Rush Limbaugh's Conversation with David Horowitz
A spotlight on the Freedom Center president's new book, "The Black Book of the American Left."
(/sites/default/files/uploads/2013/11/rdh2.jpg)[To order The Black Book of the American Left, Volume I - My Life and Times, click here.]
[Horowitz Pic Credit: Joel Gilbert]
Reprinted with permission from The Limbaugh Letter.
So good to speak with a no-holds-barred enemy of the ruinous left, who — having once been the left’s “most important theorist” — knows from the inside out how critical it is to take the fight to them:
RUSH: How are you doing, David?
HOROWITZ: Hey, Rush! Good.
RUSH: Your latest book has an intriguing title, The Black Book of the American Left. If somebody walked up to you on the street and asked about it, how would you explain it?
HOROWITZ: It’s kind of my life mission, I guess. It’s my collected writings. I’ve written about a million and a half words in the last 20, 30 years, not counting my books, and these words have all been about one subject, it turns out. I didn’t realize this until I had somebody collect them. But it’s all about the left, and the battles I and conservatives have had with the left over race, the culture wars, and over the left’s lack of loyalty to this country in facing its enemies.
I organized those writings into ten volumes; each is a book that covers one area. This first volume, which Encounter Books is publishing this week, is called “My Life and Times,” about how I left the left and why. The second volume is called “Progressives,” about the nature of progressivism and why it’s connected to communism.
I think the most important thing I’ve done in this book is to show the continuity in the left with its communist forebears. These are not liberals. We should never call these people liberals. To begin with, they’re bigots. They’re bigoted against Christians, against America, against white people. They don’t like conservatives. They don’t want two sides to a question. We are liberal. I don’t know of a conservative who wants to shut off the conversation, but leftists do.
RUSH: What about their term “progressive?”
HOROWITZ: Progressive is certainly better than liberal, but none of these terms accurately describes them. Progressives believe that history is a forward march. Obama put a carpet in the Oval Office with this inscription: “The moral arc of the universe is bent towards justice.” No, it isn’t. What kind of a belief is that? The 20th century is probably the worst century on record for the number of people murdered and oppressed, and the 21st century will probably be worse. There’s no historical progress in the sense of a moral evolution. Progressives think that they’re on the side of history. That’s what drives them, that’s what makes them so arrogant, that’s what makes them despise us, because we don’t go along with their program, and so we’re standing in the way of historical “progress.”
RUSH: Now let me ask — you may think this question is silly. I ask it because I’ve had several epiphanies about this recently. Are you writing this book to persuade people to oppose communists, liberals, whoever — the left? Or are you writing it just to document them?
HOROWITZ: Ah. First of all, I think it was Santayana who said that in every generation we face a barbarian threat in our own children. This is something the left doesn’t understand. The left thinks people are born good and moral. No, they’re not. That’s why we need morality, religion, laws. So I would hope that young people would read this book and be warned against socialist “remedies.” According to a Pew poll, 49 percent of young Americans have a favorable view of socialism. What is socialism? It is a system that leads to mass misery, mass impoverization, and human slaughter. That’s what it means. Yet almost half of the young think it’s benign. So on the one hand, I would like to reach the young — although our schools, as one of the volumes will show, are completely dominated by the left and have been transformed into indoctrination centers for the left.
RUSH: You’ve documented that in previous books.
HOROWITZ: But I also think the most important message in these books is for conservatives. Conservatives do many things wonderfully well. They understand the Constitution. They understand how the economy works. But they are not so good at understanding how the left works. Conservatives are way too benign, benevolent, understanding. That’s why they’ll call people who are bigots liberals. Their thought is, “If these leftists want to be called liberals, sure, we’ll call them liberals.” I hope that my book will be a wake-up call to conservatives, that these are very dangerous people. Of course, Obama has done more waking up of conservatives than I could ever do. Unfortunately, he’s done it by having the power to show them what progressive “solutions” really mean.
RUSH: You’re lighting some fires here with me. I’ve been doing my radio show for 25 years, but I’ve believed what I believe for my whole life. This is fascinating to me — why do conservatives need to be awakened? Why don’t they see it, when it’s right in front of their face?
