To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
———–T.S. Eliot: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
David Horowitz has written a new book, although it doesn’t have much in it that’s new. It’s composed of essays Horowitz has written over the last two and a half decades. He is a chronicler of the left, with a unique perspective that comes from having been one of its leaders until the mid-1970s, and then turning right and making an announcement to that effect in 1985.
Horowitz looks back, aghast but analytical, and tries to warn of the dangers for the future. It’s as though he were attempting to expiate his own political sins by sounding a clarion call to people to recognize and pay attention to the left’s methods and goals, and to realize that the left never, never, never ever gives up, even when it might appear to do so.
The title is The Black Book of the American Left, and Scott Johnson discusses it and offers a lengthy excerpt at Powerline. This following is from the book’s introduction (but please read the entire excerpt at Powerline):
The essays contained herein describe the left as I have known it; first from the inside as one of its “theorists,” and then as a nemesis confronting it with the real¬world consequences of its actions. In all these writings I was driven by two urgencies: a desire to persuade those still on the left of the destructive consequences of the ideas and causes they promoted; and second, the frustration I experienced with those conservatives who failed to understand the malignancy of the forces mobilized against them. Most conservatives habitually referred to leftists who were determined enemies of America’s social contract as “liberals.” In calling them liberals, conservatives failed to appreciate the Marxist foundations and religious dimensions of the radical faith or the hatreds it inspired. And they failed to appreciate the left’s brutal imposture in stealing the identity of the intellectually pragmatic, patriotic, anti¬totalitarian “Cold War liberals” whose influence in American political life they began killing off in 1972 with the McGovern coup inside the Democratic Party…
The first part of my life was spent as a member of the “New Left” and its Communist predecessor, in which my family had roots. After the consequences of those commitments became clear to me in the mid¬1970s, I came to know the left as an adversary; and if sheer volume were the measure, as its principal intellectual antagonist. Some have seen an obsession in my efforts to define the left and analyze what it intends. In a sense that is true; I had left the left, but the left had not left me. For better or worse, I have been condemned to spend the rest of my days attempting to understand how it pursues the agendas from which I have separated myself, and why.
I’ll close with another fragment of poetry, from Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”:
Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
With a woful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.
Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns:
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.
I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange power of speech;
That moment that his face I see,
I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach.