David Horowitz

From the Pen of David Horowitz: December 2, 2009

Posted on December 2 2009 3:49 am
David Horowitz is the editor-in-chief of NewsReal Blog and FrontPage Magazine. He is the President and CEO of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His most recent book is Reforming Our Universities
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Notwithstanding that the West and her anti-Communist enemies were right all along, Gerda Lerner is still a determined and passionate enemy of America and the West. In the conflict in Iraq it does not matter to her that Saddam Hussein did not even pretend to advance the cause of “social justice” as Stalin did. It just matters that its antagonist was the Great Satan itself.Lerner’s current politics are still based on the irrational hope that the next revolution will turn out differently from the ones that failed.  Even though she can’t identify or describe the utopia of her dreams, she is still convinced that there is a “socially just” system that can replace the capitalist democracies she is determined to destroy. Since her belief in the Soviet Union and in the socialist bloc states never was grounded in reality, there can be little difference between the beliefs that inspire her activities in the present and those that inspired her Stalinist agendas in the past. Or her New Left causes. At the end of a long political life, she is entirely unselfconscious in pledging her allegiance to what she herself concedes is an irrational creed.

This utopian longing – the need for an alternate reality to supply values that are “truly human” and social orders that are “socially just – is the religious wellspring of the Communist left and of its Neo-Communist successor. It underpins their hope for a world informed by these ideals and contempt for the actual world that lacks them. It is the utopian fantasy that inspires in Lerner and her political comrades their otherwise incomprehensible revulsion towards the society they live in. Asked by an interviewer whether she saw any parallels between the Nazism she experienced in her youth and the realities of post-9/11 America, she is as ready as she ever was to conflate the noxious realities of the Hitler dictatorship with democracy in the United States:

“I see many very frightening signs. I see us creating a deviant ‘out-group’ once again. For example, the treatment of the Afghan prisoners, whom we are taking halfway across the world without a trial, without investigation. We are removing them from their homeland, we are putting them in open cages, like animals. It’s horrible. And I think the only reason for doing it is that the government wishes to create this terror group as the new scapegoat for everything that’s wrong with society. It is very dangerous. I also see the automatic, knee-jerk ‘patriotism,’ in quotation marks, in response to the terrorist attacks, and the immediate demand for conformity, so that anyone who questions whether bombing Afghanistan was the proper response will be treated as a traitor. That’s familiar ground, I’ve been there before.”

What has this historian learned from the perverse incarnation of her Communist dreams and their self-implosion? By her own account, almost nothing. “I have called myself a post-Marxist,” she writes (pointedly eschewing the term ex-Marxist). “I came to that stance as soon as I became a feminist. Ever since the late 1950s I believed that the so-called errors of Communist leadership in the Soviet Union were structural and built into the very fabric of Marxist doctrine.” At first, this might seem like the prelude to a systematic revision of her false beliefs. But when Lerner explains her revision, it is evident that it is no such thing: “Basically, I came to the conclusion that Marxist thought was in error in regard to race and ethnicity in its insistence that class subsumed these categories. As for gender, Marxist thought, while giving lip service to the ‘woman question’…reduced patriarchal dominance to economic dominance.” This is the extent of her second thoughts. In other words, Lerner regards the failure of Communism as consisting of a gap in its indictment of capitalism.

Unholy Alliance

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