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David Horowitz vs. John “None Shall Pass” Gwardino

Posted on April 4 2011 11:00 am
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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I was born to Jehovah’s Witness parents. When I became a teenager, I began to question that worldview. At the age of 17, I disassociated from the religion and went my own way. Over the years which have followed, my paradigm has developed according to newly acquired knowledge and experience. It continues to develop. I hope it never stops developing.

Due to this background, I have a tremendous respect for the humility required to reconsider a publicly established position in light of new evidence. David Horowitz recently did so in a post denouncing nation-building. He expressed well-informed doubts regarding the prospect of democracy in the Middle East.

This prompted a response from former NRB contributor John Guardenao. It takes Horowitz to task for changing his mind.

Intellectuals or eggheads are known to be politically promiscuous, especially in their youth; but anti-Islam militant David Horowitz may have set a new low for political infidelity.


“I allowed myself to get swept up in the Bush-led enthusiasm for a democratic revolution in the Middle East,” Horowitz writes. “But whatever I wrote about the war in support of the democracy agenda, inside I was never a 100% believer in the idea…”

Oh, brother. Is this the best Horowitz can do? The man is 72 years old! Yet he would have us believe that, when he was younger (in his 60s, mind you,) he got seduced by Bush’s enthusiasm for democracy. But now, presumably, he’s older, wiser and less susceptible to romance!

Actually, Horowitz claimed possession of new information which rationally affected his opinion. That’s called critical thinking.

I remained on board until the Beirut spring began to wither and got off when election results in Gaza came in and put a Nazi party into power. That spelled the end of my neo-conservative illusions.

Pretty straight forward, no?

We’re left to wonder what premise Quardiano is promoting here. Is there some value in intransigence? Is there virtue in holding stubbornly to a position only to save face or dodge criticism?

Gardiano goes on to describe how he differs with Horowitz over the prospect of democracy in the Middle East. That’s fine. We can certainly debate the merits of opposing positions. However, debate seems rather pointless when we start from the premise that no amount of evidence will persuade.

Unfortunately, such a premise is not surprising coming from Gwardino. His relationship with NRB ended last year when he refused to produce evidence to support dogmatic claims regarding “moderate Islam.” He clung to his position despite witnesses and reams of evidence to the contrary.

This is the difference between real intellectuals and mere posers. The former are primarily concerned with truth, while the latter are preoccupied with how they are perceived. The priority of truth above image enables one to reconsider their position, while the priority of image above truth motivates self-conscious intransigence. Which is more embarrassing?

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