Originally posted at The Daily Courier by Les Bowen.
Nearly every seat was filled Tuesday night, July 29, as the Republican Women of Prescott hosted conservative commentator, author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center.
D’Souza’s made his way into the national spotlight first with his books on conservatism and Christian apologetics, and later with his book-turned-documentary film 2016: Obama’s America. His most recent foray into public discourse came in January 2014, when he was indicted on charges of making illegal contributions to a 2012 U.S. Senate campaign — charges to which he pleaded guilty in May 2014.
Almost immediately after taking the stage Tuesday evening, he addressed the criminal charges against him.
“I am contrite about what I did, but I’m not contrite about who I am,” he said.
He explained how he had friends contribute $10,000 to the failed U.S. Senate campaign of Wendy Long, a one-time classmate at Dartmouth College and a fellow New Yorker. D’Souza then reimbursed his friends for their contributions.
“That is not permitted,” he said. “That is a violation of campaign finance law. I thought at the time it was kind of a clever loophole, but I discovered this was not so.”
D’Souza framed much of his remarks on the insight he gained while serving his ongoing sentence, including five years’ probation, 2,000 hours of community service and eight months in a confinement center — a halfway house where residents are allowed out in the day, but locked up at night.
“It was a very eye-opening experience,” he said, explaining the way it made him look at the most basic reasons and motives for people’s actions. He said his time in the confinement center showed him the core motives behind the fellow residents: food, sleep, sex and money.
He changed how he looked at U.S. politics, which he had always framed as left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative and Democratic vs. Republican.
D’Souza said, “From the criminal’s point of view, all of this debate, all of this high-flown argumentation is pure bulls—.”
He said the driving factors behind most people’s interests are rage, lust, envy and avarice.
“Those are the motives of American politics,” he said, adding that these more basic reasons are often shrouded by other arguments.
He said as a result, liberals see conservatives as “greedy, selfish, materialistic, militaristic, racist, sexist, homophobic – these are all attacks on motives.”
Meanwhile, he said conservatives engage in what he called “liberal pedagogy” — explaining reasons why the good-intentioned policies of conservatives fail.
“We have been engaged in this long-term educational project,” he said, “and yet we never seem to be surprised that we never get any converts from the other side.”
He suggested the path for conservatives is to change how they communicate, how they interact with the center-left.
“This is not an argument about motivation,” he said.
He rejected the idea that conservatives needed to make a foray against liberal control of academia, politics and media.
“We are in need of a little more militant conservatism,” he said.
He explained his view that President Ronald Reagan didn’t invent the ideas that came to be known as Reaganism, he just collected the best ideas of his conservative predecessors.
At the end of the night, he called on conservatives to be more forceful in sharing their ideas and values, which was a segue into asking them to share his posts on social media and send DVDs of his movie to friends and family.
Read more at The Daily Courier.
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