In this bracing essay, David Horowitz calls out the Left for what it is–criminal, racist, and sometimes fascist. David argues that conservatives need to understand the utter bad faith with which the Left conducts itself, and stand up bravely to defend our country from the ravages of the Left.
The crisis currently facing our nation is a crisis of faith – faith in the Constitution that has shaped our destiny, faith in the rule of law, and faith in the principle of equality before the law. The root cause of the lawlessness that is consuming our country is the monopoly of the executive power in Washington by a political party that has fallen under the control of the radical left. This left describes itself as “progressive,” but is focused on the goal of “re-imagining” American institutions and principles, in other words of dismantling the constitutional order that created the prosperity and freedoms that have shaped this country since its beginnings.
Having been born into this political left and then rejected it, I have acquired an intimate perspective on its nature, and the threat it poses to the American future, which is grave. I was raised by Communists who always referred to themselves as “progressives,” and were sworn enemies of America and its institutions, as was I. We saw ourselves as warriors for social justice, acting on the “right side” of history.
We could not have been more mistaken. The “moral arc” of history is not “bent towards justice,” as progressives like to say. If it were, the 20th Century would be the most enlightened instead of the scene of the greatest atrocities and oppressions on human record. Worse yet, for this progressive myth, these atrocities and oppressions were perpetrated by progressives in the name of “social justice.”
The practical achievement of the revolutionaries was the dismantling of whole societies, and their reconstruction as national prisons, and slave labor camps. Supported by progressives everywhere, Communists bankrupted whole continents while killing more than 100 million people – in peacetime – in order to realize their radical schemes. Their atrocities and failures continued until the day they saw their progressive future collapse under its own weight. This failure was entirely predictable because as every similar attempt to “re-imagine society” and change it by force has shown, it is simply beyond the power of human beings to create a “just” world.
Forty years ago, a series of tragic events that I have described in my autobiography, Radical Son, stopped me in my tracks, and caused me to re-evaluate what I had believed until then. These second thoughts turned me against the cause to which I had been devoted since my youth, and which I now saw as a threat to everything human beings hold dear. Most of my generation of radicals, however, chose to continue on their destructive course. Over the next decades I watched the radical movement I was born into infiltrate and then take control of the Democrat Party and the nation’s cultural institutions, until one of its own, Barack Obama, became President of the United States.
From the moment I joined the conservative right forty years ago, I was impressed – and also alarmed – by the disparity in political rhetoric used by the two sides fighting this fateful conflict. My radical comrades and I always viewed these battles as episodes in a war conducted by other means – even as our opponents did not. Our rhetoric proclaimed our goals to be “peace,” “equality” and “social justice.” But this was always a deception. We used terms that demonized our opponents as “racists,” and “oppressors” because we believed our goals could only be achieved by vanquishing our opponents and destroying America’s constitutional order.
The Constitution valorized political compromise and was built on the defense of individual rights – most prominently the right to own property. America’s founders regarded property ownership as the basis of individual freedom. As radicals, we regarded property as the root cause of the evils that oppressed us. Consequently, the principles we operated under were not the same as those we gave lip service to in order to win public support.
The Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky explained our attitude in a famous pamphlet called Their Morals and Ours1. “Their” morals, he denigrated as bourgeois morals. They were morals based on class values that served the oppressors. One can hear the same sophistry today in the left’s attacks on meritocracy and standards as “racist,” and in their demands for equal outcomes regardless of whether they are earned or not.
While “their morals” served a ruling class, “our morals” served the people, and therefore social justice. Because we believed these propositions, “our morals” were by default Machiavellian: The end justifies the means.
Trotsky’s pamphlet was, in fact, a desperate attempt to avoid admitting that there was anything amoral or immoral in this cynical outlook. He did so by denying the existence of moral principles, claiming instead that all morality was self-interested and designed to serve a class interest. “Whoever does not care to return to Moses, Christ or Mohammed,” i.e., to accept universal moral standards, Trotsky argued, “must acknowledge that morality is a product of social development; that there is nothing invariable about it; that it serves social interests; that these interests are contradictory; that morality more than any other form of ideology has a class character.”
