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The Lies of the Destructive Generation By: David Horowitz
ModestyZone.net | Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Note: David Horowitz granted the following interview to ModestyZone.net, a new website fighting the Sixties conception of free love, promiscuity, and the widespread transmission of venereal diseases. The bulk of the interview focuses on the situation on college campuses and the pressures today's more conservative students feel, both from their professors and their ex-hippie parents. The interviewers' introduction follows. -- The Editors.

March 24th, 2005. Mr. Horowitz is the author most recently of The End of Time, as well as the founder of Students for Academic Freedom. I reached Mr. Horowitz at his office in Los Angeles.

Wendy Shalit: It must have been difficult to leave the faith when all your friends were still Marxists. . .how did you do it? To muster up the emotional strength, I mean.

Horowitz: Well, my exit from the Left was caused by a tragedy, so I really didn’t have much of a choice. I knew what I felt about the murder of Betty Van Patter [a friend of David’s, who was killed by the Black Panthers 30 years ago]. I knew who was responsible, so when my leftist friends identified with the murderers and excused them, with the usual excuses—“they’re oppressed people,” and so forth—it wasn’t difficult. I mean, it was difficult to lose all my friends, which is what happened, but it wasn’t difficult to hold my ground. I knew there was a reality in my rejection of the Left. They were gangsters and people who defended criminals in the name of their Progressive cause. But every separation is difficult: death, divorce, and moving are the three most stressful experiences, so moving your political community—really the Left is a religious community—is pretty traumatic. When I lost my leftist faith, my moral compass was gone. I was utterly without any mooring, without a shoreline. But it’s not like I could go back, because there was the dead body of my friend over there and to go back to the Left was to embrace the people who had murdered her or who sanctioned her murder.

Q: I always wonder how many Marxists are really Marxist, and how many are just afraid to leave?

Horowitz: I’ve learned that most people involved in politics are shallow. They haven’t read Marx; they don't really have a solid basis for what they believe about "society." Their political commitment is a religious faith for them; their perspective a melodrama that is emotionally satisfying and that they think describes the world. They get their clarity from thinking of the world as a place in which there are oppressors and oppressed, and someday over the rainbow, Progressives like them will create world in which there is social justice. . . .

Q: So that’s why the facts on the ground often don’t matter?

Horowitz: I don’t think they matter in the least. Progressives killed 100 million people in the 20th Century, in peacetime; the societies they constructed created poverty on unimaginable scale; their economic systems didn't work. Has any of this caused them a second thought? Or look at the current war to overthrow a monster in Iraq and give ordinary Iraqis the freedom to vote. So-called Progressives have done everything they could to save Saddam's bacon and prevent Iraqis from achieving even minimal freedoms. The same people who used to get enraged when the United States supported dictators are now attacking Bush for overthrowing one. Why? Because in their melodrama America is the global oppressor, the Great Satan, and therefore, can never do anything right. That's why you can only understand Progressivism as a religion.

Q: A lot of people who wrote to me after A Return to Modesty came out would say they agreed with me, but they were afraid to speak up. . . .

Horowitz: I think there are a ton of people like that. They remain where they are, because they understand the consequences of deviating from the party line. It's not about logic or argument; it’s about excommunication. What they fear is excommunication.

Q: “But people will make fun of me if I say that,” was the thing I would hear the most often. . . .

Horowitz: That's the mild form of the vilification that is the reflexive tool of intimidation for the Left when it doesn't control the state. When it does, you get the gulag and the firing squad.

Q: In some ways, the firing squad isn’t even necessary on campus. What surprised me the most is that some of the individuals who later contacted me were actually from my own college. One woman sent me a letter a year ago, and wrote that she wished she had been friends with me, but she was too intimidated by other people, she said. They had told her I was this conservative creature, and so she was afraid of the association. So people who should be friends often never meet and end up feeling isolated, which is rather sad, no? The university is supposed to be so open.

Horowitz: Yeah, well, we’re talking about the most prejudiced and intolerant people alive, and they really do intimidate people.

Q: They attack you personally instead of addressing your argument, and that’s what scares people. They don’t want that to happen to them. And it’s all under the banner of “tolerance,” which makes it confusing. “If I just keep quiet,” they think, “then nobody can attack me or say I have hang-ups.” But it’s not that simple. Before you know it, many students end up leading lives they don’t want to lead, just to fit in with the Acceptable Point of View. So the question of the day is, how can people of good instincts—who tend to be shy and not ideological—get the courage to speak out on campus?

Horowitz: They can’t.

Q: They can’t?

Horowitz: No, because most people are conflict-averse, and they’re probably right to be.

Q: Interesting, I never thought about it that way. I guess in the current climate, students just don’t have many real options. But I know you’ve been trying to change this climate for some time. What would you say is the state of democracy and freedom of speech on campus?

