Hi again, Horowitz fans! This fierce and shallow blog is sorry it’s taken so long (in blog days) to get back to David’s one-short-step-from-rabid attack on me last week, but I perversely decided to finish rewriting three chapters of Liberal Arts instead, and just last night I sent it off to my editor. Finally! There is much rejoicing in this house. But, David, it’s not like I haven’t been thinking about you, dear– in fact, if you like, you can consider Liberal Arts a 90,000-word reply directed to you, and to you alone.
All right, then. If you’re ready, so am I. Welcome to the Renard News Channel, David Horowitz! Let’s see what you have to say for yourself today.
Professor Michael Berube is one of many fierce and shallow critics of our new database—DiscoverTheNetwork, which is a comprehensive guide to the political left. In a recent attack on our site (on March 2) he reveals once again the intellectual laziness of the left when it comes to engaging opponents in, well, intellectual argument. On the other hand, tenured radicals like Berube have lifetime jobs and captive audiences, so what is their incentive not to be lazy?
That’s kind of mean, David, and entre nous, mean people are one of my biggest turn-offs. Really, you have to get over your bitterness and resentment of academe. It’s not healthy! People who have their very own, right-wing-foundation-subsidized media empires, base salaries over $300,000, and $5000 speaking fees really shouldn’t complain so much about the working conditions of teachers. Besides, everyone knows I am not lazy. And you, especially, should know better: after all, I’ve now read more of your recent work than anyone who doesn’t work for you. Here I am doing all the hard work of picking apart your latest, most appalling attempt to smear liberals and progressives, and you call me “mindless.” Where is the gratitude? Where is the love?
Seriously, David, it’s not a pretty sight to see your essay chug along, and to watch the wheels come off one by one. First there’s the bizarre and quite foolish claim that “Berube and other leftists guffawed over the presence of Barbra Streisand and Katie Couric in the base, as though no one could take these women seriously (imagine if conservatives had tried that).” David, my man, you have to remember that the Internets are an amazing thing: you’re not just talking to your captive audience over there at FrontPage. Your claim that I objected to the presence of Couric and Streisand in your database on the grounds that “no one could take these women seriously” can also be read by sane people on other sites, like this one; likewise, that high-pitched, pre-adolescent whine, “imagine if conservatives had tried that,” can be heard around the world. You need to get a grip! People are watching!
Then there’s the line, “Since Berube and his friends can’t be bothered to supply an argument, I will do it for them.” David, David. How soon we forget! It was only a month ago that this humble and almost infinitely patient blog pointed out that you’d opened your defense of the “network” by insisting that your critics had “seized on a quirk in the format, an entirely innocent feature of the site” and that “the mere listing of these figures in the database was not intended to suggest that there are organizational links or common agendas or coinciding agendas between these individuals.” Now, go and read the rest of my post from February 25– I’ll wait right here– and you’ll find that there is indeed an argument there. I’ll even compose another version of it here, in response to the most incendiary charge you’ve lobbed my way:
radicals like Berube can’t be bothered to actually read or respond rationally to anything that ruffles their progressive feathers, let alone be concerned about the fact that their entire political focus since 9/11 has been in getting our terrorist enemies off the hook. (Doubters can consult the archives of The Nation, The Progressive and any number of leftwing sites on the web to confirm the negative posture of progressives towards the war on terror and their sympathetic back-bending for terrorists.) Naturally, not a single leftwing journal or blogger, for that matter, so much as noticed Unholy Alliance, or addressed its arguments, despite the fact that there is no better known critic of the left than myself and Unholy Alliance makes the same claims that now incite them. It is only because I have now constructed a website with pictures reflecting the same conclusions that they have been roused from their torpors.
At this point, it looks like things are getting really ugly, so we’ll turn away from David for a while and address ourselves to our readers and viewers at home.
Two things strike me about this paragraph. First, as I’ve noted before, this hermeneutically conservative blog does not psychoanalyze people at great distances; we believe that only Charles Krauthammer has that power. But all the same, I’ve got to say that the final two sentences of this passage are a little . . . hmm, grandiose? Readers, I turn this one over to you: what’s with this complaint that we’re not paying enough attention to the best-known critic of the left?
Second, if there are any lawyers reading this back-bending blog, can you tell me more about the claim that my “entire political focus since 9/11 has been in getting our terrorist enemies off the hook”? Exactly how close is this to libel? I’m just curious.
Now, let’s get serious here, once more with feeling. “Discover the Network” is an attempt to delegitimate and slander everyone to the left of Joe Lieberman, an attempt to construe all criticism of the Bush Administration– even that of George Clooney– as tantamount to treason. David himself says as much: “It should be obvious that even the otherwise innocent Barbra Streisand shares negative views of the Bush Administration and its mission of liberating Iraq with anti-American jihadists like the aforementioned [Abu Musab] Zarqawi, even though we are sure that she deplores some of his methods.” By that standard, anyone with negative views of the Bush administration or the war in Iraq is an ally of Zarqawi. This mode of argumentation– construing liberal dissenters as supporters of terrorists– is not merely unreasonable; it is, I submit, altogether inappropriate for people living in republics and democracies.
It’s one thing to associate Brian Becker, Ramsey Clark, or Lynne Stewart with political Islamists; these people truly have gone around the bend, and are making what amounts to a red-brown alliance between the far far left and the far far right of Islamism. It’s quite another thing– an indefensible thing, at least by the standards of decent people– to suggest, as this database does, that there is a “network” linking people like Katie Couric to Mohammed Atta, Zacarias Moussaoui to Roger Ebert. So this “network” deliberately and systematically confuses the distinction between people who criticize Lynne Stewart and Ramsey Clark and people who support them, and this fact alone renders the very idea of a “network” incoherent.
