kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Name:
Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Love and Kisses from the Right

This is long, and I'm putting it on here just as sort of an archive. Do with it what most of America, and the world, has chosen to do: ignore it.

[This has been edited, but contains the entire set of responses from Horowitz, in their entirety. For those who can't figure it out, I'm Benjamin Dover. It begins with a piece by Dave himself, and then my responses, and then the "threat" that Dave is coming over to kick my ass. I'll leave it anyone with enough patience to determine if he was successful.]

From: anncoulter.com (Ann Coulter Official Chat)

[BD: benjamin dover; CH: moderator DH: david horowitz; the others are identified by their chatroom monikers]

[Original Post]

A refresher course on Wilson/ Plame treachery from Horowitz
Post Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 3:34 am

Liberals lie, and employ so much trickery and deceit, that sometimes it is hard to remember what transpired just a few years ago.

These Rove Ragers are defining the moonbat position well....

David Horowitz wrote an excellent article regarding this story;

The Witch-Hunt of Karl Rove and the war at home.

Posted by David Horowitz @ Saturday 16 July 2005, 3:30 pm

So now we know a lot of the facts. In the midst of a war, a rogue CIA employee named Valerie Plame set out to sabotage the President’s war policy — a policy ratified by both political parties and both houses of Congress. To do this she sent her husband on a mission to Niger to discredit the President’s statement that Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium there [emphasis added] — in other words to discredit a justification for the war in which Americans were continuing to die. Forget for a moment the treasonous nature of an action designed to undermine a duly arrived at war policy and to destroy the credibility of the commander-in-chief while this nation’s soldiers were in harm’s way. The mere act of sending a relative on a mission like this was illegal under existing statutes for someone in Plame’s position.
Her husband, Joseph Wilson, went off to Niger, did no investigation and came back and lied about what he had allegedly discovered. The bi-partisan 9/11 commission concluded that Wilson’s claims were false – a year and half after the damage the Plame-Wilson team intended was already done.
The Plame-Wilson lie was designed to make the President look like a liar and the nation’s democratically and legally arrived at war policy a fraud. This came right at the climax of anti-war primary campaign of Howard Dean in July 2003, just three months after the fall of Baghdad and when the terrorist counter-attack had already begun.
Immediately the Democratic Party leadership jumped on the President calling him a liar and a fraud using the 16 words in the January 2003 State of the Union address about Niger as evidence. These 16 words were perfectly true than (as now) yet that didn’t stop Democrats from using the Plame-Wilson lies to undermine the authority of the commander-in-chief in the eyes of the American people and before the entire world. No psychological warfare campaign ever conducted by an enemy against the United States has been as effetive as this one.
It emboldened our terrorist enemies, and sowed distrust in Europe and throughout the world about American policies, continued for more than six months with of course the megaphone provided by the NY Times and other Bush-hating and America bashing media institutions.
Joseph Wilson threw fuel on the fire by falsely claiming that Vice President Cheney had sent him and not his treacherous anti-Bush wife in her attempt to protect Saddam Hussein and his monster regime. NDavid Corn of the Saddam- and terrorist-sympathizing Nation and other journalists in the opposition press jumped on the story and projected the treacherous activities of Wilson and Plame onto the Bush Administration which was still trying to carry on an anti-terrorist war in the Middle East.
Corn was the first to suggest that outing Plame as a rogue CIA employee was itself treason and certainly against the law. It was not. Plame is not a cover CIA operative and besides and all its Democrat friends in Congress opposed the law protecting CIA agents and protected and even lionized the rogue CIA agent Philip Agee whose leaks of the names of covert CIA agents had gotten one agent killed and was responsible for the enactment of the law. The Nation also has been in the forefront of the fawners at the feet of liar Joseph Wilson giving him a dinner and award for his treachery. (Working against your own government in time of war, while in the employ of your government is by definition treachery.) In other words The Nation is entirely consistent: it will protect those CIA agents (Agee, Plame) who are enemies of the United States or its policies, and and only those agents.
Democrats will of course mentally dissociate themselves from acts of conscious treachery. And many of them have reason to do so. Unlike the Nation radicals, they are not rooting for our enemies to win. On the other hand, over and over in this war they have shown that they are prepared to win elections even at the cost of American defeats in the war on terror — which as we can easily caculate may cost 100,000 American lives at a blow. Or as the President once put it to Tom Daschle, they are a party who will put their partisan interests above the security of 300 million Americans.
In a synchronity that all honest liberals should pay attention to, an appeals court has found that no torture or illegality took place at Guantanamo and that the legal campaign led by communist supporter Michael Ratner in behalf of the Guantanamo terrorists is based on an even bigger lie than the Plame-Wilson sabotage. In this assault on the war on terror from behind our lines the Democratic Party is also a willing and essential accomplice.
It’s time for the Democrats to stop their sabotage of the war on terror. It’s time for them to put away the witch-hunt against Karl Rove and Homeland Security, and to begin finally to think about defending this country instead of its internal enemies.

BD:Post Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 7:52 am

Quote:
To do this she sent her husband on a mission to Niger to discredit the President’s statement that Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium there.

