Radical Leftovers

By Goode, Stephen | Insight on the News, November 22, 1999 | Go to article overview

Radical Leftovers


Goode, Stephen, Insight on the News


When today's leftists say that `whiteness' is an oppressive social construct that must be destroyed, David Horowitz calls them bigots opposed to black success.

Recently, the onetime leftist and now conservative writer and activist David Horowitz received an e-mail from a friend that carried a quotation from the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Moscow, dated 1943. The order had been sent to communists abroad, including the Communist Party in America.

"Members and front organizations must continually embarrass, discredit and degrade our critics" the 56-year-old directive began. "When obstructionists become too irritating, label them as fascist or Nazi or anti-Semitic." But above all, "constantly associate those who oppose us with those names that already have a bad smell." Why? Because "The association will, after enough repetition, become `fact' in the public mind."

For Horowitz, those words had resonance. In the Aug. 30 issue of Time magazine, columnist Jack E. White labeled him "a real, live bigot" for a hard-hitting article Horowitz had written for salon.com, titled "Guns Don't Kill Black People, Other Blacks Do," in which Horowitz criticized the NAACP's lawsuit to hold gun manufacturers responsible for urban violence. "A former leftist earns a place on the wild-eyed right" the Time column screamed, concluding that "we'd all be better off if he'd just shut up."

But it wasn't just the Time piece that rankled. Horowitz's most recent book, Hating Whitey and Other Progressive Causes, was about to be published by Spence Publishing Co., a conservative publisher in Dallas. The book had been rejected by the Free Press, the company that had published Horowitz's two most recent books, including his potent autobiography Radical Son only two years ago.

Free Press told him that the title of the new book was too controversial, a problem that continues -- Hating Whitey has been having a hard time finding a place on bookstore shelves because of that title -- which bothers him a bit, but not a whole lot, Horowitz tells Insight, because he gets a certain amount of satisfaction in irking the liberal establishment and accumulating its denunciations. After all, if he hadn't hit a raw nerve, no one would pay a bit of attention.

In the new book Horowitz continues a project that he began 10 years ago with his book Destructive Generation (coauthored with fellow former leftist Peter Collier). He has pursued it through numerous articles and innumerable talk-show appearances and additional books, including Radical Son, and no doubt will continue after Hating Whitey. Horowitz is providing a critical analysis and ongoing discussion of what the left in America is up to these days and just how powerful that left is. Always he underlines what he sees as the deep anti-Americanism that underlies so much of the contemporary left, but his chief attack is on its shallowness and failure to come to terms with what American society really is like today. "The real war of the left," he claims, "is the war against America itself."

Horowitz knows the left intimately. In the early 1970s he was an editor at the radical magazine Ramparts, which under his tenure ran a cover image of a burning bank along with the line, "The students who burned the Bank of America may have done more toward saving the environment than all the teach-ins put together." The son of Communist Party members, he is author of such works as The Free World Colossus, a left-wing history of the Cold War, and Empire and Revolution, works that placed him at the intellectual core of the New Left.

How widespread is today's left? According to Horowitz, who certainly should know: "The ideological left is entrenched at the universities. On the race issue, the Democratic Party is left-wing, supporting racial preferences. Our judiciary is heavily infiltrated with people who don't believe in the Constitution, who find the Constitution an insuperable barrier to leftist agendas. …

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