To associate me (or Roger Ebert or Ted Kennedy or Ruth Bader Ginsburg) with such fringe far-leftists is to partake of precisely the same “logic” as that of the fringe far-left itself: for Becker and Clark, the enemy of their enemy is their friend, and they welcome figures like Milosevic or al-Sadr, because anyone who opposes the U.S. must be all right with them. In so doing, they forfeit their moral authority to oppose totalitarianism, torture, and terrorism throughout the world. (And I invite everyone on the Right to join me in opposing all three! Anyone?) Likewise, in “Discover the Network,” anyone who does not support George Bush and the war in Iraq is part of a “network” that extends to al-Qaeda. It’s the same fundamentalist logic, and it entails the same forfeiture of moral authority.
Not that David Horowitz had much moral authority to begin with. For while he’s going on about how Barack Obama is linked to Osama bin Laden, and “leftist professors like Michael Berube” are “linked by one or two degrees of separation to long-standing radicals like Lynne Stewart– and thus no more than three degrees– to terrorists like Omar Abdul Rachman and his Islamic Group,” David ignores (or is simply ignorant of) the fact that progressives like me have been absolutely consistent in condemning human rights abuses on both the right and the left, whether committed by Pinochet or Milosevic, contras or Castro. Meanwhile, David hasn’t exactly been working with the same moral scale. When it comes to dictatorships, David has what we might call, with apologies to Jeane Kirkpatrick, double standards. As Horowitz wrote in 1998:
Looking back now, we can see that Pinochet was good for Chile.
Pinochet’s dictatorship does not compromise any conservative expectations in the way that Castro’s dictatorship compromises the visions of the left.
Whew! Talk about three degrees of separation. And now this guy, Friend of Augusto, is calling on people like Tom Brokaw to repudiate their “network” connections to Fidel Castro?
However, just as the last wheel spins off Horowitz’s shabby vehicle, I find one small grain of truth in his critique of me. David writes:
What people like Berube don’t seem to understand is that politics is, in the end, a serious business. When Berube and his friends opposed America’s Cold War with the Communist enemy, the consequences of their actions were dire indeed. In Cambodia and South Vietnam, Berube and his fellow leftists– including John Kerry and Ted Kennedy– are accountable for making it possible for the Communists to slaughter two-and-a-half million innocent people after U.S. aid was cut at their insistence.
He’s got me there, folks. Not many people know this, but when I was ten years old, I took some time away from playing hockey at the New York Rangers’ summer camp in New Hyde Park, Long Island in order to call for a “bloodbath in the rice paddies” of Southeast Asia. It was a youthful indiscretion, and I am sorry for it.
Actually, as I wrote to David three years ago, the antiwar left has been pretty clearly vindicated on the subject of Vietnam: that war was not, after all, critical to U.S. national security or to the fate of the free world. We could have walked away in 1954 or 1964 instead of 1975, and the Berlin Wall would still have come down in 1989, the Soviet Union would still have collapsed in 1991. And there would be 58,000 more Americans– and roughly a million more Vietnamese– around to watch it happen.
There were, of course, millions upon millions of patriotic Americans who opposed Soviet Communism but did not believe that the Vietnam War was just or necessary. Horowitz has no right to smear them, either. For as long as he maintains his own unholy alliances, David Horowitz simply has no moral authority to speak of the slaughter of innocents– in Vietnam, in Cambodia, in Chile, in Guatemala, in South Africa, anywhere. And his equation of domestic dissent with treason is, quite literally, un-American. That’s the case that liberals, progressives, and leftists need to make about this so-called “network.”
I don’t know if anyone ever explained this to you, but when you write such a comprehensive reply to idiocy, there ain’t much to add in the “comments” section.
However, I will call your attention to this fallacy:
And his equation of domestic dissent with treason is, quite literally, un-American.
Sadly, it’s becoming all too American.
Great rant.Posted by Roxanne on 03/22 at 04:03 PM
I say sue the fucker.Posted by on 03/22 at 04:07 PM
When you write such a comprehensive reply to idiocy, there ain’t much to add in the “comments” section.
D’oh!Posted by Michael on 03/22 at 04:08 PM
Question: what are we to do about this “Bill of Academic Restrictions” tour spreading like a virus? I’ve been working against it, but I wonder if it is the initial car bomb that is designed to draw us out only to have a second bigger one waiting (accreditation equivalency with U. of Phoenix, severing of funding, Pell cancellation, etc.)Posted by DocMara on 03/22 at 04:17 PM
Being on “Spring” “Break” myself (from a lowly vocational teaching job, Horowitz, you dick), I protest the “captive audience” bit. Great entertainment, Prof Bérubé.Posted by on 03/22 at 04:19 PM
I agree that the question of opposing Horowitz’s bill and its likely successors should be front and center. When I’ve raised this issue among fellow academic activists, they often point to umbrella organizations of the academic left like the Alliance of Radical Academic and Intellectual Organizations. But at the risk of being criticized by Louis Proyect , I think we need to adopt something of a popular front strategy, that will take in not only the academic left, but academic liberals, moderates, and even some sensible conservatives (after all, the idea of students denouncing their teachers—central to Horowitz’s campaigns—used to be a bugbear of the right).
So how do we create an alliance to truly defend academic freedom against these reactionary assaults?
(See, Roxanne, loudmouths like me can always find something to comment on.)Posted by on 03/22 at 04:30 PM
AAUP has already begun to take a stand, MLA doesn’t ever seem to be able to do things outside of attract a NY Times article once a year. In Ohio, we’ve got a whole host of issues that we are dealing with right now--impending funding cuts, shifting of money to community and vocational colleges (not necessarily a bad thing if it is part of a broader coalition), accreditation threats, etc. When I was interviewed by the school paper, I was contacted by a Center for Campus Free Speech. Beyond that, I’m not sure about who is fighting the fight.
