How can any well-adjusted, thinking person still associate with official conservatism?
People often choose their political affiliation for social, rather than for ideological reasons. They want to align with groups that are smart and successful. With that in mind, we have to ask just how many would-be conservatives became liberals because of the seemingly willed stupidity and dorkiness of Conservatism Inc. Dinesh D'Souza's latest documentary is another chapter in this sordid tale of political buffoonery.
America: Imagine the World Without Her has the same flavor as the latest batch of evangelical movies, and rivals them in its lack of intellectual cleanliness. It features two squishy songs (here's one) by acoustic guitar-wielding boy-men that are more fit for a middle school revival than a documentary that attempts gravitas, and D'Souza talks about the American founding as though it were the Immaculate Conception.
But that should come as no surprise when the film sets to perpetuate the myth of America as the glorious proposition nation that has overcome the universal faults of the world. Like the Messiah, America was created to expunge the universal sins of the world and offer man the promise of living in a merchant paradise. D’Souza also promotes the myth that the old-timey America can be restored and the 1950s can be carried on for all of eternity—as long as we vote Republican and live up to the Constitution.
With this in mind, the only people who should enjoy this movie are over the age of 50 or diehard believers in the conservative movement. D’Souza himself compounds this problem by attempting to inject himself into every scene of the movie.
Just as viewers can’t escape seeing Michael Moore’s corpulent figure in his films, D’Souza’s turtle-like resemblance is nearly as aesthetically unpleasing. The close ups of his smarmy face reveal his unbearable narcissism to many viewers. His sense of victimization and his depiction of himself as some kind of martyr for conservativism widens the problem. But the real D’Souza is just an immigrant plagiarist felon with no original ideas. He even stole the opening credit scene from Conan The Barbarian—paradoxically, as the film’s message denounces the value of conquest.
The film’s subtitle—Imagine the World Without Her—is misleading as the real purpose of the film is to address leftist accusations that America was built on conquest and theft. Except for the introduction, which dramatizes George Washington being gunned down by a British sniper, we never are shown the path of what the world would be like without the United States.
Instead, the film focuses on combating five alleged charges that the left promotes against America. They are: America committed genocide against the Indians and stole their land; America waged an unjust war against Mexico and stole their land; America enslaved millions of blacks and stole their labor; America practices imperialism and has stolen resources from around the globe; and America practices capitalism, which is an unfair economic system that favors the wealthy over the poor and is theft enshrined as economics.
The heroes of the film are George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and (naturally) Martin Luther King Jr. The bogeymen are Howard Zinn, Michael Moore, Hillary Clinton, Saul Alinsky, and, of course, Barack Obama. This is history according to conservatives.
D’Souza response to the charges postulated by Zinn’s A People’s History to the United States is simple—those faults are attributable to the universal conquest ethic which America has overcome by adopting the ethic of the merchant. This is in many ways an inversion of the caricatured leftist thinking D’Souza maligns—the parts of American history which violate his moral sensibilities are attributed to universal failings, while the virtues of America, however, are peculiar only to her. And he answers all charges with this mentality.
The Indians practiced conquest as well and Americans sometimes bought their land legally, thus no harm done. Mexico oppressed Texas, we answered the call to save the Southwest, and we gave back most of the country to Mexico, thus no harm done. Slavery was wrong, but blacks can now be great entrepreneurs and we sacrificed 600,000 lives to end it, thus no harm done. Our foreign wars have been on behalf of freedom and we have never exploited countries for resources, thus no harm done. Finally, capitalism is an amazing system that benefits everyone and depends on hard work, thus no harm done.
Unfortunately for D’Souza, all of his rebuttals the left can easily dismiss and they glaringly overlook facts that Zinn and others use for their critical arguments of American history. But that doesn’t matter since this film is an exercise in mythmaking and anything that would undermine the notion that America offers opportunity to all and was founded by entrepreneurs, rather than conquerors, is not expected to be offered.
