On Tuesday, former Marxist-turned-conservative icon David Horowitz spoke at the Heritage Foundation to mark the launch of what will be a ten-volume compendium of his writings on leftism, The Black Book of the American Left. In his wide-ranging speech, Horowitz described his transition from left to right, and discussed the shortcomings of a conservative movement unwilling to deal with the ugly realities of what the American left represents.
Horowitz began by distinguishing the David Horowitz Freedom Center from other think tanks, instead characterizing it as a “battle tank.” He labeled himself “monomaniacal” in his focus on the left and its relation to communism. “There are hedgehogs and foxes. The foxes know many things. And the hedgehogs know one thing. I am a hedgehog,” he joked.
“My parents called themselves progressives,” Horowitz explained with regard to his communist parents. “The agenda was a Soviet America…the slogan of the communist party in those days was peace, jobs, democracy. Sound familiar?”
That was the theme of Horowitz’s speech as he continued: how the communists had taken over the Democratic Party. “The communist party is the Democratic Party,” Horowitz stated. “In The Great Gatsby, [F. Scott] Fitzgerald describes the rich as people who break things and leave them for others to clean up. That is a wonderful description of the left.” Horowitz, who began as a radical Marxist, said that the modern left had learned stealth from their failures in the 1960s: “The left have learned from the 1960s…we in the 1960s didn’t want to pretend to be Jeffersonian democrats…That’s why we failed in the 1960s. That’s why they’ve succeeded now.”
But the right, Horowitz pointed out, has failed to acknowledge that reality. On Obamacare, for example, Horowitz railed against the language used by the left: “single-payer.” Instead, he said, “it is communism,” pointing out that it was state ownership of the means of production. He added, “The left hate the Constitution because Madison designed it to thwart them.”
Horowitz then analyzed what he claimed were the four features of the leftist mentality. First, he said, the left and right are on opposite sides of the “fundamental divide of the modern age”: the left believes that human beings are inherently good and infinitely malleable, and so can be shaped by proper state guidance. Conservatives, by contrast, believe that human beings are responsible for social problems, and concentrating power in the hands of humans is dangerous.
Second, Horowitz said, the left are characterized by the belief that “history is a forward march.” Obama, Horowitz claimed, is a deep believer in this concept, all the way down to his carpet in the Oval Office, which assures those who enter that the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice. “Leftism is a crypto-religion,” he explained. “They see themselves as a savior. People who believe that redemption will take place in this life and I will be a part of it, that’s Hitler. That’s Mao…That’s the American left.”
Third, Horowitz said that the left was characterized by “alienation from this country… What weakens America is actually good.” Horowitz cited the Obama administration’s eager withdrawal from Iraq as evidence of that proposition: “Obama betrayed every American who gave their life for the people of Iraq.” He also slammed the Obama administration with regard to Benghazi: “Benghazi is the most shameful act in the history of the American presidency.”
Finally, said Horowitz, the American left “lie. And it’s not like politicians spinning…you cannot be a leftist without lying about the most basic strategic facts about who you are.”
Horowitz summed up pessimistically: “We are within reach of a totalitarian state in this country…These are very very dark days for this country.” But, Horowitz held out hope: “there’s been an earthquake on the conservative side since I switched sides…the tea party is the earthquake. The best thing that Republicans can do is stop the fratricide.”