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Reprinted from spectator.co.uk.
Conservatism is dead in Britain — as it is in Europe, as it is in most of the world — and if you want to know what the problem is, a good place to start is the one where I’ve just been: the David Horowitz Restoration Weekend in Palm Beach, Florida.
Horowitz is a prominent US activist, author and intellectual whose Freedom Center, if you didn’t know better, you might assume was a conservative think tank. But it’s not. As Horowitz reminded us on the first night of our three-day palm-fringed extravaganza of cocktails, fine cuisine, and sound conservatism courtesy of Mark Steyn, Ann Coulter, Herman Cain, Allen West, Baroness Cox, Bernie Goldberg, Douglas Murray and, ahem, James Delingpole, ‘We’re not a think tank. We’re a battle tank.’
And Horowitz is right of course, as he has been since the early Eighties, which is the moment he converted from cradle socialism (his parents were communists — or ‘progressives’, as so many of their ilk generously styled themselves) to Reagan conservatism. What Horowitz understands, as far too many do not, is that western civilisation is facing its greatest crisis since the second world war; that this trouble has been brewing for decades; and that if we lose this war we lose everything: our freedom; our livelihoods; our culture; our future; our very existence.
Often former leftists make the best conservatives — think Paul Johnson and Peter Hitchens — for they suffer fewer illusions about how devious, dangerous and unprincipled the left can be. Schooled in Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and the Leninist method, Horowitz knows all too well that the left will lie, besmirch, cheat, character-assassinate, bully, threaten, blackmail, ballot-box-stuff, bomb, kill, anything to get its way. Conservatives are no match because ‘they’re too decent, too civilised,’ up against ‘destroyers, racists, bigots. I refuse to call them liberals — we are the liberals. They are totalitarians.’
If this sounds extreme to some readers — and it will, even in The Spectator, which says it all really — let’s consider briefly the state of the world right now. The USA, bastion of the free world, is on the brink of collapse. Its economy is $15 trillion in debt, brought low by out-of-control Keynesian deficit spending, itself the response to a crisis generated in part by a suicidal scheme to make mortgages available to people who could never afford to pay them back, exacerbated by the ever more burdensome encroachment of the state on the private sector.
In the Middle East, the only stable, productive democracy in the region is assailed on all sides by Islamofascist failed states hellbent on destroying it. And instead of standing up for their only friend in this strategically vital region, its former western allies nitpick over settlements and borders, because that way they won’t have to feel so bad when the Iranians nuke it off the map.
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