The historical narrative that Dinesh D'Souza has been peddling since 2015 is wrong in its general outlines -- pretending, for example, that Democratic and Republican parties are exactly the same today as 150 years ago -- and in a great number of its details. This is necessarily so, because D'Souza's technique of taking some anti-American or anti-White historical accusation promoted by Marxists and twisting it around so that it is only applicable to Democrats, inherently requires omissions and distortions.
Conservative American White people feel browbeaten with accusations of wrongdoing against other races. They have been browbeaten for many decades. The proper response to this is a kind of historical revisionism that will put them on a firm foundation to reject being browbeaten. Facts can be questioned, context can be added that changes the meaning of the facts presented, and even the value-judgments about certain actions can be rejected.
The appeal of Dinesh D'Souza's work is that it supplies a balm for the distress of being browbeaten, but his approach is completely wrong. The problems with D'Souza's historical revisionism are (1) that it is very superficial and untenable, and (2) that it maintains leftist accusations and value-judgments that keep White people trapped in the box where they must struggle to "prove" that they are not fascist, not nazi, and not racist. Moreover, it teaches White people to affirm the Judaeo-Marxist value-judgments associated with those labels. From a White perspective, the escape that Dinesh D'Souza offers gives only temporary relief and is ultimately a trap.
This has to be stopped.
Anyone who actually finds D'Souza's narrative convincing cannot be generally well informed about the broad outlines of American history. Consequently, the approach for deprogramming such people cannot be about broad outlines; it must focus on specific, finite claims. That is what I am presenting here, a list of specific, finite claims where D'Souza is clearly taking liberties.
This is somewhat expanded from a list that I compiled for a local talk-show host who was going to interview Dinesh D'Souza and was obviously clueless. I hope that others also will make use of this list of criticisms. Send it to anyone in media who is discussing D'Souza or about to interview him. As of right now, he is still promoting his new stupid movie. So, here is an activity for you. Copy, paste, and send.
If you think that this is too long for your purpose, just use the section titled D'Souza on Nazis and Eugenics, because that section relates especially to D'Souza's most recent work. (I do not normally use the word nazi except with some irony: I use it here because it is the word that the kinds of people being addressed would normally use.)
Dinesh D'Souza vs. Reality
Dinesh D'Souza exhibits copious endnotes in his books, which impresses people and makes them think that what he says must be well documented. Sadly this is not the case. Checking D'Souza's sources shows that he habitually makes bold assertions going far beyond what his alleged sources would justify.
D'Souza on Andrew Jackson
Dinesh D'Souza claims that the Battle of Horseshoe Bend was a massacre and an act of genocide by General Andrew Jackson. He also calls Jackson “the land stealer.” The alleged source, Steve Inskeep's Jacksonland, indicates that the Battle of Horseshoe Bend was not a massacre: Jackson asked the Creek Indians to surrender, and took hundreds of prisoners at the battle's end. The killing continued only because the Creek warriors would not surrender. The only massacre that Inskeep mentions was at Hillabee, where Jackson was not involved. Inskeep does not indicate that Jackson stole any land or did anything unethical by the standards of the time.
Dinesh D'Souza refers to "Jackson's policy of Indian Removal." It was not specifically Jackson's policy! It was a policy begun by Thomas Jefferson, who agreed in the Compact of 1802 that Indians would eventually be removed from Georgia. The policy was continued by presidents James Madison, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams, before it reached its culmination under presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. This was not a policy that originated with Jackson, nor was it specifically a policy of the Democratic Party, since D'Souza defines the Democratic Party as beginning with Jackson, and since Adams was a Whig. The special demonization of Andrew Jackson has been a theme of leftist propaganda since the 1970s: among scholars however it is not the majority view.
Dinesh D'Souza on Democrats and Slavery
Dinesh D'Souza alleges that the Democratic Party is and always has been "the party of slavery." This only appears to have some semblance of truth because the Democratic Party was not explicitly anti-slavery like the GOP. Most American political parties before 1860 took no clear position on slavery. George Washington, a Federalist, owned slaves. William Henry Harrison, a Whig, owned slaves. The Democratic Party before 1860 had pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions, just like the Federalists and the Whigs. The Confederate vice-president, Alexander H. Stephens, was in fact a Whig, while Lincoln's vice-president, Andrew Johnson, was a Democrat. D'Souza's labeling of the Democrats as "the party of slavery" is an oversimplification.
Dinesh D'Souza on the Ku Klux Klan
One of Dinesh D'Souza's most important claims is that the Ku Klux Klan was formally connected to the Democratic Party -- meaning that the Democratic Party was responsible for the Klan and its actions. To support this claim, D'Souza pretends to quote Marxist historian Eric Foner. In his books Hillary's America and The Big Lie D'Souza attributes to Foner the claim that the KKK was "the domestic terrorist arm of the Democratic Party." Those are supposed to be Foner's words, but in neither instance does D'Souza note a source for the alleged quote.
In an interview with Jesse Lee Peterson in August 2018, D'Souza took the liberty of adding some words: "For decades the Ku Klux Klan was the domestic terrorist arm of the Democratic Party."
It seems that D'Souza is lying. These are the closest approximations in Foner's work to what D'Souza claims he said:
"In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party, the planter class, and all those who desired the restoration of white supremacy." (E. Foner, Reconstruction, 1988: 425)
"The most notorious such organization was the Ku Klux Klan, which in effect served as a military arm of the Democratic party." (E. Foner & O. Mahoney, America's Reconstruction. 1995: 119)
D'Souza's expression “domestic terrorist arm” does not appear in either quote. Foner never said it.