Just found this nice little Horowitz ball o’ yarn unraveling. Can you sue, Michael?Posted by DocMara on 03/22 at 05:04 PM
I’m just waiting for you two to have it out on the Dick Cavett show.Posted by Alex on 03/22 at 05:15 PM
Michael, given the amount of his works that you’ve read (I find myself throwing things at the computer when I read his articles - or more frequently, doubling over with laughter), I’m wondering if you could explain and/or clarify Horowitz’s stance for me. I’m specifically interested in the bit about dissenters being terrorists: If anyone who disagrees with the current administration is a terrorist, does that mean my mom is a terrorist? Because that would suck. But do you think we’d be put in the same detention center?Posted by on 03/22 at 05:18 PM
No, no, no. Your mom is not a terrorist, Paul. She is merely bending over backwards for terrorists, out of the desire to get them off the hook. And if you would just take the time to read Horowitz’s defenses of Discover the Network, you’d find that the detention centers for affective leftists and moderate leftists are completely separate from the detention centers for the totalitarian radicals.
Alex, my faceoff with David on the Dick Cavett show will be fun, but don’t forget to stay tuned for John and Yoko Week. I have my TiVo all set.Posted by on 03/22 at 05:26 PM
Michael, why are you bothering to argue with the insane people? If they haven’t figured out that the entire right and right now the American administration is doing precisely what the terrorists want them to do, they’re simply idiots.Posted by donna woodka on 03/22 at 05:30 PM
Because, Donna, the insane people happen to have access to actual legislatures (in some cases, they are the legislators themselves!), and because Horowitz’s attack on me has now been reprinted on the GOPUSA website.Posted by on 03/22 at 05:47 PM
Well, here I go again, talking about the five percent of the essay I disagreed with. In my defense, it’s way more fun to pick nits than it is to slap backs.
To associate me (or Roger Ebert or Ted Kennedy or Ruth Bader Ginsburg) with such fringe far-leftists is to partake of precisely the same “logic” as that of the fringe far-left itself: for Becker and Clark, the enemy of their enemy is their friend, and they welcome figures like Milosevic or al-Sadr, because anyone who opposes the U.S. must be all right with them.
And this is where the left-right spectrum as a model of political thought becomes less than useful.
The way I tend to cast the “far left,” it includes as a main if non-self-identified trend the anti-authoritarian radical left, the majority of whom in my experience are utterly horrified by Islamic autocrats. (And I really ought to have cast that sentence in the first person plural.)
And that “fringe” isn’t really a useful distinguishing mark, because the anti-authoritarian left is replete with fringes, some charming, some embarrassing, a couple destructive.
I think that to some extent, Michael, you have ceded important territory to Horowitz in accepting his definition of the political spectrum, quibbling only over the seating arrangements.
One could argue that the liberal project in the last century has essentially consisted of taking the best ideas of the far left, filing off the serial numbers, and offering them up in dribs and drabs to the public. This can continue more efficiently if the left is a willing partner in the project, rather than an anathematized other.
Sure, authoritarians deserve our condemnation and subsequent resistance, whether they’re left or right. But considering that people like Douglass and Guthrie and Bill Haywood and Mary Harriss Jones and Zinn and the like constitute the “far left” in US history, I think it’s unwise to write us all off as beyond the pale.
More importantly, though: congrats on getting the book sent off. I look forward to it.Posted by Chris Clarke on 03/22 at 05:49 PM
Point(s) taken, Chris. Thanks, as always, for going after the nits. But I hope it’s clear that as far as I’m concerned, not even members of the “anti-authoritarian radical left, the majority of whom in my experience are utterly horrified by Islamic autocrats” with whom I have substantive political disagreements deserve to be classed with those autocrats. If it wasn’t clear at first, I hope it is now. . . .Posted by Michael on 03/22 at 06:21 PM
Do the people at GOPUSA know that David helped get a woman murdered by the Panthers (I sometimes think he exaggerates his role for effect, but he seems culpable enough to experience plenty of guilt). You aso might mention that he’s still pissed he didn’t hook up with them bfore they had become a bat-shit crazy cult--except I don’t think they’d really understand since they are evolving into a bat-shit crazy cult themselves, these days. The root of his hatred seems to be all about not being one of the cool kids and getting involved with people whom 99% of his left leaning contempararies (including most of the red diaper babies) would have viewed as crazy and dangerous.Posted by on 03/22 at 06:29 PM
Thanks, Michael. As long as we treat one another with respect, I think many of those substantive disagreements can be resolved, even if it’s with one or the other of us up against some post-neo-Bolshevik revolutionary wall with a neo-last cigarette dangling from the lips of the lucky person about to be “corrected.”Posted by Chris Clarke on 03/22 at 06:29 PM
Do the people at GOPUSA know that David helped get a woman murdered by the Panthers
He flogs that more than anyone else does, so I’m betting yes.Posted by Chris Clarke on 03/22 at 06:30 PM
Highly entertaining. Quite the smackdown, MB.Posted by Zach D. on 03/22 at 06:40 PM
I wonder if Horowitz can be ignored? Is he more or less dangerous than say, Coulter, in his catering what he says to a constituency that will provide him economic returns. She is a millionaire from her book sales, yet is not really worthy of much rhetorical engagement. Horowitz on the other hand seems to be able to view his vested constituency as being a little more mainstream than hers. Afterall, i doubt Coulter would care on iota whether MB responded to her bile and vitriol. David seems to care very much, at least in continuing to “attack” specific liberal/leftist targets, by responding to the criticisms they launch against him. His retorts however are as equally silly and similarly deceptive as those of Coulter. I don’t know. Maybe he doesn’t deserve this degree of attention, unless he is seriously dangerous to the overall tenor and well being of academia(his various legislative crap notwithstanding)?Posted by on 03/22 at 07:00 PM
I did want to thank Chris for standing up for those of us on the “fringe” of left. There is an ethic among some i know on the way radical left, that one of the differences between ‘them’ and ‘us’( and i can’t accept left right as symbolic in that they represent consensual political views that are substantively different outside the US in some cases) is that “they” attack people while “the us” attack property, hoping to minimize any loss of or endangerment to human lives. With any acts of violence there are always too many oops factors.Posted by on 03/22 at 07:11 PM
“…there is no better known critic of the left than myself…”
There are better grammarians than I, but I believe “me” is the word commonly appropriated in American English if a fellow wishes to speak superlatively of his own damn self that way. I looked in Fowler and in Menken to satisfy my curiosity, but would be pleased to bow to the judgement of our host, a known English professor. What’s with all that “no better… than myself” business, Michael? No one looks forward to your answer more keenly than etc.
(And, however pleasing it must have been for Mr. Horowitz to massage that statement into its final form, it cannot be objectively true even if emended for grammar. Limbaugh we’ve all heard of. Mr. Horowitz, lap dog of the monied Scaifes, has nowhere near that celebrity. People are still always coming up to him and asking, “So what made you give up the piano?")Posted by on 03/22 at 07:25 PM
People are still always coming up to him and asking, “So what made you give up the piano?”
“David Horowitz? I loved that consumer protection show you did!”Posted by Chris Clarke on 03/22 at 07:32 PM
Funny you should say that, Chris C. When I first encountered David “the Network” Horowitz some years ago, I assumed that he was the same guy as David “Fight Back” Horowitz, and that he’d just gone through some horrible, Medvedian transformation. Took me a while to figure out they were different people. While Chairman Dave is most certainly not the best known critic of the left, he has, I fear, become the best known David Horowitz.Posted by on 03/22 at 08:00 PM
I assumed that he was the same guy as David “Fight Back” Horowitz, and that he’d just gone through some horrible, Medvedian transformation. Took me a while to figure out they were different people.
Me, too! I’ve been looking all over frontpagemag.com for articles about all those newfangled hybrid cars we’ve been hearing so much about. Haven’t found one yet!Posted by Roxanne on 03/22 at 08:32 PM
OMG, they’re openly praising Pinochet as good for the country?
Thanks for posting this. The whole Catholic Traditionalists in bed with *modern* authoritarian regimes is a big part of my shtik, and yes, I know Horowitz ain’t RC - but that’s the other thing that has been wigging me for a long time, which helped push me into this crypto-activism of mine: the generic ‘Judeo-Christian Tradition” they’re pushing, moral values which just happen to reinfoce the plutocratic status quo, which I have termed the Church of Tashlan, and which made suddenly enormous sense when the existence and influence of one Prof. Strauss was revealed to me.
(Sorry, my typing a long day at the digital press and a glass of win to the worse, excuse the uncorrected typos).
I was already familiar with the sentimentality for Gen. Franco (who is alas still dead) according to American neotrads) but in re modern overt Catholic tyrants like Pinochet, or Aoun, of whose existence and Phalangist followers I have only just learnt and begun to investigate, the SOP was to ignore them and pretend that they didn’t exist, just as the effort was made to pretend (and many of us were suckered by it) that the Reich and Il Duce were *not* Christian and mainstream regimes in their day.
Finding contemporary sandalcarriers to our pharoahs praising Pinochet in a situation-ethics sort of way is, therefore, a very useful chisel to wield against the edifice of this Churchstate in the wrong hands - ie., mine.Posted by bellatrys on 03/22 at 08:37 PM
Uncorrected typo or not, bellatrys, would that we all could lift a glass of win at the end of a trying day.Posted by on 03/22 at 08:51 PM
“Looking back now, we can see that Pinochet was good for Chile.”
The clear view of Horowitz, unobstructed by the disappeared, their fate invisibilized for the “serious business” of his politics.Posted by on 03/22 at 09:14 PM
Thank you Michael. That was the most thorough and deserved drubbing of an individual, his hare-brained ideas, and his moral vacuity I’ve read in quite a while.
And your line about skipping out on hockey camp to call for a bloodbath in the rice patties made me laugh longer and louder than anything else has in quite a while.Posted by Robert S. on 03/22 at 09:42 PM
looks close enough to libel to me, and I am a lawyer in the contingent fee, complex litigation business. Email me if you want to look into this.Posted by arthur stock on 03/22 at 09:48 PM
Barbra Streisand, Junior Terrorist!
I bet Wonder Woman could kick her ass, though.Posted by on 03/22 at 09:50 PM
I have to put my lawyer hat on, so forgive the formalisms that creep in throughout.
Horowitz says the “focus” of you and others has been to allow our nation’s “terrorist enemies” to get “off the hook...” This statement may be reasonably read to accuse you of treasonous activities--giving aid and comfort to the enemy. However, I believe there are Cold War era court decisions--damned liberal judges, too!--that would allow a court to conclude his statement constitutes permitted political rhetoric, particularly as a court would end up reviewing Horowitz’s history, his not stating this attack on truly mass media such as FoxNews or CNN, and the way the battle between you and Horowitz has been fought, i.e. within your respective web sites. “Berube v. Fox News” is a David v. Goliath situation. Berube v. FrontPage.com magazine is pretty much a draw in terms of audience, though, ahem, obviously not in content. Another lawyer would note that Horowitz’s history, etc. is not relevant. However, a careful reading of court cases in this area of the law over the decades shows some relevance “between the lines” and is something to consider before deciding to litigate a defamation claim.
