The Nazi movement had deep ties to American liberals, author and activist Dinesh D’Souza said on radio Tuesday.
D’Souza explored the connections between the American left and the rise of Nazism in his new book, “The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left.” In the book, D’Souza argued that conservatives – who are often accused of fascism – are not fascists, and that calling Republicans and people like President Donald Trump “fascists” is actually the left’s big lie.
On Tuesday’s show, D’Souza detailed an example of the ties between American progressives and the Nazi movement that went all the way up to Hitler. He described how Madison Grant, an American eugenicist and conservationist, was excited about getting a letter from Hitler praising his work.
“This is a really good example of how the American progressives were aware that they were shaping the Nazi sterilization program [and] also the euthanasian program,” D’Souza said. “And they were very proud of it.”
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
GLENN: Hmm. A — a friend of ours who has gone to jail for his opinion and so much more, he’s not going to have any difficulty with his new book, called The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left. Dinesh D’Souza is here. And we begin, right now.
GLENN: Welcome to the program, Dinesh. How are you?
DINESH: Good to be on.
GLENN: Are you ready for the pushback that you’re going to get on this book?
DINESH: Well, I’m excited about the book. Because I — you know, a lot of my books, I know what I’m going to say when I start out. And I have an argument. And I develop the evidence. I lay it out.
So, for example, in the Hillary book, Hillary’s America, I — I knew that there was a long complicity of the Democratic Party with racism. It was just a matter of documenting it, laying it out.
DINESH: Here, with this book — of course, I had read a few things about it, Jonah Goldberg’s liberal fascism.
I noticed that there was sort of eerie similarities between things going on, on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s really interesting to compare, for example, look at the Ku Klux Klan in America and then look at the Nazi Brownshirts. Right?
They both grow at about the same time. They both get 3 to 5 million members. In both groups, you have people who love to wear ridiculous costumes, love to do songs and salutes, love to do nightly raids, love to humiliate people, are into racial terrorism.
In both cases, they’re the wing of a political party. In one case, the Democratic Party, the Klan. In the other case, the Nazi party.
So I thought, this is going to be very interesting, to develop these parallels. But what I didn’t realize was that there actually was intimate relations between the left in this country and the Democrats and the fascists in Italy and the Nazis and Germany. And all of this has been covered up.
GLENN: Yeah. The connections between the early American progressive movement — I mean, I have letters and documentation myself from the — I think it’s the human betterment society in California. From the Germans saying, “Thank you for coming up. You have woken a country of 60 million people to this eugenics project. And Hitler is going to get fully behind this.” I mean, it — they were deeply tied into what became the Holocaust. And it’s all buried.
DINESH: And proud of their associations.
GLENN: Yes, very proud.
DINESH: I’m kind of amused about, there’s this guy Madison Grant, who was a progressive, head of the New York zoological society.
DINESH: Big advocate of eugenics. And he gets a letter from Hitler. He’s super excited. So he goes to this other progressive icon, and he goes, “Hey, check out my letter from Hitler.”
And that guy goes, “Wait right here.” Goes to his library. Produces his letter from Hitler. So this is a really good example of how the American progressives were aware that they were shaping the Nazi sterilization program, but also the euthanasia program.
GLENN: Yes. Yes. Yes.
DINESH: And they were very proud of it.
GLENN: I posted a Facebook post maybe two years ago. And it was the — the national Socialist Party platform in the ’20s. And it seemed very familiar to me.
You talk about a speech that Hitler gave in ’27 where he said, “We’re all socialists. We are the enemies of today’s capitalist system of exploitation. And we’re determined to destroy this system under all conditions.” They have 25-point program. The nationalization of large corporations, trusts, government control of banking and credit. The seizure of land without compensation if it was for public use. The splitting of large landholdings into smaller units. Confiscation of war profits. Prosecution of bankers and other lenders on grounds of usury. Abolition of incomes unearned by work. Profit-sharing for workers and all large companies. Broader pension system, paying higher benefits. And universal free health care and universal free education.
