For a crowd that lampoons liberals for an alleged obsession with victims, conservatives harbor quite the persecution complex — and there’s no better case study than right-wing polemicist Dinesh D’Souza, who’s about to begin eight months in a “community confinement center” and five years of probation for campaign finance violations.
Responding to his sentence Tuesday — which could have been 10 to 16 months in prison — D’Souza told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that he had “a big smile on [his] face.” The government’s “effort to put me out of business” had failed, D’Souza told Kelly. “My own country tried to put me away and the court said no.”
On Wednesday, D’Souza took his right-wing victimhood act to The Daily Caller, telling Jamie Weinstein of his suspicion that his prosecution for illegal straw donations to a U.S. Senate candidate in 2012 wouldn’t have gone forward “without at least a tacit OK if not an outright signal from the Holder Justice Department.” In the same interview, D'Souza said that he'd had a criminologist look into the possibility that he'd be targeted by gangs in prison.
D’Souza’s conservative compatriots sounded even more apoplectic notes, alluding to the anti-dissident tactics of authoritarian regimes to decry his prosecution. Glenn Beck called him a “political prisoner,” while a reporter for Breitbart called D’Souza’s community confinement sentence “re-education camp.”
That D’Souza and his allies have taken this tack is far from surprising. A central theme of D’Souza’s work, after all, is the notion that a nefarious liberal class contemptuous of American values has gradually gained control over the body politic, and is using that control to destroy all that was great about this once #flawless country. It was this cast of characters whose secular nihilism invited the 9/11 attacks, D’Souza wrote in his 2007 book The Enemy at Home: the Cultural Left and its Responsibility for 9/11. Those same liberals, a few years later, elevated an anti-American “Luo tribesman” to the Oval Office, and it is that political coalition's insistence on a European socialist agenda that endangers the very future of the republic.
The most perverse aspect of this revisionist take on American history and politics is that he utterly dismisses the grievances of those who actually found themselves victimized and oppressed. It’s time, D’Souza tells us in his latest documentary, for liberals to stop guilt-tripping the country about the treatment of indigenous populations, African slaves, colonized people abroad, and those on the losing side of the free market lottery.
In D’Souza’s demented worldview, those people weren’t victims, but he – despite confessing that he circumvented campaign finance law – is. But, you know, criminality in the defense of liberty is no vice.
That upside-down view of how oppression works in America is reflected throughout the conservative movement: LGBT people who don’t want to be discriminated against? Tyrants! Anti-gay Christians? Oppressed souls! Gay soldiers who want to serve openly? Bigots! Christians in the military? Victims of a vicious purge! Women who want to control their own reproductive choices? Greedy “sluts”! Employers who want to restrict female workers’ access to contraception? Paragons of freedom! Spread the word – before Eric Holder tries to lock you up!