Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Stupid Liberals And Their Interest In Balance

Marc Steiner is a favorite of ours, for a number of reasons. He's more or less responsible for creating WYPR, our best NPR affiliate round these parts. He's civic minded, smart, and for my money runs one of the best NPR call in shows I've heard. With that in mind, I took a browse over to WYPR today to check the schedule, and nearly blurted out loud:ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME??? David effin' Horowitz is a guest on tomorrow's show. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME?

David Horowitz is a man made famous by once being on the extreme (dilettante) left, and now being on the extreme (chickenshit cry-baby) right. It's a typical journey constantly replayed by extremists who are more in love with their own voices than with constructing a good society(Marvin Olasky, another clueless sociopath, made a similar trek).

He made early splashes in the late civil rights era editing "Ramparts", being a Stalinist and hanging out with the Black Panthers. His writings from that time - pseudo-revolutionary hyperventilations to justify a simple premise - have dated pretty badly. All the dope smoke in the air of California college campuses made it easy to conflate gangsterism with a form of legitimate revolutionary protest. Plus, he was raised as some form of Communist, ergo the attraction to revolution in general.

In 1980 he decided to change sides and announced he'd voted for Reagan. He spent a large part of his time making speeches on college campuses, driving home the usual movement conservative talking points about tenured radicals and the evils of leftist oppression in universities. I think he's trying to protect students against being as dumb as he was. He's been toxic to race relations as well, going on record that certain black students got to college because of "handouts". As recently as last year he published a book laying out the case against slavery reparations.

His new beat is the now tired connection between the "radical left" - as typified by Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton it would seem(RUFNKM????) - and "radical Islam". The basic argument is that if you oppose the war in Iraq, you are in league with the Islamofacist movement. He tenously reasons that if you're against the war, you're a spawn of the 1960's counter-culture that reflexively sides with the enemy. You got that way because of the brainwashing Brave Mr. Horowitz has managed to break through using his unique ability to lurch rightwards. This is, actually, his standard pattern of reasoning on any given topic.

So, why should anyone care what this crank thinks? The only consistency he's shown is that of a political hack, attempting to maintain a position on whatever political vanguard is most profitable this year. His oft-admired "keen intellect" produces obvious truths(civil rights: good, Islamic fanatics: bad) dressed up with so called facts which are either incorrect or don't actually support his argument. Aside from polemics, he has no intellectual legacy(his political "nemesis, Chomsky, has a body of work outside of politics that reaches far beyond linguistics). His is a public life that for all its noise and gyrations should have remained private. We don't need him, we never did. So why do his tantrums matter at all?

Because he's dangerous. He's been floating just outside the mainstream long enough to be considered a respected writer and public intellectual. He gets props from people just for being who he is, and he has part of the national ear. So he gets to be on my favorite radio show and spout off. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME???

Update:If this post appears to have a personal edge to it, that's because there is one. Back in junior high, I had to read back issues of "Ramparts" as part of a class project, and I've never forgiven the horrible prose that wasted two days I could have spent reading William F. Buckley, who, though I disagree with him, is a much better writer.