HOROWITZ: There are two tendencies or tics conservatives have that prevent them from seeing “liberals” as they really are. One is a complacency. They don’t think that things change radically; they’re skeptical of critics like me who say they can. Above all, they don’t see that we find ourselves in a war. They don’t want politics to be a war. They want politics to be about horse-trades and compromise.
RUSH: Now wait, is that Republicans or conservatives?
HOROWITZ: I think this is true of conservatives as well, Rush. It’s not true of you. There are some conservatives who get it, but an awful lot of them have a complacent attitude towards what’s happening, or at least did until Obama was elected.
RUSH: David, you’re zeroing in here on a major, major problem as I see it. I look at so-called conservative commentators in Washington who seem to be content to commentate, but they don’t have any interest in beating this back. I don’t want to mention names, but most of them are that way. Same thing with the Republican Party. You come from the left. You’re one of the founders of the New Left. You’ve emerged; you were in the inner circle. You’ve spent much of your career trying to explain who these people are, the destructive, vicious malice that they have.
RUSH: And you don’t think — this is astounding to me — you don’t think that the Republicans or conservatives really yet comprehend the seriousness of the threat.
HOROWITZ: No. Otherwise they wouldn’t be squabbling among themselves so much. There’s another thing going on, and that is that the left controls the language. Our universities, our schools, our mainstream media are gone — so if you pick a real fight with the left, you get tarred and feathered, as you know all too well. Conservatives are brought up in a healthy way; they mind their reputations, they don’t want to be bloodied, they don’t want to be looked at as kooks and extremists, which are the terms of abuse that are used.
RUSH: That’s true.
HOROWITZ: And that’s why it’s taken them so long to wake up. Obama is a compulsive, habitual liar. He makes Bill Clinton look like a Boy Scout. Clinton spun things and he did lie about something very personal and embarrassing to him, but Obama lies about everything, and all the time. And yet it’s taken five years for people to start saying this. Including conservatives. Take so-called single payer health care. Why do we use phrases like “single payer?” It’s communism! If the state controls your access to health care, which is what this is about, they control you. This is a fundamental battle for individual freedom, which is what conservatives are about, or should be. But who’s saying this about Obama’s plan to organize health care along communist lines?
RUSH: Let’s talk about persuasion a second. I’ve got true believers in my audience, and I’ve also got elements of the low-information or the swing-voter segment, and then a few leftists who listen. One thing I have discovered over the course of my career is that whenever I’ve used the word “communism” to describe, say, typical modern-day liberals, people say, “Oh, come on, Rush! They’re not communists!” It ends up being counterproductive, because I have found people don’t want to believe that about somebody like Obama. How do we go about persuading people that it is what it is?
HOROWITZ: That’s a very good question. I’m publishing these ten volumes in the hope of persuading some people that is indeed the accurate description for these “liberals” and “progressives.” I think the language problem is a very serious one. I once tried to launch the word “neo-communist.” We talk about neo-fascists, so how about neo-communists? But that doesn’t work. People look at you as a relic if you use the term. But you have to at least say what their agenda is, and their agenda is controlling, is destroying individual freedom. That’s the way I would do it. By continually reminding people of what their agenda is. It’s anti-individual freedom. You can’t talk about the national debt just as an accounting problem. It’s taking away the freedom of future generations. It means that you have to work for the government instead of yourself. Currently we work something like half our lives for the state. Every other day we’re working for the government instead of for ourselves. What Obama is doing is diminishing the realm of freedom. Conservatives need to keep bringing that up all the time.
For seven years I did this campaign on the university issue. My “Academic Bill of Rights” was just to get two sides to a question, that students should be assigned books on both sides of controversial issues and professors should let them make up their own minds. To restore democratic pluralism to the academic classroom. I got minimal support for this campaign from the Republican Party. This is part of the complacency problem. Conservatives gave up the schools. There are conservatives on boards of trustees. A lot of them are businessmen, not willing to engage in the battle, because the left is very good at tarring and feathering. Their name-calling and character assassination tactics are effective.
RUSH: In education, they hold your kids’ future in their hands. You bitch at the school, your kids can get a D or an F and it’s over. And they’re not afraid. They intimidate parents like this left and right.