I don't know much about how the CIA works--or anything else--but I understood she recommended him for this mission; is that the same as "sending" him? Was she in a position to "send" him? This is a minor point, but typical of Horowitz's approach--rewording descriptions, ignoring contrary evidence, overstating the position of one's opponent, and arguing by false dichotomy. As I said before, he was widely regarded as a joke on the left when he was on the left.

CH: I remember you saying that; astonishing that Robert Scheer coauthored the magazine Ramparts with someone he considered to be such a joke.

You're full of it, Ben.

BD: Sun Jul 17, 2005 8:26 am

No doubt. It would be interesting to see what Scheer himself says about Horowitz, during the days of "Ramparts" and now. I'll see if I can track it down.

More generally, I would resist the assumption that if two people edit a magazine together that we should regard them as in both ideological lockstep and as intellectual comrades. They may well have been. Or maybe Horowitz was, as the phrase goes, an "angel" (i.e. had some dough or contacts that were useful) or, for that matter, a "useful idiot." Finally, Ramparts had a rather motley collection of people editing, writing, and working for it, as you may know from reading Warren Hinckle's memoir of his days running Ramparts.

BD: Sun Jul 17, 2005 8:55 am

I'd love to nuance this to death, but at my advanced age I tire easily.

Some quick points:

I said Horowitz was widely regarded on the Left as a joke; Scheer evidently hired him, and Horowitz helped get rid of Scheer (this is according to Horowitz himself). Regardless of what Scheer's view of Horowitz, there is a long list of names of those on the Left at the time who kept their distance from Horowitz and his approach, which looked more like self-promotion than anything else. (I've exchanged a number of e-mails with Horowitz on various issues; he has been kind enough to respond, although the responses themselves were quite hostile, in spite of my own polite approach. No, really.) As far as I can tell from a cursory search, Scheer has spent little or no time responding to the vast number of attacks Horowitz has made on him. But that one person on the Left has said little or nothing that I can find says very little about what the views of a wide range of writers and activists (whose names are now little but footnotes in a dusty history; e.g. when was the last time you read something by Carl Oglesby?)

Second, I'm lecturing no one. I'm simply pointing out that, unsurprisingly, Horowitz is a "journalist," and had very few original or insightful things to say then (and doesn't now.) I don't expect much from him or from many journalists, on the left or the right, who seem to be more interested in publicity and generating income by writing what they believe will produce both. There are, of course, exceptions to this idea of throwing red meat (or, I suppose, tofu) to eager consumers looking for someone simply to confirm the view with which they began.

Third, you can see from the above description why I don't think Horowitz is such a good writer. Others, who are in more agreement with his ideological viewpoint, may find him an articulate spokesperson.

I'm sorry to hear about your sister. My sister is an evangelical Christian and a good strong Republican. We remain close, in spite of our differences. I guess I would think the causal sequence you refer to--you know the information, of course, I only know what you told me--seems a bit reductive of what is almost always a very complicated personal and family situation. In short,

Quote:
If you want to know why I became a conservative, it's seeing my best friend in my young life turn from a funny sister, a normal human, to some slogan-spouting, humorless, screaming ideologue

the story behind this is known to you, not to me, but my guess--and it is only that--is there is a very complex causal sequence from this beginning to this tragic result.

Right Wing Conspirator
Sun Jul 17, 2005 10:26 am

benjamin dover wrote:
I'm out of here, trying to find a serious review of Horowitz's "Empire and Revolution: A Radical Interpretation of Contemporary History" (one of his alleged "serious" books while back on the Left) turns out to be tricky

Aren't you just so intelligent. We're all very impressed that you could post the name of a Horowitz book while he was a leftist.

Perhaps you're using the same trickery that you're accusing Horowitz of, in that, it was the first book he had ever written and he admits it was largely ignored at the time by the left. He also admits that his inexperience showed in this work and it is not something he is proud of now or then. It was also written before he had become a force on the left and he was actually living in Europe at the time. His credentials as a Leftist were earned long after that at Ramparts and his relationship with Robert Scheer has been well documented in Radical Son. Funny how you could ignore such a honest self evaluation as that book in forming your own opinions. To accuse Horowitz of being self-promoting and to not attribute that criticism to Robert Sheer is everything we need to know about Ben Dover.

BD: Sun Jul 17, 2005 11:46 am

The wife is expecting me home, but quickly:

I can't share Horowitz's e-mails; I deleted them awhile ago, and it would violate netiquette to share e-mails sent when one of the respondents hasn't been told they might be so shared.

The Ramparts staff, as indicated, was a motley crew; the ones who come to mind--in addition to the Panthers, which is a whole 'nother story--such as Oglesby, Scheer, Chomsky, Hinckle, and others don't seem to have waited until the publication of Radical Son to either ignore Horowitz or to dis him privately. I'm sorry I don't have tape recordings or e-mails of my exchanges with Oglesby to share that would confirm a part of this. I stand by my claim, but neither have the energy nor the inclination to attempt to prove this to those who would reject a priori any such confirming evidence .

I mentioned Horowitz's Empire and Revolution simply because it was one of his books I remembered--the only one, actually--from that phase of his political career. I gather from looking on the web that it was ignored by the left, the right, and the center. Horowitz is not a serious scholar, he is a journalist and a polemicist. Those who agree with him find him an articulate spokesperson and diatribist for their position. I don't see any problem with that; it's not my position, hence I don't find him that articulate, and those topics he has written about that I know anything about have been superficial, poorly argued, and clumsy. Big deal.

