Dinesh D’Souza Speaks at Penn State

Story posted October 30, 2016 in CommRadio, News by Tyler Ohlson

He was banned from speaking at University of California, Santa Barbara. He was protested when he spoke at Birmingham-Southern. He was called nasty by the administration of Gonzaga. And on Wednesday evening, Dinesh D’Souza came to speak at Penn State.

Here, there were no protests and he was not banned by the university. Instead, there was a nearly full auditorium of students excited to hear his message.

D’Souza is an outspoken conservative activist, filmmaker, and creator of 2016’s top grossing documentary film, “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party”. He has become somewhat of a celebrity in the conservative movement in recent years after some other documentaries and books he has released and is currently touring around the country speaking on college campuses for his “D’Souza Unchained Lecture Series” and came to Penn State Wednesday night.

D’Souza started his speech off with talk about what makes America unique. In his native India, he explained, “You need brown skin and Indian parents,” to be Indian. He drew a contrast between that and America, saying, “Becoming American is not a function of blood or birth, it is a function of assimilating,” to certain American values and culture.

Continuing, he went into why he believes there is such a lack of conservatives on American college campuses.

He said, “It’s not that conservatism is rejected [by modern college students], it’s that it’s not even articulated.” He then implored the students in attendance to be the voice articulating conservatism.

D’Souza then gave some guidance for how students should explain conservatism to their peers.

“What are conservatives conserving?” he asked. “The [classical liberal] principles of the American revolution.” He described classical liberalism as a philosophy that advocates for maximum political, economic, and social freedom for the individual and despises a large and controlling government.

D’Souza also went over some of the ideas from his newest documentary, “Hillary’s America”, in which he explores some of the history of the Democratic party, from the KKK to the eugenic beliefs of Margaret Sanger.

The Trump phenomenon was the final topic of the night for D’Souza before he broke into an audience Q&A. D’Souza is a Trump supporter, but he appears to be a reluctant one based on some of his comments in which he admitted Trump is a very flawed candidate. He explained the rise of Trump as a result of Republicans nominating “invertebrate” candidates like Mitt Romney who don’t make a forceful case for conservatism. In reaction to the meek Romney losing the 2012 election, he explained, the Republican base rebelled and chose his polar opposite in Trump for 2016.

Despite his minor qualms about Trump, D’Souza emphasized that Clinton being elected is, in his opinion, the worst-case scenario.

““We’ve elected crooks before,” he said of the democratic presidential nominee, “But I’m not aware of a case where we elected a crook who we knew was a crook in advance.”

The audience response to the talk was overwhelmingly positive.

Grace Morgan, secretary of the College Republicans, was thrilled for D’Souza’s visit.

“Dinesh D’Souza was a bit of a shock because someone who’s more prominent coming to a very liberal campus is definitely out of the box,” Morgan said. “I was very pleased with his speech.”

So was the Bull Moose party and their chairman, Robert Morrs.

“We wanted to come in force to support Dinesh because he has championed the conservative values that we value as well.”

Jacob Waldman, a student who came into the speech considering himself a moderate, said that D’Souza’s talk converted him.

“I realized that the true conservatism of the original American belief in rights is really what I do believe.”


Tyler Olson is a freshman majoring in print journalism and political science. He can be reached at tso5032@psu.edu.