The Horowitzian Eye on Campus

by Jay Nordlinger

I was going to say that David Horowitz needs no introduction, but pretty much everyone needs an introduction — if only because young people come along, with (reassuring) regularity. Horowitz is a famous lefty-turned-righty, or communist-turned-conservative. He was important when he was on the left, and he stayed important when he went right. In 1997, he published his celebrated autobiography, Radical Son. (The title has its echo, of course, in Richard Wright’s novel, Native Son.)

A few years ago, I wrote a three-part series about David, “A Witness” (Part I, Part II, Part III). He had embarked on a series of his own — a very big series called “The Black Book of the American Left.” You will hear the echo in the title. In 1997, the same year as Radical Son, academics in Europe published The Black Book of Communism. It counted the corpses. David’s Black Book collects his writings as a conservative, and indicts his former comrades and allies.

He is now up to Volume VIII, “The Left in the University,” just published. This is an extremely important subject. “Give me a child until he is seven, and I’ll show you the man,” goes an old saying. Well, you enter college well past seven. Still, a college education can have a great effect on a person — for good or ill.

David reports some horrors on campus, and he calls for an academic bill of rights. He also inveighs against indoctrination. Education ought to be liberal, as in “liberal education,” and illiberalism is a threat to our very democracy, which is liberal.

Often, it takes a conservative to teach “liberals” liberalism.

A couple of days ago, I read about right-wingers at Whittier College, shouting down a pair of California officials. WTF? This was truly man-bites-dog, to me. All my life, I have read about, and witnessed, the Left shouting down the Right. I had never seen, or heard about, the opposite.

In any event, I used to know Whittier College as Nixon’s alma mater. Now I know it for this recent sad event. I’m not sure which they prefer!

But back to the point of my post: David Horowitz has been a leader in trying to hold our universities to account, and I recommend his latest volume, as a record and a service.

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