David Horowitz is one of the rare human beings, and handful of former Sixties radicals, who made an unequivocal break with his longstanding political beliefs and commitments. Unlike many former radicals who renounced some of the questionable means used in the pursuit of their political agenda but refused to distance themselves from the purported ideals, Horowitz rejected the ideals as well. In the meantime, most of the former Sixties radicals, or even some Sixties moderates, have continued to cling nostalgically to what they consider to be admirable goals embedded in their youthful idealism and legitimated by the irresistible appeal of good intentions.
Horowitz can claim further distinction on account of being an exceptionally knowledgeable guide to all varieties of the American left and his understanding of these movements and the mentalities of their adherents. It helps that he has been familiar with many individuals representing or associated with the same movements. Also unusual, even among the fully disillusioned, that ever since his break with his political past, Horowitz has devoted his life to renouncing and combating his former political illusions, commitments and affiliations. In doing so he was willing to risk the over-politicization of his own life, and the weakening of the boundaries between the personal and the political realm. He has also made it easier for his many critics to claim that his crusading spirit bears some resemblance to those of his former comrades and adversaries.
For reasons not obvious, more of the former supporters of the Soviet Union (of The God That Failed variety) and of Western communist movements of the past were willing and able to reexamine and publicly discard their previous convictions and illusions than those of the Sixties generation. The latter, while distancing themselves from the Soviet model, idealized Third World communist systems such as those of China, Cuba and North Vietnam. I am not sure why that has been the case but I surmise that since the Sixties radicals had more widespread and enduring subcultural or group support (especially on the campuses) than their predecessors of the 1930s, they had a lesser need to reexamine and reevaluate their beliefs. It is always easier to persist in convictions, even in wrongheaded ones, if they are widely shared. Moreover, the agenda of the Sixties radicals was broader, encompassing not only sympathy for the idealized and misperceived communist systems noted above, but also popular domestic causes such as the anti-Vietnam war protest, civil rights and women’s liberation. The presence of this large, supportive, quasi-communal subculture made it easier to squelch the impulse to engage in political soul-searching or “second thoughts.” As Horowitz puts it,
[T]he secret of the left’s longevity, its ability to withstand the discrediting of its idea, to ignore the millions of its victims, and thus to renew itself in the next generation…is the creation of a culture…and of a living community that perpetuates its myths…In 2003, the Rosenberg grandchildren can take pride in their heritage a being the heirs of Communists and spies, and receive encouragement and praise from “an international community of support.” [267-268]
Continue reading On Horowitz’s New Book: Progressives – Paul Hollander
The Black Book of the American Left, Volume I: My Life and Times dwelt heavily on author David Horowitz’s personal journey from the hard left as a “red diaper” child of Communists to leadership in the New Left movement. We followed the anguished transitional trajectory that began with Horowitz’s reflections on the New Left’s role in America’s Vietnam defeat, and his visceral recoil from the criminal excesses of the Black Panther Party. These attacks on his settled convictions provoked profound self-interrogation, leading to an intellectual pivot away from the theories, antipathies and loyalties that had for so long defined his identity.
Volume II surveys the wreckage blotting the landscape of “progressivism,” a barrier island to Communism’s landmass. Here we find the unbroken bridge linking Communism to the received wisdom of the vast majority of academics in the West, who download them into vulnerable students en masse. The Marxist vision that sustained Stalin’s supporters in the 1940s and 1950s is alive and well in the post-colonialist and identity obsessions of postmodern theorists. Utopians then, utopians still, Horowitz finds their vision of social justice is still attended by the same suppression of “incorrect” thought and speech, the same self-righteousness, the same illiberalism in dealing with critics and apostates that were – are – the hallmarks of Communism.
Progressives may refer to themselves as “liberals,” but that is a misnomer Horowitz strenuously proscribes. Classical liberalism in our culture was largely vanquished in the counter-cultural revolution, though the odd grey-haired academic adherent pops into view now and then, seeming baffled by what has become of the noble assumptions of his youth. Referring to leftists as liberals launders their intellectual and political lineage. Real liberals – especially liberal scholars – don’t excommunicate their peers for deviating from the party line. Communists did; New Leftists did (as Horowitz learned first hand when he left the movement and his entire circle of “friends” renounced him); and progressives still do.
Take the case of feminist scholar Aileen Kraditor, Professor Emerita of History at Boston University. Aileen who? Precisely Horowitz’s point. Even though much of my journalistic effort is spent in exposing the misandry and other cultural crimes springing directly from feminist theories, I had never heard of Aileen Kraditor prior to seeing her name in Volume I of The Black Book (she is mentioned again in Volume II).
According to Horowitz, Kraditor, a feminist historian in good – even iconic – standing during the years she was a card-carrying Communist, was virtually “disappeared” from the feminist movement when she renounced Communism. Horowitz provided a mere thumbnail sketch, praising her work, and explaining why this once-admired scholar of the suffragette movement now languishes in near-obscurity, but it was enough to pique my curiosity.
Continue reading The Black Book of the American Left: Volume 2 — The Progressives – Barbara Kay
Originally published at www.breitbart.com.
In his book Disinformation, Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking Soviet Bloc official ever to defect to the United States, describes the Soviet intelligence practice called “framing” – changing someone’s or something’s past to suit present political needs.
The Soviets perfected this into a science. Jamie Glazov, editor of FrontPageMag.com, detailed a personal encounter with this Marxist science when he described a 1971 document KGB chairman Yuri Andropov wrote about Jamie’s father, Soviet dissident Yuri Glazov:
Yuri Andropov is discussing the operation to put the drugs and the documents into the apartment and then five pages later is discussing my father being a drug trafficker and a spy. You see, there’s a self-intoxication here. You create the lie and then somewhere along the process you begin to believe that lie that you yourself have created, and this is a very fascinating phenomenon.
Jamie’s boss, David Horowitz, lived this lie for many years. He knows that without lies, the ideology of the left would cease to exist. This is the central truth Horowitz relentlessly reinforces in Progressives, Volume II of The Black Book of the American Left.
Continue reading David Horowitz Exposes Why Progressives Must Lie: Spyridon Mitsotakis