Horowitz’s Point in Time

Visit NRO.

Those who know David Horowitz only as a fierce critic of leftist delusions and a champion of democratic freedom may be surprised to discover that he is also the author of three volumes of memoirs laced with philosophical reflections. Yet a book such as A Point in Time, which joins the earlier volumes The End of Time and A Cracking of the Heart, complements beautifully Horowitz’s other work, which focuses more practically on contemporary ideologies and the pernicious policies they create. Politics, after all, is ultimately about ideas — about human nature, the goods states should pursue, and the limits of the possible given the brevity of a human life subjected to unforeseen change and suffering. Thus, conversations about policy must start first with those underlying ideas and ideals.

A Point in Time is one such conversation, subtly interwoven with Horowitz’s reflections on his own memories of loss, sickness, and anticipations of death, and deepened with perceptive explorations of timeless classics of philosophy and fiction, such as Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, that have addressed many of these same issues. The result is a melancholy yet hopeful story of one man’s search for order, meaning, and redemption in a world seemingly devoid of all three.

Central to the book is the recognition that, as creatures who naturally seek order and meaning, humans have been left adrift by the decline of faith and thus prey to modernity’s bloody pseudo-religions that promise a future redemption on earth to be delivered by the new god, “history.” Horowitz’s memories of his father, a faithful member of the American Communist Party, recall how that utopian creed and its failures darkened his family’s life: “Much later it occurred to me that my father’s inattention to primal needs was the other side of his passion for worlds that did not exist. . . . He never suspected that a fantasy so remote from the life directly in front of him might actually be the source of his isolation and gloom.” Yet the wages of this failure have been much more destructive, because the drive for perfection and redemption in this world, as Dostoevsky understood and brilliantly showed in his novels, ultimately justifies unthinkable horrors: “The passion to create a new world,” Horowitz says while concluding his meditation on Dostoevsky’s Devils, “is really a passion to destroy the old one, transforming the love of humanity into a hatred for the human beings who stand in its way.”

To continue reading this article, click here.

  • Chezwick_mac

    I love David Horowitz…for his humanity as much as for his political contributions. His humanity is what sets him apart from the demagogues of left and right who regularly fill our airwaves and print media.

    David refuses to believe…and then seems to struggle ceaselessly with his refusal. It is because his heart yearns for reconciliation with God…at the same time that his intellect steadfastly rejects the fairy tales of religion.

    His struggle may be summed up in a simple question: How do we reconcile the concept of God with the absurdities of man-made religion?

    My answer: DON'T.

    One can embrace belief in God, the power of prayer, and love (both the personal love for those closest to us and the abstract love for all mankind)….without subscribing to religion of any sort. It IS possible. But it does entail a degree of surrender and humility.

    The humility lies in the understanding – something that eludes the atheist and the religious alike – that WE JUST DON'T KNOW. After acceptance of such a stark limitation, I – for one – make the leap effort to acknowledge the laws of nature, the order of the universe, the incredible natural beauty of planet earth, the remarkable human capacity for love, my wife's beautiful face, my daughter's uncorrupted enthusiasm for life, and on and on….

    I look at all this and I say, "it can't be happenstance."

    And so I believe. My faith is predicated on NO religion, NO holy book, NO guru…just an embrace of the gift of life. The joy is – periodically – indescribable.

    David, I hope you can somehow make your peace with God…and that it doesn't wait until your death-bed.

  • tarleton

    David is an apostate from the ''class'' religion of communism and will NEVER be forgiven , but on the other hand , he has a much too sophisticated view of the world ever to be a believing Christian ….so he's trapped in a state of limbo and existential despair…an unfortunate result of the dearth of tradition religion and failure of the 20th cent secular substitutes
    The fastest growing religion in the western world is now Enviromentalism …young people with an yearning to believe in something are now turning to it in droves …a kind of new age deism or high tech animism that also combines the anti capitalism of marxism and the anti human elements of nazism

    Let's face it , the human mind is ''hardwired ''to believe in a God ,regardless if God ever existed and that religious impulse manifests itself in secular form in political cults such as N Korea, soviet union etc

  • Supreme_Galooty

    Of course those who denigrate "man-made religion," or Christianity as being absurd, sophomoric, or unsophisticated fall prey to that very thing which they scorn. As C Mac infers, but doesn't quite utter, spirituality is a private thing, while religiosity is a public affair. People who scorn others' public expressions of spirituality do so at the cost of rendering themselves scorn-worthy. For one must ask the previous question: How could they possibly KNOW? And from what great power, what mighty source of wisdom do they derive their ability to practice their smug, superior pontifications?

    Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill.

    • tarleton

      I suspect you scorn other peoples expressions of hinduism , islamism , sikhism or worship of the God Zeus…we secular types just go one step further and scorn all of them equally

      Christianity is , in an intellectual sense , absurd and hopelessly anachronistic …no rational person would believe it …all fundamentalism is some type of psychosis …Islam is just the most violent and tyranical version

  • Supreme_Galooty

    You secular types are more than welcome to step and scorn to your heart's delight. You are the captain of your destiny – up to a point. When you speculate about my wont to scorn, however, you over-step your defendable boundaries.

    Your statement regarding Christianity is absurd on the face of it, and unworthy of rebuttal.

    • Chezwick_mac

      Friend, I like to think the conservative movement is a 'big tent'. We are not bound by sacred cows as the Left is. We are free to believe in the dictates of our own consciences…and free to express those beliefs.

      I was born and raised a Christian. I no longer subscribe to the particulars of the faith, but I'm open-minded enough to acknowledge I might be wrong. More importantly, though you and I don't share a belief in theological particulars, we share a common belief in deity and creation.

      Most importantly, the paradigm of almost all successful struggles against human tyranny throughout history has been the manufacture of the coalition. It's no different today. We in the anti-Jihad must unite Christians, Jews. atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, secular Muslims and all those who wish to preserve human liberty.

      You and Tarleton represent very different strains of thought. My hope is that both of you will moderate your language and embrace the necessity of unity against a malevolent, uncompromising foe…setting an example for others.

      Think about it, both of you. Thanks.

  • Seamystic

    There is only one possibility for Democracies to survive, it is Total WAR against the Traitorous Left and Islam.
    Sign the "Ban Islam" petition at: http://www.petitiononline.com/MYSTIC/petition.htm

  • http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-castle-of-indolence/15902233 Axe

    "A Point in Time is one such conversation, subtly interwoven with Horowitz’s reflections on his own memories of loss, sickness, and anticipations of death, and deepened with perceptive explorations of timeless classics of philosophy and fiction, such as Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov"

    All I can say is it damn well better be a good book :)

    Geez. Now I have to go buy the thing.