The Totalitarians Within

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David Horowitz’s 1989 essay “Carl Bernstein’s Communist Problem & Mine,” which was reprinted at Front Page recently, not only makes points about the true nature of the Communist faith that are vital to remember.  The essay also, by extension, underscores important truths about the nature of all totalitarian faiths – including Islam.

In the essay, Horowitz wrote about his upbringing in “a colony of Jewish Communists” in an otherwise ordinary Queens neighborhood.  These Communists, he explained, “lived two lives.”  They postured as law-abiding middle-class liberals, but were really secret agents taking orders from Moscow.  What brought meaning to their lives was the hope and belief that someday they would be called upon by the Party to “go underground” and “take the lead in the revolutionary struggle” to overthrow American democracy.

Horowitz knows about this colony because he grew up in it.  But you could’ve lived amidst these families for decades and not known.  You could’ve thought of them as your best friends.

For a decade or so after World War II, there was a general awareness that some Americans did indeed have covert totalitarian loyalties.  To most Americans, such a thing did not then seem inconceivable.  The war was fresh in their memories.  GIs had fought millions of people who were true believers in totalitarian ideology.  Most Americans had no illusions about what Stalin and his followers stood for.  The media weren’t hesitant to use phrases like “Free World” and “Iron Curtain.”  If anyone did doubt the existence of Communist networks in the U.S., the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee provided proof.

HUAC had its critics, of course.  One of them was Arthur Miller, whose 1952 play The Crucible introduced the idea that the HUAC hearings were a “witch hunt,” rooted in irrational hysteria, of the sort that had taken place in colonial Salem.  Miller’s play would become a staple of high-school curricula – and the premise that postwar concern about American Communism had, at root, been irrational and hysterical, would become the received wisdom of post-Sixties America.  Even after it became established that Miller himself, at the very least, had strong Communist ties and sympathies, the post-Sixties cultural elite held him up, perversely, as a champion of liberal values.

When it came to American Communists, the Sixties revolution turned everything upside down.  Beginning in the 1970s, a spate of movies, documentaries, books, and other works depicted McCarthy and his ilk as the very personification of evil and made heroes of the men and women who’d been blacklisted in Hollywood.  All of the Hollywood Ten, it turned out, had indeed been Stalinists, but that didn’t matter.  It was almost as if Stalinism were a race, and the Hollywood Ten had been the victims of something akin to racism.

The main topic of Horowitz’s essay is Carl Bernstein’s 1989 book Loyalties, a paean to Bernstein’s dad, who, it turned out, had been a Stalinist agent just like the ones Horowitz grew up around.  The old man, in fact, had used his connections to get Carl his first newspaper job.  Bernstein and his Washington Post colleague Bob Woodward were, of course, two of the major cultural heroes of post-Sixties America; the received wisdom was that they’d saved American democracy by bringing down Nixon.  Bernstein’s declaration of loyalty to – and profound admiration for – his Communist dad didn’t shake his reputation one bit.  On the contrary, the national climate, when it came to these matters, had transformed so dramatically by 1989 that the major newspaper book reviews, as Horowitz notes, chided Bernstein “for not justifying his parents’ Communist politics enough” (my emphasis).  The plain fact that American Stalinists were enemies of freedom and agents of a murderous totalitarian regime had been dropped down the memory hole.  The reigning idea now was that they were basically liberals, only more so – idealists who were driven, essentially, by a heightened dedication to democratic values.

All this has living relevance for us today, as we deal with Islam in the West.  After 9/11, it seemed for a brief moment as if that atrocity might inaugurate a long-overdue process of education about the true totalitarian nature of Islamic ideology – that Americans might finally be clued into the fact that the terrorists’ actions were entirely in line with the dictates of their faith.  Instead, just as the post-Sixties leftist establishment had whitewashed Stalinism, so, in the wake of 9/11, people in power – the mainstream media, political leaders, even military and police officials – did their best to whitewash Islam.

Never mind the centrality to Islam of the doctrine of jihad, which underlies all acts of Islamic terrorism, and which explains why the much touted “silent majority” of staunchly pro-freedom, anti-terrorist Muslims has never materialized.  No, Americans were told over and over that Islam is a religion of peace, that the overwhelming majority of American imams preach brotherhood and tolerance, that Muslim terrorists are traitors to their faith, and that fervent Muslim belief is not inconsistent in any way with a love of freedom.

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  • Alexander Gofen

    Yes, it is exactly an ignorance and incapability even to fathom the abysmal differences of other's world views, such as Marxism, or Islam.

    In fact, America was founded by people and for people having nothing to do ever with Marxism or Islam.