But this is just an admission that “our” morals were indeed accurately summarized as, “the end justifies the means.” The future we imagined we were creating was so noble that achieving it justified any means to get there, which included the lies that hid our destructive purposes, and the atrocities they led to.
The full import of this belief was brought home to me in the spring of 1975 when our so-called “anti-war movement” forced America out of Indo-China, allowing the North Vietnamese and Cambodian Communists to win. For more than a decade, we had claimed to care about the people of Indo-China, championed their rights to self-determination and condemned the war as a case of American imperialism and American racism oppressing Asian victims.
By the time America withdrew from the conflict and abandoned its Indo-Chinese allies, I already knew that Communism was a monstrous evil. But I remained a supporter of the “anti-war” cause, and of the rights of the Indo-Chinese to self-determination. To defend the commitments I had made, I deluded myself into believing that self-determination meant the Vietnamese and Cambodians should be able to choose even this evil if they wanted. This was so much sophistry because I knew that the Communists would not give them an inch of space in which to breathe free. The end that justified my position was that I believed America was the world’s arch imperialist power and its defeat was an absolute good.
What I was not prepared for was the moral depths to which the movement I had been part of had sunk. These depths were revealed in the events that followed the Communist victory. When America left Cambodia and Vietnam, the Communists proceeded to slaughter between two and three million peasants who were “politically incorrect” and did not welcome their Communist “solutions.” It was the largest genocide since Hitler’s extermination of the Jews. In Cambodia they killed everyone who wore glasses on the grounds that as readers they would transmit the oppressive ideas of the past and obstruct the Communist future. But there was no resistance to these atrocities from the “anti-war” left.
As the genocidal slaughter proceeded, prominent leftists like Noam Chomsky provided cover for the Communists’ crimes by denying that the atrocities were taking place. More disturbingly, there was not a single demonstration to protest the slaughter by the activists who claimed to be “anti-war” and to care about the Cambodians and Vietnamese. This silence unmasked the true agendas of the movement I had been part of.
My comrades’ abandonment of the peoples they claimed to defend, showed in a definitive manner that the anti-war movement was never “anti-war.” It was anti-American. It wanted America to lose and the Communists to win. Progressives had lied about the nature of their movement and its agendas in order to accomplish their real goal, which was the “fundamental transformation” of America and the creation of a socialist state. I had known this to be the case for many years, but had accepted the lies because they served what I imagined was a noble end. But when the lies led to the embrace of genocide, my eyes were opened to the realization that the movement I had been part of my whole life was evil.
On my way out of the left, I spent several years re-thinking what I had believed, and trying to understand the nature of the cause that I had served. Perhaps, my most profound and certainly most disturbing conclusion was that revolutionaries were by nature – and of necessity – criminals, who would routinely lie and break laws to achieve their ends. Every radical who believed in a “revolution” or a “re-imagining” of society from the ground up, every progressive who believed in a “fundamental transformation” of America as Barack Obama described his own agenda on the eve of his 2008 election, was a criminal waiting to strike.
America’s Constitution includes methods to amend it, and therefore to reform the American social order when and where changes are needed. In making such changes there are procedures to ensure that these changes represent the will of the American people, and are done lawfully. But revolutionaries do not respect a constitutional order created by rich, white men, many of whom were slaveowners. Radicals believe instead that “social justice” requires them to dismantle the social order, and “due process” along with it. Radicals are not “reformers.” In the name of social justice, they refuse to be bound by the laws and procedures that an unjust and oppressive “ruling class” has created. The end justifies the means.
Before President Obama – a constitutional law professor – decided to break America’s immigration laws and grant 800,000 illegals resident status, he admitted to his fellow Americans on twenty-two public occasions that he had no constitutional authority to do so – none. Creating such an amnesty by executive order was illegal and unconstitutional. And he knew it. But he did it anyway because to him and his party, violating the fundamental law of the land was justified because the system that had created the law was oppressive and unjust – racist. In committing this crime against the nation he led, Obama was guided by a radical ideology that justified the illegal means as a victory for “social justice.”
