From prison to podium, speaker re-envisions capitalism

By Thomas Albano

Former policy analyst Dinesh D’Souza speaks in the Cavalla Room.
Former policy analyst Dinesh D’Souza speaks in the Cavalla Room.

Dinesh D’Souza has worked as a policy analyst for President Ronald Reagan, been a New York Times bestselling author and earned much praise for his political documentaries. But his entire career has not been political heaven.

D’Souza — who spoke to a packed Cavalla Room on Feb. 2 at an event presented by the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics called The Moral Case for Capitalism — was charged in 2014 for making an illegal contribution to campaign funds. When a college friend was running for Senate in New York, he told the audience, he gave her $20,000 more than the finance campaign laws permit.

“The Obama administration wanted to lock me up in federal prison for 10 to 16 months,” D’Souza said. “Had that happened, I would have not been able to make a film this election year — a secret history of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party — which comes out this summer. A Clinton-appointee judge decided to give me this overnight confinement instead.”

As his case was making its way through the courts, D’Souza said, another Indian-American donated $180,000 in “straw donations” to Democratic candidates and committed witness tampering, but only got community service and a fine. On that note, D’Souza made mention that there is a clash between two ideologies of the two parties — the ideal of justice from the Democrats and liberty from the Republicans.

“I have to say that of the two, justice is actually more important,” D’Souza said. “If you saw an incident of gross injustice happening right now, your blood would boil. But there is such a thing as reasonable deprivation of freedom. We restrict people’s freedom all the time, and the question becomes whether or not those restrictions are for good reason.”

While in the confinement center, D’Souza said that he discovered there is an ideology in the criminal class that he didn’t expect: The real criminals are at large and don’t get caught because they run the system.

“For most of my career, I had looked at American politics as a kind of debate,” he said. “From the point of view of the criminal underclass, this whole way of talking about politics is pure and complete nonsense. Their view is that human nature isn’t like that. Human beings are motivated by primary and elemental motives — avarice, greed, lust, rage, hatred, revenge. Any effort to understand politics that pretends everyone is in it to have a debate, is simply to miss what is going on and what motivates people to enter the political arena.”

According to D’Souza, the moral case of capitalism boils down to an “underground debate” — the question of who should get the profit between the entrepreneurs of a business and its labor. Contrasting himself with the philosophy of Karl Marx, D’Souza said that entrepreneurs today don’t really supply capital, nor does labor exclusively make a product.

“The most successful envision the wants of a customer before a customer even has them,” he said. “In economics, we learn supply follows demand. You need food, and so farmers grow food and will then sell you that food. But when Steve Jobs thought about the iPhone, nobody wrote him a letter. He thought of it, he made it and he supplied it before you knew you couldn’t live without it.”

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