Foner's qualifier "in effect," which means that any relationship between the Klan and the Democratic Party was informal, is omitted from D'Souza's account of what Foner said. That is because D'Souza wants to blame the Democratic Party as an institution, not just some individuals who happened to be Democrats (whose descendants may now be voting Republican). Without a formal connection D'Souza's accusation falls apart: therefore omits the crucial qualifier "in effect" when he misquotes Foner.
Finally, Foner never said that the Klan was “for decades” an arm of the Democratic Party. Foner is an expert on Reconstruction, and has written about the Ku Klux Klan only within the context of Reconstruction, which lasted less than one decade. He has not written anything about the revival Klan of the 20th century, as D'Souza implies.
Dinesh D'Souza makes a big hoopla about the fact that overt Klansmen were present at the 1924 Democratic national convention.
D'Souza claims that the 1924 convention in New York City was informally known as the Klanbake. This is false. The Klanbake was a simultaneous event across the river in New Jersey.
The 1924 Democratic National Convention was in fact not a happy experience for the Ku Klux Klan. D'Souza mentions that a motion to condemn the Klan failed by just one vote, but does not mention that the Democratic nominee, John W. Davis, denounced the Klan anyway. After that, the Klan's support went to the Republican candidate Calvin Coolidge, who did not in any way repudiate that support.
Dinesh D'Souza claims that President Lyndon Johnson had been a member of the Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The source for this claim is an unidentified confidential informant for the FBI, who alleges that Ned Touchstone, editor of the newsletter of the Citizens' Council of Louisiana and an independent investigator of the Kennedy assassination, was a member of that Klan group, and that Touchstone had told the informant that the group had documentation that Johnson had been a Klansman “during the early days of his political career.” This claim appears in the final paragraph of an FBI internal memo from May 1964 that mostly discusses Touchstone's published findings about the Kennedy assassination. It is a rumor three removes from the source: the confidential informant said that Touchstone said that the Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan said. We can accept that the confidential informant said what the FBI's memo records, but there is no confirmation of the factuality of what he said. Touchstone himself, although an investigative journalist, never published such a claim. The FBI has much more “information” that Hitler fled to Argentina in 1945, than that Lyndon Johnson was ever in any Klan group. It is an unverified rumor.
In any case, Lyndon Johnson was not well regarded by Southern Segregationists: all four states of the Deep South that had given their electoral votes to the Dixiecrats in 1948, plus Georgia, voted against Lyndon Johnson and for Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964. Robert Shelton, Imperial Wizard of the United Klans of America, declared: “We're going along with the principles that the Republican Party has adopted in its platform.”
When President Lyndon Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the vast expansion of social welfare programs that disproportionately benefited Blacks, and the Gun Control Act of 1968 – on every point he acted in diametric opposition to the preferences of the vast majority of Southern White people. Segregationist Senator Richard Russell of Georgia said of Johnson: "He's a turncoat if there ever was one." The suggestion that LBJ was somehow serving an agenda of Southern Segregationists or the Ku Klux Klan is beyond bonkers.
There is an argument that lavishing largesse on Blacks has not been good for them (prominently pointed out by a Democrat, Pat Moynihan). Nonetheless, the suggestion that the Ku Klux Klan would support lavishing funds on Blacks as a way to harm them is utterly insane.
D'Souza on Nazis and EugenicsIn his effort to link the American eugenics movement to the Holocaust, Dinesh D'Souza claims that Paul Popenoe, in his book Applied Eugenics (1918), advocated “lethal chambers.” In fact, Popenoe emphatically dismissed “lethal chambers” as unnecessary (p.184), since mere sterilization suffices to achieve the eugenic goal. (Popenoe was also no leftist: Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, was one of his protégés.)
D'Souza blames eugenic sterilization on “progressives” without bothering to mention that 19 out of 32 governors who signed eugenic sterilization into law were Republicans. When the case of Buck v. Bell came before the Supreme Court in 1927, 8 out of 9 Justices -- all of them Republicans -- found that forced eugenic sterilization was constitutional: the sole dissenter, Justice Pierce Butler, was a Democrat.
Dinesh D'Souza pretends that laws against interracial marriage were enacted only by Democrats. In fact, most states (even Massachusetts) at some time had such laws. In 1935, 30 out of 48 states had such laws.
Dinesh D'Souza claims that the American one-drop rule (which he calls the “Democratic one-drop rule”) was “too racist for the Nazis.” It is highly unlikely that the Nazis regarded the one-drop rule as “too racist” where Blacks were concerned, since Germany had indeed applied the one-drop rule in German Southwest Africa, starting in 1907. (Source: Ulrike Lindner, Journal of Namibian Studies, 6 (2009): 63-64)
D'Souza's alleged source, James Q. Whitman, says that Nazi officials regarded the American laws as generally inapplicable to their situation, because they were making laws about Jews, not Blacks: only the precedent of attaching criminal penalties to miscegenation was derived from the American laws, according to Whitman.
D'Souza on the "fascist" welfare-state
Dinesh D'Souza, who has been associated mainly with the Neoconservative faction of the Republican Party, points out that Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal resembles programs of recovery enacted by Mussolini and Hitler. What he forgets is that leading Neoconservatives like Irving Kristol are former Democrats who cherish the New Deal. D'Souza is calling his own faction of the Republican Party fascist!