by Rush Limbaugh in the Limbaugh Letter, September 2017
What a timely interview -- with one of the most erudite conservative thinkers of the era, whose must-read new book, The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left, is especially important in the wake of what happened in Charlottesville:
RUSH: Dinesh D'Souza! How are you?
D'SOUZA: Rush, I am doing great. I'm on the book tour, and excited about this new one. It's causing a stir, and I wanted it to, and I'm so glad it's having its intended effect.
RUSH: Really? Why would calling the Democrats a bunch of Nazis be causing a stir? I can't imagine.
D'SOUZA: [Laughs] As you know, in the last book, Hillary's America, I took on the race card. The left has been playing that card very successfully for almost a generation. So successfully, in fact, that they persuaded a former head of the Republican National Committee to go to black churches and apologize for the Republican Party's "racist history". Even though the Republican Party has been the party of emancipation, shutting down the Klan, fighting segregation, and so on.
Since Trump's election, I noticed that the left has pivoted from the race card to the fascism card or the Nazi card. It's not an abandonment of the race card, Rush, because Hitler was a racist. So the race card is still alive, but it's now inside the fascism card. And that's what I take on in this new book.
RUSH: It's kind of like the opioid crisis in traditional Democrat strongholds. Somehow the Republicans and Trump are being blamed, when the cause of it, aside from doctors and pill prescription factors, is the lack of economic opportunity brought about by Democrat policy. They're literally killing off their own voters, who aren't working. They have to turn to something. Yet Republicans end up getting blamed for it. It's almost like this civil rights issue.
By the way, welcome back to The Limbaugh Letter and the Limbaugh broadcast empire here. We always enjoy talking to you. Dinesh, tell us about the title of the book, The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left. What's the big lie? Can you explain without giving too much of the book away?
D'SOUZA: Absolutely. The tip of the iceberg is the accusation that Trump is a fascist, that conservatives are the neo-Nazi party. But the bigger lie is the notion that fascism and Nazism are phenomena of the right. This, of course, predates Trump. We've been hearing this, really, since World War II. This is part of the progressive narrative that is taught in the textbooks; it's almost the conventional wisdom. Even many conservatives believe it.
Now, what gives the lie a plausibility is that in World War II, the Soviet Union, the communists, were on one side; the fascists -- Mussolini's Italy and Nazi Germany -- were on the other side. So if communism is on the left, the fascism seems to be on the right. But the reason that's misleading is that sometimes ideologies that are on the same side, that are very close to each other, that differ only on fine points of doctrine, nevertheless get into very bitter fights over doctrine or over territory and power.
Think, for example, of the centuries-old fights between the Catholics and the Protestants, or even between the Shia and the Sunni. The Shia and the Sunni are both inside the house of Islam, they agree on 99 percent of their beliefs, and yet they've been fighting for centuries.
RUSH: I've often thought that most people make the mistake, Dinesh, when they try to chart ideologies. They do it in a circle. I don't think you can. You have to use a straight line, and you put moderate or centrism right in the middle. And communism, socialism, and Nazism are all going to be on the left side of that line. There's no connection to the right; they don't ever connect with conservatism.
D'SOUZA: You couldn't be more right about that. Recently I heard Bernie Sanders railing about "right-wing extremists". It got me thinking: who's a right-wing extremist? If you put state power on the left side of the line, then on the right side of the line you would have individual rights and limited government. So a right-wing extremist would want virtually no government, going from street to street and uprooting every stop sign. That's right-wing extremism. The three great collectivist movements of the 20th century were all of the left: progressivism, communism, and fascism.
RUSH: Look, you've bitten off a lot here, Dinesh, and I bet they're shocked. I mean, they convicted you on that flimsy campaign donation thing, and I'm sure they thought they had intimidated you into silence -- here you've come roaring back. And you actually "went there". You are trying to overcome decades of a misappropriated narrative, and you're now making a direct connection between the left and Nazism.
Our side is scared to death of the left's skills at messaging, and nobody I know on our side would tackle this. Do you think it's possible to rework the definitions of "fascism" and "Nazism" back to their proper historical meaning as leftist ideologies? Do you think this book can actually get that process going, and make it work?