CH: Sun Jul 17, 2005 3:14 pm
I REALLY hope there may be a surprise in store for Ben on this thread. I mean REALLY.

Right Wing Conspirator
Sun Jul 17, 2005 3:30 pm

Here is an email that I just received from David Horowitz:

Here's what I wrote. I don't know if the submission worked. I kept getting spell check back. Also this is a very unsatisfactory set up since you have to reply to a post without seeing it on the screen.

Please submit this for me:

This is a response to Benjamin Dover, whom I don't remember corresponding with but whose word I'll take for it (though I make it a rule never to reply rudely to anyone who is not first rude to me, so I doubt his account of what happened in our exchange).

Dover says no one took me seriously in the left (despite the fact that I wrote the most widely read New Left account of the Cold War and edited its largest magazine). Here's what Paul Berman wrote about me in the Village Voice in 1986 when I was no longer a leftist and Berman in particular hated me: “Other writers of the New Left figured larger in the awareness of the general public, but no one in those days figured larger among the leftists themselves.”

The idea that I was regarded by leftists when I was a leftist as a "self-promoter" is laughable. Peter Collier and I ran Ramparts but if you look on a Ramparts masthead you'll see five editors listed in alphabetical order. I was in fact self-effacing compared to any typical New Left leader you can name (Hayden, Rubin, Hoffman etc).

Of course the attitude of people like Scheer who did hire me at Ramparts and whom I fired because he was a bully and treated the entire staff badly. The vote against Scheer in the staff he himself had hired was 17-2.

Of course leftwing ideologues pretend not to take me seriously, because none of them can answer the case I have made at great legnth against them. They are destructive reactionaries who have the blood of millions of Indo-Chinese on their hands, whose ideological blinders have helped to kill 200,000 gays in this country by undermining the health care system and who are self-declared enemies of America and therefore human freedom. The pages of my website are open to any established leftist like Scheer who wants to respond to, refute or answer anything I have written. I guarantee it will be hard for Dover to find a single leftist to take me up on this offer. The left is intellectually and morally bankrupt. It has no argument except name calling and the constant invocation of the alternative reality it has concocted to justify its malevolent deeds.

CH: Sun Jul 17, 2005 4:01 pm

Welcome to the board, Mr. Horowitz. We are definitely glad to see you here (well, except possibly for Ben).

I hope you will find time to contribute as your schedule permits!

DH: Sun Jul 17, 2005 4:04 pm
Thanks.
dhorowitz

Sun Jul 17, 2005 4:12 pm
I appreciate the moral support guys, but I came on as a result of a request that I respond to Dover. I'm waiting on his reply.

CH: Sun Jul 17, 2005 4:15 pm

He may or may not be online, but I will keep this up for him to notice; in your profile (or on your post itself) you should be able to be notified, by checking a box, as to responses to this topic.

Sorry, Mr. Horowitz, we're all just thrilled to have you, but we promise to keep the cheering to a dull roar. At least until you let Ben have it.

CH: Sun Jul 17, 2005 4:54 pm

This situation just sort of reminds me of Ethel Merman's character slipping on a banana peel and falling on her butt at the end of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. I'm sure it never occurred to Ben that someone might actually know David Horowitz, which makes it easy to just spout off with no fear of response.


BD: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:34 am

I'm so flattered that this thread has become so important, and that someone alerted Mr. Horowitz to its existence. The internet is a beautiful thing. I will state upfront that Horowitz is far better than I am, or ever claimed to be, at doing this kind of thing. He does this for a living, debating, reading, writing, criticizing, polemicizing, etc.; for me, it is at best a hobby. I have no doubts that he would win such a "debate." I might do better talking about late 18th-century German philosophy, or possibly whether the "Gorgias" is a late early or early late dialogue; but I'm not so stupid as to fail to recognize that I'm in his bailiwick here.

The claims I made, as far as I can tell, were these:

A lot of people didn't take Horowitz that seriously while he was on the left. I don't see him taken that seriously now, either; within the circumscribed world that ranges from Limbaugh and WorldNetDaily and FrontPage.com all the way to FNC, he is regarded as some kind of hero, having courageously broken away from the clutches of the New Left. He isn't widely seen in the media, although I'm quite confident that he appears more than I realize, and the fact that he doesn't appear more is due much more to the nature of the media than it is to the quality of his insights. Academics don't seem to take him seriously, but, again, that isn't Horowitz's problem but rather the nature of an academy that is dominated by uncritical ranting leftists, who dogmatically refuse to listen to him. Thus Horowitz's greatness is only recognized by those who understand (a rather "Straussian" point), and those who fail to do so are blinkered by dogmatism and knee-jerk shallow leftism. This entails that all those who fail to agree with Horowitz simply don't, or can't, understand him, a classic question-begging strategy.

I stated above that for those who agree with him, Horowitz is no doubt an articulate spokesperson for those views. I disagree with him, and make no pretense of being able to convince him or anyone else about the details of the specific points. Were I to go into those details, this would require more time and energy than I (or most others) have, particularly in trying to convince those who would reject a priori my arguments or my evidence. One can clearly recognize this as a simple constructive dilemma: if I argue the specifics, I lose (for various reasons); if I don't argue the specifics, I lose; I either argue or I don't, therefore I lose.

