(The following was a 4-part series in Newsmax.com on David Horowitz and his new book Left Illusions)
Part I: Book Reveals David Horowitz's Journey From Marxist to Conservative
David Horowitz is without question one of the great thinkers on the American scene today.
His views and his political journey are of unique interest to conservatives because Horowitz, once a renowned figure in the political left, defected to the political right.
In his new book, "Left Illusions," Horowitz unmasks the left’s agenda while revealing his own intellectual flight.
From his boyhood experience in a Communist Party-run Workers’ Children’s Camp to his initiation of America’s first anti-war protest, the events of David Horowitz’s young life shaped the Marxist radical into a key figure in the launching of the New Left movement of the 1960s.
The Marxist fantasies, as Horowitz calls them, that his communist parents nurtured from his childhood are perhaps nowhere better illustrated than in his early and never-before-published writings.
Though Horowitz’s best-selling autobiography "Radical Son" chronicled his transformation from a radical leftist to a conservative Republican, "Left Illusions" allows one to take a walk through his mind, giving insight into his train of evolving political thought and the changes that led to his conversion.
From some of his earliest and unpublished writings to his first publications criticizing the leftist mentality for its inability to come to terms with its own fallacies and contradictions, "Left Illusions" allows one to follow Horowitz through his mental journey from self-described “destructive Marxist” to an American believer.
In this complement to "Radical Son," Horowitz ties together the common childhood fantasies of leftist ideology, including socialism, racism and multiculturalism, under a label he refers to as kitsch Marxism.
“This is a crypto religion,” he explains to NewsMax. "It’s very hard to bring them [leftists] into reality. It rises from an inability to cope with reality in the first place. People have to understand that this is a …Gnostic heresy. These people have invested the meaning of their lives in believing what is essentially nonsense.
“It’s like the people who thought there was going to be a space ship behind the Hale-Bopp comet. Some of them were computer programmers. They were not stupid. Suicide bombers are largely educated people. They’re not desperate. They’re not poor. They’ve had lots of privileges. Orwell had a witty saying, ‘Only a college professor could believe this.’
“Intellectual intelligence is only one kind and doesn’t seem to protect people from great follies.”
Written in what Horowitz calls Marxese, the lofty, laborious and over-intellectualized style of his early essays speak volumes about the elitist arrogance of leftists.
“That’s the style of the left,” Horowitz tells NewsMax. “Generally the left is really superior at political battles … But in this regard the fact that they write impenetrable prose is really very helpful to us as their opponents. I imagine that if all these communist professors were able to write lucid English, how worse off we would be.”
Even as a child, Horowitz saw himself as a social redeemer who had the knowledge and wisdom to instruct President Harry Truman.
He writes: “I was just ten years old, but I thought of myself as someone who could lecture the president of the United States on the difference between right and wrong, and thus change the course of history. I was just starting out in life, yet was already suspended so high above everyone else. Was there anything I could do but fall?”
And a long fall it was.
After helping to found a movement that has left deep, innumerable scars engraved upon the moral, cultural and social landscape of America, Horowitz and his comrades achieved a victory when the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam.
But he did not rejoice with his fellow leftists. Unable to ignore the many horrors he witnessed of his beloved leftist ideology, including the slaughter of millions when after the U.S. abandoned its fight for the South Vietnamese, Horowitz was finally forced into a nose-to-nose confrontation with the truth.
“I simply could not face the possibility ... that I was not going to be a social redeemer, that we didn’t have the answers to humanity’s problems - that I wasn’t part of an historic movement that would change the world.”
But upon an honest examination of Marxism, Horowitz began to accept the fact that he had been living in a fantasy world. “The more I thought about the moral posturing of the Left ... the more I saw that ... resentment and retribution were the radical passions.”
As editor Jamie Glazov observes, Horowitz is one of the few converted liberals who broke so decisively with communism that he became really pro-American or pro-capitalist in becoming anti-communist. Horowitz cannot explain this.
