The Purging of Marty Peretz

David Horowitz was one of the founders of the New Left in the 1960s and an editor of its largest magazine, Ramparts. He is the author, with Peter Collier, of three best selling dynastic biographies: The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty (1976); The Kennedys: An American Dream (1984); and The Fords: An American Epic (1987). Looking back in anger at their days in the New Left, he and Collier wrote Destructive Generation (1989), a chronicle of their second thoughts about the 60s that has been compared to Whittaker Chambers’ Witness and other classic works documenting a break from totalitarianism. Horowitz examined this subject more closely in Radical Son (1996), a memoir tracing his odyssey from “red-diaper baby” to conservative activist that George Gilder described as “the first great autobiography of his generation.” His latest book is Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan for Defeating the Left (Regnery Publishing).

Twitter: @horowitz39
Facebook: David Horowitz


Editor’s Note: This is a comment that David Horowitz left at Tablet Magazine here. The post was inspired by this New York Magazine article here.

I am honored to be compared to Marty Peretz who is currently undergoing a purge by the left — one of its periodic witch-hunts of individuals who fail to toe the party line. Peretz’ sin — like mine — is hardly opportunism. He is being punished for attempting to tell hard truths. In the Middle East, particularly in Gaza and the West Bank where suicide bombers are national heroes and saints, and a death cult has been spawned in kindergartens and the government media, Muslim life is obviously cheap and cheap for Muslims. But Peretz has been crucified for blurting this out. The worst aspect of this public burning is the silence so far of all the writers and editors of the left whose careers he nurtured and launched. It just exemplies, what I know from my own experience, that the left has no heart for people, for the individuals who serve it. It only cares about the purity of its ideas.

  • Trahnier

    Except liberalism doesn't have pure ideas.

    • potkas7

      To the contrary, "pure" ideas are all they have; free-floating and untainted by actual experience. As Hilaire Belloc observed:

      "The socialist of my youth – the communist of today – was and is often, and indeed usually, an academic sort of fellow, a bookish fellow, using formulas and quite out of touch with real life."

  • tagalog

    The problem for liberalism of the current mode (i,e., leftism) is that the purer its ideas, the more apparent the totalitarian goal they serve.

    Marin Peretz may be a leftist, but he is rare among leftists in that he appears to have an open mind.

    • NStahl

      Active mind. Active mind. An open mind is like an open garbage can – anyone can dump any sort of crap into it. With an active mind one can sift through the incoming stuff and reject the BS.

  • Tom Kinney

    I've long admired Mr. Peretz as well and have always been surprised to find him writting for The New Republic, which I understand was, and still is, like The Nation, a long-time fellow traveler hand-in-glove with the worst governments and most brutal dictators of all time. The fact that more people died during wars in the 20th century than in every previous century combined, wars largely brought on by the massive and continuing deception of communism/socialism/and-its-timid-but-persistent-and-perhaps-even-more-ominous-little-brother/liberalism, is lost on these people. That Europe is folding its socialist experiment in the full light of day as Obamageddon and Co push on with their lame pursuit of same…what words can explain this blind spot?

    • nglaer

      <<I've long admired Mr. Peretz as well and have always been surprised to find him writting for The New Republic,>>

      Funny

  • Tom Kinney

    Lately I've been wondering about the notion of a modest return to a dark age. It occurs to me that a dark age doesn't mean a decline all the way back to the caves, but rather is relative to the advancements made since the last one. Two steps forward, one back.
    But conservatives should consider this possibility. One of the mirages of the progressive movement is the very notion that we as a species are "progressing" in some direction. Is more technology a progressive thing, or is it merely neutral? Guns and cellphones, which is worse? The deaths via war in the 20th should put an end to that notion, but it hasn't. We're mortals. We don't live forever. Therefore, we have no need or imperative or mandate to create a heaven on earth, a paradise, a eutopia, because we're not around long enough to see it through.

    • RobertPinkerton

      I must concur, at least, with you. Here in the West, "progress" implies improvement. Improvement implies making something ",i>better." So two questions:
      1. Better is the comparative form of good: Thus Ayn Rand's question, "Good? By what standard?" (i.e.: In whose perspective?)
      2. Better? Than?