D'SOUZA: Rush, I think it can. Here's why: It's one thing to have an argument over definitions. Part of what's happened is that the left has, after World War II, redefined fascism into something that it's really not. So they'll say something like: "Trump is a fascist because he's an ultranationalist. Trump wants to make America great again in the same way that Hitler wanted to make Germany great again."
The problem with this is that nationalism is not really a defining feature of fascism at all. I'm from India, and Gandhi, the founder of modern India, was a nationalist. Mandela was a nationalist in South Africa. Winston Churchill and deGaulle were nationalists. Obviously, these people aren't fascists. So, fascism means something else; it doesn't mean nationalism. The core meaning of fascism is the powerful centralized state.
Mussolini, who established the first fascist regime in the world, put it very well when he said: "Everything within the state, and nothing outside the state." What he really meant is that the state is like an organism, a living creature, and each individual is a cell inside that organism. The cell has no value of itself; its only value is what it does to serve the larger organism. Now, does that sound like the platform of the Republican Party or the Democratic Party?
RUSH: Well, exactly. Look at the recent Google firing, a good example of leftist fascism. The Google employee who wrote that so-called manifesto was fired for putting politically incorrect ideas about diversity in a memo that went companywide. And the fascist anti-free-speech mentality running rampant in universities is infecting other areas of American society, including corporations.
So people who claim they stand for diversity and openness and tolerance, actually stand for none of it, and end up calling the people who are trying to propose openness and tolerance "fascists". The state of education in the country today is such that you're right, people who think believing in your own country and wanting it to be great is fascism. I marvel that they've had as much success with this as they've had.
D'SOUZA: Yes, the Google incident, to me, reflects the fact that the fascism of the institutions is scarier than the fascism of the street. We have these Antifa guys at Berkeley and in Portland and elsewhere who wear masks and carry baseball bats and bike locks as weapons. They intimidate, they terrorize, they use violence. They are quite clearly the most obvious living equivalent od Mussolini's Blackshirts in the 1920s, or Hitler's Brownshirts in the 30s.
The main difference is that the old fascists at least embraced the name; the new fascists pretend to be anti-fascist. Yet the harm they do is less than the fascism that comes out of, say, the studio bosses in Hollywood. Or the deans in academia. Or the powers-that-be in powerful media companies and corporate America. Because, see, those are the guys who actually can enforce a chilling atmosphere across whole institutions. If you get out of line, they will get rid of you. They will fire you, they will drive you from public life, they will humiliate you, they will make you a pariah.
The Nazis had a term, gleichschaltung, which means "coordination". What the Nazis meant by this is that the whole society must march in lockstep with Nazi ideology. No one is allowed to fall out of line. And it's precisely that gleichschaltung that's now come to America on the left; we call it political correctness. But it's the same ruthless enforcement of a uniform ideology across whole sectors of American life.
RUSH: Dinesh, you say that your book uncovers a secret history between fascism and the Democrat Party and the left. Now, I'm aware of the not-so-secret arrangement between militant Islam and Nazism, but this is a new one to me. You say that Hitler even got three very destructive, genocidal ideas from the Democrat Party. Media Matters went off on you on that, so you must have hit the bullseye. What are these three Democrat ideas?
D'SOUZA: Yes, Media Matters quoted me as if what I was saying is manifestly preposterous, even though the facts I'm about to describe are in the historical record, they're undisputed. This is not my point of view versus someone else's point of view. This is history that is there for everyone to see.
Now, the first idea. Hitler was sitting in Landsberg prison and he was very frustrated that the British and the French had colonized pretty much the entire planet. He thought, "How can Germany become a world power when the British and the French have already taken India and Asia and large parts of Africa? What's left for Germany to take?" Then Hitler remembered that in the 19th century, the Jacksonian Democrats, despite the existence of all these treaties with the American Indians, essentially decided to violate the treaties, throw the Indians off their land, drive them further west, displace them, resettle that land, and if any of the Indians remained, either kill them or attempt to enslave them.
So Hitler goes, "This is a fantastic idea. I don't need to go to India like the British, I'll just conquer in Europe. I'll throw the Poles off their land, the Slavs, the Eastern Europeans, the Russians. We'll resettle that land with German families, and if any of the natives stay back, we'll enslave them." The historians call this notion lebensraum, which means "living space", but it's basically German expansion in Europe. Hitler got the idea from the Jacksonian Democrats of the 19th century. So that's idea number one.
