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.
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.