    Our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people of the Judeo-Christian faith, living on an isolated continent. It is wholly inadequate to the government and people of any other faith. It is wholly inadequate under conditions of a wide openness to hostile ideologies and people carrying them.

    The agitators since Marx to Lenin to the Frankfurt school (and on and on) had acquired tremendous ideological power both among the low class and the power brokers. They together have been destroying the spiritual foundation of America for over 100 years not obstructed by any countering propaganda or any other measures. Not even recognized by the conservative forces, never mind confronted by anybody.

    Here is the Platform for survival and collecting the pieces of what once had been the greatest achievement of the human spirit, a shiny City on the Hill

    • JasonPappas

      The Founding Fathers were critical of Judaism and Catholicism. They vociferously expressed the principle that adherents of these religions should be free to practice their faith but they personally found these religions wanting and unsuitable for a basis for a liberal order.

      See “Jefferson and the Jews” on the Jewish Virtual Library:
      For Adams, see Eli Kavon article in the Jerusalem Post: American Founding Fathers and Judiasm.

      I like how the JVL ends its article: "Toleration of all religions, the absence of an official government religion, and the right to practice and express religious thought freely are the hallmarks of Jefferson’s legacy. Despite his private views of Judaism, he was indeed a most 'righteous Gentile.'" Hear, hear!

  • Schlomotion

    Mr. Horowitz's 1989 essay is simply a rough draft of Radical Son. In Radical Son, he admits that if only his parents were more open with him about their secret life as Communists, he would have grown up to be just like them. How can he fault Carl Bernstein for struggling to address his parents' legacy? Carl Bernstein brought down one of the worst American Presidents until George W. Bush.

    The real observation in Radical Son is that the Queens Jewish Communists (e.g. Phil and Blanche Horowitz) "lived two lives, postured as law-abiding middle-class liberals, but were really secret agents taking orders from Moscow." It is insightful because as Mr. Horowitz noted, his parents used the Sunnyside community to reestablish an intellectual and physical Yiddish ghetto. He observed that it is wrong to consider that these weird aliens had dual loyalties, one to American suburbia and another to Comintern. They had only loyalty to Comintern and to ethnic Judaism. This is also the reason why it is not accurate to say that Israel-Firsters have dual loyalties to both American freedom and to Israeli Nationalism. They have only loyalty to Israeli Nationalism and to ethnic Judaism. Mr. Horowitz has himself also recreated the Yiddish subversive ghetto enclave by amalgamating all these strained and hysterical voices of men and some women who exhibit the veneer of Americanism over the rotted interior of tribalism and World Likud as a wholly Jewish Comintern.

    • Zionista

      dummy, you have to read more than just the book jacket – if you had read the book you'd know that Horowitz' parents did not keep their politics from their son, who embraced their politics (he edited Ramparts, a commie mag.) for years. It was only when a friend of Horowitz was murdered by the black panthers that he saw the left for what they are. Keep lying shmo – we're onto you

      • Schlomotion

        For its final years. For its denouement. Its white-knuckled ride into bankruptcy and lost readership. A "commie rag? That's not a very detail oriented analysis. They got harder after the assassination of Martin Luther King. Maybe nobody should have assassinated Martin Luther King. Or left Horowitz in charge of a formerly intellectually balanced magazine until it became the publication equivalent of an Oughton torso.

        • Ivan

          You diatribe is not consistent with the historical record.

          "Between December 1966 and December 1969, newsstand sales increased from 10,000 to 42,250, and the number of subscribers jumped from 87,976 to 244,069. Between December 1969 and December 1970, the number of Ramparts' subscribers increased to 299,937. By July 1967, the magazine was also earning around $13,000 per month from its advertising sales. A share of the magazine was owned by New Republic magazine owner Martin Peretz, who became a critic of the New Left a few years later.

          Ramparts was an early opponent of the Vietnam War. Its April 1966 cover article concerned the Michigan State University Group, a technical assistance program in South Vietnam that Ramparts claimed was a front for CIA covert operations. In August 1966, managing editor James F. Colaianni wrote the first national article denouncing the U.S. use of napalm in that conflict. One of the magazine's most controversial covers depicted the hands of four of its editors holding burning draft cards, with their names clearly visible. Ramparts also unearthed the first conspiracy theory about the Kennedy assassination, and in 1967, editor Sol Stern's interview revealed that the CIA had backed the National Student Association as part of its Cold War strategy. The magazine published Che Guevara's diaries, with an introduction by Fidel Castro, and the prison diaries of Eldridge Cleaver, later republished as Soul On Ice. Cleaver was a Ramparts editor when he witnessed a confrontation between Huey Newton and a police officer outside the magazine's office in February 1967; he soon became the Black Panther Party's minister of information.

          The magazine's temporary shift to a biweekly format and an expensive trip to cover the 1968 Democratic National Convention led to financial instability, as did a drop in subscriptions. With a reduced budget and a smaller staff, Ramparts continued publication, but finally closed its doors for good in 1975." wiki

          • Schlomotion

            That was a very large quote, and the significant part is 1968 to 1975, as you copied down in your last paragraph: Financial instability, a drop in subscriptions, reduced budget, smaller staff, closed its doors.

    • dalene44

      May I suggest a class in creative writing? Most community colleges offer assistance with writing skills.

    • Ghostwriter

      Not every Jew was a Communist. Many abhorred Communism which hated Jews as much as the Nazis did. Is it any wonder why you're called a Jew hater,Schlomotion? That's because that's what you are.

      • Schlomotion

        Nice of you to refute what nobody ever said in the first place.

  • Western Spirit

    America was founded on the basic tenets of Christianity, as was testified to by her founders, and has been a place of freedom because that's where Judeo-Christian values lead.

    Lies lead to slavery and are often simply the truth up-side-down. That's why they are useful in determining the truth.
    Totalitarian beliefs are based on lies and are a snare for those who are lawless and don't want a judgmental God in their lives.

    • Sunbeam

      They try to take the place of God themselves and pronouncing judgement by they themselves. By this they are under a curse and in bondage of slavery. It is only God alone who can set them free from this curse if they choose to be.

  • JasonPappas

    Timely essay! The Islamophobia lobby is busy trying to paint the most vicious totalitarians as victims of a witch hunt. They are pulling all the old tricks used by leftist apologists who unable to defend Communism (which often meant Stalinism) turned the tables and attacked those fighting communism. We called it anti-anti-Comunism. It's an indirect way of defending the undefendable without having to address the crimes of communism. I described this in my essay "Anti-anti-Islam" over at American Thinker.

  • tagalog

    Respectfully, I think it's a stretch to try to equate militant Islamicism with Stalinism, except for the covert aspect and the tendency of a certain type of person to be duped by the proponents of each.

    I don't recall much of any post-60s effort to whitewash Staliinism. I was in my mid-20s and 30s at the time, and interested in learning about Soviet Communism, so I was paying attention. It would have been pretty difficult to whitewash Stalin, since Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago dominated the perspective on the USSR and the Stalin era during most of the 1970s, and we know what Solzhenitsyn thought of Stalin and the Stalin years.

    I also think people who are paying attention to Islam have a pretty good grasp of the Muslim take on spreading their religious beliefs by force and violence, and the desire to create a worldwide umma, a Dar al-Islam, ruled by sharia. I doubt that anybody's being fooled, except those who choose willfully to fool themselves.

    • Alexander Gofen

      Stalinism and Islam are not equated in the article. They are different, but they both hate the freedom and the Judeo-Christian values of the (former) West. Therefore they may act as natural allies… Sometimes this alliance is grotesquely stupid and short sited, like say between homosexuals and moslems in the West…

    • Sunbeam

      Information is the most important tool in today's society. Spread truth, expose truth, promote truth, advertise truth will make people more aware of the danger that is coming on its way. It involves everyone who loves truth and truth is never in bondage or bound. It sets us free from any tyranny rule or yoke that may dictates every way of our lives. This is insanity.

  • CHOI

    It is important to remember that Soviet Communism under Stalin made an ALLIANCE with Hitler's Nazi Germany and carved up Poland between them ,UNTIL Hitler DOUBLECROSSED Stalin and Invaded Soviet Occuppied Poland and the Soviet Union itself.
    Suddenly,Russia,with no place left to turn, became "our great Soviet Ally" and the Stalinists here were able to use that to Forge Ahead here with their Anti American/Anti-Democracy ideology and Loyalties which carried into the Cold War and beyond.

    • tagalog

      First, it was "all U.S. poitical theory except Communism -including American Socialists and anarchists- is bourgeois theory and as such must be eliminated as inherently fascist or suborned to fascism."

      Then it was, "build a Popular Front and incorporate these American Socialists and anarchists in order to resist the fascists."

      Then it was, "end the Popular Front: the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany have arrived at a modus vivendi. The age of the Spanish Civil War is over."

      Then it was, "Holy cow! The Nazis have invaded us! We must have an alliance with the fascist capitalists of the United States and the rest of the free world! Haaalp!"

      And all through that period, American Communists and their dupes were saying, "Oh, Okay."

