a right-wing smell about linking Obama and Hillary to Alinsky. But it wasn’t always so.
Consider this article from the Washington Post. It was published in March 2007, when Obama and Hillary were squaring off for the Democratic nomination. It was headed “For Clinton and Obama, a Common Ideological Touchstone.” And that touchstone was Alinsky.
Nothing spooky or right-wing about it, you see. Just reality.
I myself depart a bit from D’Souza on Alinskyism: I regard Obama and Hillary as mainstream Democrats, no different from Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, and the rest of the gang. And this gang commands the respect, or at least the votes, of approximately half the country.
But I will say this: Obama has been deceptive about his past. He swore up and down that he did not belong to a radical organization called the New Party. When Stanley Kurtz said he did, Obama’s people called it a “crackpot smear.” The truth is, he did belong to the New Party.
Now, people outgrow radicalism all the time. Half the founding editors and writers of National Review were ex-Communists, and they were the best anti-Communists around. But they were open, truthful. How about O?
And Hillary Clinton — Hillary Rodham — worked for a frankly Red law firm, Bob Truehaft’s in Oakland. They were Communists (and when I say “they,” I mean he and his wife, Jessica Mitford). Our David Pryce-Jones, who knew them well, can tell you all about it.
Anyway . . .
Riding on the bus — that gleaming, luxury carriage — I ask Dinesh, “Do you think that Obama and Hillary are carrying out some Alinskyite plan, hatched long ago?” He says no, but they are pursuing a common goal. “Is that goal socialism?” I ask. No, says Dinesh. Classically, socialism means that the “people” own the “means of production,” and everyone gets the same.
“Their goal,” says Dinesh, “is to shift the fulcrum of power in our society away from the entrepreneur and toward a new group, which is an alliance of the political class, the intellectual class, and the media. Those are three camps that feel the same way, have the same skills, and so on. They also have equal resentment against entrepreneurs.”
I sometimes speak of the “media-academia-entertainment” complex. (I have variations of this, as regular readers may know.) Dinesh reminds me that Joe Sobran used to speak of “the Hive.” Same thing.
In this movie, Senator Rand Paul gets a lot of airtime, warning of the National Security Agency. Dinesh is apparently of this view, and I am not. But, hell, it’s his film, and the rest of us can make our own films, if we have the chops.
And overweening government is something that every thinking, responsible person ought to be wary of.
Furthermore, Dinesh has special reason to be wary of governmental eyes and ears. More on that in due course.
At that screening in Union Square, Dinesh did a Q&A. And there is no one better in Q&A. He is one of the best talkers there are.
He has great patience and finesse — with kooky questions, for example. Someone asks a kooky question about the U.N. Dinesh handles it with a smile, saying that the U.N. is too pathetic and ineffective to run the world.
Someone asks him about immigration, too. He says, “I’m an immigrant, and I have made a pro-immigration movie.” At the same time, he recognizes that we are a nation of laws, etc.
And he startles me by referring to himself as “a person of color.”