It happened so gradually at first, the changes were almost imperceptible. Hastened by the Chinese virus, and the desperation and determination of the liberal elites, the process accelerated. Some Americans, believing it would benefit them now or in the near future, gladly surrendered their liberties. Others, understanding what was happening, let go more grudgingly. But I think most of us would agree that we’re not as free as we used to be.
Indian-American author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza sat down with Just the News’ John Solomon on Saturday and made what sounded at first like an alarming statement.
“it suddenly occurred to me that we’re really no longer living, at least in terms of some of our basic civil liberties, in a free country,” D’Souza told Solomon.
“This is a startling thing for someone like me as an immigrant to say. But it suddenly dawned on me that, you know, we always think of America as like, the freest country in the world. And it occurs to me that when we objectively look at it now, we’d have to say that we’re kind of in the middle. There are many, many countries much freer than we are. Now, there are countries that are less free than we are, as well. But the very fact that we are in the middle hits me with a kind of a shock, and trying to make sense of it.”
Asked how he thinks we got here, D’Souza said “one possibility is that the people who are supposed to be liberal have all turned out to be illiberal? In other words, we thought that they were liberals in the sense that they vote – wanted higher taxes, and they wanted a big welfare state.”
We assumed that they were liberal in the classic sense, “that they still believed in things like your right to disagree…you have a right to your opinion, I may not agree with you, but I defend it.”
He supposed that “Liberals were held in check by the fact that while they had the majority of the culture, Republicans still had a very strong hold on political power.”
“Now,” he said, “they have both political power and the culture both…they are empowered by the fact that they feel like we got the three branches of government, even if kind of narrowly, and we have a strong monopoly on the culture, let’s bring those two things together and crush our opposition once and for all. So this is a very – this is a frightening kind of prospect, because ultimately, it is the job of majorities in a democratic society to make the minority feel safe. And they’re certainly not doing that.”
And he believes “this illiberal society began in the universities.”
“I think it happened in stages. You know, I saw this, actually, 30 years ago on the campus. And my first book, which was ‘Illiberal Education,’ a kind of exposé of political correctness on the campus, I began to realize the vulnerability of the students because they were at the mercy of their professors and the administrators. But the campus to me, at that time, I saw it as kind of an asylum, a lunatic asylum. And not only me, everybody else thought that way,” D’Souza said.
“When C. Vann Woodward, the Yale historian, wrote a favorable review of my book in ‘The New York Review of Books,’ the predominant response from liberals was, ‘No, no, no, no, no, this can’t be going on. It’s too insane. Dinesh is just exaggerating the situation,’ and so on. But I thought that this was an anomaly of campus subculture. I think the significant development of our time has been the kind of metastasization of campus culture into American culture.”
D’Souza continued, “So now the media plays the role of the professors. And you know, and the political establishment plays the role of the deans. And digital media, of course, is the equivalent of the old campus speech code. And so suddenly, we’re living in an America that has become an asylum in which intolerance is now the order of the day. So I think that’s been brewing for some time, now, but what was once in confined enclaves has now become the state of our society.”
“The illiberalism in universities originated in a debate on Marxism a hundred years ago.”
“It was a plan in this sense, that there were intellectuals going back to, not only the 1960s, but I would even say the 1920s and ’30s, who recognized that they would have to take the culture. This came out of the so-called ‘crisis of Marxism’ debate of about a century ago, when the left was basically wondering, like, ‘why did Marxist predictions not come true?’ And their answer was because the working class is subjected to what they called ‘bourgeois culture,’ the working-class guy’s a patriot, the working-class guy goes to church, he loves his family. So he’s not just thinking about his, you know, his union membership or any kind of proletarian revolution, because he’s got all these other concerns that are shaping his personality and his allegiances.”
“‘So,’ says the left, ‘we need to take over those things. We need to take over the schools, we need to take over the universities, we need to undermine the churches, we need to, you know, weaken the power of the patriarchal family. And by doing this, essentially, we create a leftist culture that runs alongside leftist economics.’ And so the left has put a lot of effort, a lot of investment in this, and I think they started off in the campus. And then what happened is that they were able to cultivate a generation of intolerant just little savages, and unleash them on the society at large. And that’s what happened. They didn’t have to plan it because, by creating these apostles and sending them out into the world, they were able to achieve their purpose that way.”
“How do we put the toothpaste back in the tube?” Solomon asks his friend where conservatives should go from here?
Should we build an alternate echo-system to Twitter, Facebook, the universities, the schools, he wonders out loud.
The two begin a discussion of action steps we can take to dig ourselves out of the bitter, difficult spot we’re in. (This begins at the 18:00 point in the podcast below).
D’Souza agreed that we have to build alternative platforms…”We need to build an alternative educational structure, entertainment structure, we need our own comedians…we need to build our own America inside of America.”
“We basically need one online university that has assembled together the 100 top teachers and scholars in the world that will offer a Harvard level education for $5,000…If you did that, you would make higher education obsolete overnight.” D’Souza compares it to the iPhone when it first came out. It made all the other phones obsolete.
Former President Trump is allegedly organizing a group of investors to start a new social media company. We knew he wouldn’t go quietly into the night, didn’t we?
Listen to their discussion here.
Elizabeth is the founder and editor of The American Crisis. She is also a contract writer at The Western Journal and a previous contributor to RedState, The Dan Bongino Show, and The Federalist. Her articles have appeared on HotAir, Instapundit, RealClearPolitics, MSN and other sites. Elizabeth is a wife, a mom to three grown children and several beloved golden retrievers, and a grandmother!