Sessions, David, Newsweek
Byline: David Sessions
The rise and fall of a right-wing star.
Long before he resigned the presidency of The King's College, a small evangelical school in Manhattan, over his engagement to a 29-year-old woman while still married to his wife of 20 years, Dinesh D'Souza's star in the conservative intellectual world had faded. Forsaken by the think tanks that groomed him, the precocious conservative scholar of the '80s was hard to recognize in the bomb-throwing filmmaker of 2016: Obama's America, which argues that Obama absorbed anticolonial hatred of America from his father.
But almost from the moment D'Souza arrived on American shores from Mumbai in 1978, the firebrand lurked not far from the surface. He became "radicalized," in his words, at Dartmouth College, where he believed his colleagues at the right-wing Dartmouth Review were harassed for their views on race, gender, and sexual orientation. The National Review and The Wall Street Journal editorial page praised the political stunts of D'Souza and his friends, catapulting them to national attention.
D'Souza came of age in institutions--the Ivy League, elite think tanks--where he was expected to show his facts. His first two books were treated as serious work even by critical reviewers. The New York Review of Books declared The End of Racism, which argued against affirmative action, "the most thorough, intelligent, and well-informed presentation of the case against liberal race policies that has yet appeared."
But the mid-1990s brought Fox News and the culture wars, and D'Souza discovered an audience for popular polemical writing on moral issues and religion. …