DINESH: If you read that platform at a Democratic National Convention, you would get thunderous applause. And I think that’s true of Mussolini’s speeches, for example.
Fascism and Naziism were firmly on the left. And in one of the chapters, I trace the genesis of fascism. It arose out of a — what’s called the crisis of Marxism. Marx had made all these predictions that communist revolution was coming to Germany, was coming to England.
And when it didn’t happen, the really smart socialists sat around. They scratched their heads, and they said, “We’ve got to — we’ve got to revise Marx. We see he got something fundamentally wrong.”
And in the 20th century, out of that crisis of Marxism come two new things: One, Leninist Bolshevism. And the other, Mussolini’s fascism. They both are spin-offs from socialism. They are on the same side of the aisle. And because of World War II, and because Hitler was on one side, the Soviets were on the other, this has made it very easy for progressives to pretend that if communism is on the left, fascism must be on the right. But this misses, of course, the fact that sister ideologies do go to war.
GLENN: They’re — they’re relatively the same. One is about workers of the world, and one is about workers of the nation uniting. It’s pretty much nationalism versus world domination under a grand unifying theory, of we’re all in this one together. But it’s the same awful stew. Is it not?
DINESH: It absolutely is. And even that distinction is blurred because although Lenin talked about international socialism, as soon as Stalin came in, he said mother Russia. Socialism in one country. So if you think about it, Stalin was a nationalist socialist just like Hitler.
GLENN: So help me out on — you’ve seen what’s going on with Google.
GLENN: This is not going to lead anywhere good. And I — I can’t believe that those people who have said they’ve been kept in a closet for their viewpoint or their sexuality or whatever, their whole life, are now shoving people into closets and — and silencing people. I don’t understand how the average person, the average Democrat isn’t starting to become afraid of what they’re unleashing in universities and in — in the silencing of those who can make a — a reasonable, rational, and scientific argument.
DINESH: So this really is the fascist mindset. And I say this because typically if we look around America now, we would think the best example of fascism is these Antifa guys dressed in masks, scaring weapons, bike locks, and bats. They’re there to threaten, to intimidate, to beat people up. So they look a lot like Mussolini’s Blackshirts from the ’20s, but I think there’s a deeper fascism that’s a much bigger problem than the guys on the street at Berkeley. And that is the fascism of the institutions.
So the Nazis had a term called Gleichschaltung, which basically means coordination. But their idea was, we have a society. Everybody has got to march in line, in lockstep. They’ve got to be in sync with Nazi ideology. And if they fall out, we have to pressure them. We have to cajole them. We have to force them.
And this Gleichschaltung is now in America. It’s on the left. It’s called political correctness. But I don’t just mean you use the wrong word. I’m talking about the way in which Hollywood, the media, academia, and now corporations like Google, if you fall athwart the ideology, they will ruin you, they’ll fire you, they will humiliate you, they’ll make you into a pariah. This kind of thing is very scary. And it has a deep parallel with what was going on with Europe in the middle of the century.
GLENN: You know I have deep respect for you, right?
STU: That’s what he says to me usually when he insults me.
PAT: Look out.
GLENN: I’m not going to insult you.
Those on the right who do not agree with my point of view of Donald Trump have done all of those things that you have described. In fact, they have been as vicious, in some ways more vicious than the — the Soros group that went after me on the left. There is a — there is a love in this country right now of winning at all costs and destroying anyone who stands against you that is truly frightening.
DINESH: You know, I have to disagree with that. I was thinking the other day that when I came to America in the late ’70s — I’m a young Reaganite from my college days.
American politics was a gentleman’s quarrel. And one could envision Reagan and “Tip” O’Neill having it out, but then you could see them having a beer afterward. And then at the end of the day, there was a shared belief that, you know, “Tip” O’Neill, you know, he loved America. And we all want America to be prosperous. We want America to be strong. We want America to be the world’s leader.
We might disagree about how to share the spoils. How America prosperity should be distributed. But it’s a debate about means, not about ends. And it just occurred to me how — how much all of that has broken down.