HOROWITZ: That, too.
RUSH: You had a great piece [Nov. 4] in National Review —
HOROWITZ: “Uniting the Right.”
RUSH: You pointed out that Democrats are always in lockstep, in contrast to Republicans, who are all over the place rhetorically and strategically. You said, and I’m quoting here, “The result is that a morally bankrupt, politically tyrannical, economically destructive [Democrat] Party is able to set the course of an entire nation and put it on the road to disaster.” David, people always ask, my callers ask me, “Why don’t the Republicans do ‘x’? Why don’t they do this? Why don’t they do that?” So let me ask you why. Aside from what you’ve said, that there’s a fear of being castigated by the media, mischaracterized. I think media paralysis is a key answer to the question. Republicans simply don’t want to have mean things said about them. They want to be liked by the people who run Washington, D.C. But I don’t even see any pushback from the Republican Party. They’ll go after Ted Cruz and they’ll go after Sarah Palin and they’ll go after Mike Lee, but they won’t go after Obama.
HOROWITZ: Exactly. I have never seen Republicans conduct such bloody warfare as they do against conservatives. They don’t do that to Democrats, ever. And I think it’s great that all the people that you mentioned, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, are people, finally, who don’t care what The Washington Post says, don’t care what The New York Times says, and don’t care what the Republican establishment says. That’s the way it has to be done.
I will tell you that the big difference between the left and the right that I saw when I came into the conservative movement 30 years ago was that the right had no ground army. I watched as the Democratic Party was pushed to the left by the activists in the streets — the MoveOn.org people, the Netroots — until it’s now just a left-wing Party. It was Howard Dean, a 60s leftover, who launched the anti-Iraq war campaign that shifted the whole Democratic Party. But on the Republican side, there was nobody pushing from the right. There was no ground war, no force pushing on Republicans from the grassroots. Now we have the Tea Party.
RUSH: You come from the belly of the beast. We’ve talked about it before, your life, your parents, and how you escaped. You lived this stuff. You were a leader of the left in your youth. Talk about MoveOn.org — these are average Americans. They may make $50,000 a year. The Netroots, they’re a bunch of people in their pajamas, sitting there blogging and posting. What do they think is in it for them? They are not people Obama is prospering.
HOROWITZ: What’s in it for them is the fact that progressivism is a religion, or a crypto-religion. Like religious people, they believe the world is a fallen place. But they also believe that they can be its saviors. Salvation and redemption are not going to come from a divinity, but from the movement they are part of, from the organized left. What they get out of this is the consolation of religion. They get a sense of personal worth; they get a meaning to their lives. That’s what drives them. It’s not money. It’s much more powerful. When Whittaker Chambers left communism, he said, “I’ve left the winning side for the losing side.” Why did he think that? Because communists have ideas they’re willing to die for, and conservatives don’t. Conservatives have to get that idea. They have to understand that their freedom will be lost if we don’t stop the left.
RUSH: About stopping them. I remember last time I spoke to you officially like this it was after you had written The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America_,_ your critique of the Academy. I asked you, “Do you ever foresee the day where we’d beat them back?” You were doubtful that we would ever reclaim education. Can these people be beaten back? Can the right triumph ever again?
HOROWITZ: I remain an optimist, which brings me to the second problem with conservatives. In addition to their decency and their not wanting to make enemies and not wanting to turn politics into war, they’re fatalists. If you think you’re going to lose, you can’t win. That’s very basic. I believe there’s a lot of hope. The ideas of the left are bankrupt. They don’t work. We’re seeing this now with Obamacare. Ludwig von Mises wrote a book in 1922, titled: Socialism. He explained that you can’t centrally plan a large economy, and he showed why. 1922. That’s almost 100 years ago, yet the Democratic Party rammed through Obamacare, ignoring what the last 100 years has proved. They’re going to organize the health care of 300 million Americans with their computers. It’s lunacy. Yet it’s the policy of the whole Democratic Party. They’ve staked their political future on this.
RUSH: You think it will implode?
HOROWITZ: I think they’re going to go down in flames in the coming election. I’m hoping for that, and I can’t see how that won’t happen.
