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Conversion to conservatism
A "red-diaper baby," Horowitz edited the New Left magazine Ramparts from 1969 to 1975. He subsequently renounced his leftist past and became a neoconservative.
He made a bit of a name for himself in the '90s with a memoir, entitled Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey, about how his Stalinist parents did everything but skin him alive as a child, how left-wing politics are nothing but a false religion, and how in consequence it is perfectly reasonable to align oneself with the looniest fringe of the Republican Party (usually the screaming lunatic fundamentalists who badger the hell out of women at abortion clinics and otherwise make their positions untenable). His bibliography has a fair share of rants against entitlements, Affirmative Action, and other programs to help the poor.
Horowitz insists his "conversion" was caused by the unsolved murder of Betty Van Patter, an accountant he had recommended to do books for the Black Panthers, who he was aligned with. After Van Patter looked at the ledgers and brought discrepancies to the attention of Panther Chairwoman Elaine Brown, she went missing and her body later was found with her head bashed in on the shore of San Francisco Bay. Horowitz claims the Panthers did it, but there never was a conviction.
Horowitz in action
One of Horowitz's pet peeves has been the long-standing issue of historical reparations for slavery. If his criticism was based on costs or on the fact that no one currently alive was directly involved with slavery in any capacity, he might have gotten away with it. Instead, we got the same logic-twisting that made Booker T. Washington anathema to the Civil Rights movement:
“”The claim for reparations is premised on the false assumption that only whites have benefited from slavery. If slave labor created wealth for Americans, then obviously it has created wealth for black Americans as well, including the descendants of slaves. The GNP of black America is so large that it makes the African-American community the 10th most prosperous "nation" in the world. American blacks on average enjoy per capita incomes in the range of twenty to fifty times that of blacks living in any of the African nations from which they were taken.
In layman's terms: "Slavery made us money and slaves' living conditions were slightly better than what they'd have been otherwise, so you should thank your plantation owners for giving you any wages at all."
David Horowitz Freedom Center
The "David Horowitz Freedom Center" (DHFC) is Horowitz's vanity think tank that exists largely as a vehicle for Horowitz to spread Islamophobia and combat "liberal academia." The DHFC runs a number of projects, most notably publishing the neocon FrontPage Magazine. The magazine, which started out as a more aggressively neoconservative version of The Weekly Standard, but in more recent years has morphed into Stormfront-lite, takes a rabid anti-Islam editorial stance and publishes other miscellaneous wingnuttery by the likes of Ann Coulter, Daniel Pipes, and Melanie Phillips. Its more recent pundits Bruce Bawer, Daniel Greenfield, and Jamie Glazov have dropped any semblance of subtlety and frequently display overt racism and borderline neo-fascism in their screeds. The DHFC runs "Students for Academic Freedom", and Discover the Networks, a site allegedly keeping tabs on the "loony leftists" giving cover to the Jihad Johnnies and other assorted radicals. The DHFC has also taken aboard Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch fame. Spencer's Islamophobia is so virulent that it's too wingnutty even for Dinesh D'Souza!
Academic Bill of Rights
Horowitz has been pushing his deceptively named Academic Bill of Rights (ABOR) for quite some time. In one instance, his McCarthy complex managed to spark an investigation into Pennsylvania's higher education system. However, the investigative committee found that Horowitz's charges were overblown and that he had failed to document the widespread "indoctrination" he claimed existed.
- Horowitz's NewsReal blog.
- Inside Higher Ed's category for Horowitz.
- SourceWatch profile.
- The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle, Southern Poverty Law Center.
- A Most Brilliant Individual, Jacobin.
- Horowitz, David. Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.
- No, seriously.
- DHFC homepage
- FrontPage Mag homepage
- Students for Academic Freedom - About
- Discover the Networks
- Jihad Watch
- D'Souza: Spencer "essentially agrees with bin Laden", Jihad Watch
- Academic Bill of Rights, Students for Academic Freedom
- Who Won the Battle of Pennsyvlania? Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed
- From Bad to Worse for David Horowitz, Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed