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The Left’s Ruling Ideas: A Review of Volume IX by Mark Tapson

The core motives of their forever war against America.

Below is Mark Tapson’s review of David Horowitz’s new book, “Ruling Ideas,” which is the ninth and final volume of The Black Book of the American Left, a multi-volume collection of Horowitz’s conservative writings that now stands as the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to define the Left and its agenda. (Order HERE.) 

“This is the ninth and final volume of my writings about progressivism, a movement whose goals are the destruction of America’s social contract at home and the defeat of American power abroad.”

That blunt statement from Freedom Center founder David Horowitz begins Ruling Ideas, the just-published, concluding volume of his series of collected works titled The Black Book of the American Left. Horowitz, of course, is the red-diaper-baby-turned-conservative-firebrand and the author of many other books, including the classic autobiography Radical Son, the battle plan for political victory titled Take No Prisoners, and the recent New York Times bestseller Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America.

In his introduction to this volume, Horowitz notes that The Black Book of the American Left series was conceived as a corrective to the frequent inability of conservatives “to appreciate the anti-American animus of the left and its apocalyptic goals.” As a former radical leftist himself, Horowitz has a deep appreciation for that animus and a unique grasp of the left’s religious fervor for a society built upon the utopian dream of human perfectibility. Ruling Ideas is the latest addition to his ongoing illumination of the left’s often deceptive animating principles.

Part One of the book includes three essays which Horowitz says “have more or less defined my life’s work.” With “The Fate of the Marxist Idea” he reprints two letters to former fellow radicals announcing and explaining his break with the left, one a childhood friend whose father was a cell leader in the local Communist Party, the other his political mentor and friend Ralph Miliband, the father of future British politicians David and Ed. The letters were impassioned attempts to awaken former comrades from their radical intoxication by presenting the undeniable, sobering realities of their failed dream.

“Slavery and the American Idea” addresses the Progressive determination to “destroy the American social contract and the constitutional system that supports it,” primarily by weaponizing the issue of race. Horowitz’s aim in the essay – first published as the closing chapter of Uncivil Wars, Horowitz’s controversial denunciation of slavery reparations, and updated for inclusion here – is to celebrate the vision of American exceptionalism behind this country’s successful ending of the near-universal human practice of slavery. The essay remains as vital today as when it was published, thanks to a revival among black intellectuals and politicians of the demand for reparations.

In the short essay “America’s Second Civil War,” Horowitz discusses the collectivist creed of identity politics as “the antithesis of the principles that are the cornerstones of America’s social contract.” A “reversion to tribal loyalties” and a condemnation of the anti-American mythology of “systemic racism,” identity politics is now the tip of the spear of the Democrat Party’s divisive platform and agenda. In contrast, Horowitz closes the essay by quoting President Donald Trump’s unifying call, “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”

“The Two Christophers” is a deeply thoughtful and personal essay about “radical contrarian” writer Christopher Hitchens, whom Horowitz befriended near the end of Hitchens short life. It is not so much about the stretches of an intellectual journey they shared as it is about their divergent paths. To the very end Hitchens clung, writes Horowitz, to “the romantic idea of a revolutionary transformation” that shaped his political choices. Horowitz hopes that the essay will serve as “a useful guide to the great schism of our times.”

“In the quarter-century since I published these reflections,” Horowitz writes about the essays in Part One (and this equally could be said of his work in general analyzing and opposing the left’s totalitarian vision), “there have been no attempts by progressives to answer them.” The left’s usual response to its critics instead has been what he calls “an intellectual omerta,” an attempt not to engage them in reasoned debate but to obliterate them as “un-persons.” In all of the left’s flood of virulent condemnations of Horowitz personally, “[w]hat is lacking is an intellectual argument to refute my views and specifically my reasons for rejecting the left; or reference to a historical record that would provide a critical response to the case I have made.”

That failure exposes the left’s inability – not unwillingness or indifference – to counter Horowitz’s analyses, because he knows the left better than they know themselves. Having been steeped in their Communist ideology and then having become an activist for their cause himself, even working with the Black Panthers, he knows every power-mongering aim, every subversive strategy, every linguistic manipulation, and every thuggish tactic of the Progressive agenda. They know he knows, and that’s why he is their most hated apostate and why they have no choice but to resort to the politics of personal destruction rather than reasoned argument.

