David Horowitz on Chatting With Socialists

Yesterday I contacted David Horowitz and asked him to weigh in on what appears to be the burning question of the moment in the conservative movement here in New Jersey: is it proper for conservative groups such as Tea Party organizations to invite socialists to their membership meetings in order to engage them in discussion?

Insofar as the knuckle-dragging, Know-Nothing segment of the conservative movement very likely has never heard of David Horowitz, here’s a brief Wiki-bio:

David Joel Horowitz (born January 10, 1939) is an American conservative writer and policy advocate. Horowitz was raised by parents who were both members of the American Communist Party. Between 1956 and 1975, Horowitz was an outspoken adherent of the New Left before rejecting Marxism completely. Horowitz has recounted his ideological journey in a series of retrospectives, culminating with his 1996 memoir Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey.

David Horowitz is a founder and current president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, edits FrontPage Magazine, and also writes for Christopher Ruddy‘s NewsMax. Horowitz has also founded the organization Students for Academic Freedom, whose stated goal is combatting Marxist indoctrination in academia.

A more detailed curriculum vitae may be found here.

When it comes to matters of collectivism and open debate, Mr. Horowitz knows whereof he speaks. I sent him the following e-mail early yesterday morning:

Dear Mr. Horowitz,

In late April the Bayshore Tea Party invited an eighteen year old candidate for county freeholder – who happens to be running as a Socialist -  to speak at one of their meetings. Their purpose was two-fold: one, to give him an up close view of how a Tea Party group thinks and acts and two, to get inside his head and better understand what motivates him to embrace socialism.

The meeting lasted two hours and was a productive one: the young socialist came away with greater respect for Tea Party people while the Tea Party has a better idea of how young people can relate to socialism. They reasoned that a single seed of doubt planted in the mind of this young man may one day lead to a change of heart and mind that makes him this generation’s David Horowitz.

Lately, the Bayshore Tea Party group has been the object of scurrilous and, frankly, defamatory attacks on the part of a “conservative” website that claims they should never have invited the socialist to speak and that all socialists should be shunned.

I have weighed in on this matter here: http://genehoyas.com/when-socialists-come-a-knockin/

May I impose upon you to offer your insight? Do you agree with the Tea Party’s decision or do you believe that conservative groups and organizations should never engage in this sort of dialog?

Your opinion matters very much to me, sir, and I look forward to hearing from you.


Gene Hoyas

The response? Short and devastatingly sweet:

I’m with you. We live in a democracy and have to make the argument. If we can’t do that we might as well fold our tents.

The defense rests it case – unless, of course, the Jacobins intend to argue that Horowitz is a closet socialist.

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6 Responses to David Horowitz on Chatting With Socialists

  1. Nadia says:

    An excellent article for all people of the conservative movement to read by Horowitz is “the Art of Political War for Tea Parties”. Just to pull one quote that is fitting this post:
    “Of course, you have a base of supporters who will listen for hours to what you have to say if that’s what you want. In the battles facing you, they will play an important role. Therefore, what you say to them is also important. But it is not going to decide elections. The audiences that will determine your fate are audiences that you will first have to persuade. You will have to find a way to reach them and get them to listen. And get them to support you. With these audiences, you will never have time for real arguments or proper analyses. Images—symbols and sound-bites—will always prevail.”

  2. Barb says:

    This is so true. We are always preaching to the choir. Some want to only hear from and speak to those that agree with them. You need to learn from and hopefully teach those that don’t agree with you. We all know that Conservatives will vote for Concervatives….what about those minds that can possibly be changed?

  3. dloosend says:

    You know Gene, if you keep introducing facts into this debate
    the referees will have to stop the bout as the other side is defenseless.
    But, thank you for the $1,000 Sen Doherety and good luck finding supporters.

  4. CNJ will call you a terrorist and socialist because you are associated with Horowitz.

    Gene, you can’t talk facts with people for whom facts are irrelevant. In fact, talking to them at all is fruitless.

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