As a former radical I understood how high the stakes had become with Obama’s election. Since the right was defending America’s freedoms while the left was paying lip-service to patriotic pieties but intending nothing less than the destruction of constitutional order, I also understood that the rhetorical disparity between the two factions posed a grave threat to America’s future.
In fighting this cold war, progressives regularly demonize Republicans as racists, white supremacists, insurrectionists, Nazis and traitors. Republicans respond to these reckless attacks by calling Democrats “liberals” and similarly tepid descriptions. For example, they describe Democrats as “soft on crime.” Democrats are not soft on crime. They are pro-crime: Democrat prosecutors have systematically refused to prosecute violent criminals; Democrat mayors and governors have released tens of thousands of violent criminals from America’s prisons, and abolished cash bail so that criminals are back on the streets immediately after their crimes and arrests; Democrat mayors supported the mass violence orchestrated by Black Lives Matter in 220 cities in the summer of 2020, provided bail for arrested felons, de-funded police forces, and instructed law enforcement to stand down in Democrat-run cities, which allowed “protesters” to loot and burn, and criminal mobs to loot and destroy downtown shopping centers.
Democrats regard the criminal riots that took place in the summer of 2020, as social justice. The riots cost $2 billion in property damage, killed scores of people and eventually thousands as their “De-Fund the Police” campaign triggered a record crime wave in America’s major cities. Democrats regard criminal lawlessness and mayhem as understandable responses to what they perceive as “social injustice” – courts and the law be damned. To them, mass lootings are “reparations,” and individual robberies and thefts a socialist redistribution of wealth.2
If you are in a battle of words – which is the nature of political warfare – and you are calling your enemies “liberals,” portraying them as not really understanding the gravity of what they are doing, while they are calling you “white supremacists” and “Nazis,” you are losing the war.
Why are Republicans so self-destructively polite? Why do they fail to see, or to identify their opponents as the criminals they are – or, at least, when they are?
Ever since Donald Trump won the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2016, Democrats have conducted a verbal war against white America. This war has been so effective that Gallup polls show that 61% of Democrats think Republicans are white racists. At the same time the Biden administration has made “Equity” a centerpiece of its policies and programs. “Equity” is a weasel word to cover a socialist agenda. The White House defines “Equity” as privileging select racial groups with government largesse on the basis of skin color – a policy that is racist, inequitable, unconstitutional and illegal.
Even when it is the government doing the redistribution and not street mobs, “social justice” – the policy of equalizing outcomes among politically select groups, regardless of merit, is another name for theft. Redistributing income on the basis of race is not equity, it is racism. Joe Biden is the first overt racist to occupy the White House since Woodrow Wilson – who not coincidently was also a progressive Democrat. Yet Republicans avert their eyes from this anti-American travesty. Why don’t Republicans call Democrats out for their racism?
Over the years I gave a lot of thought to these questions, and eventually I came up with an answer that should have been obvious in the first place. The disparity in rhetorical voltage between the two political parties stems from a fundamental disparity in outlooks, and more importantly in attitudes towards the future. The left’s obvious goal is a “fundamental transformation” of American society.3 Such a transformation, as I have already observed, requires a dismantling of the existing social order. To justify this destruction, the left creates narratives that provide it with ways to condemn and delegitimize the present and its defenders, and justify its criminal agendas.
Today’s left is driven by a Cultural Marxist ideology, which is itself a product of the transformation of America’s universities and schools into one-party training and recruitment centers for the political left. A similar colonization of America’s philanthropic institutions and corporate cultures has taken place enabling this ideology to become a conventional wisdom nationally and the strategic outlook of the Democrat Party.
Cultural Marxism, also known as Critical Race Theory, and also encapsulated in the historical travesty called “The 1619 Project,” has led to a narrative in which America is portrayed as a white supremacist, systemically racist nation since its inception. Cultural Marxists regard the Constitution as a white supremacist document written by slaveowners, and therefore not to be respected. Worse, according to The New York Times editors who sponsored the 1619 Project, its purpose is to demonstrate, “that nearly everything that has made America exceptional grew out of slavery.” This disgraceful slander against an entire people is an American version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which is still used in many parts of the world to justify a genocide of the Jews.
