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From the Pen of David Horowitz: October 21, 2009

October 21, 2009

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What are the tenets of the neo-Stalinist faith that has so unexpectedly resurfaced in American letters in the 1980s? Basically there are two. The first—that Communists were peace-loving, do-gooding, civil-rights activists and American patriots; the second—that they were innocent victims of a fascist America. Carl has it down pat. Citing his father’s judgment that, “[McCarthyism] was a reign of terror,” Carl writes: “I have never heard my father talk like that, have never known him to reach for a cliché. But this was no cliché.”

No, it was not a cliché; it is a lie. No, Carl, there was no reign of terror—at least not in the way that phrase is understood to apply to the Stalinist world out of which our families both came and where it means blood in the gutters. My mother, for example, elected to take an early “disability” retirement from the New York school system rather than answer questions about her membership in the Party. But with the help of Party friends and liberal sympathizers she immediately went on to other more lucrative careers. Your father became a small-time entrepreneur and you got a job (through his personal connections) as a reporter at the Washington Star. When, later, you were at the Washington Post and about to help topple a sitting president, you went to managing editor Ben Bradlee to reveal the terrible secret about your parents’ Communist past, and what did he do? Remove you from the case? No, in anti-Communist, paranoid America — home of the reign of terror — the editor of the most politically powerful media organ in the nation told you to get on with the job of removing a President in the middle of an anti-Communist war. And what did you learn from that experience? Exactly nothing.

— “Carl Bernstein’s Communist Problem and Mine” from Left Illusions

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39 Comments
  1. Wayne permalink
    October 21, 2009 8:25 am

    Before there was a Soviet Union there were Americans of power and influence who were sympathetic to socialism. It may have been imported into America from Britain in the form of Fabian socialism. It was backed by the committed intellectual ideologues like George Bernard Shaw, so why wouldn’t it become popular in the upper echelons of American intellectual elites? Not that they openly advocated violent overthrow of the system, but they did advocate an organized undermining of the system, not from the top down, but from the bottom up. Acting locally to infiltrate smaller local groups and expanding into larger organizations, eventually into education and politics, their influence in effecting change from freedom to statism is more evident today, since they’ve been at it for so long.

    But even Shaw, himself, was an ardent supporter of Stalin. He knew what Stalin was doing with the purges and manufactured famines but he denied it. It should be no surprise today that so many thousands of flowers are blooming in the socialist garden, since they’ve successfully infiltrated from the most mundane local horticultural societies up to the most powerful offices in most countries of the world — and obviously the American Presidency today.

  2. Robert Wargas permalink
    October 21, 2009 9:19 am

    Was it Doris Lessing who said that if one doesn’t believe in God they believe in communism?

    • October 21, 2009 9:27 am

      David Horowitz and myself are both agnostics. Does that mean that we believe in communism?

      • Robert Wargas permalink
        October 21, 2009 11:20 am

        No it doesn’t, David. I was making a point that communism is very religious in its fanaticism, and that it is often a f secular substitute for a religion.

        I am an agnostic, too, as well as a conservative libertarian.

        • Robert Wargas permalink
          October 21, 2009 11:46 am

          David: I stumbled across your conservatives-as-chesspieces article and I enjoyed it very much. Have you theorized yet who represents the other pieces?

          • October 21, 2009 11:53 am

            Thanks for reading my piece!

            I’m leaning toward saying that Generation Y conservatives such as myself are akin to Knights. I can’t think of who else might fit. So it basically breaks down like this:

            King = American Idea
            Queen = Ann Coulter (and perhaps others as well who combine the rook and the bishop, I just hesitate to call men “Queens.”)
            Rook = Talk radio and Fox News type figures, aggressive conservatives, “popular” conservative figures with broad reach.
            Bishop = Conservative intellectuals and more moderate, less-high volume figures
            Knight = Generation Y conservatives and others who might forge a more unusual conservative tradition/approach.
            Pawns = I hesitate to call anyone a “pawn” since it seems kind of demeaning but theoretically the blogosphere would fit in here.

            The thing to note with my analysis/metaphor is that I’m only really talking about media and the intellectual movement. Politicians don’t fit into this schema.

            What do you think?

            • Robert Wargas permalink
              October 21, 2009 12:08 pm

              I have to get back to you on the Ann Coulter choice. I think it’s definitely a good one but I feel like we may be missing someone. Ann is a wonderful blend of intellect, fearlessness, and wit. But is she the most powerful piece on the board? Perhaps.

