My first thought, reading Andrew McCarthy’s review of Dinesh D’Souza’s latest book, Stealing America, was to wonder whether Providence Journal Edward Fitzpatrick knows anything about D’Souza’s travails:
It is no coincidence, D’Souza convincingly argues, that the Obama Justice Department scorched the earth to convict and attempt to imprison him. The brazenness of its aggression took the breath away from such hardened criminal-defense attorneys as Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz, an Obama supporter who found the vindictiveness of D’Souza’s prosecution shameful, and Benjamin Brafman, the legendary New York City defense lawyer who represented D’Souza.
As D’Souza and McCarthy both acknolwedge, D’Souza plainly broke the law, yet a modern device of tyranny is to make everything illegal and then give clemency to friends (or simply ignore their transgressions). In this, one could wonder whether politicians are simply following the practice of the news media.
The more-interesting point, however, comes with these paragraphs:
The principal evolution in the author’s thinking involves seeing his political adversaries as, yes, enemies. And as criminals. As a conservative intellectual, D’Souza had assessed progressives as true believers in an utterly flawed ideology. He was a forceful advocate of the conservative counter-case: liberty, limited government, human fallibility, the wisdom undergirding our traditions. Yet implicit in his arguments was the sense of engagement in a real battle of ideas against a bona fide political opponent.
After his harrowing adventure — first, in the crosshairs of a corrupt executive branch that knows that the administration of governmental processes can ruin even the most innocent of men, never mind one who has actually committed an infraction; then, in the company of lifetime criminals whose lives are mainly about taking what is not rightfully theirs — D’Souza has changed. Progressives, he now perceives, are engaged in a massive scheme to “steal America,” meaning all of its wealth and traditions. Their ideas and the foibles of their interest-group politics are often incoherent because they are not actually meant to cohere. They are, instead, a Machiavellian ploy, a pretense to morality (because the public expects it) that camouflages the remorseless acquisition of power needed to rob the public blind.
The unfortunate problem is that there are no police or legitimate authorities to whom to turn for protection and appeal against corrupt progressives when they’ve twisted the language so as to make it unusable for resolution of real differences of opinions and when they so obviously see the only rule being “we must win.”
That’s a hard lesson people getting involved in politics have to learn. You can’t “win the argument” because the debate has no referee. This leaves only development of an opposing gang, which many on the right find appealing. That strategy, however, is vulnerable to the fact that destroying everything serves the progressives. Conservatives should want our system to work as advertised.
The good news is the ultimate judge on high who gives us the space to push back but to trust in reward and final peace whether or not we win on Earth.