Forum

I welcome comments on the Black Book and will reply to as many as I am able. I especially welcome comments from the left which so far has pretended that this critique does not exist. This is a throwback to the Stalinist era, and I hope that there are some leftists with the integrity to attempt to meet an argument rather than stamping it out. I hope all commenters will treat the intellectual issues involved and not resort to name-calling and anti-intellectual rants.

David Horowitz

33 thoughts on “Forum

  1. A POINT IN TIME (Memoirs)

    David,

    I have always thought that music is magical in its ability to bypass the intellect and drive straight through to the emotions. Poetry seems to be a type of synthesis of prose and musicality involving cadence, rhythm and mellifluous sounds. A Point in Time volleyed back and forth, engaging the intellect and then lulling into a poetic, contemplative calm.

    In addition to the lively intellectuality and the poetic transcendence, there was for me a haunting resonance born of familiarity. Although I had read Marcus Aurelius, I had not encountered, “Is it possible that shameless men should not be in the world? It is not possible. Do not, then, require what is impossible.” As I read this I remembered learning very late, in my early forties, that unrealistic expectations of others are a road to discontent. More importantly, at some point I learned that unrealistic expectations stunt the acquisition of empathy.

    Regarding the conclusions of Ivan Karamazov about the absence of God removing the constraints of morality I thought about a demonstration of that principle in a wonderful book by James Morrow called Towing Jehovah. So for me that theme was driven home by a writer, not an author. I likely was not ready for Dostoyevsky as a teenager.

    And this remarkable passage- “A God who becomes human and suffers in the flesh to redeem human sins is one thing; ordinary human beings acting as gods to purge others is quite another.” I can read that ten times and am still transfixed by the elegance of the phrasing and the intellectual suppleness demonstrating false analogies based on the inverse of a concept. I had noticed this phenomenon occasionally in economics; e.g., it is a virtue that the ninety percent of people at the top decide to support the ten percent of people at the bottom; having the ninety percent of people at the bottom decide that the ten percent of people at the top must support them is quite another.

    That “skin in the game” distinction is very important. I just never thought about it in metaphysics or theology until A Point in Time.

    Your inquiry concerning the corruption of our nature reminded of my struggle with that same issue in my early thirties. I came to the belief that our nature is tragic. In my opinion the source of man’s tragic nature is the inevitable losses and the increasing awareness of those losses as we live our lives. When I was forty two I had a family portrait created. The scene in front of a lighted fireplace included my first wife, our two sons, our dog at my feet and our cat in my wife’s lap. Imbued into the brick walls were barely discernible images of our past cat and dog, so faint one had to look for them intentionally to find them. Our first gifts to each other were on the mantle. And when I had travelled to Spain in my twenties I bought a hand painted ceramic pitcher that I carted all over the continent before coming home. When three years later I started dating the woman in this portrait we discovered that she had bought a similar pitcher from the same Spanish ceramics vendor in Toledo, Spain. The two pitchers were in the portrait. Underneath the portrait I had a brass plaque engraved, Hinc Illae Lacrimae, Latin for Hence These Tears. Love, family, pets, comfort from the elements, beauty- all of it will be lost. We have financial setbacks, lose friendships, lose loved ones, lose our health as we age and eventually lose our lives. The more we have, the more we inevitably lose. If we are very lucky we lose very much. That is the tragedy of the human condition.

    Mozart’s letter to his father- “I never lie down in bed without thinking that I may not live to see the next day.” I grew up reciting daily The Lord’s Prayer in grade school. After the salutation, the very first thing petitioned for is, “Give us this day.” It could very well have stopped there. All prior days led to this day. All future days derive from this day. This day underlies everything when we ask God for it.

    You are left to ask impossible questions, and receive no answers- That was my experience until I was forty. It is impossible to describe my transition except to say that God tapped me on the shoulder and I was certain.

    A violent rebuke to every parental instinct- My parents buried my sister when she was eight years old and then buried my older brother when he was thirty two and then buried my younger brother’s two daughters at one and four. I think I understand to the degree it can be understood, which is hardly at all.

    An urban life now nested in a rural setting- Jewish and raised in the depression on the streets of New York City, my mother and father were mystified when I bought a one hundred and thirty five acre ranch in the Texas hill country. Perhaps I was balancing a family ledger one generation later in choosing so pastoral a life. Before his death and before I built my dream home there I brought my dad to share with him the exquisitely beautiful two thirds mile of creek carved out of limestone cliffs thousands of years ago. He turned to me completely baffled and said, “How are you going to get rid of all that water?” I miss him every time I think of such stories.

    Towards the end of the book- “It is not that this work is important”- I should probably mention that I am the world’s foremost expert on what is important to me.

    It is a remarkable book.

    Carl Lasner

  2. Mr Horowitz:

    I just finished re-reading parts of your biography which came out in the late 70s. Now, as a person of the “Dissent” Left (moderate radicals, I call us, who agree with a few of your present positions beleive it or not), I basically, of course, can`t take most of your conservative nonsense seriously.But unlike more moderate Republicans, you are not only mostly wrong in your value system , you are also psychologicaly delusional. Take , for instance, this statement by you from the intro to the book for which you have added this comment section. You actually write about Obama`s ” systematic efforts to dismantle America’s constitutional system and disarm us before our enemies “. Excuse me? “dismantle America`s constitutional system”? “disarm us before our enemies”? That`s plain crazy. Yet, you and the others on your website write stuff like that constantly, which is very weird. Obama is just a left centrist working within your Constitution, at the head of a massive military which no one would dare challenge. Yet, he is disarming, you say? You don`t get it, do you?Even a prominent Canadian conservative columnist, Jonathan Kay, once wrote me that he too thought you were too extreme and an embarassment to The Cause.

    It seems to me that you have gone through a kind of strange ideological swing in your life from one extreme to another, just like Mussolini (with the caveat here that you are no fascist, but nevertheless gladly applauded Reagen`s collaboration with many ex-National Guard torturers and fascists to oust Communists in Nicaragua and El Salvador, the latter being obviously the lesser evil).

    That`s all I have to say. It`s not worth expending more energy dealing with hard-bitten delusional conservatives..although I must add one last thing: I found many of the more lucid passages in your biography most interesting, especially about the Panthers (pretty clearly partly thugs), bout your personal life and pychological turmoil.. a turmoil somewhat still manifest indirectly by your strange delusions.

    Marco

    1. Dear Marco,

      Thank you for taking the time to post a comment. You pretend to want to engage in an intellectual dialogue but can’t help yourself when it comes to revealing that all you really want to do is insult me — “crazy,” “delusional,” “waste of energy,” “nonsense.” If you stick around for the rest of my reply you may learn what real intellectual work is like.

      Through the fog of all your insults, you do formulate one thought, which I will address. ‘You actually write about Obama`s ” systematic efforts to dismantle America’s constitutional system and disarm us before our enemies “. Excuse me? “dismantle America`s constitutional system”? “disarm us before our enemies”? That`s plain crazy.’

      You have picked a very bad week to make a statement like this. Obama has just authorized a prisoner exchange in which he has traded 5 top-level Taliban terrorists for one U.S. army deserter. In doing so he has broken a law only recently enacted which requires the executive branch to notify Congress one month before exchanging or releasing Guantanamo prisoners. This law was enacted because so many Guantanamo inmates have been released only to return to the battlefield and kill more Americans. In other words this news item of the week is evidence to support both the statements I made which you dismiss as “plain crazy” — Obama’s contempt for the law and his intentions to “disarm us before our enemies.”

      Andrew McCarthy former U.S. prosecutor of the Blind Sheik has just written a fine book called Faithless Execution, a title taken from the constitutional obligation of the President to “faithfully execute the law”. It is one among a library shelf of books and articles, some written by liberals like Jonathan Turley, documenting Obama’s systematic dismantling of the constitutional framework. A similar library shelf documents his determination to disarm us before our enemies.

      You don’t even get Obama’s political character right. You call him a leftist centrist whatever that could possibly mean. As Stanley Kurtz has documented in a 500-page book, “Radical-in-Chief,” Obama is an Alinsky radical and his entire political career including ramming through a bill to socialize one-sixth of the American economy is proof of that.

      I’m not going to call you crazy. What you are is lazy. And that includes your readiness to smear and defame people rather than deal with their arguments, which you obviously can’t handle.

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