Now, I blame the left. Because I think that the breakdown started with Obama. And by that, I mean the deploying of the government against your critics. The willingness to sort of treat your critic, not just as a political adversary, but as a real enemy, somebody you would like to see put out of business altogether.
And I think that it is that dysfunctional atmosphere that produced Trump. In other words, the ordinary Republican goes, we appointed all these nice guys, one after the other. There was Bob Dole, self-deprecating and witty. There was John McCain, war hero. There was the super squeaky clean-cut Romney. And yet all these guys began to helplessly flail in the wind as they were converted into Lucifer by the other side. All right. Enough of all that. We’re going to get a real tough guy, and he may not be all that straight around the edges, but he can throw a punch and he can take a punch. We’ve got to fight like those guys. It is this kind of bare-knuckled atmosphere that we’re in now.
GLENN: And I don’t think it is — to say that — I mean, you know where I stand on Obama. But to say that it was Obama. I mean, today is the anniversary of the Nixon resignation. Enemy’s list. Nixon — and I think this is the real problem in America: We keep looking at left and right, which is bogus in America, the way it is — you know, they’ve made the left and right in America to be the European left and right. And that is not true.
Right is small government, almost anarchy. And left is total government, be it fascism, totalitarianism, whatever. It’s — those are our two rights — left and right in America.
But it has become this Democratic and Republican thing, when Richard Nixon was a gigantic progressive. It’s progressivism in the early 20th century that was — was fueling much of what was happening in Germany. And teaching — and they were teaching us in the same way.
I mean, it was a cozy get-together. And when you have progressivism not recognized in both parties on both sides as people who just want control of other people, that’s where we’re having this battle because we can point to each other and say, “Well, you did this. Yeah, because my side has that gene in it too.”
Well, progressivism was in both parties, even at the beginning.
Now, the Republican version of it was softer than the Democratic version. So, for example, Teddy Roosevelt, although he used some Darwinist rhetoric about survival of the fittest, was thinking mainly about foreign policy. And if you talked to him about something like forced sterilization, I think he would — family man that he was, he would blanch a little bit —
GLENN: I will get you — upstairs, I have letters from him that will horrify you on sterilization and the selecting of — we’re going to look at humans, I think the quote is, like the dumbest farmers. Even on farms, we don’t let our best stock breed with our worst stock. I mean, he was pretty clear on some of that spooky stuff.
DINESH: Yeah, I have read some things that have made my eyebrows go up.
DINESH: But this all took such a bad turn in the ’20s and ’30s in Europe. One of the discoveries in the book that really startled me was the degree to which — when the Nazis got together to write the Nuremberg laws. And they were all sitting around the table. All these top guys. Head of the Justice Department, and so on.
GLENN: Explain for people who don’t know what the Nuremberg laws.
DINESH: So the Nuremberg laws were the laws that made Jews into second-class citizens. They involved segregation of Jews into ghettos. State-sponsored discrimination. Keeping the Jews out of certain professions. And later, they were modified for confiscation of Jewish property and so on. So the Nazis go — they — one of the Nazi meetings we have transcripts of.
Why? Because the Nazis go, we are the first people in the world to be creating a racist state. It’s fantastic. So watch us do it. And one of the guys who was there had studied in the United States.
And he goes, time-out, guys. Sorry to interrupt the party, but a racial state has already been created by the Democratic Party in America. We’re not the first people to this picnic. They’ve already done it.
And all the questions were exploring. Intermarriage between groups, segregation, discrimination. They’ve been there for years. So the Nazis then immediately consulted the Democratic laws.
Let’s remember, every segregation law in the South, passed by a Democratic legislature, signed by a Democratic governor, enforced by Democratic officials.
So the Nazis take a look at this, and they go, fantastic. Let’s just cross out the word “black,” write in the word “Jew,” and we’re off at the races.
Now, to me, the most sort of poignantly pungent aspect of this debate is, at one point, the Nazis begin to debate, who is a Jew? Because there’s a lot of intermarriage that’s been going on since the Middle Ages. And the Nazis are not sure if you can classify someone as a Jew, who is only, let’s say, half Jewish.