From this script, it is relatively effortless for progressive activists to lift a single negative incident or atrocity from the complex history of the American Republic and frame an indictment of America’s very existence. The script always leads to the same conclusion: America is a society whose institutions are “systemically racist” and must be first demolished, and then “re-imagined” according to the dictates of “social justice.”
Conservatives approach politics from a diametrically opposed perspective. Unlike progressives, conservatives are not wedded to abstract ideologies that imagine a perfect future and use it to delegitimize an imperfect present. Conservatives seek to conserve the values of a remarkable Constitution, whose principles in actual practice have made America the world’s most prosperous, most tolerant and most free nation, and have inspired her to be a beacon of freedom throughout the world.
One consequence of conservatives’ regard for the proven virtues of the U.S. Constitution and the social order it made possible is the very diffidence conservatives and Republicans exhibit in their political battles with progressives. A primary concern of the American founders was the threat of “factions” whose outlooks and agendas did not encompass the well-being of the whole society but merely their own divisive interests and claims. A main theme of America’s founding documents, therefore, is the importance of compromise. The founders regarded attacks on the spirit of compromise as threats to the social order itself. The demonization of opponents by the Democrat Party is therefore anathema – or should be – to anyone who believes in the wisdom of the constitutional order. In other words, conservatives’ instincts are to willfully tie their hands behind their backs in order to support the well-being of the civic whole.
The Electoral College, to take one important example, is an institution the constitutional framers envisaged as a means of forcing compromise between warring political factions. Election by the College instead of the popular vote, compels contending parties to compete in states where they don’t have natural majorities, and therefore need to compromise their agendas to win victories in “battleground” states. But radicals who abhor compromise are determined to abolish the Electoral College, justifying its abolition by smearing it as “racist.”
Another target of their anti-compromising zeal are the filibuster and the United States Senate which they denigrate as “undemocratic.” Of course, the Senate is undemocratic but that’s what the founders intended it to be. By giving lower population states equal senatorial power with higher population states, the founders ensured that the more populous states would not overwhelm the less populous ones and establish a “tyranny of the majority.” America is not a democracy; it is a republic, and that’s what the founders created –– and that’s why individual freedoms have been protected, and Americans have prospered.
The federal system and decentralization of power, vital to the freedoms Americans enjoy, are also instruments of compromise, and also abhorred by progressives who have been busily proposing legislation to federalize elections and police forces, and put them in the hands of a single centralized faction. The Democrats’ campaign to pack the Supreme Court and destroy the independence of the judiciary is yet another attempt to dismantle the constitutional system and consolidate power in the hands of a single faction. Their assaults on the First Amendment are equally sinister attempts to establish a one-party state.
Conservatives and Republicans are reluctant to use terms like “criminal” and “racist” and “fascist” to describe Democrats whose policies are criminal, racist and fascist because to do so would threaten the constitutional principle of compromise, on which civil peace and civil freedoms depend. Well and good, but in the current crisis defenders of America need to find a way to develop a stronger rhetoric, along with a more realistic attitude towards the enemy they are facing, if America is to survive at all. As long as conservatives continue to respect and enforce “due process” – which the Democrats have abandoned – there is no danger that they will follow in the destructive path the Democrats have chosen.
The principal weapon progressives have developed to advance their destructive agendas is race. But in responding to their attacks, Republicans – and conservatives generally – have displayed an unsteady hand. For example, Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell have referred to slavery as “America’s original sin,” in an effort to provide a compromising view. And they have often conceded that America had a regrettable racist past, and wrung their hands over it. Well and good, but to leave it at that does a grave injustice to the American reality. For there never was a moment in American history when there was not a white movement calling for the abolition of slavery and racism, and even willing to lay down their lives for it.
To put this history in a more accurate perspective: America didn’t invent slavery, and accounted for less than one percent of the global slave trade. If slavery is anyone’s “original sin” it is Africa’s, where slavery existed for a thousand years before a white man ever set foot there. Virtually, every slave shipped to America was enslaved by black Africans and sold to Americans at auctions. America’s founding fathers – Washington, Jefferson, Madison – deplored the slave system but saw no way to abolish it immediately without a war with England and the South, which they would have lost. Eventually their heirs did fight a war to free the slaves that cost more American – mainly white lives – than all America’s subsequent wars combined. Every black descendant of slaves in America owes his or her freedom to white Americans like Thomas Jefferson, even though Jefferson was a reluctant slaveowner, or to Abraham Lincoln and the 360,000 Union soldiers who gave their lives to free the slaves.
Is there in all history a comparable example of one race making such a sacrifice to free another? I am unaware of one. No American, mindful of their history, should turn their backs on this record, or bury it in silence, or compromise its truth.
When America’s racial past is viewed as a whole, Americans have no need to be ashamed. People who demand reparations for a slavery they never experienced, should sue the Confederacy, which fought to preserve it. They should not sue the United States government which made such enormous sacrifices to do the right thing. And no American patriots should make apologies for an American past that was shaped by lovers of freedom who set a standard for ending slavery not only in America, but also in the Western Hemisphere, and finally on global scale. For more than 60 years following the Emancipation Proclamation, America joined white Christian powers like Britain and France who sent gunboats throughout their empires to end the global slave trade. They were opposed by brown and black potentates who defended the institution and refused to free their human chattel.4 Black and brown slaveowners still thrive in Africa today.
The fact that these facts have been buried by progressives who control America’s cultural institutions, and who have replaced them with slanders worthy of America’s enemies underscores the enormity of the threat we face. The Democrats are now a national lynch mob. They have spent the last seven years in one attempt after another to destroy a president, whose political signature is “America First,” by libeling him, his supporters and the country they love as “white supremacist” and “systemically racist,” when there is no sound basis for either charge. They have broken precedent, tradition, protocol, and the law, and violated the Constitution to hang Donald Trump and demonize his supporters as “domestic terrorists” and “insurrectionists” – traitors – all in order to advance radical policies that have destroyed America’s borders, triggered record crime waves in American cities, and blown up the best economy in our lifetimes.
To defend our country against these radical destroyers, Americans need to get a firm grip on the facts of their heritage and the realities of their present. In particular they need to understand that America never was a racist nation – even during the brief 20-year period when slavery was legal in the North, and the 76-year period when slavery was legal in the South. Not the alleged “400 years of slavery” as its ignorant and malicious enemies like Al Sharpton maintain.
Slavery in America was an English implant and the extension of an African business. There were 500,000 free blacks in America on the eve of the Civil War. That is inexplicable if America was actually a “white supremacist” nation. The slavery issue only became an issue of racial oppression when Southern slaveowners chose to defend their system in a nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, by arguing that blacks were not. What was distinctly American, however, was the declaration of equality, not the racist defense of slavery by soon to be defeated owners of slaves in the South.
Given the prejudices and bigotries that are endemic to human beings of all races, Americans can be proud of their racial past and its contribution to human freedom. The raw facts are these: Slavery was an inherited system, which Americans abolished in little over a generation. There never was a successful revolt by the slaves themselves. If whites had been as universally racist as leftists maintain, blacks in America would still be slaves, and not the most prosperous, most privileged and free-est blacks in the world today, including all of black Africa and the West Indies.
Above all, conservative, patriotic Americans need to stop compromising the truth to appease their political enemies who want to destroy them and the country they love.
2 I examined the lack of substance to Black Lives Matter’s inflammatory claims of police racism in I Can’t Breathe: How A Racial Hoax Is Killing America. Regnery 2021
3 I have documented the Democrats’ anti-democratic, anti-constitutional efforts to create a one-party state in my books, Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America, Humanix 2019 and The Enemy Within: How A Totalitarian Movement Is Destroying America, Regnery 2021