“I have no idea why. I’ve thought about it a lot, and I can’t come up with a singular explanation as to why I changed my views or why I didn’t dismiss the murder of Betty as an aberration,” says Horowitz, who writes about the murder of his friend and colleague Betty Van Patter by the very group she was working to help – the Black Panthers. Contrary to the Panthers’ charges of a racist law enforcement and witch-hunting press, those two entities remained uninterested in the fact that the Panthers were never indicted for Van Patter’s murder or many other crimes.
Perhaps the seeds of doubt were there all along, lying dormant until such time as having been fed enough of the lies and cover-ups of the left.
Though many of young Horowitz’s heroes included communist activists such as Albert Maltz, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Vito Marcantonio and Paul Robeson, they also included the Lone Ranger, Joe Louis and John Wayne. Quite a dichotomy for a 10-year-old.
Horowitz says, “The difficulty of coming to terms with one’s own insignificance, which is a consequence of this realization, is why so many leftists can never leave the faith and are leading the same lives they did 30 and 40 years ago.”
Those same leftists, former comrades who once called themselves Horowitz’s friends and looked to him in his days as editor of such publications as Root and Branch as an icon of their movement, now shun and revile Horowitz in every aspect.
As he notes in "Left Illusions," “In the community of the left – it is perfectly normal to erase the intimacies of a lifetime over political differences.”
As the self-described “most hated ex-radical of my generation,” Horowitz has received not “a single inquiry about his views, recollections, expertise, or documents from any of the thousands of left-wing scholars and their students writing theses, articles, and books about this history.”
More than 40 years have passed since the New Left movement, and so have umpteen failures of Marxist ideology, culminating in the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In spite of these, Horowitz says, most of his former comrades continue clinging to the crumbling precipice of a philosophy that history has repeatedly proven false, unable to face the same horrors and hypocrisies that Horowitz could not ignore.
And as Horowitz frighteningly notes, these Marxists still imbue the left and our institutions: the Democratic Party, the media, the universities, the foundations.
“Leftists believe they are the creators of a new world. They see themselves as godlike. That’s why they are so rude and so dangerous. … When I look at my former comrades today, it is as though all that has happened to them and all they have witnessed have had no effect on their expectations or illusions or real life choices. It’s really quite sad.”
Part II: Horowitz Exposes Leftists' Racism
No one is more racist than a liberal. Just ask someone who has been on both sides of the political fence, former leftist David Horowitz.
He asserts, however, that one thing he has never changed is his opinion on race.
“I once occupied the other side of the political divide. My views on race, however, have remained entirely consistent with my previous commitments and beliefs. I opposed racial preferences in the 1960s, and I oppose them now,” he writes in his new book, "Left Illusions."
"Then I believed that only government neutrality towards racial groups was compatible with the survival of a multi-ethnic society that is also democratic. I still believe that today.”
The book provides acute insight into the truths behind the myths of the left’s promulgations on race. Even more compelling, Horowitz spells out how our nation’s white, Euro-American Christian heritage is largely responsible for the wealth of opportunities blacks and other minorities are able to enjoy today.
“In the 1960s, the Civil Rights Act put the power of the federal government on the side of the victims of racial prejudice and effected areas of change in American attitudes and institutions. But instead of declaring victory, the civil rights movement discovered ‘racism’ in new ‘subtle’ and even ‘invisible’ forms,” writes Horowitz.
Since then, the more gains that have been made in opportunities for minorities and race relations in America, the more “discrimination” the left has found.
Though 74 percentage of black Americas have incomes above the poverty line, and more than half of all blacks have fallen solidly into the economic category of middle class since the Reagan administration, the left continues to see nothing but doom and gloom for black Americans.
As an example, Horowitz cites the use of incendiary and racially charged terms such as “ghetto,” which only serves to heighten perceived victimization, and the complaints of talking heads such as Chris Matthews.
Matthews whines that whites fill most of the best seats at an NBA game, even though most of the players are black. Horowitz points out the absence of whites in other venues. “But if he had looked at the far more expensive front row seats for a Mike Tyson fight in a Las Vegas resort, he would have seen Jesse Jackson, Don King, the late Tupac Shakur, the record mogul Suge Knight, and other Armani-suited fans of a darker hue.”
