Naples Daily News: Controversial filmmaker will school advocacy group on education in America

Originally posted at Naples Daily News by Brent Batten.

Filmmaker and author Dinesh D’Souza is no stranger to controversy.

Nor is the Florida Citizens Alliance, a local group that has taken on the Collier County School District over textbook selection.

The two will find common cause on Feb. 5, when D’Souza speaks at a fundraiser for the Alliance at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort.

D’Souza will talk about the state of education in America, a topic that fits with the agenda of the Alliance and his own recent works on American history.

He’ll tie education to current events and the onset of the second year of the presidency of Donald Trump.

“This is such a critical political moment. So much is at stake, our political divide is so deep,” D’Souza said in an interview.

D’Souza’s work espouses conservative principles, and he takes a dim view of the Democratic Party and progressive movement.

But he acknowledges that Trump is at least partly responsible for the political divide. His rhetoric, labeling things he disagrees with as “fake news,” for example, adds heat to political exchanges.

“I come from the age of Ronald Reagan,” D’Souza said. Reagan often disagreed with then House Speaker Tip O’Neill, but, D’Souza said, “You could envision them having a beer together at the end of the day. That era is gone. I don’t like it. It’s not a good thing, but it’s in fact the moment we live in now.”

That divide manifests itself in education, he argues. “I have become quite concerned with the way education has become a tool of indoctrination. In a sense, that’s nothing new. But it has been aggressively deployed as a weapon against those who don’t go along.”

College protests and riots over guest speakers who don’t conform to politically correct thinking are just one example, he said. “There never had been a question of whether conservatives would be allowed on college campuses. They might be met with a loud reception, but …”

Increasingly, D’Souza said, school texts give an inaccurate view of American history.

“You get the idea America was a big, racist mess. That’s a laughable caricature. I want to talk about the story of American history and how that story has been twisted,” he said.

D’Souza’s documentary films have included Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party and America: Imagine the World Without Her. His books have landed him on the New York Times best-seller list, and his films rank among the highest-grossing documentaries of the past few years.

He ran afoul of the law in 2014 for improperly donating money to a friend who was running for the U.S. Senate. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight months in a halfway house.

A consistent theme in his work is his contention that much of American history has been distorted. While the left accuses the right of being fascists, racists and Nazis, it is they who have closer ties to those extreme movements, D’Souza says.

He just returned from Europe, where he was working on his latest film, “The Death of a Nation,” due to be released this summer.

In it, he will attempt to show how the fascists and Nazis of the 1920s and 1930s borrowed ideas put in place by Democrats in the American South in the 60 years prior.

For instance, he says he has a transcript of a meeting of Nazi officials in Nuremburg in 1935. In it, they conspired to draft laws making Jews second-class citizens. To their surprise, much of what they were considering had already been done to African-Americans.

“This whole racist scheme they were constructing had already been put in place by the Democratic Party in the South,” D’Souza said.

“It’s there in the record. It’s uncontestable. But I would challenge you to find one high school or college textbook that makes mention of this,” he said.

D’Souza said the home schooling and school choice movements are manifestations of parents’ concern over the point of view being promoted by public schools. “Parents are just saying, ‘Why can’t we have schools that reflect our values?’ ”

Ultimately, it will still be up to scholars to write the textbooks, D’Souza said. They need to do so without trying to achieve an ideological end. “You’re not going to have committees of parents writing history books,” he said.

Like any other product, education benefits when there is more choice and transparency.

For example, health care costs are skewed when the patient has few choices and someone else pays the bill. The same would hold true with groceries, if some third party were paying. “The whole system would go crazy,” he said.

In education, the parent is the consumer and, “Anything we can do to put purchasing power back in the hands of the consumer is a good thing,” he said.

Read more at Naples Daily News.


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One Comment

  • Chris Wallen says:

    February 5, 2018 at 6:08 PM

    Do you have a list of speaking dates listed somewhere? I wanted to know if you are coming to St Louis in the near future.