Idea number two. The Germans, in 1935, were drafting the Nuremberg Laws, the laws that turned Jews into second-class citizens. These laws segregated Jews into ghettos, they involved discrimination and state-sponsored segregation against Jews, and later confiscation Jewish property. They also outlawed intermarriage between Jews and other Germans.
The senior officials of the Nazi Party get together to draft these laws, and the reason we know about them is that there was a transcript made of their meeting, because they felt it was a momentous occasion. They were founding the world's first racist state. Then one of the Nazis in the justice department, who happened to have studied in America, basically told the Nazis: "You can't start the world's first racist state, because the Democrats in the American South have already done it." He says: "All the things we're talking about; outlawing intermarriage, segregation, discrimination, they already have these laws. They exist. So all we have to do," he said, "is take the Democratic laws, cross out the word 'black' and write in the word 'Jew', and we're home free." So the Nazis then began a detailed examination of the Democratic Party laws.
I should pause to say, Rush, that every segregation law in the South, without exception, was passed by a Democratic legislature, and signed by a Democratic governor, and enforced by Democratic officials.
RUSH: Absolutely right. There's no dispute. That's why it's on of the most amazing reversals of history for the Democrats to have had that record and essentially make the Republicans guilty of all that. It's stunning that they pulled that off.
D'SOUZA: Right, that's a big lie unto itself, but the point I'm making is just simply that the Nazis based their Nuremberg Laws on the blueprint of Democratic Party laws that had evolved essentially since the 1890s.
The third, and to me the most damning, is the way in which the Nazis in the 1930s based both their forced sterilization laws as well as their euthanasia laws on the models that had been created by Margaret Sanger and a whole bunch of American progressives. These American progressives were into eugenics. As Margaret Sanger said: "More children from the fit, and less from the unfit." That's how she viewed birth control. Not as a matter of giving every woman a choice, but as a matter of convincing the successful and the fit to have more kids, and essentially to prevent the unsuccessful, the sick, the so-called "imbeciles", and what she considered to be the disposable people, from breeding altogether.
So American progressives had come up with two ideas. The one that Margaret Sanger favored was forced sterilization. But the other idea was proposed by a California eugenicist named Paul Popenoe, who said: "We have all these useless people who are already born. It's not enough to have sterilization; we have to have euthanasia, we have to kill these people off. And since there are a lot of them, we need 'lethal chambers' to do it."
Lethal chambers. The Nazis were all over that one. Then the Nazis started this business of gas chambers using carbon monoxide gas. The first people they killed were not the Jews; they were the sick, the disabled, the group that was called "imbeciles", and then later the Nazi euthanasia program was expanded into Hitler's Final Solution. So all of this is, as I say, right there in the historical record. And I'm bringing it out.
RUSH: Let me ask about the historical record. Are the three examples you have just cited the results of your interpretation, or is there documentation, are there quotes, are there written passages that attribute to Nazis the acknowledgment of studying policies of the American Democrat Party and their application to the Nazi ambitions in Germany? Or are they separate facts and similarities that you are assembling as evidence?
D'SOUZA: I am in some cases relying on the work of other scholars. For example, there's a legal scholar at Yale, James Whitman, who has examined the transcripts of the Nuremberg Laws, how those were put together. He has a detailed account of how those laws were based almost point-for-point on the laws of the Democratic South. In other cases, we have the attribution of influence from Hitler himself. Hitler himself says: "I'm drafting laws that are based upon things from America." And here's the crusher: not only were the American progressives aware that the Nazis were taking their ideas, but they knew about it and they were super excited.
I cite an incident in the book in which prominent American progressive Madison Grant, president of the New York Zoological Society and a prominent eugenicist, gets a letter from Hitler, and he can't believe it. It's thanking him and congratulating him. So he goes to a fellow eugenicist, another American progressive, and says, "Hey, check this out, I got a letter from Hitler." And that guy says: "Wait a minute." He goes to his library and he comes back with his letter from Hitler. So these American leftists know they have had an architectural influence on German policies, and they are very, very pleased with themselves about it.
RUSH: Is this something your average progressive leader is aware of, or if they read your book, are they going to discover this for the first time, and be offended? Whereas the people you're citing were proud, they were honored; modern-day leftists learning of this, say from your book, what's their reaction going to be?