What accounts for the differences Horowitz doesn’t hazard a guess, but he does admit that neither could he tell you why, “If you were hiking in the Sierras, or any national park – where the fees are nominal – a black person would be harder to find than a Hobbit.”
Failing to consider that there is often no explanation behind cultural choices, cries of racism like that of Matthews are reminiscent, says Horowitz, of a Groucho Marx line: “Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?”
At the same time, liberals remain oblivious to the accomplishments of successful black leaders such as conservative talk-show host Ken Hamblin, who grew up in a single-parent welfare home; Bush judicial nominees Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown, both obstructed by Senate Democrats; and former Republican vice presidential candidate Ezola Foster, who has said: “I was not born in Africa. I have never been to Africa. I am not an African-American. I am an American.”
As Horowitz explains, “The more racism you think there is and the bigger the obstacle you think it presents, the more liberal you are – the more ‘politically correct.’ In short, the more racists you can find under any given bed, the more progressive you will be judged, and the more guilt free you will feel. ... There is a psychological payoff. ... In discovering racism, even where it may not exist, you are able to realize your own virtue and its self-reward.”
For liberals, more racism equals more self-love. Hurting those supposedly served by this mentality is inconsequential for those who practice it.
The internal satisfaction of having a social conscience is crippling, writes Horowitz, and advising people to blame others for the problems in their lives denies them the chance to improve their lives. By not allowing blacks and other minorities to hold themselves accountable for their own lives, we steal from them the power to change their lives.
Throughout his section on race, Horowitz highlights examples of racism against whites and of how yet another Marxist fantasy seeks to deny America’s exclusive opportunities to the very groups for which liberals claim to fight.
Included among these is the particularly destructive idea of paying reparations for slavery, an idea against which Horowitz launched a nationwide campus campaign. The vilification he endured for his efforts ripped the lid off the astonishing intellectual bigotry and political discrimination of America’s universities, and unleashed an onslaught of attacks on free speech.
“The left’s war against “whiteness” and against America’s democratic culture ... is integrally connected to the Cold War that America fought against the Marxist empire after World War II. It is in many respects the Cold War come home. ... The agendas of contemporary leftists are merely updated versions of the ideas and agendas of the Marxist left that once supported the communist empire. Their goal remains the destruction of America’s national identity and, in particular, of the moral, political, and economic institution that form its social foundation. The identical strategy is alive and well today in the left’s self-righteous imputation of sexism, racism, and homophobia to anyone who dissents from its party line.”
An example of this strategy is the promotion of hate crimes legislation, which Horowitz is against. “It’s a communist idea. ... It’s just abhorrent to our entire democratic system to punish thought as a crime. Under consistent hate crime legislation we’d have to put the entire Democratic Party in the House and the Senate in jail. James Carville would get a life sentence,” he tells NewsMax.
By inciting blacks and other minorities to hate the very elements responsible for creating the country where they have more opportunity than anywhere else to succeed, America-hating leftists are able to marshal destruction of American culture, as begun by white European males. As Horowitz points out, no one is more responsible for the plethora of opportunity that exists in America like nowhere else.
“It should be obvious to anyone with even a modest historical understanding that ... America and England are the nations that led the world in abolishing slavery and in establishing the principles of ethnic and racial inclusion. ... The creation of America by Protestant Christians ... was historically essential to the development of institutions that today afford greater privileges and protections to all minorities than any society extant. White European-American culture is a culture that the citizens of this nation can take enormous pride in, precisely because its principles – revolutionary in their conception and unique in their provenance - provide for the inclusion of cultures that are non-white and non-Christian (and which are not so tolerant in their lands of origin). ... That is why America’s democratic and pluralistic framework remains an inspiring beacon to people of all colors all over the world, from Tienanmen Square to Haiti and Havana, who have not yet won their freedom, but who aspire to do so. We are a nation besieged by peoples “of color” trying to immigrate to our shores to take advantage of the unparalleled opportunities and rights our society offers them.”
The dying of white Americans for Thomas Jefferson’s proclamation that all men are created equal accomplished “what no black African” was able to do, he writes: free the ancestors of today’s black Americans.