Part Two includes “The Writings of David Horowitz,” a bibliography by Mike Bauer of Horowitz’s books, articles, pamphlets, and online writings that runs an astonishing 56 pages; an index for this volume as well as a very useful summary index by David Landau of key terms that span the entire series of The Black Book of the American Left, terms such as academic freedom, black reparations, identity politics, race profiling, and Stalinism, and key figures and groups such as Saul Alinsky, Hillary Clinton, Hezbollah, Huey Newton, and the Weather Underground; and a brief end note in which Horowitz explains that he had decided, early in his conservative career, to leave three aspects of the left’s agenda for other conservative writers to cover: constitutional issues, the market economy, and the environment. Instead, he chose to “focus on dissecting those aspects of the radical agenda which either remained opaque to the conservative perspective, or whose malignancy was not fully appreciated by the conservative temperament.”

Part Two also includes an absolute must-read, 40-page essay by the Freedom Center’s longtime FrontPage Magazine editor and host of the internet show The Glazov Gang, Jamie Glazov. Titled, “The Life and Work of David Horowitz,” Dr. Glazov’s essay spans from Horowitz’s childhood in a Communist enclave in Queens, New York, through his time as the editor of the foremost radical publication Ramparts to his political epiphany and “slow-motion transformation from theorist of the left to its worst enemy.” The essay is, as Horowitz puts it in the book’s introduction, “accurate and insightful,” but more than that, it is compelling reading.

This final volume of the Black Book of the American Left collection is a concise, must-read capstone to David Horowitz’s writing about the destructive utopian delusions – the “mirage,” as Friedrich Hayek put it – of Progressivism. Ruling Ideas, like the preceding volumes, highlights the epic clash between what Horowitz calls the two ideas – the American and the Marxist – that “constitute an ideological thesis and antithesis of the modern world. The resolution of the conflict between them will shape the course of human freedom for generations to come.”

Reprinted from PJ Media.

Inside the Mind of the Left: A Review of Volume IX by Michael Ledeen

David Horowitz’s magisterial series concludes with a deeply personal ninth volume.

Originally published at City-Journal.org

I knew David Horowitz in his “second thoughts” years, when he turned away from the Left and became a conservative; he often came to our house to satisfy his craving for Chinese takeout and to structure his new political movement. My wife Barbara worked closely with him and Peter Collier, and we’ve been friends ever since. I’ve often seen him offstage, and much of this fascinating, significant, and highly readable new book contains important material that reflects the man. His passions and intellect are on full display.

Ruling Ideas is the ninth and final volume of Horowitz’s collected conservative writings, and in many ways it is the most important. It contains an invaluable guide to Horowitz’s work written by Frontpage editor Jamie Glazov and several short essays on current events. Readers are also treated to two extended glimpses into Horowitz’s life, one having to do with his touchy friendship with Christopher Hitchens, the other the sad end of a long relationship with Carol Pasternak, a former comrade for whom he cared deeply. The volume also contains three long letters, retelling crucial events in Horowitz’s life and linking those events to his political evolution. Regrettably, diaries and letters are largely vanishing from our culture. We’re fortunate that these letters have survived, because without them, readers wouldn’t understand the drama and pain that brought Horowitz to anti-Communism after growing up in a Communist Party home, attending a Party school, fraternizing with almost exclusively like-minded peers, and finally becoming a leader of the New Left.

Horowitz’s odyssey wasn’t purely ideological. His break with the Left resulted from the Black Panthers’ murder of a friend and comrade, bookkeeper Betty Van Patter, in the winter of 1974. This incident ended my own career in the Left. I suspected that the Panthers had done it, and some members later confirmed this. Others knew that the Panthers had killed others, like Ellen Sparer, a teacher murdered in her bed by a “troubled student.” In his letter to Pasternak, Horowitz mulls over Sparer’s case, musing: “You and I were able to share our grief over the friend we had lost, but we were never able to share an understanding of why she was dead. In your eyes, Ellen died a victim of circumstance; in mine, she died a martyr of a political faith that had made her blind.”

Horowitz’s embrace of conservatism came directly and powerfully from real events—the murder of people he knew and his discovery that even these powerful facts were insufficient to make many of his friends reject the cause. The Left’s ideas are essentially a political religion, and for true believers to reject them is spiritually impossible. Even Christopher Hitchens couldn’t do it. Hitchens could deny God, but he could not deny leftism.

