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Another "red diaper babe" outed
on September 14, 2003
How a reasonably intelligent man moved from 'way over there' politically, to 'way over here' is the superstructure of David Horowitz's interesting autobiography which tracks his political and philosophical epiphany. Like Saul of Tarsus who was stricken on the Road to Damascus and changed from a prosecutor to a defender of those he attacked, Horowitz moved from the extreme left to the far -- but not quite the extreme -- right. From ultra liberal Communist to arch conservative, anti-Communist. From the shadows of lawlessness in support of radical groups such as the Black Panthers to the exposer of their crimes.
David Horowitz's parents were depression-era Communists, true believers, they, who raised their son in that milieu, a 'red diaper baby' as the term has become known. He matured as Communist radical during the wild and rambunctious 60's -- the Hippy Era -- in which he became an active participant in the anti-Vietnam war crowd, associating with criminals such as Huey Newton, Eldrige Cleaver and the arch villainess, Elaine Brown. During that era, Horowitz wrote for and, for a time, edited The Ramparts magazine -- the era's showpiece periodical which pushed the radical point of view: anti-establishment, anti-war, anti-law-and-order, anti-moderation.
But then Horowitz's private life went to hell. His wife and four children left him, there were two other failed marriages after that. His private life seemed to have no core, perhaps because he failed to see and appreciate its importance. He mourned throughout the book that he could not "connect with" his father, a remote, intellectual Marxist. There were periods of depression and analysis but through it all -- and to his credit -- Horowitz continued to write and to produce. In partnership with Peter Collier they wrote best-settlers: the histories of the Rockerfellers, The Fords and the Kennedys. And -- even more to his credit -- Horowitz writes lavishly in his praise and appreciation of Collier to whom he gives most of the credit for their publishing success.
But what made Horowitz flip? He is not entirely clear. But it seems that the odyssey began with his and Collier's departure with the left over homosexuality and AIDS. But then the other strands that bound him to the left began to unravel to such a point that he finally considered Ronald Reagan heroic rather than archaic. He infers that much of his 'conversion' is the reverting to the core of his Jewish culture and tradition, even though he is an admitted agnostic. And it is entirely likely that the conservative point of view is more valuable in preserving his appreciation of his Jewish culture than would a more liberal view.