For the main argument D’Souza uses to praise America is that it took a different path from that of every other nation in human history—that it did not base itself on the “conquest ethic.” America, according to D’Souza’s, based itself on the merchant ethic instead. This ethic placed profit, security, comfort, and materialism above the martial virtues of conquest. The movie acts as an exposition in the merchant mindset—merchant values above all others. For him, the real heroes of America are its entrepreneurs, not its warriors. To emphasize that America is on a different path, he points out that the entrepreneur was frequently far down in the caste system in every Traditionalist society and cites quotes of Traditionalist thinkers disparaging enterprise as less noble than theft to drive home his thesis. On the other hand, the businessman is the pinnacle of American society and entrepreneurship is treated as sacrosanct.
In many ways, the criticisms that Zinn makes of America as a nation based on conquest is what makes the nation worthy of any respect. A country in order to survive has to emerge out of violence and struggle. You either fight, or you die. The fact that a few frontiersmen from the British Isles were capable of taking over an entire continent is something that should be celebrated, not overlooked in favor of entrepreneurs who pushed hair care products to black women (which is one of America’s heroes). Our side probably agrees more with Zinn’s assessment of America rather than D’Souza’s, as well as the actual facts of history.
Considering D’Souza’s intended audience, he adds that America bases itself on low-church Protestantism and how the only cultural heritage America has is how its population was more likely go to church and provide private charity. Thus, when D’Souza wants to pinpoint the “quintessential American,” he chooses Star Parker. Parker is a Black conservative scammer extraordinaire who racked up multiple abortions early in life while living on welfare. She then found Jesus and has become an entrepreneur in conning White conservatives out of their money by promising to do outreach to the Black community. That’s America folks.
This goes perfectly well with D’Souza’s celebration of America as the only true proposition nation, where even non-White plagiarists like himself can make a buck. For this argument, he doesn’t use his smarmy self to make the point—he uses a speech by U2 singer and perpetual Africa activist Bono to state the thesis instead.
Here are some “highlights” from Bono’s speech:
“America’s an idea, isn’t it? I mean Ireland’s a great country, but it’s not an idea. Great Britain’s a great country; it’s not an idea.”
“That’s how we see you around the world—as one of the greatest ideas in human history. Right up there with the renaissance, right up with crop rotation and the Beatles’ White Album.”
“The idea is that you and me are created equal…the idea that life is not meant to be endured, but enjoyed. The idea that if we have dignity, if we have justice, then leave it to us, we’ll do the rest.”
“This country was the first to claw its way out of darkness and put that on paper.”
“I know Americans say they have a bit of the world in them, and you do–the family tree has lots of branches. But the thing is, the world has a bit of America in it, too. These truths–your truths–they are self-evident in us.”
Instead of a nation united by blood, culture, and soil, we’re a nation bonded together by abstract principles of commerce and comfort. I can’t imagine a more damning argument against the American idea.
The film concludes by focusing on Saul Alinsky and his acolytes’ nefarious plan to destroy these ideas and turn America into a socialist dystopia that hates the Constitution, and how Obama is now going after dissenters—like convicted campaign fraudster D’Souza. Unfortunately for D’Souza’s intentions, Alinksy comes off as by far the coolest guy in the movie. He has gravitas, he has balls, he has ideals, and he seems to oppose all of the stupidity and childishness promoted for the past two hours. After seeing this movie, I’d rather be an Alinskyite than a conservative.
The stupidity and childishness that underlies this film drives intelligent people into the arms of the Left. The movie made me want to become a liberal. He only has a place for the entrepreneur. The laborer and employee have no significance. Conquest is immoral and consumerism is awesome. Go to a mega church and make a buck off pointless products. That message makes my very being revolt in anger.
From the triumph of merchants over conquerors to the glorification of the proposition nation, Identitiarians have little in common with this film’s ideas. It puts into visual form the vast differences between us and our conservative peers, and dispenses with the illusion that they will ever come to radical thought with their own devices. The state and culture despise the aging Middle Americans who will take to this film, while those same audience members cling to the America that is no longer theirs. These people need to be shocked out of their stupor and wake up to the reality that this is no longer their country and the ideas promoted by schlock like America should be discarded into the dustbin of history.
They need to start imagining the world without America—because their world is about to get worse with her still around.