Horowitz’s discussion of Hitchens is respectful and affectionate but unflinching when it came to Hitchens’s desire to have it both ways: a sometimes-outspoken critic of the Left, he remained a follower of the politico-religious faith that one day, the dream of freedom, equality, and true socialism would be fulfilled. Hitchens’s family life contained both themes. His father was a military officer; his mother was an exotic. Thus, he was buffeted back and forth between “fight or flight” in family events. “More accurately,” Horowitz writes, “it left him with a sense of flight and fight on all occasions.” In a memorable passage of his essay, “The Two Christophers,” Horowitz reflects: “The utopian romance [Hitchens] never gave up was the perfect prescription for continual fight in the present, and a never-ending flight into the future.”

No one with Hitchens’s intellect could fail to recognize that the Left had enthusiastically imposed tyranny whenever it had the chance. Yet, in the end, Horowitz pulls back from a full-throated denunciation, not wishing to consign his late friend to the Dantean level of hell to which the great essayist had dispatched many others.

Ruling Ideas offers a unique and uncompromisingly personal view into the mentality of the Left. It makes a fitting capstone to David Horowitz’s magisterial work on the criminal conspiracy of American Communism, a series that deserves to be read in full.

David Horowitz Explains the Ruling Ideas of the Left: A Review by Richard Baehr

Below is Richard Baehr’s review of David Horowitz’s new book, “Ruling Ideas,” which is the ninth and final volume of The Black Book of the American Left, a multi-volume collection of Horowitz’s conservative writings that now stands as the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to define the Left and its agenda. (Order HERE.)

Many people I know grew up in liberal households, and at some point in their lives, they gravitated to the right politically.  Many others were nurtured in conservative homes and moved left politically.  These shifts are not too surprising.  What made someone start in one place and move one way or the other is a function of many things, including the political thinking of one’s spouse or partner; the community where one lives; the schools one attended; the company where one works; the political environment of the country, which has shifted left and right at different times; and whether someone was religiously observant and became more secular or moved in the other direction.  In general, most people are not obsessed with politics.  They may have strong political views, but they don’t choose politics as a career path or live and breathe it to the exclusion of other interests or passions.

David Horowitz has had a fundamentally different life experience.  He grew up in a communist household with parents who were true believers in the superiority of Marxist-Leninist thinking and the model of the Soviet Union as a pathway to a better world for those who could break the bonds that held them captive to ruling-class capitalist ideology and government.  Horowitz’s parents were committed ideologues whose allegiance to the hard left never wavered.  While they were momentarily upset with the revelations in 1956 of the mass murders committed by Stalin’s government in previous decades, they considered this at worst an aberration, not a reflection of the tyranny and destruction routinely associated with Marxist regimes.  Their lives were too tightly wound in the narrative of the communist collective in the Queens neighborhood where they lived as public school teachers to allow themselves to rethink or reconsider their ideological faith.

David Horowitz, on the other hand questioned things from the start of his politically conscious years.  While he remained on the left for another two decades after the news of Stalin’s crimes, his allegiance was never so tight or his mind so closed as to be unable to challenge his belief system when presented with new evidence or arguments.

Horowitz’s path from left to right, and then his role as a spokesman for conservative ideas, has been documented through his enormous collection of articles and books, a full bibliography of which totals 56 pages in this ninth and final volume of his Black Book of the Left.  The Horowitz catalog includes nearly 80 books authored, co-authored, or edited.  While David Horowitz once enjoyed critical acclaim from the book-reviewers of America’s elite newspapers and magazines, since his shift to the right, his books are never even considered for review.  Why would the New York Times Book Review waste time finding a reviewer to combat Horowitz’s arguments when it is so much easier to fill pages with laudatory reviews of those who have stayed on the left’s plantation and parrot its talking points?  Ignoring someone is also a way to say that such person and his views do not matter. And certainly no left-wing media outlet cares to encourage apostasy by others.

This last volume in Horowitz’s series of books on the American left reinforces his central argument that the left is different from the right in the totality of its commitment to advancing its agenda and destroying its enemies.  Conservatives are conservative not only in political orientation, but in how they do battle.  Preservation of what is good requires a different kind of motivation and energy from revolution or upheaval. The battle is not between two sides who agree on ends, but see different ways of getting there.  The left, according to Horowitz, is ruthless both in pursuit of victory and when given the reins of authority.