  • Iratus Vulgas

    Has anyone noticed that Leftists studiously avoid the word "terrorism" the same way they avoid the word "communism?" And when a conservative brings up either subject, liberals scoff, pooh-pooh, and tut-tut, as if you're overreacting over some fringe cult. Just as they did with communism, the Left prefers to surround the subject of terrorism with yellow police tape that reads "global totalitarian movement–nothing to see here."

    • Maxie

      Lefti$m, communi$m, Marxi$m are just different descriptors for Authoritarian Collectivi$m which, by its coercive nature, must devolve to socioeconomic minimalism and tiranny (sic) to remain in power. Fear, paranoia and genoside (sic) are its' signature characteristics. Its' advocates, in my opinion, are fear-driven narcis$ist$. The $ource of that fear is a temporary existence itself on a small rock hurtling thru hostile space. Lefti$m is a denial of reality and a pathetic, futile effort to stave off the oblivion that comes to those who deny a transcendent Creator.

  • DeShawn

    Yeah, well whom was responsible for all the murders by the communists in Russia? Oi vey, I'm an antisemite now! But the truth can't be antisemtic, can it?

    • tagalog

      The worst murderers of the Soviet Union were Lenin and Stalin and their willing lieutenants. They were both Eastern Orthodox Christians in origin (Stalin famously was a seminarian), though they abandoned religion. The killings had no more to do with Judaism than it did with Christianity; the murderers were atheists or would-be atheists. But they couldn't have gotten as far as they got without the complicity of the people. In this regard, there's a hoary observation that got passed around toward the end of the Soviets: In the USSR, one-third of the population were in the gulag, one-third of the population were informers, and one-third were the police.

  • Ghostwriter

    Well,DeShawn,Stalin planned to get rid of Jews in the Soviet Union but was only stopped because he died before he could do so. Besides,the Communists clamped down on ALL religions,Judaism included.

  • mburu

    SADLY there is little general awareness that zionists living in america are more loyal to israel and the jewish communities worldwide than to the U.S. itself…………………..

    • Kufar Dawg

      How do you know? Or is this just an aspect of the psychopathy of islam, where proof doesn't matter as much as the antisemitic vomit found in the holy texts of Islam?

  • mburu

    "………..THE long-overdue process of education about the true totalitarian nature of ZIONIST ideology is needed in the WEST & WORLDWIDE if humanity is to taaste peace and prosperity!!

  • mburu

    FICTION: "…………….that terrorists’ actions are entirely in line with the dictates of islam .

    islam does not accept targetting non-combatants or non-military targets in a war. bring proof if you think otherwise

    FACT: zionist rabbis are on record saying it is kosher to kill women, children and civilians who are nonn-jews…..

    we see the impact of such a worldview everyday in Gaza, west bank, lebanon among other places where the IDF kills civilians with impunity!

    please refer to your copy of the TALMUD or consult your nearest rabbi for confirmation!

  • Kufar Dawg

    The whole concept that the USSR was run by some sort of Jewish cabal is utter BS. The USSR had institutionalized discrimination against Jews. Do you think that Stalin was Jewish?

    • reader

      He does not think anything. He just copies and pastes links to neo-nazi sites – that's all he knows what to do.

  • mburu

    "Jews are fleeing Europe to escape Muslim bullying,………"

    why are jews generally too afraid of dying compared to other people?????????? a faint smell of danger to their lives sends them fleeing. for "safety"

    QURAN 2:96

    "And verily, thou wilt find them (JEWS) the greediest of mankind for worldly life …………….
    (Each) one of them would like to be allowed to live a thousand years.
    But the grant of such life will not save him even a little from (due) punishment.
    And Allâh is All-Seer of what they do."

    • JoJoJams

      Because they love life more than you and yours love death? Because they have been persecuted throughout the millenia because of anti-semites such as yourself, quoting their scriptures as "proof" of the eeevvvillll jeeeeeewwwww!>?? Becasue due to countless pogroms throughout the generations, they know better than to stick around in the midst of corrupt sick people such as yourself? just guessing – But I'm pretty sure that's your answer. And hey! Thanks for showing the racist cr@p found in the koran! Anyone else reading this, if you don't already know, the koran is filled with hundreds of "scripture" just like this, against jews and christians, but mostly against the jew. mad mo was one sick mf and would have been institutionalized in a mental hospital if he were around in this day and age.

  • Ghostwriter

    mburu,your posts are as disgusting and vile as Schlomotion,DeShawn,and our other resident Jew Haters. I wouldn't be surprised if you next quoted "Mein Kampf" or "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."