The movie-review aggregating site Rotten Tomatoes gives the film, which opened in theaters Friday night, a zero score from critics and 86 percent approval from audiences, while the independent polling group CinemaScore found audiences grade it an A.
Most establishment media outlets have ignored the film, but reviews by Variety (D’Souza is “no longer preaching to the choir; he’s preaching to the mentally unsound”) and by a Washington Post reporter typify those who have paid attention.
The Post’s Isaac Stanley-Becker writes that D’Souza presents a “warped, unrecognizable world” that amounts to a “revisionist account of history and contemporary politics,” noting it boasts the endorsement of Donald Trump Jr.
Presuming D’Souza’s arguments are absurd on their face, the Post writer characterizes the filmmaker’s main points this way: “In a version of reality remote from our own, Hitler was a liberal. Slavery was an outgrowth of socialist principles. And the Democrats have updated the cotton plantation for modern times.”
In an interview Sunday with WND, D’Souza responded to the Post’s criticism point by point.
“The critics who are attacking the movie are deliberately misstating its thesis to create a straw man,” D’Souza said.
“Why do the leftist critics hate it so much? It’s 90 minutes of kicking their butts with material that they find indisputable and therefore intolerable,” he told WND.
“Anybody who sees the movie knows that what I actually say is more damaging,” D’Souza said.
His contention, citing a Yale scholar among others, is that the Nazis modeled their notorious Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece of anti-Jewish legislation, on the Democratic Party’s Jim Crow laws.
Yale professor James Whitman, in his 2017 book “Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law,” poses the question, “Did the American regime of racial oppression in any way inspire the Nazis?”
A promotion of the book on the Princeton University Press website says: “The unsettling answer is yes.”
Further, the promo says, Whitman “looks at the ultimate, ugly irony that when Nazis rejected American practices, it was sometimes not because they found them too enlightened, but too harsh.”
“It’s irrefutable,” D’Souza said of the evidence.
“So they have to make up stuff in order to make it seem like I’m a kook.”
See a clip from “Death of a Nation” outlining the Nazi platform in Germany in 1920, showing the party was “firmly on the left”:
Slavery an outgrowth of socialist principles?
D’Souza argues that the leading intellectual apologist for slavery in the South before the Civil War, social theorist George Fitzhugh, was a socialist who defended the institution by appealing to the concept later articulated by Karl Marx as “to each according to his needs.”
“He argued that even the child who could not work and the slave who was sick, who could not work, and the slave who was old, who could not work, all receive food and care,” D’Souza said.
Fitzhugh contended this was not true of the working classes under free-market capitalism, concluding slavery is the best form of the welfare state because it looks after human beings for the duration of their lives.
Fixing the plantation
Regarding the metaphor of the cotton plantation, D’Souza said there are two clear distinctions between the old plantations and the new.
“The old-time plantations were based on encouraging people to work, the new on encouraging people not to work,” he said. “The old was based on harvesting people’s labor and the new on harvesting people’s votes.”
And while the old plantations exploited a single group, African-Americans, “the new plantations exploit every group,” D’Souza said.
“The Democrats have created ethnic communities that are poor and violent, where education is abysmal, where very few people get ahead, and where there is a culture of despair and nihilism,” he said.
He argued that even though “trillions of dollars have been spent on fixing the Democratic plantations, somehow they never get fixed.”
“If those places were fixed, people would dust themselves off and leave,” he said.
“And that would be a nightmare for the Democratic Party.”
In a previous interview with WND, D’Souza defended his claim that not only are leading white supremacists in America – including the organizer of the infamous Charlottesville rally – not in alignment with President Trump politically, their philosophical beliefs are rooted in the progressive left.
The film features D’Souza interviewing white nationalist leader Richard Spencer, who articulates his criticism of America’s founders and his belief in a collectivist society in which rights are granted not by God but by the state.
See a clip of Dinesh D’Souza’s interview with Richard Spencer provided to WND:
In a previous interview with WND, D’Souza explained why, in the movie, he likens Trump to Lincoln.
Lower box office
“Death of a Nation” has experienced the lowest opening weekend of D’Souza’s filmmaking career, with $2.3 million from 1,032 screens for a per screen average of $2,248, projecting to $10 million for its theatrical run.
D’Souza’s 2012 debut film, “2016: Obama’s America,” opened with $6.5 million from 1,091 screens for a per screen average of $6,000. It went on to gross $33 million during its theatrical run and remains one of the top five highest grossing nonfiction releases of all-time.
In 2016, “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party” grossed $13 million in theaters.
D’Souza told WND he attributes the lower box office of “Death of a Nation” to several factors, with the first being that it is running before a midterm election and not during a presidential campaign.
He also says he spent $5 million on marketing the Clinton movie compared to $3 million for the latest and argues movie-going habits are changing, with many more watching at home.
The majority of the audience for “Death of a Nation,” he believes, will come from the release of the DVD and streaming versions just before the November elections. But he said the theatrical numbers will influence how widely the home versions are distributed.
See the trailer for “Death of a Nation”: