On C-SPAN’s BookTV this past weekend, I caught David Horowitz speaking on his new book The Black Book of the American Left: The Collected Conservative Writings of David Horowitz.
Horowitz was excellent as always, showcasing his ability to distill the philosophical and motivational desires that animates the Left. Horowitz’s own political journey, best detailed in his earlier book Radical Son, is the journey of a stereotypical NYC Jewish Marxist upbringing, that then goes through a young adulthood of radical leftwing activism, before having a belated conservative awakening later in life (predicated on the murder of a friend and colleague of his by the Black Panthers), before landing into his current career of conservative activism. (On foreign policy issues, Horowitz is a staunch neoconservative, for obvious reasons.)
In his C-SPAN talk, he made a fascinating point of analysis wherein he characterized the Left/Right (or Progressive/Conservative) binary as being past-oriented vs. future-oriented. Conservatives, by their nature, look to the past for guidance on what works, what doesn’t, etc. The past, after all, is empirical; it actually happened. The Left, on the other hand, preoccupies itself with utopian longings for an imagined future. They dream of an impossible world of absolute equality, where the crooked timber of human nature doesn’t exist, andand rationalize their ‘ends justifies the means’ tactics as a tragic (but necessary) step towards the creation of Heaven on Earth.
You can view Horowitz’s speech here.