View Full Version : The radical passion: a review of David Horowitz's new book

11-22-2013, 02:06 AM
Really worth the read for understanding the Leftist brain. Just a few excerpts.

The radical passion
by Mark Bauerlein

A review of Radicals: Portraits of a Destructive Passion by David Horowitz

...The radical mind is a duplicitous, self-deceiving, willful, and scheming formation, one that exercises enough pull on certain groups and figures and policies in the United States to merit ongoing diagnosis. That’s the assumption underlying Horowitz’s work, indeed, his whole life—that is, once he broke with the left after uncovering a murder committed by Black Panther leaders whom he had theretofore glorified. Radicalism has its political content, he agrees, but it marks a pathological condition as well. If it were only political, it would advocate for a single-payer healthcare system, a more steeply progressive income tax, and other policies expanding state control. People demand those reforms, of course, but they aren’t really radical, for they work through democratic channels to enact them. Genuine radicals target the channels themselves.

To attempt this in a country as free and self-critical as the United States, however, they must distort the reality in front of their eyes and the identity they have constructed over the years. Horowitz alleges that they act and speak in bad faith: that contradictory psychosocial state first analyzed in Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness and illustrated by Horowitz’s subjects time and again. Radicals tenders five of them in in-depth portraits (Christopher Hitchens, Bettina Aptheker, Cornel West, Susan Lydon, Saul Alinsky), and dedicates another chapter on three female “bombers” (Kathy Boudin, Linda Evans, Susan Rosenberg: the latter two were released from prison when President Clinton commuted their sentences on his last day in office, while Boudin was paroled in 2003). Each one offers a tale of super-political deeds and writings, but Horowitz zeroes in on something else, not the terrorism, TV appearances, speeches, and theories, but particular occasions, recounted by themselves, in which extraordinary blindness, naiveté, misrepresentation, inconsistency, and other acts of bad faith surface.

Consider this summation by Aptheker of her pedagogy when she started teaching Women’s Studies classes at UC–Santa Cruz:

I redesigned the curriculum and retitled it, “Introduction to Feminism,” making it more overtly political, and taught the class in the context of the Women’s Movement. . . . Teaching became a form of political activism for me, replacing the years of dogged meetings and intrepid organizing with the immediacy of a liberatory practice.

The quotation stands out for its cluelessness. As Horowitz comments, “Nothing remotely academic or scholarly entered her lesson plan.” Aptheker doesn’t seem to realize that the course’s “liberatory” nature applies to herself, but at the cost of open discussion and the independence of her students. Can one imagine raising a whisper of doubt about feminist perspectives with such a teacher? Clearly, any student who ended up in the classroom but didn’t toe the party line would judge it just as “dogged” as the Party meetings of Aptheker’s communist past....