D'SOUZA: Oh, Rush, no, they will be stutteringly apoplectic about it. Because here's the point: after World War II, the moment that American troops went into concentration camps and liberated emaciated captives who came tottering out looking ghostlike from those camps, Nazism and fascism became permanently discredited. In fact, this is what got the big lie going. This happened as progressives in the 40s and early 50s were, for the first time, really coming into power in American academia and media, and even Hollywood. So these guys basically knew the record. They knew that the American left had been in bed with Mussolini in the 30s, and to a lesser degree with Hitler in the 30s. They knew. So they said, "Look, if we the Democratic Party, if we the left, are associated with fascism now, then we are finished. We will be permanently discredited.
So in academia, the progressives essentially said, "Let's not emphasize any of this. Let's not remind everybody that FDR was a big fan of Mussolini, and sent members of the 'brain trust' to fascist Italy, because he considered Italian fascism more progressive than the New Deal. He wanted to bring fascist ideas to America. Let's just kind of agree to forget about all this, and let's try to move fascism from the left-wing column, where it's always belonged, into the right-wing column, so that from now on, we can use it as a truncheon to beat up our political opponents."
RUSH: In fact you have a whole chapter on the politics of intimidation, which anyone who's effective on the right has experienced. For example, would you consider the "deep state" attack on Trump, or the soft coup, to be part of that? I mean, is the political establishment of both parties engaged in the intimidation you're talking about here, against an outsider like Trump to make sure that no outsider ever succeeds in Washington?
D'SOUZA: Yes, I do think that there is a quasi-coup underway. What I mean by this is that normally if you're trying to run some sort of an impeachment process, to get rid of somebody, there has to be an underlying crime. In Watergate, there was at least an underlying offense; the Watergate burglary. And there might have been a cover-up on top of that, but there was a crime to be covered up.
I think that the left is proceeding in this investigation with Trump, they don't actually care if there was an underlying offense. They're going to try to find obstruction of justice, even if there was nothing to be obstructed, nothing to obstruct. This shows that they know that what they're about is a kind of usurpation or coup.
The relevance of this whole fascism inquiry is that the left pretends that Trump is Hitler circa 1933. And of course, the Germans in 1933 kind of put up with Hitler, and historians generally agree now that if they had been more vigilant, they could have gotten rid of him -- but they didn't, and look at the carnage that followed. So the left is using all that to say now: "Look, maybe we're doing things against trump that would otherwise be considered to be outlandish, but because Trump is a fascist, he's such a bad guy, we're fully justified in getting rid of him by any means necessary." Which is actually one of the names of one of the so-called "anti-fascist" groups.
RUSH: Let me jump forward to your chapter on "Denazification", because I happen to agree with this. You credit Trump with instinctively fighting this battle. I think that's the exact word to use. I don't think Trump himself is ideological; he didn't grow up ideological, he's not been ideological as an adult. But he instinctively knows what he's up against. You say "Trump, to his credit, knows that he has to take decisive action against an extreme and violent left. He recognizes the fight is not merely legal and political, it's cultural.
Trump is not ideological the way you and I would consider ourselves to be. Do you think that he's deliberately fighting an ideological battle against the ideological left, or is this just pure instinct that has him fighting the battle? The reason I ask is, what do you think the prospects are for him sticking with it? If your ideology defines who you are, and it then defines your enemies, that can sustain you. But what is it in this fight that sustains him, do you think?
D'SOUZA: I think what sustains him is the fact that this is a guy, although a rich guy, nevertheless a guy who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Trump is not a figure of the Upper East Side of manhattan.
RUSH: He's Queens.
D'SOUZA: Yes, so he grew up in a scrappy world of New York. I think he learned that he should not take a punch without returning a punch. I think he has a sort of instinctive sense of indignation when there's an injustice being perpetrated. I think he's also an instinctive patriot, in the best sense of the term. He loves this country, not just because it's his country, but because it's a good country. He knows that. So that's the equipment he's bringing into all this. Then he sees this unbelievably bizarre effort to capsize his Presidency, to portray him as things that he clearly is not.
I mean, imagine accusing Trump of being a white supremacist. This is a guy who's had nothing to do with the history of white supremacy, and he's often being accused of that by people who do. So Trump has, I think, a sort of righteous indignation about all this, and that's driving him. It's more that than the ideology. But I think to our good fortune, it turns out that a man of conservative instincts finds himself encircled by these bad guys, and so it is an ideological battle. Even if he doesn't quite see it that way.
