3rd Rail Politics Movie Review – Dinesh D’Souza’s Death of a Nation
Conservative Immigrant’s Tale of Racism
By John Corrigan
(WASHINGTON) Hollywood produces propaganda day in and day out, shaping the views of the American and world audience to a leftward tilt. Dinesh D’Souza’s propaganda documentaries come with a rightward tilt, a bias that he is honest about and divulges from the beginning of his movies. Death of a Nation is no exception. It tells a tale backed up by facts that you simply will not hear in any other Hollywood production.
With flashbacks that ranged from Berlin, 1945 to Gettysburg, 1863 to Moscow, 1935, and back to Washington, D.C. in several eras, this movie was presented with a peculiar premise. What do Abraham Lincoln and Donald Trump have in common? The conclusion surprised the viewer. D’Souza asserts that Trump, the 45th U.S. President can take a page out of the book of the 16th U.S. President and unite a country at war with itself.
Come on, parallels between Lincoln and Trump? D’Souza draws some compelling factual vignettes to make the viewer think long and hard about the state of the times that we are in, were in, and the historic fissures in America and American politics.
D’Souza begins the documentary with a flashback to April of 1945 and the suicide death of German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler and his wife Eva, in their underground bunker. The “Thousand Year Reich” that lasted for twelve years, survived its founder by just a few days. When the Doenitz Government surrendered at General Eisenhower’s Reims, France Supreme Headquarters on May 7, 1945, the end came to the 20th Century’s second most deadly government. D’Souza examines the origins of fascism in Europe, a movement that surprisingly incorporated some of its manifest evil from the United States.
First topic. What is fascism? Modern interpretations of the 20th Century scourge claims that the brown shirts in Germany, black shirts in Italy, and the unexplored blue shirts of the Spanish Falange were political parties of the right. D’Souza blows that notion out of the water with factual evidence that Italian Benito Mussolini, the founder of modern fascism, was at first a socialist, even editing a socialist newspaper, Avanti (Forward).
Socialism in the 1920’s was more clearly associated with Bolshevism, known as communism for its imposition of community (the collective) or state over the individual. Mussolini, Hitler, and Ferdinand Franco in Spain, clashed with the other socialists “Reds” for the color of their banners. The Communists were internationalists who preached of world worker revolution. Setting themselves apart, the fascists blended a healthy dosage of socialism into a nationalistic pie. The fascists believed in heavy regulation of the economy along with strong state control of all aspects of the economy, but not necessarily outright ownership of industry and agriculture. Mussolini and Hitler cut deals with big business in their respective countries to drive out competition, established favored monopolies and oligarchies and pump priming the economy with state spending. They were also nationalistic patriots, recoiling from the flawed Versailles Treaty that took large swaths of territory and population from Germany, and which disrespected Italy, an ally of the Grand Alliance of WWI. Italy asked for Trieste and other lands, and got exactly nothing. Not to mention war reparations that crushed working people of the German and Austrian nations after the war.
Hardly a form of government or ideology that anyone who calls themselves a conservative would envision.
Further, D’Souza shows that none other than U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and key New Deal Democrats admired the early forms of fascism as well as communism abroad. The New York Times weighed in with editorials praising the Bolsheviks and the Italian and German fascists at given times. FDR was fascinated with Mussolini and his various emissaries wrote private notes to the four term President praising the efficiency of Italy under the fascists. New York reporter Lincoln Steffans infamously said of the communist Soviet Union, “I have seen the future, and it works.”
Death points out that the American Left were infatuated with the rise of fascism and communism in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Juxtaposition to modern times, and Death asks pointedly, of President Barack Obama’s modern Democratic Party or President Donald Trump’s Republican Party, who behaves closer to fascism? The movie argues that through large regulatory schemes, the crony capitalism style Obama Stimulus Program, Cash for Clunkers, Obamacare, heavy subsidies in the green energy sector and the abuse of the FBI and IRS against private citizens the modern Democratic Party actually is more reflective of a fascist government than the Republican.
D’Souza asserts that after the horrors of the Holocaust, American liberals decided to advance the theory that fascists were of the political right – despite the evidence to the contrary – and that the moniker stuck. By modern measures calling National Socialists as “conservative” or “right wing” it discredits the Republican or conservative movement. Maybe the New Dealers were guilty for some of their early infatuation with fascist totalitarianism? The movie does state that Hitler himself added the word socialist to the National German Workers Party (NSDAP in German, sounds like Nazi), but Hitler did so as a ploy for votes, not that he was a true socialist but did have command economy policies.