RUSH: I tell you, I hope you’re right, because these series of lies on keeping your policy and your premium getting cheaper, keeping your doctor, these are deeply personal lies that Obama’s told about health care, which is something they’ve elevated to the most important thing in people’s lives. They’ve done that. They’ve made it sound like you can’t go through life without health insurance. You cannot survive. You’re one paycheck away from ruin. You’re one disease away from ruin. And here’s Obama, lying through his teeth on one of the most deeply personal things, health care. Gallup recently had his approval number at 39, David.
HOROWITZ: It’s still way too high, considering who this guy is and what he’s done. When he loses the Jon Stewarts, he’s in serious trouble, but he’s so arrogant he doesn’t realize it. Habitual lying is a characteristic of the left. Leftists are delusional, but they’re not stupid. My parents never called themselves communists. They always described themselves as progressives. When I was a kid, Stalin was alive, and the slogan of the communist party wasn’t “dictatorship of the proletariat,” it wasn’t “a soviet America.” It was “peace, jobs, and democracy.”
Thus to sell Obamacare, they claimed — lied — that it’s to cover the uninsured. But it doesn’t even do that. Everything they said about Obamacare is a lie. Why? Because their real agenda is not health care. It’s to create a socialist state. To do that they need comprehensive control over people’s lives. I never thought I’d be saying this, because I didn’t see it even in a remote future, but we’re on the brink of a one-party state if they were to succeed. If you are ready to use the irs politically, if you have access to every individual’s financial and health care information, and if your spy agency can monitor all communications, you don’t need a secret police to destroy your opponents. Anybody you want to destroy, you’ve got enough information on them and control to stop them. That’s how close we are to a totalitarian state. They want to control your life — for your own good of course — even to the point of whether you can buy Big Gulps. That’s not incidental.
RUSH: No, it’s not. Now when this kind of thing happens, I sit around and I wonder about the average American, somebody who’s not an activist like you or me. Do they not see this, and if they don’t, how can they be made to see it?
HOROWITZ: I don’t think they see it. Most people are averse to politics and don’t pay that much attention. However, Obamacare is going to make them pay attention because his plan affects so many people. You have to start using moral language against these people. I want to hear our guys saying, “This is a threat to individual freedom. You are attacking the freedom of every American when you run up the debt like this. You are attacking the freedom of every American when you put them all in a government-controlled program like this. Government should not have this information.”
Conservatives are caught a little bit on this. We have a problem with the nsa issue. The left is very clear, since they despise America and they don’t care about our national security. But they’re right about the threat to individual liberty with the state having so much information. As I wrote in National Review, we need to make individual freedom our rallying cry. Every time they have a program that hurts individual liberty, we need to stop talking about it as though it was just about money. The money figures are so big, trillions, nobody can even grasp them, unless they’re very involved in the economy and understand it — and then they probably are Republicans.
RUSH: I hold no brief for Ron Paul, but he said something fascinating in his farewell address to Congress. He said the thing that surprises him most is what a tough sell freedom has become.
HOROWITZ: I agree.
RUSH: I do, too. Freedom requires personal responsibility. You’ve got 90 million Americans not working, David, but they’re all eating. They’ve all got big-screen tvs.
HOROWITZ: I know. It’s appalling to me. We need to use a moral language. Notice when the left attacks, it’s always using moral language. Racist, sexist, homophobic, whatever. These attacks sting. We don’t use language like that. We need to. It’s they who are racist. I’ve written a piece about this called, “Fight Fire with Fire.” Why are we letting them get away with their destruction of inner-city minority communities? Detroit, Chicago: why weren’t the disasters Democrats have visited on these cities huge in the Republican campaign last time? Democrats control these cities, they’ve controlled them for half a century and more. They’re ruining, destroying the lives of young black and Hispanic kids in these cities, and poor whites there as well. They’re 100 percent responsible for that, yet we never mention it.
It is beyond me. Conservative pundits probably read the Federalist Papers and they understand that we have a really wise system set up for competing interests, so you balance off this and that. They don’t want to be at war, and particularly a moral war, with other Americans. But that is the reality. The left has already made it that. Republicans are treated as though they’re of the Party of Satan. That goes with the religious nature of leftist beliefs. Progressives believe that they are creating the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and that people who oppose them are the Party of the Devil. That’s the way they fight. We have to use that kind of language. Fight fire with fire.
