Skip to comments.Book Reveals David Horowitz's Journey From Marxist to Conservative
Posted on 12/02/2003 3:23:22 AM PST by nickcarraway
David Horowitz is without question one of the great thinkers on the American scene today. His views and his political journey are of unique interest to conservatives because Horowitz, once a renowned figure in the political left, defected to the political right.
In his new book, "Left Illusions," Horowitz unmasks the lefts agenda while revealing his own intellectual flight.
From his boyhood experience in a Communist Party-run Workers Childrens Camp to his initiation of Americas first anti-war protest, the events of David Horowitzs young life shaped the Marxist radical into a key figure in the launching of the New Left movement of the 1960s.
The Marxist fantasies, as Horowitz calls them, that his communist parents nurtured from his childhood are perhaps nowhere better illustrated than in his early and never-before-published writings.
Though Horowitzs best-selling autobiography "Radical Son" chronicled his transformation from a radical leftist to a conservative Republican, "Left Illusions" allows one to take a walk through his mind, giving insight into his train of evolving political thought and the changes that led to his conversion.
From some of his earliest and unpublished writings to his first publications criticizing the leftist mentality for its inability to come to terms with its own fallacies and contradictions, "Left Illusions" allows one to follow Horowitz through his mental journey from self-described destructive Marxist to an American believer.
In this complement to "Radical Son," Horowitz ties together the common childhood fantasies of leftist ideology, including socialism, racism and multiculturalism, under a label he refers to as kitsch Marxism.
This is a crypto religion, he explains to NewsMax. "Its very hard to bring them [leftists] into reality. It rises from an inability to cope with reality in the first place. People have to understand that this is a Gnostic heresy. These people have invested the meaning of their lives in believing what is essentially nonsense.
Its like the people who thought there was going to be a space ship behind the Hale-Bopp comet. Some of them were computer programmers. They were not stupid. Suicide bombers are largely educated people. Theyre not desperate. Theyre not poor. Theyve had lots of privileges. Orwell had a witty saying, Only a college professor could believe this.
Intellectual intelligence is only one kind and doesnt seem to protect people from great follies.
Written in what Horowitz calls Marxese, the lofty, laborious and over-intellectualized style of his early essays speak volumes about the elitist arrogance of leftists.
Thats the style of the left, Horowitz tells NewsMax. Generally the left is really superior at political battles But in this regard the fact that they write impenetrable prose is really very helpful to us as their opponents. I imagine that if all these communist professors were able to write lucid English, how worse off we would be.
Even as a child, Horowitz saw himself as a social redeemer who had the knowledge and wisdom to instruct President Harry Truman.
He writes: I was just ten years old, but I thought of myself as someone who could lecture the president of the United States on the difference between right and wrong, and thus change the course of history. I was just starting out in life, yet was already suspended so high above everyone else. Was there anything I could do but fall?
And a long fall it was.
After helping to found a movement that has left deep, innumerable scars engraved upon the moral, cultural and social landscape of America, Horowitz and his comrades achieved a victory when the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam.
But he did not rejoice with his fellow leftists. Unable to ignore the many horrors he witnessed of his beloved leftist ideology, including the slaughter of millions when after the U.S. abandoned its fight for the South Vietnamese, Horowitz was finally forced into a nose-to-nose confrontation with the truth.
I simply could not face the possibility ... that I was not going to be a social redeemer, that we didnt have the answers to humanitys problems that I wasnt part of an historic movement that would change the world.
But upon an honest examination of Marxism, Horowitz began to accept the fact that he had been living in a fantasy world. The more I thought about the moral posturing of the Left ... the more I saw that ... resentment and retribution were the radical passions.
As editor Jamie Glazov observes, Horowitz is one of the few converted liberals who broke so decisively with communism that he became really pro-American or pro-capitalist in becoming anti-communist. Horowitz cannot explain this.
I have no idea why. Ive thought about it a lot, and I cant come up with a singular explanation as to why I changed my views or why I didnt dismiss the murder of Betty as an aberration, says Horowitz, who writes about the murder of his friend and colleague Betty Van Patter by the very group she was working to help the Black Panthers. Contrary to the Panthers charges of a racist law enforcement and witch-hunting press, those two entities remained uninterested in the fact that the Panthers were never indicted for Van Patters murder or many other crimes.
Perhaps the seeds of doubt were there all along, lying dormant until such time as having been fed enough of the lies and cover-ups of the left.
Though many of young Horowitzs heroes included communist activists such as Albert Maltz, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Vito Marcantonio and Paul Robeson, they also included the Lone Ranger, Joe Louis and John Wayne. Quite a dichotomy for a 10-year-old.
Horowitz says, The difficulty of coming to terms with ones own insignificance, which is a consequence of this realization, is why so many leftists can never leave the faith and are leading the same lives they did 30 and 40 years ago.
Those same leftists, former comrades who once called themselves Horowitzs friends and looked to him in his days as editor of such publications as Root and Branch as an icon of their movement, now shun and revile Horowitz in every aspect.
As he notes in "Left Illusions," In the community of the left it is perfectly normal to erase the intimacies of a lifetime over political differences.
As the self-described most hated ex-radical of my generation, Horowitz has received not a single inquiry about his views, recollections, expertise, or documents from any of the thousands of left-wing scholars and their students writing theses, articles, and books about this history.
More than 40 years have passed since the New Left movement, and so have umpteen failures of Marxist ideology, culminating in the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In spite of these, Horowitz says, most of his former comrades continue clinging to the crumbling precipice of a philosophy that history has repeatedly proven false, unable to face the same horrors and hypocrisies that Horowitz could not ignore.
And as Horowitz frighteningly notes, these Marxists still imbue the left and our institutions: the Democratic Party, the media, the universities, the foundations.
Leftists believe they are the creators of a new world. They see themselves as godlike. Thats why they are so rude and so dangerous. When I look at my former comrades today, it is as though all that has happened to them and all they have witnessed have had no effect on their expectations or illusions or real life choices. Its really quite sad.
Next: The racism of leftists.
Editors Note: David Horowitzs "Left Illusions" ranks with Whittaker Chambers' "Witness" as one of the most important books to examine one mans journey from the far left to the cause of America. Like "Witness," Horowitzs "Left Illusions" warns of the dangers of the radical lefts agenda.
I also considered myself a "liberal" in college days and even for quite a while afterwards. In spite of this, I didn't believe in leftist doctrine, but was blithely unaware that that's exactly what "liberals" do believe in.
That shows, I guess, that I hadn't exactly thought things through, which is typical, I suppose, of many "liberals." And perhaps "conservatives."
'Would that it could' as it should be, required reading for every high school graduate and college student.
What, just because they believe that world government will bring 'international cooperation'? That money will cure inescapable aspects of human society like crime, poverty, and stupid people? That 'understanding' the people who attack you will weaken their resolve to attack you further? That preborn babies are, in fact, babies?
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