Editor’s note: Below is David Horowitz’s introduction of Alan Dershowitz at the Freedom Center’s 2018 Restoration Weekend. The event was held Nov. 15th-18th at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.
I have admired Alan Dershowitz ever since I picked up a copy of his first book The Best Defense over thirty years ago, and read its opening words. “The difference,” he wrote, between Perry Mason’s clients and mine is that mine are guilty.” And then he explained why it was important to provide the guilty the best defense. It was to keep the prosecution – the government – honest.
Although Alan is a liberal – and he and I would probably disagree over many issues – when you think about it this idea is the bedrock of the conservative outlook. As conservatives, we believe that the root cause of social problems is not “society,” but us – our flawed nature as human beings. The people who are in government have the same impulses to lie, cheat, steel and destroy, as those they are prosecuting. But because they have the power of the state behind them, they are potentially even more dangerous than their targets. And that is why keeping them honest and holding them to the rules, to the process and the law is such a vital task in our democracy. And it is why Alan Dershowitz, a liberal and lifelong Democrat, is such an important figure to our nation in its present political crisis.
It is a tragedy for our nation that the Democratic Party itself is no longer a liberal party, committed to due process and individual rights. It has been taken over by a progressive cohort and ideology, that does not believe the root cause of our social problems is the flawed nature of individuals but instead is the oppressive nature of groups based on race, gender and sexual orientation. The disgraceful witch-hunts of President Donald Trump and Judge Brett Kavanaugh reveal a party that does not believe in due process, or innocent until proven guilty, but is comfortable with guilt by race and gender, and guilt by accusation. If the beliefs that inspire these attitudes prevail our still young republic is over.
That is why I believe Alan Dershowitz is an iconic figure – even the iconic figure – in the battle to preserve this great democracy, and restore its founding principles of equality, fairness, and respect for the rule of law. Alan is both a liberal and a Democrat – the two no longer synonymous. Today he is respected by political conservatives and vilified by progressives as the chief defender of President Trump, who is the target of a seditious attempt by the leaders of Alan’s own party to impeach and overthrow him. So disrespectful of due process are these Democratic leaders that they have constantly invoked the 25th Amendment as grounds for impeachment. This is an amendment that was specifically designed to remove presidents incapacitated by strokes and similar catastrophic events. No one in his right mind can think that Donald Trump, who has accomplished more in his first two years in office than any president in memory, is a stroke victim.
Because Alan is a lifelong Democrat and his community of lifetime friends reflects the progressive currents that have overtaken his Party, he has been shunned and attacked by the circles he moves in. To be Alan Dershowitz requires remarkable courage, integrity, and commitment to principle – and dedication to the ingenious design of the American founders. In this time of national crisis, Alan Dershowitz is an American hero, and a beacon for a hopeful American future. We are deeply honored by his presence at our Weekend.
The way, finally, I see Alan can be summed up in this thought: If the leaders of the Democratic Party were to become liberals like Alan Dershowitz, we would still have a two-party system, but our nation’s crisis would be over, and our democracy restored.