I would be interested in knowing if others here think one should share private e-mails with a chat room, when those writing those e-mails were not told they might so be shared. I'm not asking anyone to accept my word for what the tone and content of those e-mails were; they no longer exist in any way I can access them. In my original post I also noted that fact that Horowitz was even willing to respond, which is much more than I can say about a lot of people.

As far as the specifics of the column in question, I didn't say anything other than to ask if a CIA worker in Plame's position was able to "send" anyone; I understood she had recommended Wilson. Perhaps such a recommendation in such a setting is an ipso facto sending of that person. I admitted that I don't know how the CIA works, hence the question, and the "?" Not all questions are rhetorical.

I'm about done with this thread; I particularly liked the name calling, and the inference from disagreements about Horowitz to claims about how everything I've ever said is a lie, how those who discuss anything with me are somehow mentally retarded, that I'm a slave to my ideology, as well as the occasional gratuitous insults.

I didn't see anything I said that was uncivil, outside of the kind of animus found within political discourse, and I daresay not rising to the level of invective Mr. Horowitz on occasion has employed.

Most important, as our presicient Powerprof noticed, I was much more interested in seeing how well Carpenter pitched, and the "good night" delivered to the Astros.

I think it best that I bow out of this thread for awhile, at least; I will, no doubt, be reading the reactions. If Horowitz has time, perhaps he can comment on some of the other threads, say those calling for the rounding up of those critical of the Bush administration, or using nuclear weapons on Tehran, Damascus, Pyongyang, and probably others. Surely suggesting a disagreement with Horowitz isn't the only thing deserving of his critical acumen here, is it?

CH: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:46 am

Good subject-changing, Ben. Let's address those other threads later. Perhaps you might apologize for your apparent error in saying that the left widely regarded Mr. Horowitz as a "joke" (no doubt based on comments from people like Scheer) and saying his writing is pedestrian before we go on to those other threads. Or, if you won't do that, how about at least addressing it?

I hope calling you "Ben" isn't "name-calling".

Mr. Horowitz directly addressed you; do him the courtesy of commenting on what he said a little more fully before you start pointing at what other people said as a method of misdirection, could you please?

That's a good fellow.

BD: Mon Jul 18, 2005 8:27 am

Capt.Herp wrote:
Good subject-changing, Ben. Let's address those other threads later. Perhaps you might apologize for your apparent error in saying that the left widely regarded Mr. Horowitz as a "joke" (no doubt based on comments from people like Scheer) and saying his writing is pedestrian before we go on to those other threads. Or, if you won't do that, how about at least addressing it?

I hope calling you "Ben" isn't "name-calling".

Mr. Horowitz directly addressed you; do him the courtesy of commenting on what he said a little more fully before you start pointing at what other people said as a method of misdirection, could you please?

That's a good fellow.

I said I was going to bow out; I'll try to be courteous and follow your orders, but I actually have other things to do than this (somedays I do, somedays I don't; such a claim is, no doubt some weaselly lie concocted for me to run and hide from my intellectual and moral superiors).

Here was my original claim:

Quote:
I don't know much about how the CIA works--or anything else--but I understood she recommended him for this mission; is that the same as "sending" him? Was she in a position to "send" him? This is a minor point, but typical of Horowitz's approach--rewording descriptions, ignoring contrary evidence, overstating the position of one's opponent, and arguing by false dichotomy. As I said before, he was widely regarded as a joke on the left when he was on the left.


No one, including Horowitz, has told me how Plame "sent" Wilson on this mission.

Horowitz writes

Quote:
The pages of my website are open to any established leftist like Scheer who wants to respond to, refute or answer anything I have written. I guarantee it will be hard for Dover to find a single leftist to take me up on this offer.

They may not be willing to do so on his website, but it wasn't hard to find "leftists" willing to take Horowitz up on the offer of responding to what he has written. This took about 12 seconds to find, at a single site:

Kurt Nimmo: The Delusions of David Horowitz
www.counterpunch.org/nimmo1031.html

Alexander Cockburn: A Whiner Called David Horowitz
www.counterpunch.org/cockburn05312003.html

Paul de Rooij: Horowitz's Corrosive Projects
www.counterpunch.org/rooij04112005.html

Tim Wise: David Horowitz and the Politics of Ad Hominem Distortion
www.counterpunch.org/wise06152005.html

Joshua Frank: Horowitz's Gang of Ghouls and Cowards
www.counterpunch.org/frank04262005.html

Jack McCarthy: Horowitz Comes to Tallahassee
www.counterpunch.org/mccarthy04132005.html

Kurt Nimmo: Horowitz, Powell and Belafonte
www.counterpunch.org/nimmo1028.html

Alexander Cockburn: Congressman Moran & the Dixie Chicks; Hitchens ...
www.counterpunch.org/cockburn03152003.html

William MacDougall: America's In-Bedded Journalism
www.counterpunch.org/macdougall04192003.html

Alexander Cockburn: Hollywood's 9 Billion Dead; Carl Pope War Pig ...
www.counterpunch.org/cockburn1205.html

The Common Dreams website and on David Horowitz's Front Page website
www.counterpunch.org/lerner02142003.html

