Conservative scholar discusses the left and liberal perspectives
Conservative author, filmmaker and political commentator Dinesh D’Souza delivered a lecture on liberal ideology last Tuesday evening to an audience packed in Schwartz Hall.
Highlighting the lack of conservative voices across college campuses, D’Souza’s talk sought to evaluate the suppression of conservative voices by what he deems a misconception of conservative ideology by liberals and progressives.
“The remarkable thing today is that when you go to a college campus, you find it’s not that students reject conservatism — they don’t know what it is,” he said.
If you ask the average young person what modern conservatives are trying to conserve, D’Souza said, “you generally get a blank stare or someone who’ll say ... they’re trying to conserve religion or racism.”
Thus, D’Souza delivered a stream of historical examples that demonstrated discrepancies between the ideologies of past and present Republican and Democratic parties.
Race is one of the most distorted issues in American politics, began D’Souza.
“When we take an honest glance of history, we discover immediately that all the racism that is being invoked ... comes almost exclusively and entirely from the Democratic left itself,” he said.
In the year 1860, D’Souza said that Republicans ran on an anti-slavery platform and pro-slavery individuals were primarily in the Democratic Party.
“But after the Civil War, when a defense of slavery became, let’s just call it, embarrassing — the progressives altered the historical narrative to stick the blame on the South,” he said.
D’Souza said this confused progressive blame further stems from the “postbellum crimes of the Democratic Party,” seen primarily in the form of white supremacy. Members of the Democratic Party were the individuals that came up with the institution of segregation, the Ku Klux Klan, racial terrorism and lynching, said D’Souza.
This is the beginning of a pattern, D’Souza continued. “Every segregation law in the South, without exception, was passed by a Democratic legislature, signed by a Democratic governor and implemented by Democratic officials — there is no exception to that rule,” said D’Souza.
D’Souza said that the irony is that Democrats choose to ignore the responsibility their party had in the same bigotry modern Democrats accuse Republicans of today.
“This is all of kind of a preview. Ultimately these arguments are arguments of credibility. What the left is basically saying is that we, the very people who did all this bad stuff, are now somehow the saviors of civil rights — we represent civil rights — we should be trusted with advancing the cause of minorities. Nothing could be actually further from the truth,” said D’Souza.
According to D’Souza, the left is at fault for creating a “wholesale lie” or “meta lie” that puts a lens in front of the camera of young liberals.
The “meta” story right now, in the age of President Donald Trump, is that the Republicans are fascists, said D’Souza.
“Now this is a switch away from the race card, it’s a new card — the fascist card. … The idea now is that the way to understand Trump is to see Trump and the Republicans as incipient or actual fascists.”
Yet liberals are the ones embodying the characteristics of fascists, D’Souza said, adding that liberals brought violence to disrupt Trump rallies, a violence, he said, that was rarely seen at Hillary Clinton rallies.
Progressives are seen enacting “street violence, where you basically block your opponents [and] you prevent them from speaking,” he said.
Fascism is far from conservative when considering the actual foundational ideas of the right, said D’Souza, who then posed the question: Where did the “fascist” accusation stem from in the first place?
According to D’Souza, conservatives’ principles are simple — to conserve the tenets of the American Revolution: economic freedom, political freedom, freedom of speech and religion.
“This interlocking trio of freedoms is what those of us on the right are fighting for … far from being the prelude of fascism, this is actually the very antithesis of fascism,” D’Souza said.
“Fascism is the ideology of the all-powerful state,” according to D’Souza. “Nothing could be more distant or remote from American conservatism — Trump doesn’t want to make the state stronger, he wants to make the state weaker. … he wants to emphasize the individual,” D’Souza said.
D’Souza said that historically, American politics has been a gentleman’s fight; however, today it is increasingly difficult for both sides to engage in civil discussion.
“On the campus particularly, I want to initially address the issue of free speech on the outset, because the issue of free speech has nothing to do with hate speech. None of the speakers who are coming to campus — and this is obviously true of me — are here to engage in racial epithets or in any way violate the normal civility of the campus,” D’Souza said.
For liberals, the threatening part of conservative speakers on liberal campuses is not hate speech, but rather the ideas liberals who protest them believe they represent, according to D’Souza.
“I love this kind of setting, it’s informal, it’s intellectual, it’s open,” D’Souza said, adding that speaker events on college campuses have become increasingly contentious.
“I’m trying to get you to become a soldier for a broader understanding of America and American politics, so that the kind of facts that militate against the left are not excluded from the campus — that they have a chance to compete in the free exchange of ideas.”
“My case today is an argument about the left. It’s an argument about racism, about fascism, but also an argument about the liberation of the American mind,” concluded D’Souza.
D’Souza has been touring and delivering his lecture, “Have Liberals Turned Their Back on Liberal Values?” across college campuses. Student-run organization Brandeis Conservatives collaborated with the Young America’s Foundation to bring D’Souza to the University.