So today, when the term “Nazi” or “fascist” is thrown around, it is an attempt to so discredit conservatives as to be a disqualifier. D’Souza then paints the picture and asks “who are the real fascists and heirs to Hitler’s vision?” He points to the tactics of the likes of the ironically named Antifa Movement (supposedly for Antifascist) and likens them accurately to the very National Socialist brownshirts of 1930’s Germany. Tactics and goals being the same, and with ample evidence to back up his assertions.
More chilling was the incorporation of American ideas into the very Holocaust itself. Those who have watched the 1961 thriller Judgement at Nuremberg knows of the “Judges Trial” where the National Socialist German Judges who were on trial for sentencing German citizens to sterilization used American law on the topic as a defense. Yes, in America, sterilization for the “feeble minded” was legal at one time, particularly in the solid South, controlled by anti-Reconstruction and later segregationist Democratic politicians. The theme of the Germans borrowing from Democratic passed policies was woven throughout the film.
Further, the laws of citizenship that denied Jewish people citizenship, known as the Nuremberg Laws, passed in 1935 at the National Socialist Party Conference in the ancient city, and sponsored by Reichstag Speaker Herman Goering, were also borrowed heavily from the racist policies of segregation The film shows debate over the question of how much Jewish blood should constitute who is really of Jewish blood. The National Socialist Germans debated Southern laws that claimed that if an American had one drop of black blood, then they were to be considered black in the South. The film depicts a scene from 1935 that claimed that the German officials evaluating that proposal thought it too extreme to classify a person as Jewish, hence non-citizen status, and went with a lower standard of 3 of 4 grandparents constituting a Jewish person.
The racial purity laws were the first step towards the Holocaust, forbidding marriage between Germans and non-citizens (Jewish people). The sterilization policies noted were also key Holocaust policies as the Germans, without a nod to anyone else, then chose to exterminate mentally challenged people, the start of the National Socialist killing machine.
Part of the justification for the extermination policy of “undesirables” were the promotion of abortion and euthanasia policies advocated by the likes of American Margaret Sanger, the modern founder of Planned Parenthood. Sanger’s early writings, since sanitized, point to racist tendencies suggesting that her support of eugenics (also supported by the fascists) was critical to control "the process of weeding out the unfit [and] of preventing the birth of defectives." D’Souza points out that these theories were used by the fascists to partially justify their own evil, particularly forced sterilization, a key component of Sanger’s concept of eugenics.
D’Souza uses facts to blow away evidence of allegations that modern racism is aligned with President Trump, known as the Alt-Right Movement. The face of the misnamed Alt-Right is Richard Spencer. Spencer famously held a meeting where his racist followers gave the fascist salute and in “Heil Hitler” fashion, shouted “Hail Trump.”
So clearly the National Policy Institute, the racist group that Spencer heads is pro-Trump, right? Well, not really. In an interview with D’Souza, Spencer applauds socialized medicine and state control of industry. He applauds regulation and the taking away of private ownership of property and business. D’Souza points out that those are neither conservative nor Republican principles. Spencer acknowledges as such and states that the “Hail Trump” chants were for affect and he more admires the racist policies of the segregationists and the fascist policies of Mussolini and Hitler, as opposed to anything that modern day Republicans or Trump espouse.
D’Souza illustrates that modern main stream media wants America to believe that racist groups are equivalent to conservatism and Republicanism, but that, even according to those who espouse such views, is just not so.
Who is paying for the various anti-Trump movements? George Soros, the boogey man of the Right, and for a while a collaborator with the German occupation government in his native Hungary is among those financing the anti-Republican movements from the Occupy Movement (remember them? After they helped defeat Mitt Romney, they have been scarce) as well as the current anti-Trump movements including Black Lives Matter and Antifa.
Death of a Nation is not for the faint of heart. It does make some stretches about the relationships between American Democrats and foreign socialistic movements, but all of the movie’s claims are verifiable on the movie website.
As for the parallels between Lincoln and Trump, well that is why you go to the movies. Of course, the film has been vilified in the main stream press and shunned by the Hollywood elites, but D’Souza does tell a story not previously told, and from a perspective that is seldom seen in Tinseltown. No wonder he had to shoot the film abroad.
Death of a Nation is currently in theaters.