Again, the Nazi who had studied in America, I think his name was Cregor, he goes, problem-solved. In America, they have one drop rule. Basically, if you have any black, any visible blackness in you, you’re black. And this is where the whole story gets kind of crushing. The Nazis look at each other and they go, “That’s too much.” Basically they’re saying, the Democrats are too racist for us. We can’t go with the one drop rule. And, in fact, the Nuremberg laws, as they were written, you need three Jewish grandparents to count as Jewish. So the Nazis, you may say, took a softer line than the Democratic Party on the question of racial identity.
GLENN: The name of the book is The Big Lie. Dinesh D’Souza. More in a second.
GLENN: With Dinesh D’Souza, his book is called The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left.
You say really controversial things in here that I know the — the research behind it is absolutely solid. I have done the research. I have many of the letters that you are talking about in here.
In one of the chapters, you talk about how FDR was America’s first fascist dictator. And people find so — they find that so offensive. But they — they are not, again, looking back at the time. At the time, the progressives and many Americans — this is before it had been all discredited, thought that that’s what a big state — that the big state was the scientific way to go.
DINESH: It’s very difficult for us in the aftermath of World War II, in an era where fascism and Naziism have been completely stained by the order of the Holocaust, it’s very hard for us to think why anyone would have been attracted to those ideologies. So in order to understand this, it’s almost like you’ve got to put some historical — you better get in a time machine and go before those things happened and see what appealed about fascism. So the fascists talked about society as an organism. And each individual is a cell. Your life has no value by itself. But like any cell, your value is what you contribute to the whole.
GLENN: Pick it right back up with Dinesh D’Souza, The Big Lie, when we come back.
(OUT AT 10:31AM)
GLENN: Dinesh D’Souza is here. The Big Lie is the book: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left.
He was explaining how FDR was America’s first fascist dictator. And I know that sounds horrible to say now. But we have to look at history as it is at the time. They thought fascism and totalitarianism, big state was the future. They thought it was the new scientific progressive way. And all of this other stuff, where, you know, people got together in their towns — it was just outdated and old and antiquated and wouldn’t work.
DINESH: Socialism, fascism, and progressivism, these are the three great collectivist movements of the last century. It was an era in which words like “dictator” were positive because a dictator was somebody who gave instruction and got things done.
GLENN: Yes. Yes.
DINESH: Totalitarianism, for Mussolini, was a good word. Mussolini’s point is, you can’t have a fragmented society. We need to have a totalitarian society, in which everything is operating toward a singular purpose.
GLENN: It’s Nebuchadnezzar. I mean, it’s as old as history itself. Nebuchadnezzar: Let’s make bricks. If we all make bricks, if we all are the same and we’re working toward one goal, we’ll be able to build a tower to reach heaven. It’s the same thing, and it never works.
DINESH: And the progressives, like the fascists, saw democracy as a mechanism to achieve power, but not something to take too seriously.
I mean, when FDR’s New Deal schemes were being blocked by the Supreme Court, what does FDR do? He basically goes, let’s stack the court. Let me appoint six new justices, so I essentially have created a majority. And the only reason he didn’t do it is the court essentially buckled in and gave into him.
Now, the progressives today in the textbooks, they wittingly describe this as the switch in time that saved nine. They’re basically talking about the trampling of democratic institutions as some kind of a joke. But that’s how FDR treated it. And so there’s a fascist streak. I wouldn’t say that FDR became a full-fledged fascist dictator. But there was a fascist streak in him that was exactly why Mussolini and even Hitler thought that he was like them.
GLENN: So you have to read a book — they’re hard to find. But I think I actually have an extra copy. And when you do find them, sometimes this section of the book is taken out. But it was written by Stewart chase, who you know named the New Deal. And he was instrumental in the shaping of the — of the totalitarian view of the government.
So he — he writes a book called The Road On Which We’re Traveling. And it’s after — it’s just at the end of the war, when we know we’re going to win. And so he says, so after the war, these things are going to happen.
