[To order The Black Book of the American Left: Volume 2 — The Progressives, click here.]
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is David Horowitz, the President of the Freedom Center. He is the author of his new 10-volume collection of conservative writings, “The Black Book of the American Left.” Today we will be discussing Volume II: “Progressives.”
We encourage our readers to visit the new website – BlackBookOfTheAmericanLeft.com – which features David Horowitz’s introductions to Volumes 1 and 2 of this series, along with their tables of contents, reviews and interviews with the author.
Frontpage: David Horowitz, welcome to Frontpage Interview and congratulations on your new collection.
Before we get to the specifics of this volume, let’s begin with you telling us a bit about this entire project and your thoughts on its importance.
Horowitz: Thanks Jamie.
We have entered a surreal political landscape where a radical left — a left that supported Communism during the Cold War either directly or under the guise of “anti-anti-Communism” — now occupies the commanding heights of the culture and has redefined the political center. Now radicalism — Marxism and its socialist variants — is referred to by arbitrators of the culture as the political center — liberalism. What was once “centrism” — the liberalism of the Democratic Party in the Kennedy era is now referred to as right-wing extremism. John F. Kennedy now long dead can still be carelessly referred to as a liberal icon thanks to the general amnesia, but Kennedy’s actual politics were identical to those of Ronald Reagan — militant anti-communism, hawkish on defense, for a capital gains tax cut and a balanced budget.
Unfortunately, most conservatives collude with the left, calling them liberals and averting eyes from their truly malicious agendas and intentions. Thus it is obvious to anyone considering the subversion of the IRS and its deployment as an instrument for suppressing conservative political activity — a fundamental assault on democracy — that Obama is behind it. That he not only knew about it, but that he wholeheartedly approved of it and is defending it. The whole thrust of his administration from the beginning has been to eliminate the conservative viewpoint from the policy process. Of course political circumstances at the moment don’t always permit him to succeed, but his agenda is anti-democratic and anti-constitutional — socialist. That is his intention. What he does is not from incompetence but malice.
Not just Republicans but conservatives generally speak of Democrats and progressives as though their intentions were good. They are not. Their intentions are to institute the redistributionist schemes that Madison regarded as wicked and that the Constitution was designed to thwart. They do trumpet these intentions but then the Communists before them presented themselves as “Jeffersonian Democrats” and may have persuaded themselves that they were. Until we get past these pervasive obfuscations, there is no chance of understanding what progressives are about, and there is no defeating them politically. Every conflict between conservatives and progressives follows a familiar pattern. Progressives call conservatives “racists,” “homophobes,” “sexists,” militarists and so forth, or imply that they are in a way that leaves no room for actual doubt. Conservatives, on the other hand, describe their antagonists who are in fact radicals as “liberals” and make efforts to explain to them why their proposals will not work or its consequences will not be what they intended. As though they were being candid in their intentions (Obamacare was never about covering the uninsured — it was about controlling the healthcare system and redistributing wealth.)
The bottom line is this: In our political debates one side condemns the other morally, while the other speaks as though progressives have the best intentions and are just inept a pursuing them. In fact they don’t have good intentions – except in the sense that Lenin and Mao and Hugo Chavez had good intentions in the pursuit of social justice.
If this pattern does not change — if conservatives do not start confronting progressives as who they are — anti-American radicals out to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” as the president blurted out in a rare moment of candor — we are going to lose the political war and this country’s freedoms with it. Period.
I wrote this series of books, “The Black Book of the American Left,” which describes who these people really are, hoping it would be a catalyst for changing the way conservatives understand progressives and talk about them.
FP: This second volume is titled “Progressives.” Tell us about its main themes and how it differs from the first volume.
Horowitz: This volume differs from the first only in that the first, which was called “My Life & Times,” focused on the way events — the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Black Panther murder of Betty Van Patter and the collusion of the entire left in covering up, affected me personally. This second volume is not about my relation to the left so much as it is about the left’s relation to this country which it despises and is relentlessly weakening and subverting.
I should note that there has not been a single comment from the left from progressives, so-called liberals and so-called “mainstream” reviewers — about the first volume which was published months ago or about the project itself — at least not that I am aware of. Progressives are ignoring the book because 1) they don’t want the constituencies they manipulate to know that it exists, and 2) because they can’t handle the truth.
