In the aftermath of the 2007 UK smoking ban, my politics has shifted sharply to the right. Classic case of “a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged.” And, boy, was I mugged!
The result is that I take much more interest in conservative commentators than I ever used to do. And yesterday I came across one-time Marxist David Horowitz talking to the Heritage Foundation in 2013.
In his wide-ranging speech, Horowitz described his transition from left to right, and discussed the shortcomings of a conservative movement unwilling to deal with the ugly realities of what the American left represents.
Here’s the speech he made, which I was watching last night as the rather spectacular eclipse of the moon was taking place:
Horowitz’s parents were card-carrying communist party members, as was he for many years, so I guess that his is an insider view of the US Left.
He said there were four features of the ‘progressive’ leftist mentality
- They’re all Rousseauians. They all think, like Rousseau, that “Man is born free, but is everywhere in chains.” They also believe that in a “state of nature” people behave well and get along fine.
- Progressives are focused on the future, and see history as a forward march.
- They’re usually alienated from their own country.
- They lie.
He regarded the Democratic party as a Communist party, and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as communists.
He was very critical of conservatives, for not fighting back against the Left. He said, “We are within reach of a totalitarian state in this country…These are very very dark days for this country.”
I wondered what he might think of Donald Trump. I dug out a YouTube video on it, in which he says:
“I love Donald Trump. I think he’s probably going to be a big problem for Republicans, but I just wish that every Republican had the fire in his belly that he has, and the no-back-down attitude. I can only think of someone like Ann Coulter as someone who won’t back down. He could have crafted his initial statement a little better, but people don’t believe any more in our political leaders…”
Interesting guy, but I expect somebody will tell me that Horowitz is a right-wing lunatic.
Anyway, in my slightly left-wing days, I was never anywhere near being a Marxist or even a Rousseauian. Nor have I ever been ‘focused on the future’. Nor even particularly alienated from my own country. So I guess I was never really very left-wing. But even now I can’t really think of myself as a conservative.
And I’ve ordered a couple of new books. One is Mao by Jung Chang. And the other is an intriguing book that was mentioned in comments a few weeks ago, Smoking Kills: The Revolutionary Life of Richard Doll. Richard Doll was also once a card-carrying member of the Communist party (in the UK), and I also think that he was most likely a serial liar. I’m wondering if George Godber was too. And whether when people get the Communism bug, their primary allegiance is to The Cause rather than to their profession’s ethical code.