David Horowitz was a leader of the American left during the tumultuous 60s and 70s. Raised by Communist parents, he was a devoted mover and shaker in the cause, and an early editor of Ramparts magazine.
Having looked at activist political life from both sides now for quite a while, Horowitz is uniquely positioned to comment on left and right, old and new. Here is a small portion of what he said in a searing address he recently gave to the Kohler conference of the Bradley Foundation:
There is a marked difference between the radicals of the Sixties and the radical movement Obama is part of. In the Sixties, as radicals we said what we thought and blurted out what we wanted. We wanted a revolution, and we wanted it now. It was actually very decent of us to warn others as to what we intended. But because we blurted out our goal, we didn’t get very far. Americans were onto us. Those who remained on the left when the Sixties were over, learned from their experience. They learned to lie. The strategy of the lie is progressives’ new gospel. It is what the progressive bible — Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals — is all about. Alinsky is the acknowledged political mentor to Obama and Hillary, to the service and teacher unions, and to the progressive rank and file. Alinsky understood the mistake Sixties’ radicals had made. His message to this generation is easily summed up: Don’t telegraph your goals; infiltrate their institutions and subvert them; moral principles are disposable fictions; the end justifies the means; and never forget that your political goal is always power.
An SDS radical wrote in the Sixties: “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.” The Alinsky version is this: The issue is never the issue; the issue is always power: How to wring power out of the democratic process, how turn the process into an instrument of progressive control. How to use it to fundamentally transform the United States of America — which is exactly what Barack Obama warned he would do on the eve of his election.
The chosen legislative instrument to begin this transformation was Obamacare. It was presented as an act of charity, a plan to cover the uninsured. That was the “issue” as they presented it. But the actual goal of Obamacare’s socialist sponsors was a “single payer system” – government healthcare — which would put the state in control of the lives of every American, man, woman and child. That is the reason that none of the promises made about Obamacare was true, beginning with his campaign lie that Obamacare government health care was not a program he would support. Obamacare will not cover 30 million uninsured Americans, as Obama and the Democrats said it would; Obamacare will not lower costs, as they promised it would; Obamacare will deprive many Americans of their doctors and healthcare plans, as they assured everyone it would not; Obamacare is a new tax, as they swore it wouldn’t be. All these promises Obama and the Democrats made were false because they were only a camouflage for their real goal actual goal, which was universal control.
This false face of the left was not actually new. Horowitz says that in his parents’ generation, Communists were for the most part working underground and secretly, calling themselves “progressives” and “Jeffersonian democrats” instead of disclosing their true affiliation. But in the 60s, his generation of leftists came in from the cold of being undercover and declared themselves proudly for what they actually were, thinking the time was right for their brand of politics.
And it probably wasn’t in 2008, either, despite the fact that in the interim the educational system and the MSM had both come more and more under leftist control and had prepared the way, at least in part (and, by the way, many of those early 60s and 70s leftists have been instrumental in that endeavor). But if Obama had openly declared his leftism during the election of 2008 or even that of 2012 (when it could have been inferred even more easily than in 2008, although it could have and should have been figured out in both years), he most likely would have lost. The left still has to remain somewhat stealthy—although less stealthy than before—until it achieves its over-arching goal of indefinite one party rule.
[NOTE: If you followed the Ramparts link to its Wiki entry, you'd have seen see the following list of writers who contributed articles there: Robert Scheer, Murray Rothbard, Noam Chomsky, Cesar Chavez, Seymour Hersh, Tom Hayden, Angela Davis, Jonathan Kozol, Todd Gitlin, Sol Stern, Tariq Ali, Alexander Cockburn, Christopher Hitchens, Saul Landau, David Welsh, and John Beecher. A sort of who's who of the radical left at the time. Besides Horowitz and Peter Collier, both editors of the magazine who underwent a left-to-right conversion, Christopher Hitchens had a sort of half-conversion that was equally dramatic. The Wiki entry also mentions that Brit Hume was the Washington correspondent for the magazine for a short time.
It ceased publication in 1975.]
[ADDENDUM: Commenter "kit" asks:
What is in it for them[?]
Why would they want to live in an oppressed nation. Is it because they think they will be the oppressors and they get sadistic joy from that? Do they think they will redistribute the wealth of a nation’s people and take it for themselves. Do they think they will all be the leaders living in luxury?
I dont understand. I see it happening but I cannot understand why any human born free would want to change a free land into something so abominable.
Some are in it for the power.
Some really think that they are the ones who can figure out a way to bring justice, peace, and joy to man/womankind, and save the planet as well (see this book by Thomas Sowell). “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”
Tyranny rides in on the back of a union of the amoral/immoral power-hungry and the idealistic dreamers. The second are the tools of the first.
And what makes it easier to happen is when we get lazy and abdicate teaching our young people how to avoid it. Watch:
You know, listening to that again (and I’ve heard it several times in the last few years, and linked to it before) brings tears to my eyes. A brilliant, brilliant expression of a truth we’ve come to know very well in the years since he said it. Let’s hope we never ever have to tell our children what Reagan says at the end there.]