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Review of Dinesh D’Souza’s New Movie: Death of a Nation
In arguably his best film yet, Dinesh explores the origins of racism and fascism in America and seeks to debunk the premise that the Republican Party is responsible for fostering these ideas.
Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie airs at a crucial time in American history. Disagreements over race relations, political correctness, and identity politics have been escalating towards a climax since Donald Trump’s rise to power. In arguably his best film yet, Dinesh explores the origins of racism and fascism in America and seeks to debunk the premise that the Republican Party is responsible for fostering these ideas. He does so through a combination of narration and cutaways to scenes depicting the historical events that he’s describing.
The best thing Dinesh does in the movie is to pin the racist tail on the democratic donkey. This is the overarching theme of the movie, and it should serve as a great history lesson for those who assume that the Republican Party has always stood for racism and bigotry; it actually never has. Dinesh deconstructs the false narrative of the supposed “southern strategy” to great effect. The transition of the Deep South to being Republican signifies a cultural change in the values of the Democratic Party, not a revisionist tale of newfound Republican racism towards blacks.
Dinesh also includes interviews he conducted with various people on both sides of the political spectrum. The most revealing one is with Richard Spencer – thought to be the creator of the Alt-Right movement. Through hard-hitting yet respectful questioning, he reveals that Spencer is more aligned with collectivism and Marxism in both the cultural and economic sense than with Republican and Conservative notions of freedom, individualism, and natural-born rights. Dinesh even suggests that he may be a pawn of the democratic progressive movement to maintain the continued false narrative of Republican racism and bigotry.
Although he accurately characterizes the Democratic Party’s long-standing link to socialism and fascism, he incorrectly characterizes the progressive movement as being the creation of Democrats. There were many pillars to progressivism in the late 19th and early 20th century, and many Republicans at the time were progressives. These included President Theodore Roosevelt and New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Republican progressives weren’t fascists or racists; they spurred cultural and environmental changes – key components of modern-day progressive ideology.
Dinesh also incorrectly assesses the origins of Marxism and fascism with respect to the lack of religious faith. As many Conservatives do, Dinesh argues that it’s on account of Hitler’s rejection of Christianity that he was able to implement his fascist Nazi regime. There’s scant evidence that Hitler was on a crusade against Christianity, and Dinesh is also ignoring the ages-long historical link between religion and authoritarianism. Sectarian violence, the bond between kings and popes, and even Marx’s referring to religion as being “the opium of the people” are all counterexamples to this line of thinking.
As I highlighted, Dinesh makes some points that are well founded, and others that are largely untrue or misleading. However, aside from the debate about what he gets right and wrong, Death of a Nation is an entertaining movie that’s worth seeing.
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