It’s towards the end of the book. And he says, we now know that fascism and totalitarianism are discredited. So I don’t know what we’re going to call this. But we’ll, for our purposes here, just call it System X. And he says, the United States now, through the last 20 years, has put so much in, that you will see System X, which is totalitarianism and fascism. He just couldn’t bring himself to call it that. But he explains how it has been grown and put in, under the guise of freedom.
DINESH: Well, interestingly, if you think about the Democrats today and ask this question: Are there economic policies — and I’m thinking here, not just Obama and Hillary. But let’s say Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, are their economic policies more socialist in the Marxist sense, or are they more fascist? Now, if you look up fascism, it says — the definition is really clear: State-run capitalism.
If we think of Obamacare, we have private corporations. We have private hospitals. We have private insurance companies. But the government is directing them. The government is setting prices. Deciding on reimbursements. Deciding on who gets coverage and for what.
GLENN: It is what they have said: China is the new model, which is state-run capitalism anyways.
DINESH: And then under Obama, state-run control of banks, insurance — investment companies, the energy sector, increasingly higher education.
So this is — you know, the old socialists would go and nationalize it all. The socialists would take over the energy industry, and the government would go take out oil in Midland, Texas. But we don’t do that.
Our economic policies that the Democrats advocate are more classically fascist. You go to Midland, Texas. You drill the oil out. You put it in the barrel and label it, and then we will saunter in, kind of take control of it, and tell you what to do with that wealth.
GLENN: So reading your book, there’s very little in there that isn’t well documented. And you’re making a strong case.
However, we’re at a place now to where nobody even knows what fascism is. Nobody even knows what communism is. It’s just a smear that both sides use. You’re making an intellectual case and saying, “This is what it is. And this is what the roots are here in America.” You can agree or disagree. But we’re not going to have that conversation. We’re not going to have a conversation of, you bring your facts to the table. I’ll bring other facts to the table. And we’ll see which ones really hold up in the test of time and scrutiny. How do we — how do you share facts like this, without jamming fingers into the other person’s chest and — and being able to have a dialogue?
If we don’t start — if we don’t come to a place to where Martin Luther King was, where he said, stop trying to win, you’ve got to reconcile. If we can’t come to the reconciliation of just ourselves with the historic truth, we’re doomed.
DINESH: No, I agree completely that that is the goal. In other words, kings, beloved community, that’s where we’re trying to go.
Here’s the problem: That for a generation, for example, as long as the left felt that they could play the race card with impunity, they were not going to stop. As long as Republicans were on the defensive, “No, we’re not racist,” as long as Ken Mehlman of the RNC was running around apologizing for the Republican Party’s racist history at black churches, the Democrats, they just had us where they wanted us. The moment we hit back hard and said in effect, “Actually, you’re blaming us for the stuff that you did —
DINESH: — and you haven’t apologized for it,” that’s when you now have a pause in the race debate. And it’s precisely the counterstrike that’s produced that.
GLENN: So I agree with you. Because I think there’s — when I say reconciliation, don’t misconstrue Martin Luther King for a weakling. He was a strong defender of the truth and where he was going. So I’m not by any stretch saying, “We don’t make these points.” We must use history as our guide and be able to expose this.
But how do we now get this to the ears of people who are so wrapped up in the game, that it’s just not going to make a difference.
DINESH: Well, if you ask me what I’m trying to do with this book, I’m sort of trying to take away the fascism card in kind of the same way I tried to take away the race card from the left. I’m trying to blunt the force of it.
I’m not using the words “Nazi” and “fascist” as a verbal javelin. Because, first of all, I’m not saying — and I don’t even think the left is saying — when they say Trump is a fascist, they don’t mean that Trump is Hitler, circa 1945. Trump hasn’t started a World War. He hasn’t gassed 6 million Jews.
GLENN: Correct. Correct.
DINESH: They’re saying Trump is Hitler, circa 1933. He’s a demagogue, who just came into power, promising these dreams about greatness.
DINESH: So I’m saying, all right. The way to take away the kind of smear campaign is to — is to take a pause and dive into the meaning of these terms, really show that the left is the party of fascism. And I’m hoping that, in the same way, it will strip the fascist card of its kind of power to shut down debate. And not just shut down debate. The left is using the charge of fascism to justify all kinds of behavior that would never otherwise be condoned.
