Horowitz on Obama
Subject: David Horowitz now thinks Obama is a radical!
Interviewed by Glenn Beck (youtubes here and here). Horowitz says he expected Obama to be like Clinton and govern slightly left of center. Sheesh!
I feel a Dylan paraphrase coming on:
How many times
Must Horowitz be wrong
Before he is forever banned?
A reader replies:
And him of all people, whose whole formation was breaking away from commies and the left.
Here are just three examples of how wrong he’s been: his seven year long fanatical support for Bush’s democratization policy, his bullying attacks on conservatives for having “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” and his celebration of Obama’s inauguration as the dawn of a new, racially unified America.
And remember, Horowitz is the guy who’s always congratulating himself for his tough-minded political realism.
And for any readers not familiar with David Horowitz, his big “wrong” was of course when he spent ten years as a key figure on the radical left in the 1960s. He woke up from his Marxist delusions, very painfully, at great cost to himself, in a process he called Second Thoughts. a subject he’s written about seven books about, retelling the same story over and over again. But for all his publicly expressed guilt about his past leftism, he never really got out of a basically liberal-left-mindset, and so he keeps making these spectacular mistakes.
His main criticisms of the radical left, and it’s a subject on which he writes with deep understanding and feeling, is the way leftism becomes a religion for its adherents, replacing the real world. But in his post leftist career he still shows that leftist style zealousness, for example, in his uncritical embrace of Bush’s policy. plunging all his energies into such a flawed cause.
I’ve told before how he scotched a debate that his editor, Jamie Glazov, wanted to have with me on the Muslim democracy issue. But there was one moment when Horowitz saw the truth. When the Iraqis voted for a constitution, and it made sharia the ultimate authority in Iraq, Horowitz wrote to me, undisguisedly upset, and said that this was a “disaster.” But he drew no lessons from this. He never returned to the subject. For one moment he had seen that if Muslims have the freedom to choose what system they will live under, they will choose to live under … ISLAMIC LAW. He immediately blocked out that truth and continued his pedal to the metal support for Muslim freedom.
Alex K. writes:
I thought of another example of Horowitz being wrong while reading your post: When Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California in 2003, Horowitz celebrated this as a great renewal of political fortunes for the CA GOP and the right. His reasoning was that Schwarzenegger would be able to fight the far-left legislature by threatening to come to their districts and campaign against them. His star power would actually give him the ability to defeat his well-gerrymandered legislative opponents. And so he could drive through conservative reforms.
Well, even at the time it seemed obvious to me that this was unlikely, if only because Schwarzenegger ran for governor without ever giving any evidence of believing in anything actually conservative. He just simply wanted to be governor and the GOP was the available avenue at the time. Since then we have seen that was true, and also that Schwarzenegger is not able to get his way through star power campaigns either, such as when his (mildly conservative) propositions went down to defeat in 2005.
Jake Jacobsen writes:
You note that: “But for all his publicly expressed guilt about his past leftism, he never really got out of a basically liberal-left mindset, and so he keeps making these spectacular mistakes.”
Here’s my question: of all those who have allegedly “left the Left,” as it were, have any of them actually “left the Left?” Horowitz is a terrific example but pick any Neo-Con, can you think of one that has actually “left the Left” behind? How many of the Neo-Con guys who supported the Iraq war were against illegal immigration? Or had a Pro-US stance on any social issue?
I have a family member who was an active Communist in college who I think genuinely would like to leave his Commie past behind yet somehow he cannot make the mental leap. His mind seems stuck in Communist/Socialist thought patterns which he cannot change.
I also have to wonder if a non-believer can make the jump out of Communism. Needless to say my family member is a proud atheist.
I think we tend to give people the benefit of the doubt when they tell us they’ve “left the Left” behind but perhaps an unregenerate human simply can’t?
I think it is going too far to deny any significant change on the part of ex-leftists. Yes, some degree of residue of their leftist mindset stays with them, and for that reason the conservatives they join should not simply embrace them uncritically, but keep them on parole as it were.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 06, 2009 07:00 PM | Send
At the same time, since modern society is liberal, the overwhelmingly majority of conservatives started out as liberals of one kind or another, so in that sense we’re all on parole. The real test is not a person’s history, but the actual positions he takes. If a person takes genuinely conservative positions, then he’s a conservative; if he take liberal positions, he’s a liberal.
As for Horowitz, I said to him at some point that right-liberals and conservatives have a lot in common, they can work together on various issues they agree on, but that it confuses things for liberals to call themselves conservatives—it undercuts conservatism.
That’s why the concept of right-liberalism is so useful. It marks out a middle ground between leftism and conservatism. If right-liberals like Horowitz would proudly say, “I’m a (right)-liberal, opposed to leftism,” contemporary politics would start to make a lot more sense.