The front page of Frontpage
Election News 37 is here.
Picking my way through the election news blackout on the Right, I stumbled across a couple of items from David Horowitz's Frontpagemag.
The first item is that Radosh is back with a piece at Frontpage. I take this to signify the end of the public "rift" between Radosh and Horowitz, supposedly over Horowitz's alleged support for Donald Trump.
I never believed the rift, or Horowitz's support for Trump, either. A to-the-hilt Bush neocon as late as February 2016, Horowitz made the switch as Trump's GOP primary victory became inevitable, running up his Trump flag at Breitbart by ostentatiously attacking another to-the-hilt Bush neocon Bill Kristol as a "renegade Jew," if you'll pardon the Daily Worker-ese.
My own feeling is that Radosh and Horowitz simply divvied up pro-Trump and Never Trump camps for the duration, each to his own to work as he saw fit. Anyway, that was the effect of the rift, real or not. Now that the Swamp says Trump's time is up, these childhood comrades (they both worked as teens for the Daily Worker) can "reconcile."
I realize the antics of this octogerian pair escape general interest for many reasons. One is that the mission I see them as having been engaged in for their past thirty-five or so years as "ex-Communists" -- holding a narrative-line of defense against the full and complete exposure of the mechanics and engineers of communist subversion in pre-1960s America -- is behind them. (Whether it is behind the rest of us remains to be seen.) That doesn't change the fact that their mid-life switches from communism to anti-communism (?), which powered their "second act" as influencers of the Right about the Left, have been marred by lies and deceptions. This is something I learned the hard way when I came under their toxic disinformation campaign against my book American Betrayal. The lies and deceptions I uncovered as a result make them poor if not suspect witnesses to communism in America. As they have reached and surpassed the emeritus stage, however, their "anti-anti-communist" attitudes, too, have receded from view.
Now for the second item from Frontpage.
It turns out that David Horowitz's idea of a lead story during this post-election crisis is a new preface he wrote for a re-release of his quarter-century old memoir, Radical Son.
Commerce is commerce, of course.
He writes: "Of all the books I have written—and there have been many—Radical Son is the one that has touched the most people, and touched them the most deeply."
You can almost see him blushing at his own praise.
What really caught my eye, though. was this paragraph:
To leave the Left as I did was to turn against human hope and promise, and to join instead the forces of darkness—so my ex-comrades believed. When I was thirty-six years old and publicly announced my departure in an article called “Goodbye to All That,” which I wrote with my friend and political fellow traveler Peter Collier, I lost every friend I had acquired in my life until then, and countless platforms for my work. It was why Whittaker Chambers famously said in Witness that he had left the winning side for the losing side. The “winning” side was the side with the ideas—however delusional and destructive—that people were willing to die for. The promise of an earthly redemption was a hard hope to beat. Armed with such ideas, the radical generation of the Sixties was able to engineer a turning point in America’s political life whose ramifications are still shaking the nation’s political foundations sixty years later.
There's a lot to unpack here, for someone so inclined. Certainly, it is unsettling to see a man saluted for being a thought leader on the Right still quasi-lamenting "delusional and destructive" communism as being "the side with the ideas ... that people were willing to die for."
And what of the "losing" side Horowitz says he joined? In historical context, this was the liberty agenda of Ronald Reagan, which, last time I looked, had plenty of anti-communist ideas. Indeed, kindred political spirits the world over included real anti-communists who were willing and actually dying for these same ideas in totalitarian countries. How odd it is that such an outlook is today saluted as being quintessentially ex-communist -- and on the Right to boot, where, by the way, the aetheistic concept of "earthly redemption" is still likely to be considered Marxist anathema.
Oh, but that's what his ex-comrades believed... OK. I don't really know. I'm still picking up an undercurrent of not so grudging admiration that is not typical of the anti-communist convert.
Like clockwork, too, there he goes again, self-aggrandizing his inner Whittaker Chambers (as if), much to the consternation of the Chambers family, it turns out.
What I really meant to underscore, though, is the line about Horowitz being 36 years old when he changed political lanes. That's a weird one. Born in 1939, Horowitz was, in fact, 46 years old when he wrote his famous "coming out conservative" article with Peter Collier. Whether fuzzyheadedness, typo or lie, the effect of this age change on a reader is to turn Horowitz into more misguided youth in his practically formative thirties than career communist nearing fifty when he publicly announced his arrival on the American Right in January of 1985.
Frankly, the ticket was cheap at the price -- a vote for Ronald Reagan in his 1984 landslide, which looked like this:
Looks less like joining the "losing side" than leaping onto a moving gravy train. I think he set out to try to grab the reins, dispersing old time anti-communists along the way.
Who even follows these things today? Does it matter? I have asked myself these questions on and off for the past six or seven years, ever since I was first forced to pay attention to Radosh and Horowitz because I was under such grievous, slanderous attack from them, and which I had to rebut -- and rebut and rebut. "You poor thing," Stan Evans used to say to me when I picked up the phone in the heat of it. He, too, had come under Radoshian smears, and in the pages of the magazine he helped build from the ground up, National Review, for Blacklisted by History, his magnus opus on Joseph McCarthy, which, in turn, inspired me when I was writing American Betrayal.
The bond that developed between us before Stan died in 2015 would connect me to an anti-communist tradition that has nothing to do with Radosh and Horowitz's.
Which I suppose is why I keep an anti-Red eye on them.