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From the Pen of David Horowitz: December 23, 2009

Posted on December 23 2009 6:45 am
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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Another of my books, “The Politics of Bad Faith,” was recently published in paperback. It consists of my intellectual framework for rejecting the left, and therefore examines the main political issues confronting my generation — the Cold War, the question of socialism and whether the ideals of the left are implicated in the crimes that have been committed in its name.

As you would expect of such a book, it contains detailed analyses and invites discussion and/or refutation by opponents. It is indicative of the left’s approach to intellectual disagreement that though it has been 15 years since I first published parts of this book, I can’t cite a single attempt by any “progressive” (with one exception) to meet its challenges or engage its arguments. The one exception is the intelligent and reflective review of “The Politics of Bad Faith” in Salon by then-managing editor David Weir. On the other hand, that review (by editorial decision) was a short one and not a point-by-point encounter with the underlying theses of my work.

This silence, which is in effect an effort to pretend that such views don’t exist, contrasts strikingly with the response to writers who have conducted mirror journeys from right to left. Political writers like Michael Lind and David Brock, who offered (quite feeble) explanations for their own political metamorphoses, have not only been welcomed by leftists but critiqued in detail by conservatives, including me.

The appearance of “The Politics of Bad Faith” inspired two reviewer comments on Amazon by individuals who hated it (and me) and gave it a one-star rating (the lowest possible). Their remarks illuminate the way by which hardcore leftists approach ideological critiques of their worldview.

The first of the customer reviewers was a “D. Lamkin” from Burke, Va., who stated: “One of the United States’ many cultural factions is the one Horowitz represents so well — those who would like nothing better than to turn the clock back to that wonderful time in U.S. history when minorities ‘knew their place’ and women were (supposedly) content to tend ‘home and hearth’ while the dominant white male ‘hunted and gathered’ in the U.S. economic marketplace.”

The writer then did allow that despite our mean-spirited, reactionary and racist views, writers like me should at least be tolerated. On the other hand, he argued, if the shoe were on the other foot, “the author of ‘The Politics of Bad Faith’ would not extend the same courtesy to dissenters from his viewpoint” because “that would negate the premises he argues in this book.”

Actually, the premise of my book — not to mention everything I have done in my political life since leaving the left — is precisely the opposite of what “D. Lamkin” claims. Not only do I believe in liberty and freedom of expression, but it is my central argument that all forms of socialism, and all efforts to create conditions of economic equality, are incompatible with liberty and individual rights, and that is why I oppose them. I believe the American Founders created our constitutional covenant with this understanding, and I specifically define conservatism in those terms — as a defense of the constitutional covenant.

The attempt to identify me with a political faction in America that wants to put minorities and women in their place and preserve the dominance of the white male is typical of the way leftists attack those who disagree with them, regardless of what the facts may be. For students of Stalinism, this is known as the tactic of “amalgamation,” as when Trotskyists were lumped by Stalin with fascists and monarchists.

Salon, May 1, 2000

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