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D'Souza's absurd conspiracy theories

by Rick Jones for the Standard Examiner

Some political movies are thought-provoking and entertaining. Michael Moore has made a number of such films which use humor generously. Although his films are not tightly argued, the insurance industry recognized their potency and used customer premiums to denigrate and smear him when he released a film (“Sicko”) critical of the insurance industry. Long-time insurance executive and public relation man Wendell Potter apologized to Moore for his role in their secret and shameful effort. Potter said Moore’s movie “hit the nail on the head.”

Some political movies are thought-provoking and entertaining. Michael Moore has made a number of such films which use humor generously. Although his films are not tightly argued, the insurance industry recognized their potency and used customer premiums to denigrate and smear him when he released a film (“Sicko”) critical of the insurance industry. Long-time insurance executive and public relation man Wendell Potter apologized to Moore for his role in their secret and shameful effort. Potter said Moore’s movie “hit the nail on the head.”

Other political movies take a more serious and scholarly approach and avoid humor while they rigorously argue their points. The cogent films of Al Gore and Robert Greenwald take this approach and are fundamentally different than Michael Moore’s films.

Dinesh D’Souza’s feeble film “America: Imagine the World Without Her,” is a humorless movie resembling the Gore- Greenwald approach, only without the factual basis. This film, like his previous “2016: Obama‘s America,: is much more focused on a few personalities rather than issues. To promote conspiracy theories, it uses much more innuendo than not only Gore and Greenwald films, but even Michael Moore‘s films.

Viewing this loose and ambitious film brings to mind what Rome’s Cicero once said of a wild thinker: that there is no absurdity to which the person will not resort to defend another absurdity.

Perhaps the most ludicrous notion propounded is that President Obama and Hillary Clinton and other current Democratic leaders are heavily guided by the philosophy Saul Alinsky (1909-1972), penned in Rules for Radicals. At one melodramatic point in the film, sinister music is played while a young Hillary Clinton is portrayed presumably reading Alinsky. In fact tens of millions of Americans, many of whom are well informed, hold views virtually identical to Obama and Clinton and have never even heard of Alinsky. Actually, as many have extensively argued, Obama and Hillary Clinton act like the moderate Republicans of the early 1990s. They are certainly very economically conservative when compared with Democratic presidents decades ago. Recall Franklin Roosevelt proposed that the top tax rate be 100 percent and Truman proposed national health insurance and ordered his secretary of Commerce to seize the nation’s steel mills and operate them. If Obama and Hillary are guided by the radical Alinsky, why are they so moderate when compared to presidents decades before Alinsky’s book? There can be many explanations for Obama’s and Hillary’s positions and only a wild conspiracy theorist would give Alinsky the kind of power that D’Souza accords him.

Actually, a liberal filmmaker with a level of intelligence and integrity comparable to that of D’Souza could make a film showing that Reagan was primarily devoted to serving the Ku Klux Klan. As former U.S. State Department spokesman Hodding Carter noted in 1982: “The president (Reagan), both as a candidate and president, has expressed certain positions on civil rights issues which are identical to the position of the Ku Klux Klan. He, like the Klan, is opposed to court-ordered busing and affirmative-action programs that involve quotas and, until convinced otherwise, was opposed to the extension of a toughened Voting Rights Act. The Klan’s leadership has backed him on every point as well as publicly endorsing him for president in 1980.” Moreover, the United Nations voting record will show that under Reagan’s leadership, the U.S. was often the one and only nation on the planet to support the white supremacist nation of South Africa.

The proposals of Hillary or Obama should be debated on their merits and not on the basis of guilt by association. Considering that Jesus Christ was sometimes looked down on for the company he kept suggests the fallacy of judging an individual by his associates.

The film fails to mention that possibly Republicans, not Democrats, have recently been the prime users of Alinsky. Significantly, a spokesman for a conservative group involved in organizing the Tea Party protests, Adam Brandon, says Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals is given to its top leadership members. Moreover, it is reported that former Republican House Majority leader, Dick Armey distributes Alinsky’s book to Tea Party leaders.

I have observed that those who understand issues will talk about issues. Those who do not understand issues will tend to focus on personalities and overrate their role in events. I believe this film was designed to denigrate certain personalities for an audience which has only a shallow understanding of the issues the film raises.

Thus, fans of the film should know the NY Times reported last Jan. 24, “D’Souza resigned as president of King’s College, a small Christian school in Manhattan, in 2012 after he was seen checking into a hotel with a woman who was not his wife.” He is a convicted felon and is awaiting sentencing.

One can only hope that in the future D’Souza will give as much attention to building his own character and reputation as he has thus far given to denigrating the character and reputation of others.

Rick Jones lives in West Haven.