- - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

“America isn’t the problem, America is the answer,” best-selling conservative author Dinesh D'Souza concludes in his new documentary “America: Imagine a World Without Her.” This sequel to his blockbuster “2016: Obama’s America” refutes accusations against America that “have come together in a single narrative of shame” to empower leftists, such as President Obama.

“Imagine the unimaginable,” the patriot immigrant Mr. D'Souza asks amidst an opening scene of an American disaster on an earlier Sept. 11, namely the 1777 Revolutionary War battle of Brandywine. What if George Washington’s death by sniper or a Civil War division into 10 countries, among other counterfactual catastrophes, had created a world without America? Modern leftists, though, are “telling a new story” contradicting traditional veneration for America in order to “convince a nation to author its own destruction” and “unmake the America that is here now.”

“Thievery,” for example, was the “critical element” for “American empire,” according to Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson. Mr. Dyson and others condemn American society for stealing land from Native Americans and Mexico, labor from black slaves, resources from the world and the American Dream itself from citizens. Asked about a post-Cold War “new evil empire” by Mr. D'Souza, professor Ward Churchill of Sept. 11 “Little Eichmanns” infamy says, “You are sitting in it,” something he says justifies even a nuclear attack against America.

Howard Zinn, meanwhile, the “most influential historian of the past 50 years,” left the Communist Party because it was “not revolutionary enough,” according to communist-turned-conservative Ronald Radosh. Taking Al Capone’s deputy, Frank Nitti, as a role model, radical Saul Alinsky promoted in Chicago “guilty” and “resentful” feelings, respectively, for the “haves” and “have nots,” in Stanley Kurtz’s words. Alinsky’s strategy of “shame for political shakedown” helped shaped Chicago locals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Yet the “wealth of America is not stolen, it’s created,” Mr. D'Souza counters. The $700 used to purchase colonial Manhattan from American Indians could acquire many desolate parcels globally today, but individual industry has made New York real estate worth billions. By contrast, in Europe, India and elsewhere, “most countries are founded in conquest” — the historic way “wealth was acquired.” Arab historian Ibn Khaldun, for example, preferred looting to trade while merchants form Hinduism’s second-lowest caste.

Even American Indians exhibited this “conquest ethic” amongst themselves. Moreover, most American Indian deaths during America’s settlement resulted from plagues that had earlier devastated Europeans, not from an intention to wipe out a people. American Indian casino and business operators today show little interest in returning to their hunter-gatherer past.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, meanwhile, explains in the film how the Texas revolution against Mexico emulated the American War of Independence. Yet an “American of Mexican heritage” expresses no regrets for this territorial acquisition that allows him live the “American Dream.” “We are not going back,” he says of an impoverished, crime-ridden Mexico abandoned by his parents. While professor Charles Truxillo fantasizes about a “premier economic power” that could result from Mexican irredentism, the Mexican-American says he’s “moving to Minneapolis.”

Slavery, however horrible, actually impeded American development. Alex de Tocqueville’s 19th-century observations included references to Irish indentured servants, sometimes outnumbering colonial American slaves, and free black slaveholders, a reminder of slavery’s omnipresence in human history. “Uniquely Western is the abolition of slavery,” Mr. D'Souza observes, and in the American Civil War “for the first time in history a great war was fought to end slavery.” The Declaration of Independence says that “liberty is the solution to injustice,” a “promissory note” cashed throughout history by Americans such as Martin Luther King Jr.

Although “left out of the history books” because she “confounds the narrative” of leftists such as Zinn, C.J. Walker became America’s first self-made female millionaire as the daughter of former slaves. Walker’s success manifests how each individual is a “minority of one,” in King’s words, who can overcome significant handicaps of birth.

The “world is embracing the free market,” given Walker’s hardly unique success, Columbia University economist Jagdish N. Bhagwati notes, something for which there is “no reason for us to be apologetic.” Free enterprise provides goods such as hamburgers more cheaply than individual production and creates products such as iPhones previously unimagined by consumers. Not coercion, but consumer choice, makes individuals such as Zinn disciple Matt Damon wealthy from his movies.

A veteran of Hanoi Hilton captivity discussing his desire to liberate Vietnam, meanwhile, underscores Mr. D'Souza’s rejection of America as a rapacious conqueror. Americans have sacrificed for human well-being with varying success in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany and Japan. They seek only “enough ground to bury” their dead, in the words of former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

“America is an idea,” Irish rocker Bono says, “right up there with the Renaissance” or the “Beatles’ White Album,” having “no copyright” in a world yearning to breathe free. Abraham Lincoln bidding farewell to Springfield, Ill., in 1861, though, where he would only return four bloody years later in a coffin after assassination, reminds us of freedom’s cost. “We don’t have them,” Mr. D'Souza says of past heroes, such as Lincoln and Washington, now carved in stone monuments for remembrance. “But we do have us” in “our struggle for the restoration of America.”

Andrew E. Harrod is a freelance writer and a fellow with the Lawfare Project.