Part III: How Multiculturalism Is Devouring America
In the politically correct mentality of the 21st century, Americans hold much too high regard for diversity and way too little for freedom. While it is freedom that makes our nation great, it is diversity that is credited. Diversity is practically worshipped, while freedom -- along with American culture - is slipping through our fingers.
In his new book, "Left Illusions," David Horowitz, a former leftist who resides in the state often referred to as Mexifornia, outlines how the left has sold a multicultural bill of goods to Americans.
He shows how the multicultural mission is antithetical to its stated purposes and details how this multicultural religion, another extension of the Marxism, has stealthily made its way into American thinking through multiple venues. By infiltrating with another insidious fantasy the halls of government at every level - along with the movie theater, the media, the work place and particularly the classrooms - the radical left has taken control of America’s culture, political language and national identity.
It is a culture that is the crucial factor in shaping the American identity, not an ethnicity or race. An American identity cannot exist outside an American culture. … The left’s multicultural offensive is an attack on America’s national culture, not on its racial or ethnic composition. "Inclusion" and "diversity" are not the real agendas of the left - America has always honored both principles, however imperfectly. The idea of the melting pot is an American idea. The left, however, has never been interested in a “melting pot” that would assimilate diversity ethnicities into an American culture.
Even in regard to diverse cultures, multiculturalism is less about the appreciation of those than it is about the theology of gender, race and class oppression, writes Horowitz.
As Jamie Glazov, editor of "Left Illusions," writes, “In the new multicultural version of the radical vision, racial and ethnic status replace class status as a political trump card.”
By insisting on preserving within America the foreign roots, cultures and languages of each race and ethnicity, the left is using the multicultural religion to destroy the bonds that tie people together as Americans.
The Ugly Anti-American
As an example, America is the only nation whose P.C.-minded citizens and media regularly malign their own nation. Though the French, Germans and others have no problem with proclaiming their countries’ superiority over everyone else, Americans who do so are labeled as bigoted, arrogant, ugly Americans. Europeans take pride in their countries and in viewing them as superior; politically correct Americans heap contempt upon ours and agree with the Europeans.
Although at campuses such as Berkeley it is easy to find protests against the Pledge of Allegiance or the American flag, one would be hard-pressed to find a Frenchman protesting the singing of the French national anthem.
Yet whereas one can move to France and never be French, or move to Germany and never be German, anyone who moves to the U.S. can, if he accepts the American idea of freedom, become American. It is this possibility that made America the melting pot of the world, its appeal bringing from all other parts of Earth those who hunger to make the American idea of freedom their own.
But this is the very idea to which the left is so hostile, Horowitz explains. “[Their] agenda is the deconstruction of America’s national identity and culture and particularly the American narrative of inclusion and freedom. The multiculturalism narrative is not about the assimilation of minorities into the crucible of American freedom, but their liberation from American ‘oppression.’
“It is perfectly diabolical: in the name of diversity and inclusion, the left has set out to destroy the framework of individualism and the rule of law that make diversity and inclusion possible.”
Horowitz began to discover just how embedded the multicultural religion is in America when he attempted to run paid ads in campus papers on why paying reparations for slavery would harm blacks, and asking who could be more American than black Americans. At least 40 papers refused to accept Horowitz’s ads, and many attempts were made to burn, steal or otherwise destroy the papers that did print them.
Apparently lost on these students attempting such censorship, supposedly some of the best and brightest students in America, was the similarity of their actions to the burning of abolitionist papers by pro-slavery groups in the 1800s and the book burnings that occurred in Nazi Germany before and during World War II.
“Half a century after the defeat of Nazism, our universities distinguish by blood and equate blood with culture. Sixty years after the Nuremberg Race Laws, we ask our students to check off their bloodlines and to act accordingly. The justification for this submergence of the individual into the tribe is the same as it was under fascism. The individual is a function - politically, morally and historically of genetic and cultural collectivities.”