RUSH: Do you think that he will prevail?
D'SOUZA: I think that the jury is out on that, for the simple reason that there are so many people who are undermining Trump on his own side. The analogy is that there were lots of people who thought they could accommodate Hitler. Similarly, there are Republicans who think they can accommodate the fascism on the left. They're partly motivated by this desire to accommodate it, and they're partly motivated by fear.
These guys on our side know that the press has the power to destroy them, to humiliate them, to make them into a laughingstock. If the comedians set upon them, they don't know how to respond. This makes them timid, invertebrate, and extremely obliging. They're willing to make a pact with the other side, to do harm to Trump. So Trump has got his work cut out for him. But I think he can still win, and I certainly pray that he does.
RUSH: A caller asked me, "What would happen if there were just a ten percent change in coverage where Trump was given positive reinforcing coverage, say on his economic achievements? Just ten percent." I thought about it, and I said, "The first thing that would happen is that Republicans in Congress would be a little bit more inclined to join him and support him." Because you're so right; they are basically held in prison by the media. It's a stunning thing, they still simply don't want to fight them. If they see the media even ten percent behind Trump, it might give them and others a little bit more courage. That's why we won't see it, and that's why I ask you if Trump will prevail.
But Dinesh, I saw in The Hollywood Reporter that you're planning on making a documentary based on this book, just like your previous movies. I hope you do, because if you do, if you make your typical Dinesh D'Souza movie out of this, holy smokes, Dinesh, I shutter to think.
D'SOUZA: That is why I want to do it, Rush. Not every book can be converted into a movie, because a book is fundamentally an argument, whereas a movie is a narrative and a story. Books traffic in the intellectual medium, whereas a movie has to be emotional as well. The beauty of this topic is that it's incredibly cinematic. It's got deep and disturbing and interesting history. It's just a riveting story that most people don't even know. I think because of all those factors, it lends itself beautifully to a movie.
As you know, a lot Democrats are up next year. A lot of Republicans were up last year, so the midterm is actually a vulnerable moment for the Democratic Party. I'm hoping that this movie will help fire people up and get the truth out.
RUSH: How long is it going to take you to produce this movie, and have it ready for delivery?
D'SOUZA: I'll release it in the summer, probably around June or July, and then DVD in late September or the beginning of October, a month or so before the election. So I'm starting at about the right time to get this done by next summer.
RUSH: Your previous movies have been effective. This one is going to be earthquake-creating. Even before it hits, when you start showing clips, start doing interviews, which we want to be on the list for, you're going to blow things up. These are simply things people just don't say, Dinesh.
D'SOUZA: Well, this is what the left needs. They need the disinfectant of truth. In the Hillary movie I said that in 1860, the year before the Civil War, no Republican owned a slave. All the slaves in the United States, four million of them, were owned by Democrats. For months, the left thrashed around to find a single counterexample to prove me wrong. One guy finally said: "I've discovered that Ulysses S. Grant inherited a slave on his wife's side." I said: "The problem with that is that when that happened to Ulysses S. Grant, he was a Democrat." He later became a Republican, but he wasn't a Republican when that occurred. Even this one counterexample collapsed. So that's what's going to happen with this movie. It's loaded with facts; the facts are incredibly damning. The left will thrash around as they did the last time. Ultimately, truth is on our side, it's just a very powerful weapon.
RUSH: It's going to be great. Gore's new movie bombed, its first weekend it came in 50th place. To get that seen, they're going to have to force that back into the schools like they did his first movie. But for yours, I don't know what they're going to do. They haven't ignored you in the past, I don't know how they could ignore this. Look, I appreciate your time here, and I wish you all the best with this. You've got guts and courage like few have.
D'SOUZA: Rush, I really appreciate it, and it's an honor to talk to you. And I'll be excited to come back to you once we've got something to show you on the movie front.
RUSH: All right! We're going to be hitting this book on the radio as well. I might even play some excerpts from your answers here, because they're just dynamite.
D'SOUZA: That would be awesome. I would appreciate that, Rush.
RUSH: Hold onto your voice out there, Dinesh.
D'SOUZA: [Laughs] I will.