Please also know that, if you sue in CA, where Horowitz lives, he will undoubtedly use the defense of the anti-SLAPP law (California Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16), which will require immediate proof of your claim or else your claim is dismissed--and you pay HIS attorneys’ fees. An interesting jurisdictional question is whether you can sue in PA (and check to see if PA has a similar anti-SLAPP law).
Final thought: Before people get riled up against the anti-SLAPP law, please know it is a law that often works to protect those without money from having to defend “shut up” libel lawsuits from the big companies and governmental agencies/officials. It’s worked fairly well on behalf of regular folks in the ten years it’s been in existence, with legislative tweaks here and there.
Still, find a friend who’s a local PA lawyer to do a little research of the case law and whether PA has an anti-SLAPP law.
So says a California lawyer who would end by saying, “With free advice, you get what you pay for!”Posted by on 03/22 at 09:52 PM
Well, the “best-known critic of the left” claim may be megalomania in part, but it’s also clear that Horowitz has to fundraise. You have to do something to keep the dollars from Scaife or whoever coming in, and it makes good copy to be able to say “Look, these leftist professors are arguing about whether I’m the best-known critic of the left!”
Not that I’m suggesting that Horowitz be ignored or anything like that. We saw how ignoring right-wing claims worked for Gore and Kerry. No reply means they win, but a reply runs the two risks of validating their claim by talking about it and of taking attention away from non-manufactured issues.
What I would suggest is that opponents of the right need to get nastier. Yes, I laughed at Holbo’s Discoverthenutwork, but we should have had a real one, complete with every link we could document, and joining Horowitz to Pinochet, the Black Panthers, and all of the racist and fascist groups that he “affectively” supports in the same way that Streisand supports Al Queda. Obviously this would take work and funding, but it has to happen sooner or later. A laugh or a satire just doesn’t work; all the Photoshopped pictures in the world won’t actually convince anyone or force any rightists to back off.
And as soon as Horowiz wins any victories in state legislatures, we should start immediately challenging right-wing professors in the economics departments of the universities affected. Hell, we should start to have students collect stories already. Let’s see how those state legislatures react when it becomes clear that the areas of their state schools that business values will be hurting.Posted by on 03/22 at 10:00 PM
"When Berube and his friends opposed America’s Cold War with the Communist enemy, the consequences of their actions were dire indeed.”
Hmmm...And what was David Horowitz up to during the time in question? By his own admission, committing acts of outright treason at Rampart magazine.
It seems to me that if Horowitz were truly sincere in his views about the monstrous crimes of the ‘60s left and the anti-Vietnam War movement, he long since would have been so overcome with guilt and self-loathing that he would have put a bullet in his brain, or marched into the Justice Department and demanded the exactly same treatment the Rosenbergs got.
And if he ever does decides to do something like that, I’m sure many of us who, unlike him, have never been on Pol Pot left would back him up 1000%. I certainly know I would.Posted by on 03/22 at 10:15 PM
Billmon: oh, but he’s repented. Like Gannon and Dubya, he believes in a God of forgiveness for him but not for you.
Michael, a lawsuit might not be a bad idea. It’s high time there were consequences to right-wingers running around slandering people.
“Fierce and shallow” has a nice ring to it, by the way. It would make a nice caption for your blog picture. “Michael Berube: Fierce. Shallow. Clumpy.”Posted by Linnet on 03/22 at 10:48 PM
What’s with the War on the Acute Accent? Doesn’t Horowitz have an “ALT” key and an number pad?
Then, everyone here needs to acknowledge that Roxanne is the hottest female blogger on the planet. Bow down, infidels! (As though this opinion will help me out.)
As a liberal, I thought that I was being “roused from my torpors” this morning, but, well, let’s just say that Seven-Eleven marks down bean burritos after 10:00pm for a reason, okay? What I find disturbing is that David is taken seriously, anywhere, given the separation of his claims from objective reality.Posted by on 03/22 at 10:53 PM
“Fierce and shallow” has a nice ring to it, by the way.
Puts me in mind of Lake Erie.. Hmm: “Michael Bérubé” scans almost the same as “Edmund Fitzgerald.” Must consider…Posted by Chris Clarke on 03/22 at 11:01 PM
Speaking of scanning, here’s my late entry for the Chairman Dave couplet:
“But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Dave / You’ll probably get yourself mocked by Berube.”Posted by Paul on 03/22 at 11:17 PM
He was at Ramparts with Lowell Bergman? Ha! Hilarious!Posted by Roxanne on 03/22 at 11:18 PM
I still think it’s funny that Fr. Berrigan is a “radical leftist”. I wonder why Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (yeah, I know both are dead, but lots on the list are!), Hauerwas and some other radical catholic types aren’t listed.Posted by Anthony Smith on 03/23 at 12:08 AM
Thanks so much, Mitchell! I know I was a bit hard on Billy Joel a while back, and he is going through rough times. I mean, OK, I don’t like his work, but at least he’s not objectively pro-Horowitz!
I didn’t really think Horowitz’s charge against me was actionable (hey, I know the formalisms-- I worked for attorneys and law firms all through my 20s), but I am curious about the limits of acceptable ad hominem political rhetoric when it comes to accusing people of treason. And since Horowitz just happens to specialize in that subfield of rhetoric, I thought this might be a good time to ask. Thanks again.
Billmon, I salute your fine graphics, your properly dialectical grasp of history, and your uncanny ability to send David right over the edge. I have been told by no less august a personage than The Rude One Himself that he has my back, and I would imagine that anything he says about my engagements with Horowitz goes a fortiori (hey, another formalism!) for yours.
Which reminds me, Mr. Peter Ramus, that this barely-literate blog thinks that “there is no better-known"-- yes, it should be hyphenated-- “critic of the left than me” is indeed the proper formulation. But I don’t really do English grammar. I can say, however, that there is no better-known decliner of cornu in the left blogosphere than my own damn self.Posted by Michael on 03/23 at 12:11 AM
Has anyone else noticed Discover the Network’s complete avoidance of any discussion of the Green Party? Absent from the listings are Peter Camejo, Winona LaDuke and even Ralph Nader. Medea Benjamin’s listing discusses her global activism but neglects to mention her Green Party activism or her candidacy for U.S. senate in California.
I assume part of the rationale is that DTN is designed to taint the Democratic Party by linking the far left with the Dems. Acknowleding the large sector of far leftists who despise the Dems (from the Greens on over) would conflict with that flawed thesis.Posted by on 03/23 at 12:18 AM
sku, it’s probably because the Greens are such a useful electoral tool of the Republican Party at this point. Why try to damage them?Posted by on 03/23 at 12:25 AM
Peter Camejo = unaffective leftistPosted by Roxanne on 03/23 at 12:36 AM
at the risk of inspiring any of the already over-worked academics here to volunteer for non-credit *homework*, in response to DocMara’s question, i am professionally required to point out that anyone with access to a robust Lexis-Nexis account and a fast “internets” connection, can fairly easily research and follow the various state legislatures where Mr. Horrorwitz’s crazy bills are being seriously considered...names of the sponsers and their contact information are included, as well as the bill numbers, titles, and the other details needed to bring this monster into the light pro-actively, if that is the best course.
-L.Posted by on 03/23 at 12:36 AM
Oh, man. I hadn’t seen Horowitz’s response to Billmon. That’s wonderful. Nothing says fervent, sincere anger like 24 point Bodoni extra bold!Posted by Chris Clarke on 03/23 at 12:41 AM
OhOhOh! i almost forgot--
in defense of our own “far far left” or “anti-authoritarian radical left” or “fringe far-leftists” or “post Neo-Bolshevik revolutionaries” (that’s you Chris, right?) or Extra Super Double-Plus Good Liberals...y’all may be interested in playing around with this:
(DISCLAIMER: i am not a Poli Sci Queen, or Historian Princess, and i don’t really know too much about the people behind this “test”, but i took it, and have passed it around to others here on campus to compare notes, and it seems like a valid idea, if nothing else: ie that rather than using the tired old right-left spectrum, it makes more sense to plot out a graph between one’s socio-political beliefs, and one’s economic inclinations...and, it’s FUN!)
apologies to anyone to whom this is old news,
-L.Posted by on 03/23 at 12:50 AM
I dunno, Chris. When I want to convey fervent, sincere anger, I reach for the serious display fonts: Chiller 24 point italic. Yeah, it’s a little Hunter S. Thompson, but that’s the point.Posted by Michael on 03/23 at 01:12 AM
Yeah, Michael, but Chiller doesn’t convey the kind of “Closely Follow Comrade Enver Hoxha!” Marxist Leninist Party sensibility Horowitz craves. Maybe if I could remember the name of the font Workers World mandated for their banners… any guesses, Mr. ANSWER Man?
Librarian, that compass is based on something the Libertarians have been flogging around for some decades. Despite that, I actually kind of like it. But it needs more axes: resource extraction/sustainability, patriarchy/feminism, globalism/nationalism, Beatles/Stones, etc.
Soon as I figure how to display multi-N-dimensional spaces in CSS, I’m all over the update.Posted by Chris Clarke on 03/23 at 01:25 AM
You could always ask Scott McLemmee. He seems to know random information such as that.Posted by Anthony Smith on 03/23 at 01:30 AM
Holy sniper rifles! Is there anything more intellectually lazy than the mindless parroting of the old dissent-equals-treason tripe? Is there anything more mind-numbing than enduring its endless variations as the basis for claims of intellectual/political/moral superiority?
If only DH would would come out of the closet and officially start his own religion (you know he wants to).Posted by on 03/23 at 01:53 AM
Hey folks, if you want to keep up on ABOR in Ohio, read http://catchingflies.typepad.com/ (yes, another dang academic blog—but mostly, specifically, about ABOR and other issues of academic freedom and free speech).
Keep up the brilliant demolition of DH, Michael. And btw, I find it mildly amusing that Horowitz, in his SAF/ABOR guise, claims that “leftist” universities “indoctrinate” their fragile students, when both he and you, Michael, went to the same damn college (DH is Columbia ‘59)! I guess his magical powers kept him safe from all that indoctrinating going around.Posted by on 03/23 at 02:35 AM
Wow, Michael, no wonder you were gone so long as it must have taken days to write such a brilliant essay establishing once and for all your culpability in Vietnam War attrocities. I too was 10 at the time, but the best/worst I ever did was to steal porn comics from the local grocer (for which I was caught and forced to return said porn comics, which I didn’t understand was porn to begin with as nudity was a concept that was still well over my head at the time).
Welcome back. And next time write shorter essays so we don’t have to wait so long.Posted by on 03/23 at 02:51 AM
We who had the bad fortune to “associate with” David Horowitz in the 1960s remember that he was calling dissenters traitors then, too. The allegation in those days was directed at those of us on the left who didn’t buy the authoritarian line that Horowitz and others of his ilk were spouting. Now, of course, Mr. H contends that WE were all just like him at the time.
Nothing better displays Horowitz’s just how skindeep his alleged transformation is than his line cited above: ...despite the fact that there is no better known critic of the left than myself ...Posted by on 03/23 at 04:02 AM
I’m merely an engineer, but I’m fairly certain that the line should read “there is no better-known critic of the left than I”, and the American Heritage Dictionary (1978) agrees with me:
the case of the word following than is felt to be governed by its function in the clause introduced by than
which in this instance is the nominative case.
Horowitz must be terribly thin-skinned to pick a fight with Billmon. It’s not generally a good idea to focus attention on someone who’s making fun of you.Posted by on 03/23 at 04:34 AM
bad Jim is, of course, correct that grammatically the sentence should read “there is no better-known critic of the left than I.” But perhaps Horowitz avoided the nominative out of recognition of the fact that everything he writes is accusative. At any rate, it can’t be a mistake. Chairman Dave is always right.Posted by on 03/23 at 08:52 AM
Sure, “fiercely shallow” sounds good, but according to Fafblog!, the source of all sources, you are catagorized (along the Poor Man) as “meagre and hollow, but crisp.” Horowitz must therefore recant or suffer the wrath of Giblits!
Speaking of Giblits (great segue, huh!), for a time I held the theory that Horowitz and Giblits were one and the same. After all, how many small, furry, rodent-like megalomaniacs can there be out there? However, observation showed this to be false. As an example, the chicks dig Giblits. This is clearly not the case with Horowitz.Posted by on 03/23 at 11:51 AM
As to the grammar, I is correct. As to the Giblits, i is incorrect. Giblets it is. To me, “peter ramus” is correct.
Fowler and Menken, both wink at the colloquial use of “…than me,” except where it sows confusion, as for example in “I would rather you hold Mr. Horowitz up to ridicule than me” where “me” becomes either the declined source or the defined target of the proposed ridicule depending on the humors of the auditor.
Mr. Horowitz signals with all his talk of “serious business” and “gravamen” that political discourse for him is purely tactical, and facts make no nevermind when it comes to that. The sociopath is the most ardent practitioner of that reductive gambit of rhetoric. I think Mr. Horowitz, by his lapsed grammar, falls just shy, myself.Posted by on 03/23 at 12:07 PM
Ah, then this humble and Fowler-challenged blog stands corrected. No one is more abashed than me, myself, and I.Posted by Michael on 03/23 at 01:32 PM
Sorry to ruin one of your arguments, but it appears there may be more lefties in the future CIA.Posted by I didn't do it on 03/23 at 02:00 PM
Had the left a Karl Rove, he would laugh at how easy it would be to defeat the Academic Bill of Rights. Just say that Horowitz’s law would force universities to offer the teachings of Al Qaida as “balance.”Posted by on 03/23 at 02:04 PM
I agree with the sentiment above: sue him. This right wing “treason” (and all its drooling kin) libel has gone on long enough.
The web is a marvelous resource for finding the who said what about whom and when and where they said it. If the RIAA can sue people for stealing MP3s, then surely someone should sue the bastids for stealing reputations.Posted by on 03/23 at 02:40 PM
Now, Rick, I can’t have you giving away some of the argument in the introduction to Liberal Arts. I want people to buy the book, you know.
Seriously, the book does open with a fairly detailed account of why the innocuous language of the Academic Bill of Rights is actually such a mess.Posted by Michael on 03/23 at 02:47 PM
I want people to buy the book, you know.
Will this blog be providing the secret Amazon link for buying signed copies?Posted by Chris Clarke on 03/23 at 03:09 PM
ahh Chris, i guess i should have known there would be Libertarians involved, eh? they are so much like little Xmas elves, aren’t they?
still, i think it is not without value, and i don’t want to tar all Libertarians with the same brush. but i wonder if that explains why my results keep coming back as anarcho-syndicalist? (i’m so far south-left on their chart that i’m barely hanging onto the edge.) it would seem that i missed my train with the onset of the Spanish Civil War. i’m always late to the party!
but i agree with you that it clearly could use a Beatles/Stones axis (not to mention one for clumpy v. smooth prose!) i look forward to being plotted into your multi-dimensional time-shift map!
“Librarian, that compass is based on something the Libertarians have been flogging around for some decades.”Posted by on 03/23 at 03:25 PM
(i’m so far south-left on their chart that i’m barely hanging onto the edge.)
So that’s YOUR elbow in my ribs.
They routinely put me so far over in that direction that Hitler seems to be a faint blur just behind Gandhi.Posted by Chris Clarke on 03/23 at 03:28 PM
A huge chunk of what supports DH’s persistent attack on academia comes from the christian evangelicals. In Jane Lampman’s article in the Christian Science Monitor
she highlights aspects of this agenda. We are struggling with ever increasing student populations who are being raised to believe certain sets of “facts” to be true, whereas most academics understand that they are not.
“In material given to the attendees of the 10th conference to spread a “cultural mandate” among Christians, the Rev. D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge pastor wrote: “As the vice-regents of God, we are to bring His truth and His will to bear on every sphere of our world and our society. We are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government ... our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors - in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.” This melding of religion and politics, Christianity and patriotism, makes many uneasy, particularly those on the other side of the so-called culture war, who see a threat to the healthy discourse of a pluralistic society.”
“Several speakers emphasize the idea that America’s founders were largely Christian and that their intent was to establish a biblically based nation. (No mention is made of other influences on the Founding Fathers, such as Englightenment thinkers or issues of freedom of conscience.)
David Barton, a leading advocate for emphasizing Christianity in US history, deftly selects quotes from letters and historical documents to link major historical figures such as George Washington to a Christian vision, and to suggest that the courts and scholars in the last century have deliberately undermined the original intent of the Founding Fathers.
Critics, including historians and the Baptist Joint Committee, challenge the accuracy of some of Mr. Barton’s work, including what he calls “the myth of separation of church and state.”
In “Blessed Assurance: A History of Evangelicalism in America,” religious historian Randall Balmer of Columbia University writes that a “contrived mythology about America’s Christian origins” has been a factor in the reentry of evangelicals into political life, helping sustain the conservative swing in American politics. Barton and others say they are recapturing truths hidden behind a secularist version of history, while critics say they are producing revisionist history that cherry-picks facts and ignores historical evidence.”
Horowitz is clearly part of the cherry pickers and revisionists. He does so with his own history, and he does so with the factual histories of others. Part of successfully overcoming these folks is regaining control over an American mythos that is more factually accurate and representative of rational understandings.
sorry about the length of this post re: blog etiquette.Posted by on 03/23 at 03:32 PM
No problem, spyder. Thanks for reminding me that in the vast right-wing network (cough), there’s yet another constituency that Horowitz has yet to repudiate.Posted by Michael on 03/23 at 04:09 PM
I’m sure you are aware this was being printed, but just thought I’d share with everyone else.Posted by on 03/23 at 04:09 PM
Not to legitimize Horowitz’ “one or two degrees of separation” guilt-by-association heuristic, but he might want to read AMERICAN DYNASTY, by Kevin Phillips before he belches forth that bile again.Posted by on 03/23 at 04:11 PM
sorry about that, Chris! but there isn’t much room over here!
“So that’s YOUR elbow in my ribs.”
i do enjoy sharing with friends that i am “left of Stalin” however! that’s always a great conversation starter.
-L.Posted by on 03/23 at 04:27 PM
On the Chile question of which I know way too much personally, there are those who indeed argue that Pinochet was good for Chile. Of course, one must ask good for which Chile or which Chileans and therein lies the rub.
In fact Mr. Becker of Posner and Becker blog fame has this week mentioned Chile as an example of yes a country that has gone from economic liberalization to political emancipation.
Did the changes to the Chilean economic order which brought in capital and generated a certain amount of economic growth in certain sectors of the economy lead to the eventual ouster of Pinochet? I doubt it.
One wonders what Chile would be like if a large partner such as the U.S. had invested in a kind of hybrid state-private industry model in Chile during the crisis times of 72-73. Instead of investing in exacerbating the crisis and fomenting dissent?
To this day, there is such a disparity between the wealthy classes and the poor in Chile that if you leave the neo-liberal corridors, you would have no idea that Chile has had any success at all as a neoliberal experiment in Chicago school economic shock treatment.
There are very difficult questions and problems with development, with liberalism, with so called democracy and polemios is a dull instrument indeed with which to begin to even address such questions.
I feel for the people who do not allow that institutions of higher learning might just give us a forum in which to allow eros and not just polemios to address the crises of our times.
And our dear friend Leo Strauss would have wholeheartedly shared my pity for poor dear Horowitz and those poor liberals who have donned the mantle of conservatism out of a fear of and a disgust with their own, with our liberalism.
Dear Horowitz, you are a liberal. Perhaps that is why the word disgusts you so?
You want to be a swaggering, big autonomous, man’s man, but you are just a wee little compromising inter-dependent liberal and that must eat at you terribly.Posted by on 03/23 at 04:35 PM
Here’s to’t, Lars!
Michael, perhaps you could tell David that you will send a friend to see him in the morning...?
After all, we radical leftists with our contempt for law and order and all can hardly be expectd to care that the code duello is illegal in this country.
You could offer to meet him in the park, to face off with weapons of his choosing - rhetoric, historical facts, logic, whatever. (I’d recommend you bring MB for one of your seconds, which might have the effect of rattling DH a little.)Posted by bellatrys on 03/24 at 07:46 AM
I have to imagine Michael’s seen this already:
The Cultural Revolution which took place in China in the 1960s (when Tommy Tomorrow and Michael Berube were campus radicals supporting the revolutionaries)…
Clearly, folks, our host is being a bit modest when he suggests he merely took some time off from hockey camp at age ten in the name of death in Indochina. Who knew that he’d already been in the thick of the sedition movement for the decade prior?
Though he, too, refuses to cop to the truth, it seems that Tom “Tommy” Tomorrow was riling up the radicals at a small midwestern school named after a preeminent American Communist. Where were you, Michael? I, for one, think it’s time you came clean.Posted by Dan on 03/24 at 02:11 PM
Let’s get one thing straight, liberal scumbags. If The Ho says Billmon’s satire isn’t clever or funny, it isn’t clever or funny. Period. If you happen to think it’s clever or funny, you’re just wrong, cause The Ho is THE authority on cleverness and funniness. Period.Posted by GForce on 03/24 at 07:36 PM
Good post, but one point of criticism:
“It’s one thing to associate Brian Becker, Ramsey Clark, or Lynne Stewart with political Islamists; these people truly have gone around the bend, and are making what amounts to a red-brown alliance between the far far left and the far far right of Islamism.”
I don’t know Brian Becker from adam, and Ramsey Clark has been known to cozy up to dictators just because they oppose the US, but as far as I know, Lynne Stewart was stiched up by the Bush justice department; terrorists need lawyers too.
Furthermore, it takes away from your main point and makes you look weak. “Discover the Network” is a disgusting operation and your points about could easily have been made without dragging in those people as examples of true crazies.
It’s the sort of technique I’ve seen other sincere leftists/liberals or centralists use, where they concede there are some crazies on their side, but they aren’t one of them. (Usually when talking about Michael Moore).Posted by Martin Wisse on 03/25 at 07:03 AM
>>Let’s get one thing straight, liberal scumbags. If The Ho says Billmon’s satire isn’t clever or funny, it isn’t clever or funny. Period. If you happen to think it’s clever or funny, you’re just wrong, cause The Ho is THE authority on cleverness and funniness. Period.>>
Well, yes, but since we’re not as sloppy with our distinctions as Horowitz, we can easily differentiate between intentional and unintentional humor.
Is it only among commies that the a joke tends not to seem funny to the butt of the joke?Posted by on 03/25 at 03:23 PM