I mean, for example, we said about Obama, A, we’re not going to show up at his inauguration. B, we’re going to disrupt it. C, we’re going to get him on obstruction of justice, even if there was no underlying crime. People would be apoplectic. They would think — they would think we had lost our minds. But the left goes, of course, we do all this stuff. But we’re doing it because we’re fighting Hitler by the ’30s. We’re using by any means necessary.
GLENN: But do you believe that — because I think this is actually a losing strategy. Because I do believe that I know Democrats who say, you know, they were out marching against the guy on the first weekend. We have absolutely no credibility. Would you just shut up. And when something is real, deal with it.
I think both sides, excusing anything and being offended by everything, those are both losing strategies in the end. Do you agree with that or not?
DINESH: I do agree with that. I mean, I do agree with that. The other problem I think is that the intellectual quality of our public debate has really dropped.
GLENN: There is an intellectual —
DINESH: I mean, I think back when I was 22, I looked up to people like Milton Friedman, Solzhenitsyn, Friedrich Hayek, even William F. Buckley. Not only their — their rhetorical excellence and philosophical range, but their style. There was a kind of elegance to them that seems to have diminished, if not disappeared, from public life.
And there is no — you know, the other problem is, you know, for example, ever since the election, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Bill Maher, they’ve been bloviating about fascism almost non-stop. So now I have a book. And I said to them, okay. Guys, let’s have it out. Let’s see if fascism really belongs on the right or the left.
Dead silence, you know. Not a word.
GLENN: They won’t put you on.
DINESH: They won’t put me on. Because I think they’re scared. I think they know that they don’t know what they’re talking about, and they know that the moment —
GLENN: Well, it’s all footnoted. You have all the sources in the back. I mean, you can disagree with conclusions that you might make. But facts are facts. Facts are facts.
DINESH: That’s absolutely true. When you — when you look at the — the actual attributions by Hitler, “I’m getting this idea from the Jacksonian Democrats of the 19th century, and they’re the ones who threw the Indians off their land, they displaced them, they took over their land, they enslaved the ones that remained. I’m going to do that in Poland. In the Slavic countries in central Europe, in Russia. I’m going to settle it with German families.” I mean, this is out of the mouth of Hitler, you might say. And very hard to deny. Either he said it or he didn’t. But it’s right there in Mein Kampf.
STU: We were talking in the break about similarities of the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and the Brownshirts and how they rose to power at the same time. The same strength, really. The same types of tactics.
Obviously, in America, so far, thankfully, we’ve been able to avoid the worst parts of what happened out of those movements. Even though they were terrible here, they never rose to those levels. Was it the Constitution? Is it the Founders that — that prevented that rise of those terrible elements in our country? What was the difference?
DINESH: Well, first of all, I don’t think you can say that we were spared those horrors.
GLENN: No, we weren’t.
DINESH: Because if you think about it, number one, the racist regime of the Nazis lasted for 12 years. 1933 to 1945. The racist regime that the Democrats established lasted for over 100 years, from I would say the 1820s until at least the 1950s and in both cases, you had racial terrorism, the Klan, the Brownshirts, that was then replaced by systematic laws that inferior-ized a whole group. So even Hitler talked about — he said — Hitler shut down the Brownshirts. He goes, “This is emotional anti-Semitism.”
DINESH: He goes, the Nuremberg laws and the subsequent laws, those are, what he called, “rational anti-Semitism.” The state will treat you as the inferior creature you are. We don’t need to have hooligans beat you up on the street.
And the Democratic South did exactly the same thing. The ruling power said, we don’t need the Klan running around burning people’s homes. We will just establish two separate societies: White people on top, black people at the bottom. They won’t associate a whole lot with each other. Two separate societies inside of one.
GLENN: Dinesh D’Souza. The name of the book is The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left. The Big Lie by Dinesh D’Souza. Always good to have you. Thanks, Dinesh.
DINESH: A real pleasure.