Naturally, there are gradations on the left as there are on the right.  There are moderate, centrist Democrats, a declining group for sure, who remain committed to some of the same things as many on the right.  These “collaborationists” are despised by the true believers on the left.  The energy and the firepower on the left belong to more absolutist types, who accept far less of any consensus view of what American represents, its uniqueness, the trajectory of its history, and what needs to be preserved or destroyed.  There is little or no pride in America on the left, since so much remains to be fixed and so much power remains in the wrong hands.  The resistance to Donald Trump is a reflection of how grating the concept of American greatness is to the left.

Volume 9 of the Black Book series contains four chapters written by Horowitz and one chapter by Jamie Glazov, which provides a history of Horowitz’s political evolution as seen through his writings.  The longest chapter, “The Fate of the Marxist Idea,” includes two letters Horowitz wrote to former friends and mentors in the communist movement, and were initially published in 1998.  The first is to a member of the Sunnyside, Queens collective whose parents worshiped communism in the same “church” as David’s parents.

Horowitz’s former friend chose not to attend the memorial service after the death of David’s father in 1987, seeking to ignore any need to debate any of the political ideas that both had once absorbed and that Horowitz had since abandoned.  Instead, she wrote a short letter saying the personal and the political cannot be separated, that socialism is better than capitalism, that she had abandoned Stalinism (what courage!) and socialism had not really been tried, the real reason why it had “not worked” so far.  And then she added the insults, accusing Horowitz of having lost the compassion and humanism of his youth, which always motivated their parents, evidenced by his support of Ronald Reagan’s vile policies.  Horowitz’s lengthy point-by-point refutation of her letter was never answered except by threat of a lawsuit.

A more comprehensive analysis of the failures of the left was sent to Ralph Milliband, a Marxist writer who was a mentor to Horowitz when he lived in London in the ’60s.  The letter outlines the cold reality of communist-socialist rule wherever it had been tried and the enormous death toll attributable to the tyrannies and tyrants associated with these regimes – whether in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Venezuela, North Korea, or Cuba among others.  These countries are not and were not similar to the social welfare states of Western Europe that emerged after World War 2.  These states have moved much farther along the continuum toward higher taxes, and a larger government share, and bureaucratic control of the economy than in the United States, but they still sustain a reasonable commitment to preserving the political freedoms of individuals and the belief in democracy and a free people.

The true believers on the left say they want nothing more than equality and better lives for the masses, but communist equality has always meant equalizing the suffering, reducing living standards, and eliminating dissent or political opposition.  Milliband also ignored engaging with Horowitz, obviously a lost cause in his eyes as far as rejoining the legions on the left.

Horowitz devotes two chapters to issues concerning black Americans.  The first provides a commentary on the campaign for reparations, advanced by Randall Robinson, among others, 15 years back, and now getting new life from support by the likes of Ta-Nehisi Coates, the current black intellectual designee by the major media and their partners in universities.  Coates is the author of a commentary on the 9-11 attacks that concluded that the police and firefighters who died “were menaces of nature; they were the fire, the comet, the storm, which could – with no justification – shatter my body.”  So the men and women who entered burning buildings, and climbed dozens of flights of stairs with 75 pounds of equipment on their backs to try to get people out of the buildings before they collapsed, were really just biding their time until they could get on to their real task of destroying black bodies.  This is what qualifies one as a thought leader in elite circles these days.

Horowitz destroys the argument for reparations, and in a second chapter, he challenges the victimization logic that offers white racism as the excuse for any “underperformance” by the black community.  There is no one alive today who held any slaves or personally was a slave.  Many black Americans in the country today have no ancestors in America who were slaves.  A majority of Americans are descended from people who came to the United States after the Civil War and bear no guilt for the ugly practice in one region of the United States two centuries ago.  Those who are descended from people who lived in the states that did not join the Confederacy have 400,000 dead Union soldiers, plus many hundreds of thousands injured, as their sacrifice to liberating the slaves and preserving the Union.  Reparations for Japanese-Americans in the United States or Holocaust survivors in Europe were paid to people who had themselves lived through specific horrors or criminal behavior by governments.  Must all Americans today pay for something that ended over 150 years ago and for which a bloody war was fought?  Are all African-Americans equally entitled to compensation for something that impacted some of their ancestors seven generations back?