              Rooks: Definitely Fox News and talk radio. These are the more populist-type conservatives, blue-collar/non-academic types like Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck. They’re blunt and have a blitzkrieg approach to fighting the left–head-on and no fear. The rooks will always be the ones that the left hates the most.

              Bishops: Definitely conservative intellectuals. George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, Jonah Goldberg, et al. I woudl include David Horowitz in this category, too, though I think David is the perfect blend of bishop and rook. He’s a more hard-hitting intellectual. I’m not sure about putting moderates in this category, though. I think guys like David Brooks have largely lost their appeal among conservatives. But they’re still valuable.

              Knights: Young conservatives like you and me (I’m only 24). Knights have a more libertarian bent. Less emphasis on tradition and religion and more emphasis on the skeptical conservatism of the Founders.

              Pawns: bloggers, Tea Partyers, etc. This should not be an offensive term but one that signifies the people on the front lines.

        • October 21, 2009 11:46 am

          Glad we’re on the same page then. 🙂

  3. Robert Wargas permalink
    October 21, 2009 9:20 am

    It’s sad that McCarthy is considered more evil than Stalin in the world of the cultural Left.

  4. Anthony Damato permalink
    October 21, 2009 2:03 pm

    Mr. Swindle,

    Without the full context of the above excerpts, it is often a bit difficult to follow and understand them. It was not immediately clear to me that this was from one of Mr. Horowitz’s books, “Left Illusions”.

    Having taken a moment to confirm my immediate notion that the above passage referenced Watergate and Carl Bernstein who was instrumental in digging up details leading to President Nixon’s resignation, I now understand, I think, the point Mr. Horowitz is making here regarding the left by way of the McCarthy hearings, Watergate, and the liberal establishment

    It seems the point is that the left is immersed in their quasi-religious faith to such an extent, having absorbed the numerous big lies, e.g., McCarthy’s reign of terror, that they have truly earned the title, “fellow Travelers”. They act in solidarity with socialist ideology, have an agenda that is based on false impressions and a skewed reality set – and they dangerously, recklessly exercise power at every level.

    What is it that they want? What is their real objective and what is it about America that has apparently convinced them long ago to seek its eventual fall and recreation? Their movement historically ran counter to the American zeitgeist, but once gaining momentum and influence in about the 1960’s, it eventually overtook and supplanted it. Of course their weltanshauung has always been worldwide communism and America, until now was the greatest impediment to that evil objective.

    But power for power’s sake doesn’t explain why and thats what I do not understand. Is it “hate”, is it god-like power over humanity, is it an actual concern for humanity, that leftists, and their comrades thus far have shown startling “contradictions” in demonstrating?

    Where did it come from? It would seem at first glance to be a strategy straight from the Frankfurt School of Cultural Marxism. We see the effects of these powerful ideas played out on every campus in America. The infiltration and subversion of everything from the church to the schools, to the very heart of the government of the United States is getting harder to deny. McCarthy wasn’t lying, as KGB files have proved and their relentless onslaught is proving lethal to the substance of America as we’ve known it.

    The objective must be a form of power, but they are the elites, as Bradlee and Bernstein in this excerpt demonstrates, with a lot of power already. So it must be more than that, a higher belief in something that leads to what? Using communist principles effects the journey, but what is the final destination of these fellow travelers? The demise of Western Civilization perhaps, because that is where it all is leading. But Why? What do thy want, and who are they really?

    A fanatical cadre of leftist believer elites and their swooning legions of “useful idiots” are a real danger that did not disappear with the fall of the Berlin Wall. They now seemed poised to deliver the coup de grace to our form of government, whose own laws they used like evil genuises to subdue the will of that nation and physically transformed America’s culture, demographics and destiny to fulfill their mysterious vision. But it wasn’t a bloodless coup, as any examination of the social disorder they created indicates anywhere its tried.

    Horror. What monster can we to expect once the left finally rips the mask off and reveals itself on a global scale?

    Regarding your reply to the poster who wrote “…if one doesn’t believe in God they believe in communism?”. You replied “David Horowitz and myself are both agnostics. Does that mean that we believe in communism?”.

    An agnostic, can be a theist or an atheist, their view is that the reality of the deity is unknown or unknowable. Are you saying you both are outright agnostic atheists (do not believe) or agnostic theists (faith) just to be on the safe side?

    Regards

    • Robert Wargas permalink
      October 21, 2009 2:34 pm

      I can only speak for myself, but agnostic conservatives like me stress that our conservatism is not based on religion or Christianity. Often you’ll hear conservatives (mostly social conservatives like Sean Hannity or Pat Buchanan) constantly reference God and faith as the spiritual and moral basis for their conservatism.

      I do not do this. Nor, it seems, do David Swindle and David Horowitz. Instead of rooting my conservatism morally in Christianity (e.g, “conservatism is right because it’s in accordance with Christian doctrine), I root it in a belief in individualism. I hold a very skeptical, Hayekian view of man as being extremely imperfect. Thus, I don’t believe in the ability of third-parties to make decisions for others and plan large societies.

      My own personal agnosticism leans toward deism. I dislike organized religion for various reasons. I have no idea whether a deity exists or not, and I largely don’t care either, but if one does exist I think He would be the hands-off, absentee landlord type.

      • October 21, 2009 3:05 pm

        Robert,
        You’ve found your political home. Please do stick around. I think you’ll like our approach here at the Freedom Center.

        Feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments.

        DavidSwindle AT Gmail Dot Com

        -D

        • Robert Wargas permalink
          October 21, 2009 6:07 pm

          Thanks, David!

          I’ve covered politics as a freelance journalist so I’ve been a loyal reader of frontpagemag for a while. I’ve only recently started posting. I’ve also been a huge fan of David Horowitz since I started college. I hope David’s doing well and I hope to meet him someday.

          Even though my username says Robert, feel free to call me Bob.

      • swemson permalink
        October 21, 2009 4:24 pm

        Robert

        When you write:

        Instead of rooting my conservatism morally in Christianity (e.g, “conservatism is right because it’s in accordance with Christian doctrine), I root it in a belief in individualism.

        It’s good to hear someone reference Friedrich von Hayek… It’s been a while since I’ve heard anyone refer to him…

        It sounds like you’ve also read Ayn Rand….

        However you confuse me when you say:

        My own personal agnosticism leans toward deism. I dislike organized religion for various reasons. I have no idea whether a deity exists or not, and I largely don’t care either, but if one does exist I think He would be the hands-off, absentee landlord type.

        If you lean towards deism, what evidence of the existence of a god did you see that makes you “lean” that way ?

        As an atheist, I’ve never seen any evidence of any kind of supernatural being.. If I saw some evidence that there was, even if I felt it was questionable, then I’d have to be an agnostic…..

        If, as you say, you have no idea, & don’t care…. why aren’t those two descriptive terms sufficient ?

        Lot’s of people on the far left are indeed atheists.. but it drives me nuts that the religious zealots always seem to insist that since I’m an atheist, I MUST also be a Marxist… (or some other type of far left collectivist)..

        They also seem to think that the atheist’s position is that “There is no god”.. which is absurd as you can’t prove a negative… All the atheist really says is that he’s never seen any evidence to make him think that a god exists..

        I remember Ms Rand during the question & answer period after one of the lectures at NBI, in reference to Wm. Buckley’s book “God and Man at Yale”, saying that she felt that capitalism in America was doomed to fail because it was built on such a corrupt and irrational foundation.

        (Note: To those who don’t understand the reference, Buckley defended the idea of capitalism on the grounds that all other economic systems were “non-christian”)

        S

        • Anthony Damato permalink
          October 21, 2009 5:10 pm

          Swemson

          “…All the atheist really says is that he’s never seen any evidence to make him think that a god exists..”.

          No. Atheism is usually understood as professing no belief in God. The important part missing from your example is that an atheist sees no evidence AND doesn’t believe in God.

          Generally, an atheist as understood in Western terms does not accept even the possibilty of the existence of the deity.

          • swemson permalink
            October 21, 2009 5:40 pm

            I think your argument is redundant…

            If I’ve seen NO evidence, how could I possibly believe in it ?

            Generally, an atheist as understood in Western terms does not accept even the possibilty of the existence of the deity.

            Some people may think that, but since I can only speak for myself (and I know many others who think as I do) I don’t see the point in saying such a thing… & I think we’re beginning to stray into semantics here… & this happens all the time…

            With believers in the majority, and the way some believers find the idea of atheism being truly incredulous, they often say in effect “How you you possibly NOT believe in a god?” and I reply as follows:

            You’re the one professing the existence of something which by your own admission is invisible and unknowable… so why should it be my responsibility to prove that it DOESN’T exist… ?

            Using words precisely, it makes no sense to say that something couldn’t possibly exist.. especially now, when our most innovative thinkers are talking about concepts like “N-Space” & parallel universes…

            I can say perhaps that it seems like an absurd concept to me.. but specifically what I mean when I say that, is that from within the world that I live in.. the real world, thatI can see, & touch & taste,& hear..etc.. it sure as heck doesn’t appear very likely does it ?

            Think about it this way… A guy walks into a party talking to a little green man on his shoulder… You ask him who the hell he’s talking to and he says he’s talking to his little invisible green friend…

            What’s your first reaction ?

            You’d probably think the guy is totally nuts right ?

            Would you feel like you have to be accepting of the idea of his little green guy, and respect the idea because HE believed it… ?

            I don’t think so.. I’d just think he was nuts….

            That’s the way I see religion…..

            It’s just an old fairy tale or superstition, that many cling to in ever decreasing numbers….

            How is it any different from a child’s belief in santa claus.. ?

            Astrology is a centuries old superstition… how is it any different…. ?

            It’s just a silly old idea for which nothing more than anecdotal evidence exists…

            Point to one tiny bit of empirical evidence and then we’ll have something to talk about…..

            Why is everyone so obsessed with the concept that we even find ourselves arguing the EXACT semantic meaning of the different terms use to describe those who don’t believe….. ?

            Isn’t this entire discussion just a bit ridiculous ?

            • Anthony Damato permalink
              October 21, 2009 11:25 pm

              SWEMSON

              Please don’t let your seemingly ferocious disdain for religion and God cause you to see things, like the little green man, that aren’t there. I did not state my position on the reality of the Allmighty anywhere here.

              Engaging in semantic arguments can be annoying, but a I was pointing out what seemed an incorrect assumption (again) in your thinking. I’m sorry we have to use language and agree on definitions of terms to do that.

              You have every right to accept or not, God, but your points are made with scorn for those who are believers, look at your examples. You cannot prove that God does not exist anymore that you can hide your hubris.

              WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE / Hamlet Act 1. Scene V abt. 1601

              “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
              Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

              • swemson permalink
                October 22, 2009 9:40 am

                You write:

                You have every right to accept or not, God, but your points are made with scorn for those who are believers, look at your examples. You cannot prove that God does not exist anymore that you can hide your hubris.

                You obviously can’t read very well. Just above, I wrote:

                They also seem to think that the atheist’s position is that “There is no god”.. which is absurd as you can’t prove a negative… All the atheist really says is that he’s never seen any evidence to make him think that a god exists..

                I’ve said many times, that the only thing more foolish than trying to prove the existence of supernatural beings, is trying to prove that they don’t… Any cretin understands that you can’t prove the NON-EXISTENCE of something that by its own definition is invisible & unknowable..

                And yes.. I make my points with scorn… because of all the horrors that have been committed throughout history in the name of god…

                And BTW, you make my point when you quote Hamlet…

                Nobody has ever come up with a better piece of evidence that a god exists, than you right there.

                It is indeed a product of fiction !

                • Anthony Damato permalink
                  October 22, 2009 10:33 am

                  I can read very well Mr. Swemson, but your clever arguments do not negate the fact that generally, an atheist does not believe God exists. Within atheism, there is a broad array of reasons WHY God does not exist, and you are saying the same thing I just said.

                  All the “horrors committed throughout history in the name of God”. Gee, I hope for your sake there is no God, blaming him for the actions of his creations bad behaviour is vindictive and foolish, but that is one of the arguments used by atheists as well to reject God. They say the presence of “evil” disproves a God. Old arguments that we will all know the answer to soon enough.

                  About Hamlet, thank you for the compliement, but reducing one of the greatest examples of Western literature to “fiction” is boorish. But since we are on the subject of death, here’s another quote from Hamlet you may enjoy:

                  “Who would fardels bear,
                  To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
                  But that the dread of something after death,
                  The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
                  No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
                  And makes us rather bear those ills we have
                  Than fly to others that we know not of?
                  Thus conscience does make cowards of us all..”

                  • swemson permalink
                    October 22, 2009 10:53 am

                    Anyone who has spent as much time as you have trying to tell an atheist what atheists think and say, and indeed the proper semantic definition of atheism itself is, must be a complete idiot with too much time on his hands….

