Horowitz’s singular pluralism
By Ben Tanosborn
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Sep 7, 2007
I must confess that until mid-April 2003, the only Horowitz that quickly came to mind for me was the notable Russian pianist . . . then dead for 14 years. And his name was Vladimir, definitely not David. But it was an email from one of the many pro-war critics who’d read my assiduous denunciation of Iraq’s invasion and occupation that invited me in sarcastic tones to click on a cyber address (Front Page Magazine) to something which “a David Horowitz” had written.
“Baghdad is liberated. In the days to come let us not forget that if it were not for one man, and one man alone -- George Bush -- the people of Iraq would not be celebrating in the streets and pulling down Saddam’s statues today,” the piece read. That and a whole other accompanying trash one would expect from Ann Coulter doing her littering catwalk, or any graduates of her political modeling agency. So I quickly dismissed it . . . but only until Christmas that year when an ultraconservative client gifted me a copy of “Left Illusions: An Intellectual Odyssey,” authored by none other than David Horowitz. This Horowitz had catapulted from a Marxist-Maoist position in the '60s and early '70s, all 180 degrees to a full-fledged neocon; the type of American political dream story that brings a smile to our politicians’ faces, and warms the hearts of America’s body politic.
David Horowitz found out, after an evolutionary internal political hiatus, that writing on behalf of American capitalism, no matter how predatory or unjust it proves to be, is far more economically rewarding than penning for those foolish ideals he had espoused while at UC Berkeley and the “unenlightened” decade that followed. Now all he has to do is turn the silk lining of his old coat and let the smoothness of the new acquired faith shine through, taking on anything that smacks of the Left, or anarcho-syndicalism in the image of Chomsky, or American blacks who might complain, or what he calls Radical Islam on the book cover and Islamo-Fascism in the text, or his ongoing fight against that entrenched Left in academe warring against his idea of academic freedom.
Although I don’t find Horowitz’ mini-tirades intellectually stimulating, and definitely not challengingly adversarial, I do take a weekly peek at the choreographed war-dance that takes place at frontpagemag.com against us folks who have been ridiculously and merciless branded as America-haters. After all, 2 million daily website visits places this pulpit of neoconservatism at a worldwide rank approaching the 50,000th high-traffic mark among 100-plus million websites. And, had you been visiting the site during the past two years, you would have found his personal blogs directed in great part towards the misgivings of the Left in academe. But heck, that’s to be expected, for what better way to promote his last two books, both dealing with treasonous professors of the Left and his alert virtuosity in the defense of academic freedom, than a reminder of those very dangerous professors led by William Ayers (University of Illinois, Chicago), Peter McLaren (UCLA) or any of the other 101 red-spotted professor-Dalmatians.
In Saturday’s blog, Horowitz decries the invitation by the “intellectually corrupt” Department of Romance Languages at Cornell of Álvaro Garcia Linera, vice president of Bolivia and “God-forgive-us,” a socialist. A non literary-lecture on “Marxism and Indianism” scheduled for September 3 is too racist and fascistic for Mr. Horowitz, who constantly reminds us he’s an advocate for intellectual diversity. Such self-claimed advocacy would indeed be hilariously funny, if it weren’t so pungently obscene.
The most striking part of this convert to Righteousness is precisely that advocacy to what he proclaims as the mission of America’s elementary and secondary schools “to serve American pluralism: to educate a community of citizens who disagree with each other into a common culture of tolerance and respect.” As wonderful as that may sound, it’s important to bear in mind that diversity and pluralism for David Horowitz operate in a political spectrum of just 90 degrees, from the right to the extreme right; all contained in a Right angle of social irresponsibility and lack of social justice.
Whether David Horowitz accepts it or not, present day society is highly unjust not just in the Third World, but all throughout much of the globe, including the US . . . and that the free market, which is by no means free, will not bring social justice, nor will the promotion of philanthropy and charity bring equity and elevate humankind towards ever higher degrees of equality and the adherence to a universal concept of human rights.
There are several paths to social justice, but Horowitz’s choice of singular pluralism is not one of them. At least those professors on the Left he speaks ill of have one of the paths that might get us there . . . if not the only path.
David Horowitz needs to retranslate “e pluribus unum” and relearn what pluralism is.
Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.