The Campus Thought Police
Lost on the left is the hypocrisy of “celebrating” diversity of race and ethnicity, but eliminating diversity of ideas and thought. On the campus of Bowling Green University, the director of women’s studies told the student newspaper, “We forbid any course that says we restrict free speech.” Asks Horowitz, “What could be more Orwellian?”
As Horowitz explains, the leftists who tenured after the 1960s have succeeded into turning what are supposed to be America’s educational institutions into political battlegrounds and “agencies of social change.”
“How does an institution that publicly promotes itself as ‘liberal’ and ‘inclusive,’ as dedicated to ‘diversity’ and the ‘free exchange of ideas’ devolve into such a political monolith?”
His experiences at America’s universities revealed innumerable examples of the overt discrimination against any organization that stood against the political and multicultural left. These injustices prompted Horowitz to begin the push for an Academic Bill of Rights, legislation that would “break the monopoly of the left on campuses by establishing intellectual diversity.” Though Horowitz says this campaign has increased awareness of the discrimination and censorship at America’s campuses, it continues to be a daunting battle.
“We’ve had small victories,” Horowitz tells NewsMax. “We actually a had a leftist professor apologize to his students for suggesting that Republicans get out of his class. That was at Duke.”
Horowitz notes that of all the campuses San Francisco State University and Brown are probably the most extreme violators of academic freedom, though improvements are being made.
“I won’t be impressed until 40 percent of our professors in universities are conservative,” he tells NewsMax.
Although some, particularly in the media, point to the recent pulling by CBS of the revisionistic Reagan movie and the growing support for Mel Gibson’s movie "The Passion of Christ" as the progress of conservatives in gaining input into America’s cultural landscape, Horowitz disagrees.
“Don’t fool yourself,” says Horowitz. “This is a large mountain to climb. I think conservatives have begun to flex their muscles in the culture. But the culture is still dominated by the left.
“When I see a serious conservative film made and distributed and given an award, I’ll be impressed. Yet let’s not celebrate the victory when we’re only beginning the fight."
Part IV: Horowitz Exposes Left-Wing Witch Hunts
As someone raised by communist parents in the McCarthy era, ex-leftist David Horowitz knows about witch hunts. In "Left Illusions," Horowitz reveals the truth about the leftist witch hunts that continue today, compared with the justifiable investigations of the vilified McCarthy era.
With gut-wrenching examples of the hypocrisy of the left, Horowitz details venomous betrayals of those who preach tolerance but refuse to tolerate those who disagree with them, and how they want to silence or destroy.
“As the recently opened Soviet archives attest, American Communists were willing enlistees in a secretive movement that did take its orders and money from Moscow,” writes Horowitz. “This movement was self-consciously dedicated not only to the overthrow of American democracy, but to the undermining of America’s security.”
These American communists included many who were members of or controlled numerous labor and teachers’ unions, members of the Democratic Party, and adults from Horowitz’s own childhood who revealed to him more than 20 years later the secret illegal acts they committed out of allegiance to the Communist Party and the Soviet Union.
“As a youngster in the 1940s, I could observe the FBI agents who regularly staked out the streets of our neighborhood, a center of communist activity, to chart people’s comings and going,” Horowitz remembers. “Unfair as the treatment of my family and our communist friends may have seemed to us at the time, there was a reasonable explanation for it, and a large element of truth to the conspiracy charges themselves. ... [M]ost of those who fell into McCarthy’s net were indeed loyal to a foreign dictatorship and actively supported its anti-American agendas.”
Horowitz scoffs at the phrase “reign of terror” as Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein quotes his father, Al, in his book “Loyalties,” in which he writes about his parents’ involvement in the Communist Party. Though Bernstein writes that the phrase was not just a cliché, Horowitz answers, “It’s a lie.”
Horowitz discloses how active communists such as Al Bernstein and others went on to enjoy lucrative careers. Indeed Carl Bernstein himself ended up at the Washington Post, poised to topple President Richard Nixon, when he confessed to editor Ben Bradley the involvement of his parents in the Communist Party. Bradley, of course, did not remove him.
“... [I]n anti-communist, paranoid America, home of the reign of terror, the editor of the most politically powerful media organ in the nation told you to get on with the job of removing a president in the middle of an anti-communist war,” Horowitz addresses Bernstein. “And what did you learn from that experience? Exactly nothing.”
