Another Leftist Failure To Either Respect or Understand Its Opponents: Tablet Magazine’s Caricature of Yours Truly

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


Tablet Magazine has posted an article about me which is inaccurate in its very essence.  So that supporters of the Center and of mine won’t be misled by this article, I am posting here the letter I sent to the editors: The Tablet assigned the profile of me to a 24 year old Nation writer and credulous supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Its text is as accurate a portrait of me as the caricature they chose to accompany it (I suspect even Ahmadinejad would get a more respectful treatment from the Tablet editors). I wasted my time with this young man, and am sorry I did. He read a lot of my work, appreciated some of it — in particular Radical Son — but hasn’t a clue as to what the conservative dimension of my life is about, and therefore  who I am. I am not “homeless,” as the title and much of the article implies, or a cynical propagandist as he suggests. There is in fact precious little  in this piece that accurately reflects what I think or even what I have said, that is because the writer has no respect for conservative ideas or thought generally. Aside from the ideas, among the obvious facts he could have checked but didn’t, my Center never occupied a “tony high-rise” let alone on the 12th floor, as the author claims — and never “in downtown L.A. My present staff is not three but fifteen (and my Center far from being in pathetic decline as he also suggests) has three times the budget it did in 2000 and about ten times the following or more (the Alinsky pamphlet I wrote has been read by 2.5 million people but you would never guess it from his description); there is no security guard in our present offices, the Olin Foundation no longer exists, I have 100,000 conservative financial supporters — not three foundations, and so forth. The Center’s pamphlets are only “lurid” to a far left kid who has absolutely no feel or respect for conservative ideas. And this is the main problem with the piece. A serious writer would have tried to understand the connection between the radical half of my life and work, and the conservative one. Instead the conservative Horowitz is merely a caricature, and while a caricature is built around recognizable features of individual it also distorts them beyond recognition. This is exactly what this caricature of text does so that it  misrepresents what I think even when the words it quotes are correct. Liberal commentators have not “learned to tune [me] out” —  for example. They never considered my work (something I foolishly hoped The Tablet would do). Instead they have snatched quotes from blogs I have written or — in the case of this article ads I have published — or titles of public events (like “Islamo-fascism Awareness Week) and used them to aggressively misrepresent what I have stood for and believed, much in the manner of the repulsive illustration which is attached to this text. I could go on but what’s the point? I don’t know of a single conservative magazine that would treat a comparable intellectual on the left as shabbily as the Tablet has treated me in this article.

The Tablet Magazine article can be found here.

  • MikeWood

    Shabby is what you get from the Left. It's basically a mob. Jonathan Haidt has done very interesting research on the different moral universes of conservatives and liberals. Whereas conservatives are able to paint a reasonably accurate picture of liberal perspectives, liberals cannot create a realistic portrait of conservative perspectives. Just as they have done in this piece for the Tablet, they fall back on caricature and gross misrepresentation. Conservatives don't behave in the same way.

  • stevefraser

    Saw you in Mountain View last week….a powerful presentation….Please keep get up the great work.

  • http://WWW.JennyHatch.com Jenny Hatch

    Those of us who know and love you David will not be affected by this piece. It is startling to have it end with the author implying that you believe all of your work to have been a wash. But I have noticed during my own political maturation the need for leftists in my life to loudly point out any change in nuance or tone as evidence that I have turned my back on conservatism and have finally seen the light.

    While annoying it is funny to have those who scream diversity the loudest in our world so upset by real political opposition.

    I sfill check in with Front Page Mag several times a week. It is a must read on my daily news surf around the web.

    Jenny Hatch