Last Wednesday evening, May 2nd, the David Horowitz Freedom Center celebrated its 30th anniversary with a star-studded dinner event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Emceed by conservative talk radio show icon Larry Elder, the event featured Elder’s compatriot Dennis Prager, who delivered a wise and entertaining keynote address, and Congressmen Louie Gohmert and Ed Royce as featured speakers. David Horowitz himself addressed the crowd about how the arc of conservatism over the last three decades of the organization’s existence has bent in the Center’s direction, as American conservatives have awakened to the seriousness of the threat from the radical left.
Before an audience of well over 200 supporters, Horowitz, the founder of the Freedom Center (along with his ex-leftist compatriot and friend of more than fifty years, Peter Collier), offered his gratitude to those present: “Thank you for your support for all our efforts to defend our nation – the most free, most tolerant and most inclusive society on earth. Among those in spirit here tonight are more than 150,000 supporters whose generosity makes our work possible.”
Horowitz also thanked Prager, Elder, Gohmert and Royce as early supporters of the Freedom Center and courageous “champions of the struggle to save our nation… The Center’s supporters are like the early Trumpers who have helped to change the face of American politics, giving defenders of individual freedom a fighting chance against the race-gender-sexual orientation collectivists who would destroy it. This is what our mission at the Center has been for all these thirty years.”
Horowitz went on to note that the Freedom Center “never sought to be inside players in Washington or electoral politics generally. The task we set for ourselves was to sharpen the swords of conservatives, to get them to confront the left bluntly and truthfully.”
But initially conservatives weren’t prepared to embrace Horowitz’s combative style. He related how in the year 2000, for example, campaign manager Karl Rove invited him to meet with then-Governor George W. Bush, who was contemplating a run for the presidency. Rove wanted Horowitz to provide Bush and his staff with the insights into the left contained in Horowitz’s and Collier’s book Destructive Generation, which had been required reading for the campaign staff of the first President Bush.
However, Bush and his team found it “impossible to adopt the confrontational – today one might say Trumpian – politics we were proposing. At the same time,” Horowitz told the crowd,
I had a kind of epiphany about the situation. I had just completed a book titled Hating Whitey and Other Progressive Causes. It was so direct in confronting the race threat from the left that one of my board members begged me not to publish it. Race was too much of a third rail in American politics for normal Republicans and conservatives to approach. But that was just the fear the left counted on to silence patriots, while leaving themselves free to carry on their hateful campaigns unopposed. My board member’s concern prompted me to think of the repercussions my book would have on my relations with the White House. I immediately realized that if I published it with this title, there would be no more invitations.
I thought about it for maybe a minute, and decided to go ahead with the book and forget the invitations.
Horowitz realized that the primary weapon progressives would unleash against conservatives and our country would be their racialized identity politics, and that if we lost that fight, “we would lose everything we held dear.” Thus fighting the anti-white racism of the left became the Freedom Center’s mission.
It took the threat of racial divider Barack Obama to wake conservatives up to the danger of the left’s corrosive radicalism, and as they did so, “they began to see the importance of the Freedom Center’s work and came to appreciate the vital nature of its mission.” Thus the Center can legitimately claim to have had a hand in shaping and paving the way for President Donald Trump’s aggressive style of conservatism (although without Trump himself it never could have happened, of course). In his speech Horowitz listed many friends of the Freedom Center who went on to become major players on the Trump team: Mike Pence, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon, Steve Miller, Kellyanne Conway, John Bolton, Sean Spicer, and Sebastian Gorka, among others. “We did not go to the mountain, the mountain came to us,” Horowitz said, “and that’s a good thing for our country, and its future.”
Horowitz closed his remarks by thanking members of the Freedom Center team, including its indefatigable president Michael Finch, FrontPage Mag editor Jamie Glazov, JihadWatch warrior Robert Spencer, and Frontpage Mag writers such as the brilliant Daniel Greenfield, Raymond Ibrahim, Bruce Thornton, and Matthew Vadum, among many others.
The celebration marked three decades of success for the David Horowitz Freedom Center in combating the left, but as Horowitz himself noted at the end of his speech, “the Center’s work is just beginning.”
Check out David Horowitz’s short speech below: