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America’s Real Racists: Review of “Progressive Racism” by John Perazzo

David Horowitz’s Progressive Racism exposes them, and names them.
By John Perazzo


It’s unlikely that you’ve ever heard of the late Oseola McCarty (1908-99), but David Horowitz will never forget her—nor how her life story served as a testament to the limitless possibilities that are open to all Americans, regardless of race, if they will simply refuse to view themselves as helpless victims of circumstance. McCarty was a black, uneducated, hardworking, longtime cleaning woman from Mississippi, and Horowitz reflects upon her in his new book, Progressive Racism. The author cites McCarty as a flesh-and-blood refutation of the progressive article-of-faith which maintains that because “America is saturated with racism and oppression,” nonwhite minorities “cannot compete unless the system is rigged in their favor.” “A black woman living in the most racist and poorest state in the union (almost half her life under segregation),” writes Horowitz, was able to earn, from her modest wages, “enough money washing other people’s clothes to save $150,000 and give it away”—to a student scholarship program at the University of Southern Mississippi. “If Oseola McCarty can do that, what American black or white cannot?”

Blending McCarty’s life story into a discussion of his own evolution from radical Marxist to conservative, Horowitz writes: “I still believe in the ‘liberation’ of blacks, minorities, and the poor, as I did in the 1960s. Only now I believe in their liberation from the chains of ‘liberalism’ and the welfare state—from permanent dependence on government handouts, from perverse incentives to bear children out of wedlock, from inverted ethics that imply it is better to receive than to give, and worse, to receive without reciprocity or responsibility and above all without work.” Moreover, Horowitz sounds the trumpet for liberation from “the kindness of those who would cripple us with excuses for attitudes and behaviors that can only hold us back and eventually destroy us,” from “the charity of those who would chain us to their benevolence with lifetime handouts,” and from “the compassion of saviors who secretly despise us, who think we cannot compete on our merits or live up to the moral standards they expect of themselves.” His book is, in short, a clarion call for the rejection of progressive racism and, as a former U.S. president once phrased it, “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

Throughout Progressive Racism, Horowitz dissects the mind of the left and lays it bare for all to see. He reminds us that while “few people outside the halls of academia may think of themselves as Marxists” or pursuers of socialist utopias, “the old socialist left is alive and powerful”—though camouflaged “behind protective labels like ‘populist,’ ‘progressive’ and even ‘liberal’.” He explains that the “contemporary leftist faith” is, like Marxism, centered around the belief that “oppressive ‘alien powers’ (as Marx referred to them)” are the corrupt and illegitimate rulers of any non-socialist society. This accounts for the left’s obsessive and relentless need to portray America as a battleground where noble, morally pure victims must constantly defend themselves against the depredations of a greedy, power-hungry “trinity of oppressors: a class-race-and-gender caste.” And Horowitz warns us that for the left, the promotion of this worldview is not merely a topic for polite conversation or spirited debate. Rather, it is all-out war—“class war”—where society’s “victim” groups are assured that a utopian “world without chains” awaits them at the end of the battle.

Horowitz, who understands the mind of the left as well as anyone alive, explains that the left’s professed desire to “level the playing field” is simply a devious effort to present the ideal of “Marx’s classless society” in “politically palatable terms”; that for the left, “real” equality means not equal opportunity or equal treatment before the law, but rather, “equality of results—which is the communist ideal.” In this model, says Horowitz, inequalities in any sphere of life—income, school grades, standardized test scores, college graduation rates, incarceration rates, unemployment rates, etc.—are condemned as prima facie evidence of “the persistence of covert prejudice” or “institutional racism,” which is “the contemporary left’s version of Marx’s alien power.” And of course, the left’s response to these inequalities is always the same: to mandate an ever-growing array of race-based double standards designed to offset—under benign labels like “affirmative action” and “social justice”—the unfairness that supposedly creates inequality in all its forms. But as history has shown us not only in the U.S. but around the world, such double standards serve only to transform molehills of injustice and grievance into mighty mountains of the same.

Spitting in the eye of the race-grievance industry that the civil-rights movement has pathetically devolved into, Horowitz notes that “the primary reason that African-American children are poor is cultural, not institutional or racial.” “If it were racial,” he reasons, “there would be no (or only a small) black middle class, whereas the black middle class is now the majority of the black population.” Horowitz impugns the race pimps of the modern civil-rights establishment—who are foremost among today’s progressive racists—for reflexively attributing every black ill to their all-purpose bogey-man, white racism, while virtually never mentioning that “statistically speaking, a child born into a single-parent family is five times more likely to be poor than a child born into a family with two parents, regardless of race.” The very deliberate failure of progressive racists to acknowledge this hard and discomfiting fact has bred, among many African Americans, a victim mentality and a permanent sense of bitterness and disconnection from the larger culture. And the progressive racists of our day are delighted by this development, for it has enabled them to cast themselves as the aspiring saviors of society’s “victims,” and to thereby win a permanently reliable voting bloc for the Democratic Party.

Rejecting the left’s contention that Americans, by and large, should be ashamed of their nation’s history, Horowitz emphatically affirms that “the political history of the United States is … in large measure the history of a nation that led the world in eliminating slavery, in accommodating peoples it had previously defeated, in elevating nonwhites to a position of dignity and respect, in promoting opportunities and rights for women, and in fostering a healthy skepticism towards unworthy leaders and towards the dangers inherent in government itself.” Horowitz further explains that “this view of American history is now called ‘conservative,’ but only because leftists currently shape the political language of liberalism and have been able to redefine the terms of the political debate.” “There is nothing ‘liberal’ about people who deny the American narrative as a narrative of freedom,” he writes, “or who promote class, race, and gender war in the name of social progress.”

Also in Progressive Racism, Horowitz bluntly explains that the “moral legacy” of the civil-rights movement led by Martin Luther King “was in large part squandered by those who inherited it after his death.” Those inheritors, says Horowitz, were “racist demagogues” like Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Kwesi Mfume, and Julian Bond. The deliberate failure of such individuals “to condemn black racists, and black outrages committed against other ethnic communities, has been striking in its contrast to the demands such leaders make on the consciences of whites, and the moral example set by King when he dissociated his movement from the racist preachings of Malcolm X.”

We’ve all heard the venomous tirades of grievance mongers like Farrakhan, Sharpton, Jackson, Mfume, and Bond. And we’ve all heard the stern lectures of buffoonish, self-congratulating white progressives who dutifully remind us of the racism that allegedly sits at the very heart of our national character. But we’ve heard precious little about the quiet dignity of Oseola McCarty and others like her. In Progressive Racism, David Horowitz explains exactly who America’s real racists are.

Review of Progressive Racism (Volume VI) by Mark Tapson

Below is Mark Tapson’s review of David Horowitz’s new book, “Progressive Racism,” which is volume 6 of The Black Book of the American Left, a multi-volume collection of David Horowitz’s conservative writings that will, when completed, be the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to define the Left and its agenda. (Order HERE.) 

In 2008, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States in no small part because of the compelling possibility that this biracial harbinger of hope and change would finally bring America into an epoch of post-racial unity.

But over seven years later, America is on the verge of a race war. Particularly since August 2014, from the shooting of black suspect Michael Brown by white officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement which has wedged its way into national prominence, racial unrest in this country under Obama’s reign has gone from a tense simmer to a churning boil.

The left want to pin this ugly decline on what they perceive to be the right’s racist refusal to accept a black man as President; but in fact, it is left’s own corrosive, inherently racist, identity politics, spearheaded by Obama himself, that has exacerbated rather than healed our racial divide.

Progressive Racism, the sixth, just-published volume of The Black Book of the American Left, looks at a wide range of David Horowitz’s thoughts on the topic over the course of the last twenty years. Divided into five parts – “The Reds and the Blacks,” on the Marxist roots of progressive racism; “Decline and Fall of the Civil Rights Movement”; “Racial Correctness”; “Reparations for Slavery”; and “Progressive Racism” – the nearly fifty essays in this book expose leftist hypocrisy about race and dismantle the false narrative that the left is fighting for justice and equality against an irredeemably racist right, the guardians of a supposedly systemic white supremacism in America.

In “The Reds and the Blacks,” an essay written in 1999, Horowitz notes that although the left may not embrace the Marxist label anymore, Marx’s vision is alive and well at the core of the “contemporary leftist faith.” A central article of this faith is the notion that blacks and other minorities are “the new stand-ins for Marx’s proletarians,” and they are under the thumb of a “trinity of oppressors” – class, gender, and most of all, race. Thus “racial grievance is the spearhead of the modern radical left,” which couches itself as warriors for social justice while successfully demonizing as racist those “who defend the constitutional framework of individual rights, and attempt to guard it against the nihilistic advocates of a political bad faith.”

In subsequent sections of the book, Horowitz chronicles the degradation of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s civil rights vision into “civil wrongs.” “Progressives support racial division,” reads the title of one piece. In another essay, Horowitz points out that liberals don’t want racial dialogue; they want a racial monologue, in which blacks “express displeasure at a status quo that denies them equality” and whites simply acknowledge their racist guilt. Hate crimes can be multicultural too, Horowitz writes in another piece.

The book features a parade of racial characters and themes such as O.J. Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochran, affirmative action, Louis Farrakhan, celebrated academic and “affirmative action baby” Cornel West, black-on-black crime and gun control, talk show host Phil Donahue’s “casual racism,” racial McCarthyism on campus, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, perennial race hucksters Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and reparations for slavery, a topic on which Horowitz has devoted a great deal of his energy in the past (see his slim 2002 book Uncivil Wars, for example). In “Ten Reasons Why Reparations Are a Bad Idea,” published in 2000, he sums up this demand as “factually tendentious, morally incoherent and racially incendiary. Logically, it has about as much substance as the suggestion that O.J. Simpson should have been acquitted because of past racism by the criminal courts.”

In the section “Progressive Racism,” Horowitz addresses the left’s agenda to recreate “a race-conscious political culture in which blacks and a handful of designated minorities were singled out as the groups to be racially privileged,” while “whites were made targets of exclusion, suspicion, and disapprobation.” In “The Death of the Civil Rights Movement,” he writes that there is no such movement any longer, and in its place “there is only a self-righteous, fact-denying lynch mob looking for white victims and law enforcement officials to make the targets of their wrath.”

In “Freedom From Race” in the final section, Horowitz takes on the left’s hypocrisy about racial profiling, which leftists favor when it suits their agenda (job placement, school admissions, scholarships, and the like), and which they decry when it does not (in law enforcement and deterring terrorism). This hypocrisy is due to the left’s obsession with power: “Whatever serves their need for power is right; whatever frustrates it is wrong.”

Progressive Racism includes a couple of essays some might find surprising: Horowitz’s controversial essay “Second Thoughts About Trayvon,” for example, in which he sets himself against general conservative opinion about the shooting of black Florida teen Trayvon Martin by “white Hispanic” George Zimmerman, who ultimately was judged to have acted in self-defense. “Is the Zimmerman case really open-and-shut?” Horowitz begins. He goes on to question whether the incident was quite so black-and-white, so to speak, as both the left and the right viewed it: “Might it not be possible that the toxicity of the racial environment also infected Zimmerman, so that he saw in Trayvon a caricature” from the racial and political melodrama surrounding the incendiary case?

Another piece that might run against the grain in some conservative quarters is “An Argument with the Racial Right,” in which Horowitz distinguishes himself from the white “Euro-racialists” of the right who have “surrendered to the idea that the multiculturalists have won” and who demand “a white place at the diversity table.” This runs counter to Horowitz’s brand of conservatism, which is grounded in “the fundamental truth of individualism” and “the good old American ideal of e pluribus unum.”

The book closes on Horowitz’s knockout-punch collaboration with John Perazzo, a lengthy essay titled “Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream,” originally published in booklet form by the Horowitz Freedom Center. That essay concludes that progressive racism – racial privilege enforced by government – “tears at the very fabric of the social order… Building racial bias into the framework of the nation compromises the neutrality of the law that governs us all… and creates a racial spoils system that is the antithesis of the American Dream.” Horowitz correctly identifies the drive to “level the playing field” – the left’s utopian justification for government intervention – as a totalitarian one and a threat to freedom:

In a free society, composed of individuals who are unequal by nature, the highest government good is neutrality in the treatment of its citizens before the law. One standard and justice for all. This is the only equality that is not at odds with individual freedom.

“It is the only equality,” David Horowitz concludes in Progressive Racism, “that can make a diverse community one.”

Mark Tapson is the editor of TruthRevolt.org and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.