                    But, you can quote Shakespeare.. which means that you must have some intellect… Hmmmm….

                    The only possible explanation is that you’re just another delusional fool brainwashed by religion…

                    Which means that there’s no point in talking to you any further….

                  • Anthony Damato permalink
                    October 22, 2009 10:31 pm

                    Mr. Swindle,

                    I was not defending you, I was pointing out the tone your friend projects, and we know often a person’s true feelings is exposed through their humour . That was my point. It was not at all too harsh considering his nasty comments insulting my points about my understanding of the definition of “atheism. I was not attacking him for being an atheist, nor do I dislke a person so inclined.

                    I do not think myself a “troll”, I have tried to express my point of view here in a constructive way, but your friend allows his strong belief in atheism to blind any any all criticism no matter how well intentioned, to be branded as “vile, biased, bigoted, small minded”. I can’t help but notice the term stage II spiritual development also batted around as synonymous with bulbonic plague. This is not what one would expect from a self professed “educated” atheist, and libertarian, on a serious weblog devoted to discussing the human condition.

                    Why whould you think, Mr. Swemsen, that I cannot accept the idea that you are educated? I did not say that you are or are not, I do not know you except through what you’ve written and the thing I noticed straight off, was not your atheism, but your outright hostility, especially to another poster who did not share your view of homosexuality. You again attacked her with that awful joke (thank you for the context, even so, it looks awful in writing) from Oscar Levant.

                    I do not think you an avowed leftist, and I don’t know why you think I tried to associate you as such. I never tried to directly communicate anything but a definition of “atheism” we both could understand without all the academic mimbo-jumbo. BTW, I liked your view on Marxism as evil, it proved you are not too far to the left for my taste, so if I’ve come off as intolerant, bigoted or whatever else you brand me, I think you are unfairly reactionary.

                    Finally, Mr. Swemsen, contrary to your opinion, do not loathe atheists. I respect their view. But you clearly do not respect those who even IMPLY a belief in God. I have no enmity, you appear to, as you admitted and it is guttural for you.

                    Please try at least, not to dismiss those who do not share your view as being beneath your level of enlightenment and perhaps then, at least, you can learn a bit how of the “enemy” thinks.

                • Anthony Damato permalink
                  October 22, 2009 11:32 am

                  Yes Mr. Swemsen,

                  You new “conservatives” show once again just how hostile, liberal, relativatistic, illogical and incapable of good faith discussions you really are.

                  You are capable of “fiction” yourself, though not on the sublime level of Shakespere.

                  Your fantasies are more depraved and detailed, like wishing someone “inherits a hotel, and is found dead in every room”. That sounds, forgive my impression, but like it comes from a bitter queen from W 4th St., NYC.

                  Yes, that speaks volumes about you, Consider your words here:

                  “Stop trying to pick apart my words YOUNG fellow.. you’re talking to an older and wiser man you know”

                  In much jest truth be told, you really do think highly about yourself and announce it to the world! That is not wisdom, thats hubris.

                  Who was it that said these words Mr. former Marine?

                  “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. ”

                  Do try to open your mind up a bit sir/madam.

                  • swemson permalink
                    October 22, 2009 5:15 pm

                    You really are a vile little troll aren’t you…?

                    Your fantasies are more depraved and detailed, like wishing someone “inherits a hotel, and is found dead in every room”. That sounds, forgive my impression, but like it comes from a bitter queen from W 4th St., NYC.

                    Actually that line was one of two completely hilarious insults concocted by Oscar Levant… a erudite and funny concert pianist / composer / actor / author from the post WWII entertainment community. He used it first on one of his many appearances on the old Jack Parr show…

                    As to my other remark which has you so bent out of shape… it was directed to my friend David Swindle, and was totally tongue and cheek, as the little smily face indicates.. but by all means, ask David how he interpreted it…

                    Your entire irrational and offensive tirade, and your desperate attempts to educate me as to who and what I am and what I think & believe, comes from one obvious source, and thats the fact that your small and bigoted mind, can’t deal with the fact that I’m an educated atheist, and a libertarian who stands firmly against virtually all of the far left groups and ideologies that you keep trying to identify me with…

                    Go, and continue to attack me if that’s how you get your rocks off… as it apparently does…

                    I don’t care what you think of me…

                    This is a place where people discuss serious ideas… it seems that all you’re interesting in is ridiculing and insulting me because I don’t fit into your preconceived classifications… so on behalf of newsreel, I respectfully suggest that you join in the discourse in a respectful and constructive manner… or just take a hike, and find another place to haunt with your mad ramblings, idiotic comments and insults…

                    Peace !

