Who I Am

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.” He is author of the newly published book The Great Betrayal (Regnery 2014), which is a chronicle of the Democrats treachery in the war on terror before 9/11 to the death of Osama bin Laden.


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So yes, I am not happy with the state of the Republican Party on this score, but what conservative is? In the interview, I also said that the Republican presidential debates made me ill, but what conservative was happy with the way our candidates tore into each other with ugly personal attacks, or insisted on arguing about contraceptives and theology, while America’s Nero fiddled and the country burned?

Here is the way the Tablet article describes my alleged decline and fall on the right: “In his turn-of-the-21st-century heyday, shortly after publishing Hating Whitey, an assault on affirmative action and race-based quotas—or ‘the anti-white racism of the left’—that preceded his campaign against reparations for slavery, Horowitz appeared on op-ed pages, talk radio, and television nearly every day. (He even wrote a bi-weekly column [5]for the liberal Salon.com.) But in 2012, his books are not just ignored by the New York Times, but by the Weekly Standard and National Review.”

The facts are decidedly different: Even in my “heyday,” I was never on television or talk radio nearly every day and, except for my Salon adventure, I never appeared regularly in any op-ed pages. Salon dropped me when it decided to charge their readers for access. Its editors told me that Salon’s leftwing audience wouldn’t pay for a publication that had a column by me in it. My book Hating Whitey cost me my New York publisher whose editor told me that the Free Press(!) would never publish a book with the title I asked for: “Hating White People Is A Politically Correct Idea.” It is true that the New York Times stopped reviewing my books when I became a conservative. But the Tablet’s claim that today my books are ignored by The Weekly Standard and National Review is just false. My last two books, published in 2011, received laudatory reviews in both magazines.

The half-truth behind the Tablet author’s larger fabrication is that I did tell him that a book I wrote with Ben Johnson, Party of Defeat: How Democrats and Radicals Undermined America’s War on Terror Before and After 9/11, was not reviewed by the conservative press. This was especially troubling to me because its subject was so important and because 18 sitting Republican senators and congressmen, including the ranking members of the armed services, intelligence, and foreign affairs committees recommended the book in a blurb on its cover. But in my view this was because conservatives are generally shy of holding Democrats’ feet to the fire when it comes to issues of patriotism, although their disgraceful, not to say seditious, behavior during the Iraq War certainly would merit such scrutiny.

The other issue falsely raised in the article “David Horowitz Is Homeless,” is the author’s insinuation that I look on the conservative half of my life as a “waste.” This insidious suggestion goes to the heart of the author’s failure to perform on his promise to “[explore] your work’s position at the intersection of autobiography, politics, history, manners, and polemic.” And to do so fairly.

The cause of this failure is that the author is out of his depth, as illustrated by this comment: “One need not subscribe to the lurid pamphlets sold by his Freedom Center to get the sense that Horowitz has sacrificed his intellectual capital to devote himself more fully to the movement.” The pamphlets the Center has published by me and others are indeed polemical, but they are only “lurid” to someone so far to the left that he cannot handle their intellectual content. Barack Obama’s Rules For Revolution, for example, draws on a lifetime of intellectual study of the left. Yes it is a pamphlet and also a polemic. But that is only the beginning, not the end of the story. While Marx’s famous pamphlet, to take one obvious example, is an insidious and fallacious work, it would never occur to the Tablet author — or to anyone — to suggest that Marx sacrificed his intellectual capital to write The Communist Manifesto just because it is polemical.

There is another kind of intellectual work that I do, which has of late become a preferred vocation of mine, and which is the source of the author’s final and most egregious misrepresentation. In a series of small volumes of which A Point in Time is one, I have attempted to summarize what I have learned about life in my seventy-three years on this earth. I have had to pursue this aspect of my work in between my political tasks – administering the Horowitz Freedom Center, traveling to public speaking engagements, and writing pamphlets and books. I have done so much of this political writing – several million words in all – that I think of these tasks now as part of my “have to do” folder. I perform them to carry on the political work I began long ago, and to which I remain firmly committed. It is the failure to appreciate the disparate nature of the two activities that led the writer to insinuate that I now regard my conservative political work as a waste. Here is the way the caricature “David Horowitz Is Homeless” concludes:

“I came out of the left through a lot of pain and a sense of enormous waste,” Horowitz said. “I was an emotional powder keg. I had gotten to age 35—and I’m a very hard worker, and had written a lot—everything that I had done was a waste.”

This is the part of the story when the apostate sees the light. Horowitz isn’t sure he still does.

“Now that I’m older, I see that it’s all a waste. I gotta live with that.”

In fact, I am sure I still do. That is, I am still sure I see the same light I did when I turned my back on the political left and its malevolent agendas thirty years ago. The waste I experienced as an advocate for a bad cause was a bitter one. I had invested my life’s work in an approach to the world that was false and in a movement that was responsible for great evil. But the philosophical conclusions I have reached in my later years are quite different. I am proud of what I have done for the conservative cause – for individual liberty and economic freedom, and for the defense of our country, which embodies the two.

My late life conclusions are not those of an “apostate” and they are not about politics. They are about life itself. They are a recognition that in the end, we are all going to disappear along with everything we have lived through. The entire world we know will vanish. That is the existential truth that is our burden, and there are two principal ways we deal with it, which is the theme of A Point In Time whose subtitle is, “The Search for Redemption in this Life and the Next.”

Since, for most of us, a life that is empty of meaning is finally unlivable, we all seek a redemption that will make our lives meaningful. And there are two ways that we do this: One way is to put our fate in the hands of a Creator, who will reveal the sense of it all when we have passed through to another side. The other is to invest our lives in a movement to redeem the world we live in through political (or religious) action by seeking to make it a just and holy place. It is this search for an earthly redemption that is what leftism and progressivism are about, and that is the source of the greatest evils of our time. That it is what I have learned in my life, and what my radical detractors are unable to comprehend.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

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  • http://www.maghrebchristians.com Youssef

    Widower returns home from prison to find house taken over, two kids missing.

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  • semus

    I'm sorry -but not surprised- this writer was dishonest in his dealings with Mr. Horowitz and his writings. I'm quite certain he only damaged himself. The only game the left has is fanning the flames of hatred, ignorance, stupidity and greed, Using the tools of Satan -sorry-, lies and half truths.

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