Tariq Ali: The New Empire Loyalists
www.counterpunch.org/tariqempire1.html

Bob Libal: The Right's Assault on the Academy
www.counterpunch.org/libal07052005.html

Jack McCarthy: A Letter to Christopher Hitchens
www.counterpunch.org/mccarthy1022.html

Ben Tripp: Christ is Born
www.counterpunch.org/tripp1224.html

Jordy Cummings: Screw the Humanitarian Bombers!
www.counterpunch.org/cummings1213.html

Horowitz takes the view that no one has been able to respond to him successfully as an indication that the "left" is scared and unable to respond to him; thus, he writes

Quote:
Leftwing ideologues pretend not to take me seriously, because none of them can answer the case I have made at great length against them . . . The left is intellectually and morally bankrupt. It has no argument except name calling and the constant invocation of the alternative reality it has concocted to justify its malevolent deeds.


Presumably, all of the above columns are nothing but name calling and a constant invocation of an alternative reality (and I'll remind you that this is a single web site; I'm surprised there is as much available as there is).

So the argument seems to be that if Horowitz is correct, then the "left" is incorrect. Clearly the left is incorrect if it has no arguments against him except name calling and fantasy.

However, it is not a universally accepted premise that the left has no arguments against him, therefore it doesn't follow that that the left is necessarily incorrect, and therefore it doesn't follow that Horowitz is correct. The devil, here, is in the details of the debate over specifics, as outlined in the above columns and elsewhere, by those willing to engage in the endless minutiae of these issues.

Horowitz writes

Quote:
The claims repeated by Dover are just attempts by pathetic individuals like Scheer to dismiss me without dealing with the arguments I have made. I have shown Scheer to be a pretentious fraud in more than one article which Dover himself is welcome to respond to. The reason Scheer doesn't defend himself is 1) because he knows he can't and 2) since his platform is the NY Times he thinks he can ignore me. People like Dover support him in this delusion.

I'm not sure what claims I repeated; I accused both left and right "journalists" of too often being interested in self-promotion more than the issues; perhaps the comment has been made before (about Michael Moore? about Al Franken?); perhaps the comment hit too close to home. I'm not defending Scheer; I would be interested in knowing why Scheer ignores him. It would be nice to have his own view of this. (I'm assuming Horowitz means the "LA Times" here.) The addition of "pathetic" and "delusion" is, of course, gratuitous and vintage Horowitz. I said Horowitz was regarded as a joke by many on the "left," a claim I stand by; this doesn't entail that he is a joke (without the added and controversial assumption that his critics are correct, an assumption I'm not willing to make a priori). I don't think I, myself, said he was a joke, or pathetic, or delusional. I do think he has, as have others, become quite successful in practicing what he does. Kind of the Willie Sutton of journalism, perhaps?

Horowitz writes

Quote:
The idea that I was regarded by leftists when I was a leftist as a "self-promoter" or not to be taken seriously is laughable and also maliicous. Peter Collier and I ran Ramparts but if you look on a Ramparts masthead you'll see five editors listed in alphabetical order. I was in fact self-effacing compared to any typical New Left leader you can name (Hayden, Rubin, Hoffman etc)

Of course, it doesn't follow from the claim that a given person of group x has property y that no other person within x has y. Nor did I claim it did. I wonder if Horowitz and others saw a change in Ramparts after he took over; how much longer was it in business, or had it already run out of steam? And am I to take him as seriously, less seriously, or more seriously than "Hayden, Rubin, Hoffman etc."?

I've gone on far too long here. I've said, and I shall repeat: this is Horowitz's bailiwick, not mine. I've tried to respond to both Horowitz and the others who posted in this thread, not to misdirect or anything else but to save a bit of time.

DH: Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:18 am

I'm sorry that Ben Dover appears to be so intimidated at the prospect of debating the issues with me that he has retreated in advance. I regret especially because his response was civil and respectful and that means if we had the opportunity to discuss the issues it would be an interesting conversation. On the other hand this is all too typical of the left which is very bold on the attack but very weak on the comeback. Note that even for a fellow who seems relatively decent, the attack was an ad hominem attempt to eliminate me from the discussion altogether (no one takes Horowitz seriously), but the comeback was in effect: I can't handle him when it comes to the issues. In other words, Ben Dover takes me so seriously that he doesn't want to take me on when I actually appear.

BD: Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:34 am

dhorowitz wrote:
I'm sorry that Ben Dover appears to be so intimidated at the prospect of debating the issues with me that he has retreated in advance. I regret especially because his response was civil and respectful and that means if we had the opportunity to discuss the issues it would be an interesting conversation. On the other hand this is all too typical of the left which is very bold on the attack but very weak on the comeback. Note that even for a fellow who seems relatively decent, the attack was an ad hominem attempt to eliminate me from the discussion altogether (no one takes Horowitz seriously), but the comeback was in effect: I can't handle him when it comes to the issues. In other words, Ben Dover takes me so seriously that he doesn't want to take me on when I actually appear.

Maybe I intimidate too easily. What issue, is it, exactly, that we are debating? That Valerie Plame "sent" Joseph Wilson to Niger? I didn't have a view I was defending, but rather asked a question, namely, was she in a position to do this? Others here have a great deal more experience in both the military and the intelligence community; I thought they might bring some precision to this claim.