Horowitz: It’s terrible, probably worse than it’s ever been. The Left controls college campuses, and their mind-set is basically totalitarian (even the "democratic socialists" among them; they’re vicious when it comes to political opponents; they stigmatize people and intimidate them). Campus speech is less free now than in the McCarthy era, by miles. That’s why I started Students for Academic Freedom, because one way to side-step all this is to join an organization that’s non-partisan and that stresses that everyone should get a hearing.

Q: The only problem I see is that a more traditional perspective somehow never gets this equal-opportunity hearing. I remember at Williams we had our Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered Union, and every week we had a different button to wear for a different “Awareness Week,” and yet during one of these awareness weeks the Jewish Center was chalked and defaced with the message “F—k Moses and his Homophobic Laws”. . . .

Horowitz: Well, these people are fascists. Or should I say, inside every Progressive lurks a fascist just waiting to come out. It’s important to understand that when dealing with the real ideologues among them, if they could pack you up and send you to Siberia and kill you, they would do it without batting an eyelash.

Q: Wow, I guess I’m lucky I escaped in one piece! Mr. Horowitz, I want to talk about campus initiatives which have been successful. I was the editor of the “alternative” campus paper for a year, and I noticed that individuals would just dump out whole stacks of papers in the garbage, and very few people picked it up and took it seriously. On the other hand, after a little piece I wrote for Commentary on co-ed bathrooms came out, the administration felt pressure and apparently built more bathrooms so that some would be single-sex. I say ‘apparently’ because I was later brought back to campus for a speaking engagement, and that’s when students came up to me to congratulate me for speaking out and improving the dormitory situation. I was totally shocked because I hadn’t known this, but the administration apparently took my article very seriously and actually changed things later on.

Horowitz: Well, the administration is not really ideological—they are basically fundraisers, so they are very sensitive to publicity.

Q: You’re reminding me of Steven Miller, that high school boy at Santa Monica High School who protested how biased his history teachers were. Once he started talking on national radio about the indoctrination going on, things started to change very quickly. I think that a lot of what goes on in these classrooms just does not see the light of day, and the ideologues and the administration take advantage of that. The general public really does not know how bad things are, especially not on college campuses.

Horowitz: Well, they’re not there, so it’s hard to know what’s going on.

Q: But since so many of these campuses are the same, I wonder if at some level parents don’t really want to know, because if they did they might have to reconsider sending their kids there, and pouring all this money into schools where the kids are not really getting the best education . . . .

Horowitz: I think that’s true, too. But if they were involved more at the donor level, then that would make more of an impact. That’s what we’re doing at Students for Academic Freedom, organizing parents, alumni, and donors, trying to make what goes on open to the press. Over time, this will make a difference.

Q: What do you think about these supposedly conservative schools? I’ve visited a few of them, and students tell me that although they read Adam Smith, at the end of the day they feel the same social pressures as any college student. I could be wrong, but my impressions were that most of the students aren’t necessarily deeply conservative. Maybe one parent is, or maybe at most they’ll call themselves libertarian, but at one school I went to, for example, the girls told me that the male students had lists of girls who were still virgins. So it’s not exactly a yeshiva environment we’re talking about. And I wonder, are these so-called conservative colleges really the way to go, or is it a retreat?

Horowitz: I think it is. What I would really like to see is conservative faculty within the schools we already have.

Q: And students need to fight for real diversity where they are—intellectual diversity and genuine lifestyle diversity, i.e., not just for the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered Union, but also religious students should be able to feel like it’s their campus, too. I mean, maybe we need to have Modesty Awareness Weeks. What do you think?

Horowitz: I think we may.

Q: My last question is about discovering that you disagree with your parents, since you are, after all, the author of Radical Son. Some girls who write to me actually report that their parents think something is wrong with them—because they are not sleeping with their boyfriends. A good number of parents have this expectation, strange as it may seem. Meanwhile, their own daughters are discovering that without emotions, well, sex is just not that interesting. So, they are starting to exit the cheapening hookup scene, but they are at a loss as to how to explain themselves to their own mothers.

Horowitz: Yeah, well, these are Sixties parents, but hopefully the kids won’t fall for their lies.

Q: I think they don’t, but that’s what’s causing a lot of tension between the generations. Do you have any advice for how to communicate, when your parents are coming from a very different perspective, not to mention have the keys to the car?

Horowitz: Well, they obviously need to stand their ground. I think parents want their kids to be normal, to fit in, and that’s where they’re coming from. But let’s face it: unfortunately, the university campus is just not a very normal place these days. If you want to be normal, you need to resist those pressures.

Q: Well, I think that pretty much sums it up. Thanks very much Mr. Horowitz, this has been very enlightening for me, and I really appreciate your time.

Horowitz: Good talking with you.


David Horowitz is the founder of The David Horowitz Freedom Center and author of the new book, One Party Classroom.


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