Tuesday, August 26, 2003

David Horowitz: ultra-left, ultra-right, ultra-hack

The sad, flailing David Horowitz "strikes out" semantically against Joe Conason in Salon's letters section:

Why does it not surprise me that the author of "Big Lies" should turn out to be a Big Liar? Contrary to Joe Conason's latest smear, I have never been an "ultra-leftist." Ever. I have a long publishing record as a leftist, available to Conason and any writer willing to check the facts, that shows that I was a mainstream New Leftist -- anti-Stalinist, anti-Maoist, anti-Weatherman, anti-vanguard party.

OK, fine. But Horowitz himself has talked about working for the Black Panthers, which is hardly the DLC, now is it? In fact, he starts the column in which he tries to cover his butt for his right-wing readership by saying "when I was a college radical and anti-war activist forty years ago..." and then goes on to say how he was really a big "cautious and sober" radical.

Is it just me or do these words not seem to go together? Merriam Webster defines a radical as someone who is extreme or is "of, relating to, or constituting a political group associated with views, practices, and policies of extreme change." And, if you look up "ultra," you'll find it means "going beyond others or beyond due limit" or "extreme."

In other words, Horowitz declares that his own past was "ultra-left" without using those exact words and then calls "Mighty" Joe Conason a "Big Liar" for doing the same.

(Odd that he doesn't argue with Conason's statement that he gives "stark, simple and demagogic" advice.)

Horowitz is playing a ridiculous semantic game which only proves Conason's point: Hacks like David Horowitz don't want a real debate.

Update: I received the following e-mail:

I have absolutely nothing good to say about David Horowitz, but your criticism of his rejection of the term "ultraleft" is ridiculous. "Ultraleft" has a very specific meaning on the left. "Mainstream" radicals define themselves as left; "ultraleft" describes people who, for example during the Vietnam war, marched with banners reading "Victory to the Vietcong" rather than "Stop the war - bring the troops home now!". Ultraleft also describes people like the Weatherman, who lost faith in the ability of the masses to affect change, and instead launched into their own little homegrown guerrilla war band.

I don't KNOW what Horowitz's stance was then, but without other information I'll take him at his word that he was "left", but not "ultraleft."

Right, right, right. But a guy like Horowitz, whose magazine has called The Nation an ultraleft magazine and who, on CNN, called filmmaker Michael Moore an "ultra-left wing, anti-American Leninist," has lost the moral high ground. When students disagreed with him at the University of Delaware, he screeched, "I hope you get anthrax letters in the mail!" He says that Democrats are racist, are members of the "party of sabotage" and that they're carrying on a "war against America." A pissant like this does not get to argue about whether he was "ultra-left" or not. He should either quit shoveling crap into the cultural conscious or should quit crying like a small child at every tiny perceived slight.


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