The victimization theme – that white racism is solely responsible for the economic situation of black Americans, their higher crime rates and poor academic performance, eliminates any agency for individuals to beat the odds or take advantage of the increased opportunities that are now available, including trillions spent on social welfare programs over the past half-century, much of that designed to address the needs of African-Americans.  These programs include affirmative action admissions to universities and similar approaches to hiring by corporations and other firms.  Martin Luther King was aware that racism and discrimination were present in 1960s America, as was segregation in large parts of the country, but he believed that these should not be an excuse for black American behavior that only worsened their plight.  Charlatans and race-hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have dominated the civil rights movement since King’s death, always pushing the white racism bogeyman, while those more in line with King’s legacy, including Jason Riley, Shelby Steele, Thomas Sowell, and Glen Loury, are ignored or condemned as sell-outs.  Arguing that cultural norms within a community can be damaging to the success of future generations is simply a forbidden theme – witness the recent campaign against University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax.

Horowitz’s final chapter is a review of Christopher Hitchens’s book Hitch-22 and the British author’s political path from a Trotskyite of sorts to something a bit more nuanced and sane.  Horowitz is clearly disappointed that Hitchens’s movement did not follow his own trajectory, which resulted in abandonment of the left and a commitment to fighting it.  Instead, Hitchens’s politics at the time of his death from cancer was something of a confused palette: anger at Islamic extremism and hostility to Israel, appreciation for American uniqueness but fondness for the collectivist ideal.  Hitchens tried to hold a place in two camps – not an easy task, and one that can lead to incoherence.  Most people would not get too upset or frustrated about someone who moved some way toward their worldview, but Horowitz’s life experience has been consumed with politics, first from the left, and for the last three decades from the right, and he prefers enlightenment to cautious mush.

There is a passion among the politically most active, and when their politics shift, they often have a story to tell about the illusions and lies they encountered and addressed that motivated the change in allegiance.  The nine-volume series, The Black Book of the America Left, including this final volume, is a unique outline, filled with many chapters and verses, about why the left has been consistently wrong and produced so much destruction in its wake.  Someone who never started on the left, and did not understand its convictions, its messaging, and its tactics, could not have written such a series.

This article was originally published in the American Thinker

Ruling Ideas and Annals of Evil: A Review by Bruce Bawer

David Horowitz’s “Black Book of the American Left” reaches its triumphant culmination

Below is Bruce Bawer’s review of David Horowitz’s new book, “Ruling Ideas” which is volume 9 of The Black Book of the American Left, a multi-volume collection of David Horowitz’s conservative writings that will, when completed, be the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to define the Left and its agenda. (Order HERE.) 

The last five years have seen the publication of a landmark shelf of books – namely, the collected conservative writings of David Horowitz under the title The Black Book of the American Left. Others may know as much about this subject as Horowitz does. But no one could possibly know more. And no one could possibly understand it better. Nor could anyone be more gifted at finding just the right words to explain it all.

In short, Horowitz has knowledge, insight, and eloquence. And that’s what makes these books indispensable.

Each of them takes up a different theme. Volume One explored Horowitz’s personal history as a leading figure of the left and his subsequent struggle with his intellectual loyalties – a complex, probing experience that made him uniquely qualified to elucidate both the appeal and the folly of the leftist dream. Subsequent volumes focused on leftist ideology; the left and race; the left and Islam; the left after 9/11; and the left in government, on campuses, and in the general culture.

The ninth and last volume of Horowitz’s Black Book, entitled “Ruling Ideas,” has now been published. Among its highlights is a 1987 letter written to a childhood friend, Carol, who, like Horowitz, was raised in a Communist household in Queens. In a note to Horowitz, Carol had stated that while she had (supposedly) given up on Stalinism, she continued to embrace what she called “our common heritage,” persisted in the belief that “socialism is better than capitalism,” and regarded Horowitz’s apostasy from the faith of their youth as a loss of “compassion and humanism.”

Horowitz’s 29-page reply to Carol could not be improved upon as a philosophical account, moral critique, and psychological analysis of the long-distance love of Soviet Communism on which both of them had been brought up. Horowitz discusses the then-recent death of his father, who had devoted his life to the Party, and whose friends had gathered at the Horowitz family home after his passing. These people had known Horowitz’s father for decades and shared his politics. Yet once he was gone, they could only speak of him, to his mourning son, in trite ideological cliches: “Your father was a man who tried his best to make the world a better place…your father was a man who was socially conscious.