I guess I wouldn't characterize what I said as a "bold attack" (or, as another poster pointed out, "starting a war"); to reiterate

Quote:
A lot of people didn't take Horowitz that seriously while he was on the left. I don't see him taken that seriously now, either; within the circumscribed world that ranges from Limbaugh and WorldNetDaily and FrontPage.com all the way to FNC, he is regarded as some kind of hero, having courageously broken away from the clutches of the New Left. He isn't widely seen in the media, although I'm quite confident that he appears more than I realize, and the fact that he doesn't appear more is due much more to the nature of the media than it is to the quality of his insights. Academics don't seem to take him seriously, but, again, that isn't Horowitz's problem but rather the nature of an academy that is dominated by uncritical ranting leftists, who dogmatically refuse to listen to him. Thus Horowitz's greatness is only recognized by those who understand (a rather "Straussian" point), and those who fail to do so are blinkered by dogmatism and knee-jerk shallow leftism. This entails that all those who fail to agree with Horowitz simply don't, or can't, understand him, a classic question-begging strategy.


Clearly enough, a large number of people take you seriously, hence it couldn't be the case--and I don't think I asserted--that "no one takes Horowitz seriously." So the alleged ad hominem attack is based on a faulty premise.

In spite of the notorious lies and foolishness of whatever it is that constitutes the "left" in the US, I'm happy to admit when I'm wrong. Perhaps you were taken more seriously than I thought; I don't remember Ramparts, in its last few years, as being of much significance in my reading, but perhaps I had moved on, perhaps I couldn't find it as easily, perhaps it was no longer something I found compelling. Perhaps Berman is correct, and your text(s?) were the most widely-read of The New Left (although my guess is that most folks were still reading Marx, Lenin, Fanon, Sartre, Foucault, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Fisk, Rawls, a few hundred others, and, eventually, Habermas and Castoriadis more).

What precisely has been the influence of your political views in the stream of American thought, in general, in the media, and in the academy?

That, and what issue we are debating (so I know what it is I'm ducking), is what I will ask at this point.

DH: Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:17 am

Your charge was that no one takes me seriously outside the fever chambers of the (obviously) wrong true-believing right now and I was generally disrespected by the left when I was a leftist. This is a bold ad hominem attempt to discredit all my work without reading it. I won't belabor this, but if you send me a mailing address, I will send you my book Left Illusions which contains my writings both as a leftist and as a conservative and you can judge for yourself. The book also contains observations about my work and about its influence.

Some years ago Insight magazine did a survey among conservatives of the conservative books they found most influential. They published the results of the survey as "The Top Ten Most Influential Conservative Books" or words to that effect. Radical Son was number two in the ranking if I remember correctly. I think when conservatives now talk about the "left" instead of "liberals" when they refer to the "hate America left" or the "Fifth Column" left, they are speaking language and reflecting understandings that I have had a large influence in promoting. I believe my views on racial issues, specifically the left's own racism is substantial. And I believe I have had something to do with the more aggressive stance of conservatism over the last decade. The book I wrote with Peter Collier, Destructive Generation, was assigned by the late Lee Atwater as required reading for his staff, which included Karl Rove. My pamphlet The Art of Political War was praised by Rove as "the perfect guide to winning on the political battlefield" and has been read by over 100,000 Republican operatives. You can judge for yourself whether it's been effective. Insofar as the left is now understood by conservatives as a crypo-religion and a reactionary social force, that is partly the result of my influence as well. Also the conservative critique of the AIDS crisis as reflected in books like Michael Fumento's The Myth of Heterosexual AIDs was directly inspired by work I did with Peter Collier on this issue. I coud go on, but what's the point? The culture you inhabit is so closed, so insular, and so determined to erase people like me, that it doesn't surprise me that you could make the remarks you did. As I have pointed out more than once, when I was on the left my books were reviewed on the front page of the Sunday Times. Now that I am a conservative, they are not reviewed at all. Do you think I became less intelligent over the last twenty years or less capable as a writer? Why should someone like you, who probably thinks of the Times as representing enlightened opinion not conclude from this what you did?

BD: Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:33 am

I know you're busier than I am, and I'm pretty busy, so I appreciate the time you have taken here to discuss these things. I do like the idea that when you get the chance, you drop a few insights into my own psyche, in terms of my insular worldview and my dependence on the NY Times. It doesn't advance the discussion, but believe me, I've heard a lot worse. I'm not sure what you think someone is who is "like me"--married, kids, likes baseball and bluegrass, or do you mean crypto-Stalinist bent on destroying America? You seem to know a lot from the minimal exposure you've had (this is usually when the term "ilk" gets used).

I simply don't have time to respond to all of this, so I'll be brief and try to return tomorrow or Wednesday.

Quote:
Some years ago Insight magazine did a survey among conservatives of the conservative books they found most influential. They published the results of the survey as "The Top Ten Most Influential Conservative Books" or words to that effect. Radical Son was number two in the ranking if I remember correctly.

I'm impressed with these results, and I find it amazing that you were ranked more highly than all but at most one of these: "Witness," "God and Man at Yale," "Atlas Shrugged," "The Road to Serfdom," "None Dare Call it Conspiracy," "Reflections on the Revolution in France," "The God That Failed," "The Conscience of a Conservative," "A Choice Not an Echo," "The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot," among a few that come to mind.

