David Horowitz’s “A Point in Time”

by Stanley Kurtz

Modern liberalism as a political religion is a topic of enduring interest–especially to conservatives on the receiving end of the latest leftist crusade. David Horowitz’s stunning autobiography, Radical Son, although not presented as a study of political religion, is one of the great explorations of the subject. Horowitz’s parents were committed Communists, and his struggle to break free of their ideological spell provoked deeply penetrating insights into the emotional foundations of leftist politics.

Now, in a very different spirit, Horowitz has returned to the topic in his new book, A Point in Time: The Search for Redemption in This Life and the Next. Here, an older Horowitz interweaves reflections on the troubling character of leftist political religion with his own attempts to make sense of life and mortality.

A Point in Time shifts effortlessly from the seemingly mundane details of daily life to the most serious questions, and back. If you want a model of how to read and think about a great work of literature or philosophy, this is it. Horowitz grapples with the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius and the novels of Dostoevsky as if his life depended on them, which in a way it does. Horowitz approaches these authors as full human beings. He moves between their lives and writings, then responds to them as if they were walking beside him.

A Point in Time is brief and easy to read. You can finish it in a single leisurely day. The simplicity is deceptive, however. This book will challenge you.

Nobody personifies tough-minded political infighting more than David Horowitz. Yet A Point in Time proves again what Horowitz has shown us before–that a brawling political spirit can harbor profundity.