But the left was not as gracious with dissenters as America was with the left. With example after example, Horowitz details how those who refused to go along with the communist agenda, or who – like him – left the faith altogether, were and continue to be shunned, harassed and vilified.
Leftists Admit Viewing Non-Communists as 'the Enemy'
Even Bernstein writes, “There was a feeling that unless you joined [the Communist Party] ... you were the enemy.”
As Horowitz notes, United Mine Workers head and party ally John Lewis was attacked as a pro-Nazi treasonist when he refused to align with the communist-supported no-strike pledge after the Germany’s invasion of Russia.
“... The communists were not ... compassionate pilgrims ... but political conspirators who had infiltrated and manipulated and taken over their own organizations to subvert them for hidden agendas. They were leftwing zealots who slandered, libeled and blacklisted those who opposed the party line. They were self-conscious subversives who lied to the public, pretending that they were not Marxists or loyal to soviet Russia when in fact they were. ... The communists lied to everyone then, and the new keepers of the faith are still lying today.”
Horowitz also exposes examples of recent attacks during the Clinton administration on himself, journalists such as Matt Drudge, philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaif and others, by leftists such as Sidney Blumenthal, James Carville, David Brock and Joe Conason.
Even faithful leftist Christopher Hitchens was labeled a Judas by his “friends” who heaped outlandish false attacks in retribution for Hitchens’ writing of "No One Left to Lie To," detailing Bill Clinton’s prostituting of the Lincoln bedroom, the selling of advanced military technology to America’s enemies, and the numerous other atrocities of the Clinton administration.
“Using the most advanced weaponry the world has ever seen, Clinton launched missiles into the Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq for only one tangible political purpose (as Christopher Hitchens put it): to ‘distract attention from his filthy lunge at a beret-wearing cupcake.’
“One after another they [Hitchens’ comrades] rushed into print to tell the world at large how repulsed they were by a man whom only yesterday they still called 'friend' and whom they no longer wished to know.”
Notes Horowitz, none of Hitchens’ leftist allies of 30 years came forward to stand up for him.
Horowitz can relate, as he and friends Ronald Radosh and Phillip Collier – also former leftists – have been labeled as murderers, racists and homophobes in the campaign of hatred against them, which began from the first moments they had a political change of heart. In short, the same political left that coined the phrase “the politics of personal destruction” has made it its mission to engage in such personal destruction.
“This tainting and ostracism of sinners is, in fact, the secret power of the leftist faith. It is what keeps the faithful, faithful. ... This is why Alger Hiss kept his silence to the end, and why, even thirty and fifty years after the fact, the memories of leftists are so elusive and disingenuous when it comes to telling the hard political and personal truths about who they were and what they did.”
And the left continues to perpetuate the lies. Far from dead, the tenets of leftism are thriving in 21st-century America. Horowitz points out that Bernstein’s book, praised by prestigious reviewers such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, received one criticism from the leftist critics: that he did not give enough justification for his parents' communist activities.
“... [T]he left aims to be born again by erasing the embarrassment of its disreputable past, by hiding the shame of having supported Stalin and Mao and Fidel and Ho and all the purges, mass murders, and other 'necessary' means that finally served no beneficial ends. But the real embarrassment for the left is to have been so stubbornly and perversely on the wrong side of history; to have embraced 'solutions' that were morally, politically and economically bankrupt in the important struggles of our time. As Joseph Stalin was the first socialist to truly understand, the airbrushing of history is the only sure means to preserve the honor of the left.”
Nearly 40 years have passed since the days of McCarthy, “the most irretrievable political corpse of the McCarthy era,” Horowitz observes.
But the enemy is still alive and well, and more dangerous than ever.
“The era of the progressive witch-hunt has been far worse in its consequences to individuals and freedom for expression than was the McCarthy era,” writes Horowitz. “Worse, unlike the McCarthy era witch-hunt, which lasted only a few years, the one enforced by left-wing progressives is now entering its third decade and shows no signs of abating.”