The Roots of Obama’s Rage is a silly title for a book about a man whose emotional tonality ranges from gracious condescension to wounded amour propre. More accurate, yet equally alliterative, would have been The Roots of Obama’s Resentment.
D’Souza churns out books frequently. (This is his 12th). And in his haste, he’s developed a bit of a reputation for sometimes … neglecting to give full credit to his inspirations.
D’Souza’s most substantial book, 1995’s The End of Racism, owes much to Jared Taylor’s groundbreaking 1992 book Paved with Good Intentions—as Peter Brimelow politely pointed out in National Review (He Flinched, November 27, 1995).
But D’Souza was not merely unforthcoming about how intellectually indebted he was to Taylor—he even smeared Taylor in The End of Racism as a bad guy, the kind of dangerous white extremist from whom D’Souza’s moderate realism would protect everyone. (Just so his readers would know how to think about Taylor, D’Souza helpfully described him as "gaunt," even though Taylor may well be the most conventionally handsome of all American public intellectuals.)
In his latest book, D’Souza hasn’t actually attacked his most important sources. He’s just avoided mentioning them.
Most notably, the central piece of evidence in The Roots of Obama’s Rage for D’Souza’s theory about Obama Sr.’s influence is the elder Obama's 1965 article, Problems Facing Our Socialism. This essay criticized the influential Sessional Paper No. 10 by Tom Mboya, a Kenayn labor leader who was financed by the anticommunist AFL-CIO (which, in turn, was financed by the CIA). Mboya had called for capitalism (under regulation) and colorblind treatment of white and Indian-owned businesses in Kenya.
D’Souza writes in Forbes:“Obama Sr. was an economist, and in 1965 he published an important article in the East Africa Journal called ‘Problems Facing Our Socialism.’ … Remarkably, President Obama, who knows his father's history very well, has never mentioned his father's article. Even more remarkably, there has been virtually no reporting on a document that seems directly relevant to what the junior Obama is doing in the White House.”
This important historical document from 1965 wasn’t online until April 2008, when libertarian blogger Greg Ransom obtained a copy of Obama Sr.’s article from the dusty stacks of the UCLA library. Ransom’s April 7, 2008 blog post for the Ludwig von Mises Institute introducing his discovery, Obama Hid His Father’s Socialism from Readers, reads like a first draft for D’Souza book pitch:"There’s a big mystery at the heart of Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. What was Barack Obama doing seeking out Marxist professors in college? Why did Obama choose a Communist Party USA member as his socio-political counselor in high school? Why was he spending his time studying neocolonialism and the writings of Frantz Fanon, the pro-violence author of ‘the Communist Manifesto of neocolonialism,’ in college? Why did he take time out from his studies at Columbia to attend socialist conferences at Cooper Union?"
Ransom noted:"… one thing is not left a mystery, the fact that Barack Obama organized his life on the ideals given to him by his Kenyan father. Obama tells us, ‘All of my life, I carried a single image of my father, one that I ... tried to take as my own.’ (p. 220) And what was that image? It was ‘the father of my dreams, the man in my mother’s stories, full of high-blown ideals.’ (p. 278) …
“So we know that his father’s ideals were a driving force in his life, but the one thing that Obama does not give us are the contents of those ideals."
But as far as I can tell from searching on Amazon’s online copy of The Roots of Obama’s Rage, the name “Ransom” doesn’t appear in D’Souza’s book.
It’s perfectly fine for D’Souza to profit off Ransom’s enterprise. But it would have been only polite to mention him.