David Joel Horowitz is an American writer. He is a founder and president of the think tank the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC); editor of the Center’s publication, FrontPage Magazine; and director of Discover the Networks, a website that tracks individuals and groups on the political left. Horowitz also founded the organization Students for Academic Freedom.
From 1956 to 1975, Horowitz was an outspoken adherent of the New Left. He later rejected progressive and Marxist ideas and became a defender of conservatism. Horowitz recounted his ideological journey in a series of retrospective books, culminating with his 1996 memoir Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey.
Grégoire Canlorbe: You have long established yourself as a Jewish intellectual committed to the defense of your homeland America and its Protestant values. While in conservative circles it is not uncommon to address the totalitarian commonalities between Islam and Marxism, you like to raise the connection of Marxism (and other laicized socialist ideologies) with the Pelagian heresy. Could you tell us more about this filiation?
David Horowitz: Pelagius, a 4th Century Christian Monk—even more than Rousseau—is the father of all leftist schemes to remake the world into a social justice paradise. Pelagius believed that sin was against human nature. Therefore if people would just be true to their nature—and therefore good Christians—they could build a heaven on earth. Leftists believe that people are good at heart, and therefore if they are good Marxists, or good socialists, or politically correct, they can build a paradise on earth. Saint Augustine was Pelagius’ nemesis. To counter his utopian vision, Augustine posed the doctrine of original sin—that we all participate in Adam’s sin because it is in our nature to sin, not against it. In secular terms, the root cause of all social problems, of all human problems is us. That’s why when progressives achieve total power they kill and impoverish millions—even hundreds of millions—of people who refuse to participate in their schemes because they go against their nature.
Grégoire Canlorbe: It turns out that a number of icons of the sixties and the seventies who were most often considered left-wing at the time—for instance, David Bowie, Kirk Douglas, or the duo of Easy Rider, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper—are rather positively perceived among right-wing nationalist youth today. As a repented lieutenant of the counterculture, how do you react to this lasting popularity?
David Horowitz: I don’t take actors seriously. After all, they’re actors.
Grégoire Canlorbe: One cannot fail to notice the reluctance with which the old guard of so-called neoconservative intellectuals, who championed Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, are now endorsing Trump… however anxious he is to drain the Obama’s swamp in administration and in foreign relations. What exactly is going on? As an analyst of the art of political warfare, do you share the occasional claim that Trump’s strategy is basically an application of Sun Tzu’s motto to subdue the enemy before fighting?
David Horowitz: I think Trump subdues the leftist enemy by fighting—something Republicans before him were reluctant to do.
Grégoire Canlorbe: While it theoretically forbids exogamous marriage and sharing a meal with a non-Jew, Judaism is not formally based on blood but on espousing a certain set of rites and theological and eschatological beliefs. Should one see a political legacy of Judaism in the American conception of nationality as exclusive of race and ethnicity? As concerns the messianic times of universal justice announced in the Old Testament, do you think that we somehow entered them with the worldwide hegemony of America?
David Horowitz: I think while Judaic beliefs are friendly towards democracy, it is Protestant Christianity that has contributed the fundamental ideas and values that have created America. I laid this all out in my book Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America. I don’t believe in messianic times of universal justice. In fact I think this is one of the most dangerous ideas in human history, responsible for more death, poverty and suffering than all the other destructive creeds put together.
Grégoire Canlorbe: A growing apprehension is that, just like the masses of Maghrebis settled in Belgium and in other Western countries, the migratory wave of Hispanics into America will be an instrument of invasion at the hands of radical Islam… given that Latinos are increasingly vindictive, unassimilated, and prone to convert. In your eyes, is this a reasonable concern?
David Horowitz: I think no nation can exist without secure borders, but that this is a caricature of legal Hispanic immigrants who are patriotic, entrepreneurial, and form a core constituency of America’s military and law enforcement agencies.
The following conversation was initially published in FrontPage Magazine, in March 2020.