  • Tom Kinney

    Nature is cyclical and we are of nature. We're not headed anywhere in particular as a species and it's a dangerous notion to think so, for fear scary leaders arise and decide where we're going for us. We've long known how that story ends. Without this particular mirage tempting us, we must consider what truly is the best we can do within the time allowed and resources available. Maybe more modest and thus achievable goals that don't backfire spectacularly would be a good place to start.

  • Zivkov3000

    I find it a bit ironic that Marty Peretz is being touted as some hero of free speech, when the comment that got him in hot water in the first place involved him calling for muslims to be silenced and denied their first amendment "privileges".
    "frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf, there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment, which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.”
    Funny, Horowitz seems to have left that last part out.

    • Elijah Cohen

      "So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment, which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse."

      I don't read that as a call to suppress another's free speech. He's just musing out loud about the irony that people who have a hidden agenda to promote their brand of intolerance (sharia law) can do so by exploiting first amendment rights in a free society ("a right they will abuse"). These people may not be "worthy" of the right, despite the fact that their right cannot be challenged constitutionally. It's a moral argument, not a legal one. Amazing how Peretz is being bullied by his enemies into conceding the underlying intent of his nuanced observation.

  • Honkeydogparts

    To quote Islam's own words "you may not use the Faith against the faithful". Thee Jihaddis and their fellow travelers do not keep faith with the faith of civil liberty. It is licit to deny that to them.

    • Zivkov3000

      And who exactly gets to decide which of us is worthy to exercise our constitutional privileges?
      Why not set up a libertarian dictatorship where either you support freedom or you get thrown in jail? Nothing Orwellian about that at all.

      • Kevin Stroup

        Must I be tolerant of the intolerant? Why should I care about people who only mean me harm? Why should I allow a mosque to built in my country when they do not allow my church to be built in Saudi Arabia? Should emancipated Western women support Sharia? At what point have I eaten enough feces from Muslims?

      • tony

        First off, the term "libertarian dictatorship" is an oxymoron. Apart from that, I find it interesting that you came up the formulation that a person either "support freedom or you get thrown in jail." Only a supporter of radical Islam, with it's contempt for freedom, could concoct something so ridiculous. Much like their soul mates on the far left, practitioners of radical Islam reject human nature and the yearning to be free. Again, like the far left, enforcement comes in the form of brutality.
        If you're a freedom loving Muslim who has no use for the more radical elements of your religion, then grow a pair and stand up for your religion and your freedom. That's what the rest of us are waiting for from so-called moderate Muslims. Your enemy isn't Christians and Jews, its the radical elements within your own faith.

  • ajnn

    I think the point of the 'muslim life is…' quote is to bring attention to the disregard so many of the active muslim groups (Hamas, Hezbollah, Saddam Hussein's Irag, Assad's Syria, a quaida, etc…)

    DO have a disregard for human life. They DO recruit people to blow up themselves and other muslims and then these murderers are celebrated as heroes by their community. Streets are named after them. they are cited in children's textbooks as role-models.

    This element of extremist islam is despicable and we, all of us who actually care about people and human life, need to draw attention to this horrible ideology.

  • Judahlevi

    Marty Peretz is doing nothing unusual but taking the normal position of liberals that if they don't like what you are saying, maybe you shouldn't have the right to say it. I find nothing admirable about that attitude. It is revealing of the totalitarian nature of leftists.

    I think where David finds empathy with Peretz is not in what he said, but the flogging he is getting from the left which David has shared.

  • Elijah Cohen

    "So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment, which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse."

    I don't read that as a call to suppress another's free speech. He's just musing out loud about the irony that people who have a hidden agenda to promote their brand of intolerance (sharia law) can do so by exploiting first amendment rights in a free society ("a right they will abuse"). These people may not be "worthy" of the right, despite the fact that their right cannot be challenged constitutionally. It's a moral argument, not a legal one. Amazing how Peretz is being bullied by his enemies into conceding the underlying intent of his nuanced observation.

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