Nothing that they said suggested that they ever, for a moment, had been capable of viewing the elder Horowitz as a complex human individual rather than a fellow exponent of a dehumanizing ideology. During all those decades, their minds had been so completely in thrall to an abstract concept that it was as if they were now, Horowitz observes, “unequal to the task before them: to remember my father as a man.” Horowitz saw, as clear as day, that this cruel obliteration of personal particularity by a political idea was one of the ultimate curses of the cult of Communism.

Horowitz’s friend Carol had referred to their “common heritage,” which, as she apparently still deluded herself, had something to do with a concern for humanity. But Horowitz, as he explained to her, had come to perceive that “the very humanity that is [Communism’s] alleged object of ‘compassion’ is a humanity it holds in contempt.” Indeed, what lay behind that cozy turn of phrase, “common heritage,” was nothing less than the monstrous evil of totalitarianism, which, as Horowitz puts it, amounts quite simply to “the crushing of ordinary, intractable, human reality by a political Idea.”

There is more in this letter, much more: it is eminently quotable from beginning to end. Suffice it to say that Horowitz dissects his father’s – and his friend’s – Communism with the skill of a master surgeon. And what makes the dissection all the more powerful is that, unlike his friend Carol, who has accused him of abandoning his humanity and selling out for money, Horowitz is kind and restrained throughout, contemplating his loved ones’ Communism more in pity and grief than in anger. The result is a deeply poignant human document – a human document about a thoroughly inhuman creed.

Less personal but equally estimable is Horowitz’s “Slavery and the American Idea,” which seems to me a definitive response to those who would use America’s history of slavery to deny the nation’s status as “a beacon of freedom.” Then there is “The Two Christophers,” which is by far the best thing ever written about Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011). After Hitchens died, I wrote a brief sendoff for Front Page that focused with admiration on the fact that, after 9/11, he broke free from his pals at the Nation to excoriate Islam and defend America. I didn’t know Hitchens personally, and pre-9/11 I frankly hadn’t paid that much attention to him; Horowitz, however, knew him for a long time and followed his work carefully, and in his essay he recognizes his old friend as a puzzle – and does an absolutely fascinating job of putting the pieces of that puzzle together.

Perusing Hitchens’s 2010 autobiography, Hitch-22, Horowitz notices a number of curious things. Why does he write so much about his parents and so little – almost nothing, in fact – about his brother (the writer Peter Hitchens), his two wives, his three children? Horowitz zeroes in on the chronic lack of introspection in Hitch-22, and particularly on Hitchens’s refusal to renounce Trotskyism. Horowitz had spent years interrogating his own deepest political convictions – challenging himself, excoriating himself, enduring a veritable dark night of the soul, and ultimately offering up a very public mea culpa and making a very public change of course. By contrast, even as Hitchens walked away from the Nation, junked some Marxist baggage from his ideological backpack, and became a cheerleader for America, he saw no need for any such personal reckoning.

Which is especially weird when one considers that over the years, in innumerable articles, book reviews, media interviews, and public debates, Hitchens relentlessly challenged other people’s ideas and clobbered them for their self-contradictions, ingrained prejudices, and unexamined assumptions. Yet even as he was doing all this, Hitchens himself was a mass of contradictions, which he appears to have preferred not to examine too closely. Horowitz notices, for example, that in one passage of Hitch-22 Hitchens declares his abiding love for free expression and his everlasting hatred for “dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying, and intimidation” – only to proceed, shortly thereafter, to fulsomely praise as one of his “heroines” none other than the execrable Jessica Mitford, who, as Horowitz quite rightly points out, was “a Communist hack who spent her life supporting dictatorships, stupidity, demagogy, bullying, intimidation and censorship.”

Anyway, there’s much more here on Hitchens (almost fifty pages’ worth), and it’s all incredibly acute and absorbing – a remarkably perceptive case study of a writer who trained his mind mercilessly and incisively on pretty much everything other than himself. But let’s wrap up. In addition to these splendid pieces, this book contains a good deal of useful back matter: an adept 40-page summary of Horowitz’s life and work by Jamie Glazov; a comprehensive 56-page bibliography by Mike Bauer of Horowitz’s writings from 1951 to 2017; and a thematic index to all nine volumes.

The Oxford English Dictionary originally ran to 10 volumes. Over the years, as the English language changed, several more supplementary volumes were published. The left, alas, isn’t going to go away any time soon. With any luck, David Horowitz will continue to chronicle, explain, and criticize it all –  and, like the editors of the OED, will add more and more volumes to this extraordinary set of books.