NYT Magazine: Dinesh D'Souza Isn't The Real Criminal

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Originally posted in The New York Times Magazine.

After your conviction for violating campaign-finance law, you served an eight-month sentence, spending nights in a confinement center. Irving Kristol once said that a neoconservative is a liberal who has been “mugged by reality.” So what’s a conservative whose reality is being surrounded by muggers? Unlike white-collar prisons, the confinement center has the full gamut of criminals — armed robbers, rapists, murderers. I thought of myself as an anthropologist with a rare opportunity to, you might say, study the natives.

What did you learn about the natives? I couldn’t find one guy who said that he was framed. They all acknowledged their guilt but argued that they were the small fry. They believe that the real criminals are not only part of the system, they are running the system, and, in fact, that they are the system and that, at its highest level, America is a crime syndicate.

You are a criminal, literally, and you’ve also said that your own prosecution was politically motivated. It sounds as if your worldview was actually quite similar to that of your neighbors. If you put my rap sheet alongside the Clinton rap sheet, I think that would be almost a prima facie case that they have gotten away with far more than I have. My crime consisted of giving away too much money. I didn’t benefit from it in any way.

Many conservatives these days are calling for reforms of the criminal-justice system. Do you think you’ll be joining that fight anytime soon? No, but I have been somewhat shaken in certain assumptions that I used to have about America’s criminal-justice system.

Which belief was shaken the most? That you are innocent until proven guilty. I have no doubt that the majority of people who are in prison are guilty of the crimes that they were accused of. Still, there are also a whole bunch of people who are in prison as a result of plea bargains.

I’ve read that 97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases end in plea bargains. Before this experience, I would probably have been fairly glib about that.

In California, where you live, ex-convicts are allowed to vote. In many states, they are not. Can we trust you and your bunkmates with the franchise? By and large, the concerns of the inmates are food, sleep, money and sex. I was initially contemptuous of that. I felt that they ignored all kinds of other issues that are important to human life. But it was clarifying, a refreshing contrast with the world I came from. Its relevance to letting these guys vote, I don’t even know.

Do you think that would be a clarifying experience for most wonks? Absolutely. I think we need to bridge the divide between the intellectual talking class and the people who actually respond to politics through raw experience.

In your book “The Enemy at Home,” you suggest that liberal attitudes about divorce and adultery helped to invite the Sept. 11 attacks. Have your own extramarital relationship and divorce changed your opinion in any way? My own marital woes and divorce and ill-fated engagement, all of that, have certainly made me more aware of how difficult it is to make marriages work. But I have not in the slightest departed from my belief in those traditional institutions. Now, my argument was that radical Muslims are able to point to the moral and cultural decay of America as displayed in Hollywood and use it as a recruiting tool. That was true when I wrote it; it’s true now.

In a recent interview, you said that a close reading of Milton’s “Paradise Lost” helped you understand Lucifer’s influence on Saul Alinsky’s organizing methods. Should we expect any more analysis of epic poetry to explain Hillary Clinton? Perhaps Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” or Shelley’s “Prometheus Unbound”? Either that or Dante’s “Inferno.” When I think of a Hillary administration, I’m reminded of the sign on the outer gates of hell: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Read more in The New York Times Magazine.


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  • Tom says:

    July 5, 2015 at 4:41 PM

    D’souza was a political prisoner.

    • dixi says:

      July 5, 2015 at 11:34 PM


    • David Armstrong says:

      July 6, 2015 at 10:20 PM

      Its a great accomplishment to offend Obama so bad that he finds a way to imprison you….I wonder how much money Obama spent looking for something to pin on D’souza?

  • Joyce Clemons says:

    July 6, 2015 at 3:36 AM

    So are we, in a manner of speaking. “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
    That might refer to the voting booth.

  • Sean Gjerde says:

    July 6, 2015 at 4:45 AM

    I guess I would sort of take exception and am a little disappointed in the comment about criminal justice reform. I don’t necessairly agree with letting everyone go from Federal prisons, but we certainly need to have reduced sentences that make sense and shrink the Bureau of Prisons dramatically. I think 1/4 of the inmates being released is realistic. Part of that is doing away with the arcane practice of probation after your prison sentence. That too needs to be dramatically decreased or done away with. As far as the judges go, we have problems there too, as anyone who has watched the news the past few weeks can attest to. Federal judges are completely unaccountable. We need to have independent non-partasian citizen commissions reviewing what they do and judgments they gave. In addition their terms should be fixed, and not for life, that should be done immediately with a sliding scale to ensure that no one president can pick all the judges. You can use a lottery system to determine it. Also make anything a judge does subject to FOIA, which conviently the judges have made themselves immune too. The conspiracy offense should be taken back to the orginal meaning, which is one should know the entire conspiracy. The Feds have made it too easy to convict on this, and for nearly all white collar crimes a US attorney does not need to prove criminal intent. That is how we got up to 97% conviction rate. Also we need to make the US attorneys aware that going after every single criminal with max sentences is not a good use of public resources and encourage them to seek alternatives other than prison to first time non-violent offenders such as probation (what probation should actually be used for) and to stop flooding halfway houses with people like Dinesh, its a total waste of resources.

    Other than that I would take offense to the criminal comment, everyone is a criminal, Dinesh is a ex-con, or convicted federal felon. Reality is we all commit crimes everyday, j walking, not comming to a complete stop in a car, whatever it is. Also there is no such thing as a white collar prison. The federal camps are mostly made up of drug dealers or runners that are low level guys. Also not all white collars end up in camp fed (which really doesn’t exist anymore), alot end up like Bernie Madolf in FCI’s because their sentence is too long. And of course that goes back to many white collars (not Madolf who is an exception) getting absurdly long sentences.

  • Bill Johnson says:

    July 6, 2015 at 11:39 AM

    Very interesting article. I’d not heard of Mr. D’Souza except in passing prior to this. Bible prophesy is clear about the state of the world before God will have to remake it again. The US (culturally) has become a cesspool. There are still millions who love this Country and long for a change. I see that it’s a small minority that holds the power and makes the changes that have eroded what this Country could and should be.

  • Michael Brown says:

    July 11, 2015 at 9:04 AM

    I believe we are witnessing the final hours countdown to the end times. Every time I see that buffoon John Kerry sitting at a power meeting playing with nukes over Israel I shudder. When I see Obama doing his dance as he shuffles off Air Force One I wince. And my stomach turns sour when I see the Pant Suit being forced to talk to the media.


    July 13, 2015 at 12:59 PM



    July 13, 2015 at 1:01 PM


  • Christine Mason says:

    July 14, 2015 at 11:01 PM

    I saw one of his movies at theater and it was great. Only documentary that got a standing ovation at end. I am a vet and dearly love America! I admire him for speaking truth and enduring against all those evil and In power, in the WH.(rainbow house). Judge who wants more psychiatric counseling needs it himself! Stay strong, continue fight! We love you and God does to!