Is America really an exceptional country? Are the main indictments about the evils of America true? Such as, that its rise to power and wealth were derived from the evils of capitalism or the theft of resources including exploiting and destroying Native Indians, stealing a large part of Mexico, facilitating slavery and promoting segregation, and also through imperialist foreign policies?
At a time when such indictments are promoted in our educational system, Hollywood and the media, and a time in history when the role of America in the world is questioned and challenged, the timing for release of Dinesh D’Souza’s movie ‘America Imagine a World Without Her’ is not only appropriate, but way over due.
Never before has there been a film or effort to take on these allegations head on and engage audiences who may have never been told key facts which are not taught in schools about the story of America. The film challenges certain notions that have been widely propagated and accepted as being established conclusions. The early part of the film gives a lot of time to the views of those in academia who have spent years promoting these common indictments against America such as Howard Zinn’s book which is often required reading in schools, ‘The People’s History of the United States.’ The film then makes the case to justify the Idea of what American is really about and paints the picture of what the world would be like if America did not exist.
Dinesh D’Souza, an immigrant from India explains that his experience before moving living in the United States prepared him to imagine what the world would be like without America. Many people come to America or are born in America but never really try to understand where the privileges we enjoy actually come from, and that there is no guarantee that they will always be around. D’Souza’s experience as an immigrant who fell in love with America, probably is the driving force to why his film is so compelling and will reacquaint people with what America really stands for, how the principles of her founding made such convictions possible and what made it attractive for so many like himself to want to come here.
It also elaborates why America as a superpower is exceptional compared to other world superpowers of the past and why if that position of global leadership is replaced, the alternatives will not serve in the interests of deterring evil, protecting freedom and human rights like America has. For example, the film asks the question, suppose Hitler had gotten the atomic bomb first? For that matter if a country without the values of America had gotten the bomb before the world would be a much different place. America has gone to war before and won but not conquered for exploitation. In some cases like the World Wars, in Japan Germany or the Korean War and even more recently Iraq and Afghanistan, she didn’t take their resources but helped to rebuild them at the great expense of American lives and expense. What would South Korea be like no if it wasn’t for the American involvement to fight communism and to keep forces there to deter a North Korean or Soviet invasion?
America as Dinesh D’Souza explains diverged from the conquest ethic rampant in human history for hundreds of years where wealth was only attained from either conquests or being born in a position of nobility. America, established on the principle that one’s rights came from God and that the country’s founding documents established guidelines for government power in relation to the peoples’ rights, sought to make government accountable and responsible to protecting those rights of the people. The design of America was thoughtfully prepared to prevent tyranny and with the key observation as discussed by some of the founders in the Federalist papers. That is, men are infallible and thus subject to fault if allowed to have too much power over the people. As such, a limited government would mean more freedom for the people. The American Idea and like no other governing structure at the time focuses on two inherent human traits. Man has a desire to be free, and also the other human trait where if ones power is not limited it tends to be abused. George Washington once said that if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
The film puts into context how the American Idea and system of government put in motion the expansion of property rights and economic freedom. This allowed anyone no matter their background, to be able to be free to innovate according to their ability and ambition in pursuing wealth creation and prosperity. But it dod not happen overnight. The film in addressing dark days of American history such as slavery and segregation points to an important part of Martin Luther King’s famous ‘ I have a dream speech’ where he said, “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
D’Sousa reminds us that the economic system of capitalism, which prospered under the American Idea, has been responsible for lifting millions of people out of poverty where ever it has been replicated. It is no coincidence that America is the only country whose name is used as an adjective in describing a dream that should be aspired towards such as the ‘American Dream’. Thus it has been the magnate for immigrants likes D’Sousa and myself to move to and fall in love with America. Also it is also no coincidence that the exceptionalism of the American Idea is why the American Declaration Of Independence has had such an impact on influencing independence and democracy movements around the world. See WSJ: The Declaration of Indepence, the Words Heard Around the World. D’Souza’s America doesn’t directly make those observations but it connects the dots of the factors in the American Idea and why imagining a world without her would be inconceivable based on world events.
The film also puts into context people who would want to radically change America from what it was originally intended and into a socialist democracy. It examines how they are succeeding slowly through academia, entertainment and politics to do so. It also explains how radicals like Saul Alinsky has had profound influence on politics such as Hilary Clinton and President Obama amongst others. The goals of people like Alinsky have been to expand government control of people and capital, to undermine and constrain capitalism under the guise of helping the poor and social welfare. The goals mask the reality that a transition to an unlimited government also means a transition to a more limited people.
D’Souza’s film not only reacquaints Americans with what made America great but also why the true Idea of America must be protected so we may able to continue to experience freedom and the pursuit of happiness. From his film one will realize that a lot of what we have been told or led to believe for years about the evils of America are just not so, and just part of a plan to undermine the freedoms so many of us have taken for granted. Some may want us to think that the founding principles were like a beacon only to illuminate the pathway for the beginning of the country and whose relevance was extinguished by time. No, the founding principles are more like a beacon of light, which guides America on a journey, and it is a beacon whose light is fueled and kept alive by the fight of those who protect liberty. As such, the American Idea is not only a story, but also a journey for generations who value liberty. D’Souza’s film ‘America’ reminds and reaffirms to us why it is so.