Quote:
As I have pointed out more than once, when I was on the left my books were reviewed on the front page of the Sunday Times. Now that I am a conservative, they are not reviewed at all. Do you think I became less intelligent over the last twenty years or less capable as a writer? Why should someone like you, who probably thinks of the Times as representing enlightened opinion not conclude from this what you did?

This puts you in good, albeit mixed, company, doesn't it? I haven't read the New York Times Book Review on a regular basis for years, so I neither keep track nor have my reading determined by what its editors think. Sorry.

Again, thanks for taking out the time for your responses. Vote Quimby.

DH: Mon Jul 18, 2005 12:08 pm

I never use the word "ilk." If you were to look through my article archive on frontpage or the discussions in the main "Guide" section of DiscovertheNetworks.org you would find that I have written many articles distinguishing between shades of leftists. Nonetheless I get attacked all the time in the manner of this your most recent email for not making these distinctions. The problem with even Quimby leftists like yourself (a decent chap but stupid don't you think?) is that you seem to operate from your paranoid projections of what you think conservatives are like than what they actually are like. I made you an offer: Left Illusions is a representative sampling of my work over 40 years. I will give you a copy free so that you can address what I have actually written instead of what you think I've written.

And I will give you this point (which is not what roused me to respond to you however): I should have written in my original Plame blog, that Mrs. Wilson "recommended" Mr. Wilson; not that she actually sent him. This recommendation, however, was a violation of agency regulations, as I said.

DH: Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:38 pm

It is my understanding (having read this in the course of the controversy last year) that it is a violation of the law for a CIA employee to recommend a relative for the position that Plame recommended Wilson.

BD: Wed Jul 20, 2005 7:47 am

dhorowitz wrote:
I never use the word "ilk." If you were to look through my article archive on frontpage or the discussions in the main "Guide" section of DiscovertheNetworks.org you would find that I have written many articles distinguishing between shades of leftists. Nonetheless I get attacked all the time in the manner of this your most recent email for not making these distinctions. The problem with even Quimby leftists like yourself (a decent chap but stupid don't you think?) is that you seem to operate from your paranoid projections of what you think conservatives are like than what they actually are like. I made you an offer: Left Illusions is a representative sampling of my work over 40 years. I will give you a copy free so that you can address what I have actually written instead of what you think I've written.

And I will give you this point (which is not what roused me to respond to you however): I should have written in my original Plame blog, that Mrs. Wilson "recommended" Mr. Wilson; not that she actually sent him. This recommendation, however, was a violation of agency regulations, as I said.

I gather this thread is pretty much done. I again would like to express my appreciation for Mr. Horowitz coming over and offering his views. In what almost certainly my last comment (on this thread; sorry, coastie), I'll just make a few observations.

a) "I get attacked all the time in the manner of this your most recent email for not making these distinctions." I don't think I "attacked," I just pointed out that to generalize about me on the basis of such limited exposure seems a bit hasty; to include comments about my psyche, being delusional (and now paranoid) didn't seem supported by anything I've said in this thread. Nor did I make any generalizations about what "conservatives are like," nor base any claim on such (nonexistent) generalizations.

b) "Quimby leftists like yourself (a decent chap but stupid don't you think?)"; Quimby is not a decent chap; he is the classic corrupt politician many of us know from the Simpsons. There isn't much evidence that he is particularly smart, nor that he is much of a "leftist." I do like the gratuitous "leftist like yourself," whatever that may mean given a) above.

c) "I never use the word 'ilk'." Nor did I say Horowitz used the world "ilk"; I said that it is often used in this context.

d) "you can address what I have actually written instead of what you think I've written"; Since we haven't discussed the content of anything that Horowitz has written, there seems to be little room to object that I caricature it.

e) "And I will give you this point (which is not what roused me to respond to you however): I should have written in my original Plame blog, that Mrs. Wilson "recommended" Mr. Wilson; not that she actually sent him. This recommendation, however, was a violation of agency regulations, as I said." This was one of two points I made, although I was asking a question more than making an assertion; so on this I was correct, according to Horowitz himself.


The only other point I made was that Horowitz was not taken seriously on the Left. Other than a quote from Paul Berman, without a source as far as I remember, I see nothing offered to suggest otherwise. Ramparts, I think it could be argued, had run out of steam at least by the time Horowitz took over. Was he cited much in various manifestos, or in academic or popular writing? Did the prominent members of the Left have much to say about his importance and influence on their thought and activism? Do they now? I haven't seen much evidence for it, but perhaps I haven't done sufficient research to find it.

On the basis, then, of a question about "sent" vs. "recommended," and the claim about Horowitz's importance on the Left, I'm accused of being delusional, paranoid, and adopting the worldview of the New York Times as a beacon of enlightenment. My original characterization of his writing and method seem to be confirmed here, Horowitz has accepted the point of my question, and offered little to suggest that my second point was false. I have been told, along the way, about Horowitz's influence on the right, including the remarkable influence he has on the readers of Insight magazine, that I should read various books of his, and that his various websites have much to offer. These claims may all be true, but they may also confirm the charge of self-promotion, as well.

Again, I enjoyed the discussion, and hope Mr. Horowitz returns on a regular basis to offer his views here.

BD: Wed Jul 20, 2005 9:37 am

Quote [from another poster]:
I sort of wish Benjamin Dover hadn't suffered quite such a reaming.

Perhaps "reaming" is in the eye of the beholder. I made two points, one of which Horowitz conceded (and subsequently changed the wording of the piece about which I had asked); on the other, he gave very little evidence to indicate that my claim was not, in fact, true.

I hang my head in shame.

DH: Wed Jul 20, 2005 9:47 am

This is so typical of leftists. They insult you and misrepresent you. They never admit a mistake and they never acknowledge when you acknowledge one yourself. They never engage you on the issues, but always return to their ad hominem attacks. I withdraw my offer to send Dover a book. Why waste the money and time on an intellectual coward?

BD: Wed Jul 20, 2005 10:01 am

dhorowitz wrote:
This is so typical of leftists. They insult you and misrepresent you. They never admit a mistake and they never acknowledge when you acknowledge one yourself. They never engage you on the issues, but always return to their ad hominem attacks. I withdraw my offer to send Dover a book. Why waste the money and
time on an intellectual coward?

If I offended you by insulting you, my apologies; I don't know what insult you are referring to; I do know in this exchange that one of the interlocutors was described as adopting the NY Times as his beacon of enlightenment (on the basis of no evidence), as paranoid (on the basis of no evidence), and now as an intellectual coward (on the basis of no evidence). I was glad to see the word "sent" changed to "recommended," although if it was you who acknowledged that, I missed it; I'm happy to revise that misinterpretation. Thanks.

To the extent that I have "misrepresented" you, I also regret that; if I have, I hope it was unintentional. Can you suggest where and/or how I have done so?

The only issues here were the issue of Plame's "sending" or "recommending"; I gather that issue has been resolved. The other is the seriousness of your influence on the Left, back in the day. I'm happy to acknowledge that Ramparts had its day in the sun; I'm not nearly as familiar with its history or the timeline(s) involved--as I've admitted above--to determine whether it was all that influential in its last few years, or whether I simply found it less compelling for other, rather quotidian, reasons. As I also said, I may simply not be aware of the information that would indicate that influence. If it is there, clearly I have been misinformed, but that is more of a recognition of my ignorance than my cowardice.

I appreciate the offer of the book(s), but I will be happy to get my own, and read them as time permits. I still find it impressive that Radical Son was ranked as highly as it was by the readers of Insight magazine, and I certainly cannot deny your evident influence there.

Finally, once again, I thank you for time and patience in responding to the various points posters here have made. There are a lot of interesting folks posting here, many of whom are big fans of yours; I hope you come back often.

DH: Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:27 am

Thanks to all of you who have dealt with Dover. It's a sad commentary on the left that it's only real purpose is to slander people who disagree with its agendas, never to engage the issues. But then Ann [Coulter] has written the book on that. Thanks again.

BD: Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:36 am

FeedFwd wrote:
Ben,

Perhaps part of your credibility problem comes from the fact that most of us around in the time prior to Horowitz's conversion who were running in conservative circles recall that his name was as commonly identified with the radical left as Hoffman or the black panthers or any of the others. It seems unbelievable that he was considered a leading radical by the right and at the same time was considered unimportant by other leading radicals on the left at the same time. The writers that are left of center do have a record of revising history on occasion. So with the conversion of Mr Horowitz, it is more plausible to many of us that the leftists who bother to write on such matters may be engaging in a bit of exaggeration.


That's the best response I've read on this thread. You may well be right--as I've admitted--and what is required is the research of what was said and written at the time to avoid precisely the bias you indicate could be a problem. This also requires a bit of semantic jousting over the notion of being taken seriously, but I certainly don't have the energy to do so.

As far as this:

Quote:
Thanks to all of you who have dealt with Dover. It's a sad commentary on the left that it's only real purpose is to slander people who disagree with its agendas, never to engage the issues. But then Ann has written the book on that. Thanks again.


Now we can add slander to the list of things I'm guilty of, simply for having suggested a testable claim that I've admitted, more than once, can be confirmed or disconfirmed and about which I said I'm confident but not absolutely certain, without doing the kind of research mentioned above.

Mr. Horowitz mentions all these issues, but the issues that I raised on this thread were a) Plame didn't send Wilson (and that is now well behind us) and b) Horowitz wasn't "taken seriously" by the Left. The evidence calling this into question: a quote from Paul Berman, and the history of Ramparts, which deserves some specificity of when and where its influence was. There may be a lot more evidence available (or evidence that confirms my claim). How this leads to "slander," and is thus characteristic of "the left" (whose only purpose is to slander), is either a rather Pickwickian use of the term "slander" (or "agenda") or is simply further confirmation of Mr. Horowitz's style.

9 Comments:

Blogger Shimmy said...

Right now, there's so much terror to be president of the war on -- poor George Bush can't be expected to understand that language has consequences.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Bazarov said...

Wow...I guess this makes me a name caller and slanderer, but that guy's a douchebag. Nice tag name by the way.
How do you deal with people who assert nonsense? If they're so delusional, do you really have a chance at getting through to them?

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was absolutely hilarious. DH just wouldn't let it go because, obviously, 'Nothing got through' to him or he was there 'just because' he had opportune self-promotion. Either way, his face was turning red...I do believe.
JR

3:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The very self-promotion you point out, That is. Very nice.
JR

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