RUSH: You’re nailing it. You came up with something in this book that I think is worth repeating, and to me it’s brilliant. I would never have seen it had you not pointed it out. You write that the fall of soviet communism had the unforeseen effect of freeing leftists from the burden of defending failed Marxist states, which in turn allowed them to emerge as a major force in American life. That’s so right on. The failure of communism, ironically, led to a rebirth of it in this country. We wipe it out in the Soviet Union, and a shining example of its atrocities goes away, and it becomes a tougher sell to educate people what it is.
HOROWITZ: Exactly, and leftists saw that at the time. That’s the first thing they said about it. They looked on the bright side right away. That’s why connecting them to the communists is very important. It’s part of the battle. Republicans, and conservatives as well, have let the foreign policy issue, national security, slip off the political radar. Barack Obama is a supporter of the Islamofascists. He’s supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that wants to exterminate the Jews and kill Christians and destroy America. Obama and Hillary have supported them. Their Administration is infiltrated by Islamist agents. That’s why Benghazi is so important, and why I’m really encouraged that Republicans haven’t let it totally disappear.
RUSH: That was so frustrating when Mitt Romney let that go.
HOROWITZ: But that’s a perfect example, a perfect example. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have the blood of those American heroes on their hands. What Obama did and did not do is the most shameful act in the history of the American Presidency. It’s beyond politics. You turn your back on these heroic people who are fighting for their lives and calling for help? How un-American is that? And where is the language to describe that, coming out of the mouths of our political leaders?
To go back to our earlier discussion, it was the emergence of the Tea Party that made possible a Ted Cruz, a Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and others — there are actually quite a few in the House who are standing really tall.
RUSH: The Republican Party is trying to wipe them out, David.
HOROWITZ: It’s a battle, and I don’t think our people are going to be intimated. The grassroots will prevent that.
RUSH: They’re not going to be intimidated at all.
HOROWITZ: And you of course have had a tremendous role in this. When I came into the conservative movement 30 years ago, there was no ground force. There was no grassroots army. A grassroots army is very important because you can’t take away their perks. Washington can corrupt anybody who gets there, as evidenced by the impossibility of getting Congress to impose Obamacare on themselves. But you can’t bribe people at the ground level. They don’t have the privileges, so you can’t take them away, and that’s why they’re so important — and they’re the people who give power to the voices of resistance. They elected Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and Mike Lee. I’m just hoping over time, there will be more like them.
You are without question the most important voice in having created this grassroots army. I think I told you once that I went to speak at the University of Idaho in Pocatello, Idaho 15 years ago. I always asked the students who invited me to speak, “How did you get your conservative ideas?” Before I got to ask the kid who picked me up from the airport, he popped a tape into his dashboard player, and it’s you. That’s how he got his conservative education. So now he is an adult, he has a family, and he’s probably involved in the Tea Party movement.
I think this is the key for conservatives. We should hold Republicans’ feet to the fire, but the main thing is to organize at the ground level, put the pressure on, and remember that the Democrats — not other Republicans — are the enemy. We need to be saying that “liberals,” “progressives,” are vicious, unscrupulous, they’re character assassins, and they’re racists. Nobody is holding them to account right now in the public discourse — yourself, Mark Levin, and people like you excepted. But when you began, Rush, it was just you. That was the conservative voice nationally: just you. Now we have a lot of media. This is where I derive my hope. I see tremendous developments in the conservative movement that probably conservatives don’t see as clearly as I do, because I saw these as missing elements when I came into the right.
RUSH: Well, you’re right about one thing, there is so much pessimism on our side, and it’s got to be overcome. Your book is fabulous. It’s a compendium, but so timely. Congratulations on it, because there is a lifetime of work in this. I really wish you the best, and I’m going to do everything I can to push it.
HOROWITZ: Thank you, Rush. I’m a small voice. I so much appreciate your support.
RUSH: You’ll always have it. This is really great, and I really appreciate you making time.
©2013 The Limbaugh Letter, reprinted by permission.