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From the Pen of David Horowitz: October 28, 2009

October 28, 2009

david_p

Dear Ralph,

It has been over a decade since this silence as durable as an iron curtain descended between us. In these circumstances, I have had to depend on others to learn how you regard me these days: How, at a recent social gathering, you referred to me as “one of the two tragedies of the New Left” (the other being a former Brecht scholar who now publishes guides to the nude beaches of America); how my apostasy has inflicted an emotional wound, as though in changing my political views and leaving the Left I had personally betrayed you.

I understand this. How could it be otherwise for people like us, for whom politics (despite our claim to be social realists) was less a matter of practical decisions than moral choices? We were partisans of a cause that confirmed our humanity, even as it denied humanity to those who opposed us. To leave such ranks was not a simple matter, like abandoning a misconception or admitting a mistake. It was more like accusing one’s comrades. Like condemning a life.

The Politics of Bad Faith

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8 Comments
  1. October 28, 2009 1:14 am

    We were partisans of a cause that confirmed our humanity, even as it denied humanity to those who opposed us.

    When I first read that some time ago, it suddenly became crystal-clear to me that the left has a real problem with dehumanizing those who oppose their agenda. That’s probably why ad hominem arguments don’t seem to be logically false in Left-o-land.

  2. October 28, 2009 3:22 am

    The sentence quoted by jdamn is what, from now on, I will remember and espouse as the perfect depiction of left wing activists. Thanks for a memorable day.

  3. October 28, 2009 6:33 am

    Rules of the Ideologue:
    Rule 1) I am always right, because I say so!
    Rule 2) In areas of ideological disagreement, see Rule 1!

    Does that about sum up the extreme Left and Right?

    • jac mills permalink
      October 28, 2009 7:53 am

      You bet it does, and admirably.

  4. SanePerson permalink
    October 28, 2009 10:01 am

    It’s like trying to leave a street gang. This former friend (Ralph) is just saying what he has to say. Who knows whether he believes it.

  5. Marylou permalink
    October 28, 2009 4:46 pm

    “It was more like accusing one’s comrades. Like condemning a life.”

    This is the part I have been living. They get so insulted and defensive!! It is really hard to disagree on principle because it is taken so personally and felt so deeply.

    This note to a friend helped me understand why, even though I myself lived through this transformation. I still have not found the words to explain this deep transformation.

  6. Fred Glass permalink
    October 29, 2009 8:51 am

    You wrote: “We were partisans of a cause that confirmed our humanity even as it denied the humanity of those who opposed us”. I take the word -cause- to mean political ideology. Isn’t this the case with all political ideologies to one degree or another; that they elevate the moral stature of the believer & at the same time diminish the stature of the unbeliever.

    • mamapajamas permalink
      October 30, 2009 1:51 pm

      Fred, re: “Isn’t this the case with all political ideologies to one degree or another; that they elevate the moral stature of the believer & at the same time diminish the stature of the unbeliever.”

      Not necessarily. It is completely possible to believe that you are 100% correct while regarding the opposition as merely mistaken. It isn’t necessary to dehumanize your opponent in a political debate, but this has been the tactic– no, the active roadmap– of the left for as long as I can remember (and I’m 60).

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