                  • October 22, 2009 5:41 pm

                    “Stop trying to pick apart my words YOUNG fellow.. you’re talking to an older and wiser man you know”

                    In much jest truth be told, you really do think highly about yourself and announce it to the world! That is not wisdom, thats hubris.”

                    While I appreciate your defense of me Anthony, Swemson is a friend and I took no offense at his comments. They only induced the occasional reaction I have to him when he says such things: (rolls eyes.)

                    Swemson is passionate in his advocacy for his particular brand of atheism. And despite him sometimes going a bit overboard he does have a good heart and an admirable love of country. Engage him as a friend and you’ll get a friend back.

        • Robert Wargas permalink
          October 21, 2009 5:58 pm

          Thanks for your reply.

          You sound like an Objectivist, whose company I usually enjoy thoroughly.

          My spiritual position is strange. I realize there is no cogent evidence for a deity, so when you ask me to provide some as a justification for my muddled pronouncements on agnosticism/deism, I can’t give any. It would seem, then, especially according to Randian-style analysis, that my position is irrational. I would have to agree.

          Which is why I’m a Hayekian. I have intellectual flaws and can’t explain everything perfectly.

          To me, it’s important to define what one means by “God” before a logical discussion can proceed. If by God one means a man who sits in the sky and decides things, I can tell you right now I don’t believe in it. But if by God you mean more of a Spinoza-like “force,” the force of the universe, then I’m willing to talk more about it.

          • swemson permalink
            October 21, 2009 6:53 pm

            I hear you… and what you say shocks me not at all…

            I have, on occasion, seen things which bring me to what I’m pretty sure many would describe as a state of spiritual rapture…. A Van Gogh painting, a Rachmaninoff concerto, A building by Frank Lloyd Wright (not all of them).. and while it thrills me to no end, I’ve NEVER once had an urge to think of it as something caused by a power that’s higher than that of the seemingly limitless potential of the individual human mind at its creative best….

            There’s all sorts of deep questions about the universe that I occasionally wonder about…. & I’m always content after such thoughts, admitting that I have no idea what the answer is…

            I think that when you reduce it down its true core, the urge to attribute things to god, has something to do with the fragility of the human ego, which often has a real problem admitting that it doesn’t know the answers to those kind of questions… So it’s compelled to make something up… a comfortable excuse as it were….

            I fondly remember Oscar Levant in one of his books telling of a man with an EXTREME case of the above.. someone who compulsively needed to know everything first.. He was talking about Arnold Schoenberg, who he studied composition with…

            He wrote that Schoenberg once came to his home while he was watching a basketball game on TV.. He asked Levant what he was watching…. Levant answered, “a basketball game” to which Schoenberg immediately answered “I saw it already”… Of course this was in the days before video tape.. when sports TV was always live…

            We seem to be talking about religion quite a bit here lately, and I’m probably responsible for a good part of that because I’m trying to make some folks on the right aware of the fact that the right, when it talks too much about religious issues in the political arena is alienating some voters who have a healthy fear and /or disgust for the religious zealots on the right who are constantly yammering about issues like gay marriage….

            My motive is simple.. I only want the right to try to do everything it possibly can to insure the defeat of the left in the next few elections which I believe to be so critical to the future freedom & liberty of our grandchildren. I think in the end, those from the religious right who are SO offended by my thesis, will still vote republican, because they’ll know that they have far more to fear from the left if this crap is allowed to keep going.

            And we REALLY must do everything we can if we’re to have a chance to defeat the evil that’s taken over control of our government. It may indeed be too late already but like the old Marine that I am, I just keep fighting on…..

          • October 22, 2009 7:27 am

            “But if by God you mean more of a Spinoza-like “force,” the force of the universe, then I’m willing to talk more about it.”

            That sounds about right. There’s also the Bill Hicks definition to which I’m quite fond:

            “all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves.”

            That’s a mystic’s understanding of God.

    • October 21, 2009 3:01 pm

      I wouldn’t presume to answer for Horowitz. To understand his spiritual views I would recommend his book “The End of Time.” They’re not very easily summarized.

      As for me I have a hard time sticking myself in either category that you provide. I do tend to have an understanding that there is a phenomenon out there that one might call “God.” But I don’t think it bears much resemblance to the theistic “God” that most religious people worship. I recognize the possibility of such a deity’s existence, thus I cannot be a Hitchens/Dawkins “atheist,” however I tend to doubt that one exists. (And if one did, then which version of God might it be? Even within just the Christian tradition there are many to choose from.)

      So spiritually I tend to consider myself something of a mystic and find myself in sympathy to M. Scott Peck’s four stages of spiritual growth model:
      http://www.factnet.org/Stages_Of_Spiritual_Growth.html

      • Anthony Damato permalink
        October 21, 2009 4:46 pm

        M. Scott Peck. Interesting figure. I see he was an accomplished psychiatrist who became a Christian believer after exploring various schools of mysticism.

        Interesting to note his unconventional research into classifying and studying evil. I was surprised to read he actually classified individuals as evil according to criteria he developed and came to believe others to be under the influence of evil spirits.

        He became convinced in the existence of Satan through his research which is astonishing to say the least.

        I don’t think M. Scott Peck would say that the political left is evil, but he might notice certain character disorders consistent with it.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._Scott_Peck#Evil

        According to Peck an evil person[3][2]:

        * Is consistently self deceiving, with the intent of avoiding guilt and maintaining a self image of perfection

        * Deceives others as a consequence of their own self deception

        * Projects his or her evils and sins onto very specific targets (scapegoats) while being apparently normal with everyone else (“their insensitivity toward him was selective” (Peck, 1983/1988[3], p105))

        * Commonly hates with the pretense of love, for the purposes of self deception as much as deception of others

        * Abuses political (emotional) power (“the imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion” (Peck, 1978/1992[2],

        * Maintains a high level of respectability and lies incessantly in order to do so

        * Is consistent in his or her sins. Evil persons are characterized not so much by the magnitude of their sins, but by their consistency (of destructiveness)

        * Is unable to think from the viewpoint of their victim (scapegoat)

        * Has a covert intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury

        • October 21, 2009 5:04 pm

          Peck is indeed an interesting figure. And his writings regarding the problem of human evil are also very compelling. His concepts regarding “People of the Lie,” those in the first stage of spiritual growth, are tremendously illuminating. Once you read up on his writings on the subject it’ll be very easy to identify people stuck in this stage of spiritual growth — and to be cautious when you realize that you’re dealing with one.

          Those on the Left are not by default evil. Some certainly are, but IMHO the majority are not. Evil people embrace political ideas all across the political spectrum, certainly including conservatism.

          • Anthony Damato permalink
            October 21, 2009 5:18 pm

            Yes, evil is a broad spectrum affliction, it can obviously infect many, but as a ideology, could traditional conservatism be considered evil?

            On the other hand, is leftist ideology, the sort Mr. Horowitz was once involved with, rejected, and now battles, evil?

            • October 21, 2009 5:31 pm

              These are interesting questions. Can we regard ideologies as evil?

              Is Marxism evil? Was the New Left evil? Arguments could be made that the ideology and the movement were.

              However, was David Horowitz “evil” when he was leftist? Were many of his colleagues who longed for a better world “evil”? Then it becomes difficult when you put actual people in.

              Is it better to regard “evil” in terms of people or ideas?

              • swemson permalink
                October 21, 2009 5:54 pm

                When David was a leftist… he was merely young, naive & wrong…

                Is communism evil ?

                As an economic system I think it’s merely a flawed system that history has proven several times simply cannot work… probably because it runs contrary to basic human nature…

                As a Politico-Economic system, yes, it IS evil… because each time it’s been implemented, huge numbers of people were slaughtered by TRULY evil individuals, who did what they did solely to satisfy their unquenchable lust for power over men…

                And that pretty much sum’s up what we’re faced with in this country today…

                If our schools weren’t so dominated by leftists, it might be possible to educate a new generation that’s smart enough to understand that There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch !

                TANSTAAFL !

                • Robert Wargas permalink
                  October 21, 2009 6:02 pm

                  Ideologies aren’t necessarily evil. But they are usually wrong. When an ideology gives you an answer for everything, I believe it begins to border on evil, because it will use force and deception to maintain the ideology even in the face of contrary evidence. THAT’s what makes communism evil. It works by setting up specific categories (bourgeoisie, proletariat for orthodox Marxism; victim groups versus white establishment for Frankfurt-style) and puts people into those categories and then proceeds to pass judgment on them a priori.

                • October 22, 2009 7:01 am

                  “When David was a leftist… he was merely young, naive & wrong…”

                  Um… He was a Marxist for the first 40 years of his life… Think it goes beyond being young and naive.

                  • swemson permalink
                    October 22, 2009 10:04 am

                    David;

                    All I was trying to say, was that when he became a Marxist, he was too young, naive to know better and therefore was “wrong” to adopt that way of thinking..

                    When he grew up, he became old enough and wise enough to realize that he had made a mistake, and had the intellectual courage and integrity to admit that he was wrong… many don’t…

                    Many abandon their leftist ideals way before they turn 40… but few of them were as deeply indoctrinated by their parents & their parents friends than David was…

                    Stop trying to pick apart my words YOUNG fellow.. you’re talking to an older and wiser man you know 🙂

              • Anthony Damato permalink
                October 22, 2009 3:48 am

                It seems to go back to he idea of sin.

                If you accept sin as an act opposed to the moral law and divine will, it a function of our imperfect nature. Evil manifests itself in acts, it is not itself an act, but a spiritual energy of some sort that seems to feed on itself.

                Remember Captain Nemo’s view of “hate”:

                Captain Nemo: Do you know the meaning of love, professor?

                Professor Pierre Aronnax, narrator: I believe I do.

                Captain Nemo: What you fail to understand is the power of hate. It can fill the heart as surely as love can.

                Professor Pierre Aronnax, narrator: I’m sorry for you. That’s a bitter substitute.

                Nemo expresses the idea beautifully, he has allowed himself to be consumed with hate, and commits “evil” acts:

                Prof. Pierre Arronax: You also asked me ashore, to show me man’s inhumanity to man. Why? To justify this? You are not only a murderer, you are a hypocrite. The proof lies out there.

                Captain Nemo: You call that murder? Well, I see murder, too. Not on those drowned faces out there, but on the faces of dead thousands! They are the assassins, the dealers in death. I am the avenger!

                People are sinful, but not necessarily evil. Proponents of evil often operate on another plane and use manipulation to lead people towards their evil objectives. In the case of Nemo, I do not think him as “evil”, as he has humanity’s best interests in mind in the end when he destroys the Nautilus to prevent “that accursed nation” from obtaining her secrets.

                Those at the bottom may not be aware that they are being manipulated and controlled by forces with a more sinister motive operating beneath the radar.

                M. Scott Peck thought Satan exists. Many cultures worldwide describe an evil malevolence as a dark spiritual force, virtually all describe what we would call “Satan” as “the great tempter of mankind”, who can not force us to act, but comes to us with a smiling face, or an appealing quality that prompts many to sin. It is no wonder he (it) was described in terms as the “most beautiful” of all the angels.

                • October 22, 2009 7:10 am

                  “It seems to go back to he idea of sin.

                  If you accept sin as an act opposed to the moral law and divine will, it a function of our imperfect nature. Evil manifests itself in acts, it is not itself an act, but a spiritual energy of some sort that seems to feed on itself.”

                  Yes, it seems correct to bring “sin” into the discussion. And it’s important that we understand what “sin” really is.

                  For example, I tend to think it’s fallacious to conceive of “sin” as a violation of some list of rules. Or to look at some commandment in the Bible and say that to act in discord with it is to sin. (Such an approach is characteristic of stage 2 of spiritual growth — those who need a clear set of black and white rules and authoritarian structures to control their lives for them.)

                  In the Old Testament it says that to have sex with a member of the same gender was a criminal offense punishable by death. But who’s the greater “sinner” today, Matthew Shepherd or his murderers?

                  Similarly, many Christian groups throughout history have tried to say that harmless activities — like dancing or playing cards — constitute “sin.”

                  Thus there is no concrete list of what constitutes “sin” and what does not. We can only go effectively on the mystical approach. What is “sin”? “Sin” refers to separation from God. It refers to missing the mark — the mark being a union with God. Thus “sin” is any action or behavior which causes one to retreat into oneself and away from God. This gives a better criteria for determining “sin” IMHO.

                  Of course then I suppose I’d have to get into defining how I view “God” and that’s an even more difficult task. And since I’ve only just woken up I’m not sure I’m up for it yet.

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