As for Horowitz, in the 1960s he was one of the left’s leading figures. But while other, lesser lights of the left rode the wave of anti-establishment rebellion to entrenched establishment power, Horowitz, recognizing the toxicity of the movement he’d helped lead and the value of the American institutions he and his cronies had sought to dismantle, switched sides. By the 1990s, in one of recent history’s supreme ironies, he had ridden his pro-American stance to a position as an outsider in an America rapidly being taken over by its (former?) enemies.
How to describe David Horowitz? By turns, in these pages, he’s Daniel in the lion’s den, Diogenes looking for an honest man, Don Quixote tilting at windmills. Throughout, he’s an American (and non-socialist) Orwell, bringing moral clarity to topics that have been twisted beyond recognition by odious ideology and duplicitous rhetoric. One reason why this 23-year-old book remains required reading is that it reminds one again and again that the left, over the decades, has kept proffering the same cynical lies and perpetrating the same destructive slanders — and thereby seducing ever-new generations of naive, idealistic young people. Not only is Horowitz one of the few sometime New Left members who, as of 1999, was telling the truth about that movement and his role in it; he’s also one of the few commentators anywhere who, also as of 1999, was already calling out phenomena — such as Whiteness Studies and Critical Race Theory — that were then marginal but that currently occupy center stage. Likewise, if you’d read Hating Whitey when it first came out, you wouldn’t have been blindsided by the recent transformation of the Democrat party into a veritable Communist Party — the culmination of a process that, as outlined by Horowitz in this book, began way back in 1968.
On top of everything else, Horowitz is a wellspring of abiding truths about the left. For many progressives, he writes, it would be more offensive to support their own country’s democratic government in a struggle against a palpable communist threat than to “serv[e] a totalitarian state and ai[d] an enemy power.” The “acceptance of conservative truths while avoiding conservative conclusions,” he observes, apropos of the philosopher Richard Rorty, “marks the intellectual cul de sac in which the left finds itself in the post-communist era.” [from The American Thinker, “David Horowitz: American Prophet,” by Bruce Bawer]
David Horowitz is an unsung treasure. In the 1960s, he belonged to the New Left radical movement. In the 90s, he warned it was coming to America. Now in the 2020s, it’s here. Yes, it CAN happen here. And it’s happening. Ask any refugee from old Soviet Russia and today’s Venezuela.
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