FP: You devote special attention to the continuity between today’s progressives and their communist antecedents. And yet, as you demonstrate, the Left consistently camouflages its true goals — and the true ideology in which those goals are rooted.
Horowitz: Well, among themselves they do acknowledge their continuity with Communism and even Stalinism by honoring its intellectual traditions and celebrating its tools — Angela Davis, Howard Zinn and Herbert Aptheker would be three obvious examples.
A measure of the confusion of our political language can be found on an Amazon page which features a just published book by a fact-challenged academic named Peniel Joseph. The book is a biography of Stokely Carmichael, a black racist who sent the civil rights movement off course even during Martin Luther King’s life and on a path in which another black racist and lynch mob leader, Al Sharpton could become its leading figure. Stokely Carmichael expelled whites from the civil rights movement and pioneered the resurgence of anti-Semitism in the left by supporting the Arab aggression of 1967 and saying that “the only good Zionist is a dead Zionist.” He changed his name to Kwame Toure to honor two African dictators and then became a lackey of Louis Farrakhan spreading his poison on campuses across the country. If you look at the Amazon page you will see a blurb for the book by Harvard professor Charles Ogeltree, a counselor to Democratic presidents, who describes this repellent , destructive individual as “a giant of the civil rights movement and African American history.” He calls Joseph’s book “a vital testament to confirm the place of Kwame Ture, aka Stokely Carmichael, as one of the most powerful voices we have ever produced.” Think about that for a moment and what it reflects on the nature of the civil rights movement today and the political mindset of progressives. Henry Louis Gates and Michael Eric Dyson weigh in with similar statements. The degradation of our political language has gone that far.
The Progressives is one step in the direction of reversing this cultural and political disaster. By showing the real continuities in principles and thought processes between Stalinism and progressivism, and by examining them out in different political contexts, I hope this book will affect the way other conservatives write about their ideological antagonists. If it does, it will make an important contribution to the reform movement that conservatives need to create.
FP: All of this reveals why your online encyclopedia of the Left, DiscovertheNetworks.org (DTN), which you launched in February 2005, poses such a threat to the Left, right?
In the final section of Progressives, “Identifying the Left,” you show how progressives were foaming at the mouth and gnashing their teeth when DTN came into existence – and their fury at this encyclopedia continues to this day.
Shed some light for us on this reflexive rage of progressives when they are confronted by DTN.
Horowitz: Well their rage is sparked when they are confronted with the truth in any dimension: the fact that they are racists; the fact that they are anti-Americans who sympathize with America’s enemies and undermine America’s defenses; the fact that they are anti-Semites and supporters of Islamic Nazis. If you point these things out to leftists (whose self-esteem rests on a view of themselves as advocates of social justice) they will have a meltdown. Discover the Networks.org describes the agendas and activities of the left in a manner that is fair and avoids the name-calling of all the encyclopedia sites created by the left to map the right. Yet the fury with which it was greeted and denounced in February 2005 when it was first introduced was something to behold. That fury, described in Progressives, is itself a lesson about the nature of the left.
FP: You broke ranks with the Left and shed yourself of its fairy tales. A heavy price is paid for this. In one of your essays in the volume, “The Secret Power of the Leftist Faith,” you explore the phenomenon of leaving the political faith in the case of Christopher Hitchens. Share with us what his story says about the Left and its faithful.
Horowitz: As I have explained many times, the left is a religious faith, providing all the personal consolations (and justifications) afforded by authentic religions. Which is why it is so intractable and dangerous. Consequently the shunning of Christopher for his heresies came to me as no surprise. On the other hand, Christopher, in addition to being a very entertaining and interesting man was also a Machiavellian with his eye on the main chance. He was an unrepentant leftist on crucial matters which I have described in an essay called “The Two Christophers,” included in my book Radicals, and he managed to die and be buried in the bosom of the left.
FP: What do you hope this volume will help achieve?
Horowitz: I hope it will stimulate conservatives to think in a new way about progressives, and speak with a new voice.
FP: David Horowitz, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
Don’t miss David Horowitz discussing The Black Book of the American Left in The Glazov Gang’s two-part video series below: