Getting Some Business Out of the Way, or The (Much) Shorter Version of What Happened Last Night
- No pies.†
- No streaking.
- Lots of heckling and a few protest signs.
- Horowitz did not convince me of the necessity for a Hoosier Academic Bill of Rights (HABR).
The Longer Version, In Which I Realize that Horowitz is a Depressing & Irrelevant Individual
Fellow Feministers, please don’t regret that you missed the Horowitz lecture, unless of course you were in the mood for some neoconservative political theatre. Please read on to experience vicarious cringing, laughter, and sadness.
I left my office about forty minutes before the show was scheduled to start. I got there in time to take a look around the IU Auditorium, went out for a smoke, chatted with the protesters (who didn’t seem all that talkative and weren’t nearly as cute as Horowitz seemed to think they were), and finally took my seat. Glancing around the gathering crowd I couldn’t help but notice the large senior contingent; what do I know? Maybe they felt, at 60+ years old, that the prof in their continuing education elective looks just a bit too French for their tastes.
I should have known something was up when a couple anemic campus conservatives strolled up to the podium. (At least “anemic” when compared to Horowitz, but more on that later.) The first one to speak, My Gov. Mitch’s spawnnette, said, “Please be respectful while Mr. Horowitz is speaking.” I found this funny, because every rational person, and even a few of the irrational ones, knew what was going to happen.
As soon as Horowitz was visible, he started reveling in his victimhood. “There is a campaign against me [by] campus fascists,” was one of the first things he told the crowd after much hoo-hawing and boo-bahing. I found this slightly ironic when he followed it up by saying, “I want these people removed if they don’t shut up,” pointing to the Iraq War opposition group that had set up shop at the rear of the audience.
I can understand Horowitz’s concern. All those pies and streakers; it does point to a “wave of violence on college campuses.” Well no, actually, it doesn’t. You must realize that there is no “top” to “go over” when you’re Li’l Davy; the theatrics are in full bloom constantly. Evidence only gets in the way of the entertainment, and facts hardly ever bring applause and dopamine-releasing agreement, anyway. What does bring applause apparently is ordering the security guys around: “Arrest anyone who opens their mouth; take their name and give it to the Dean.” Then some words about suspension, or something, I was too busy cracking up at this point to care.
So this gave him a nice segue into his explanation as to why the Modern Left is fascistic.‡ Since the whole lecture went downhill from here, I’ll just share some of my favorite quotes, organized by topic. Those statements that are paraphrased are presented in italics.
- Horowitz on the IU Blacklist. There is a blacklist at this school. There are no visible conservatives. Universities should be more like FOX News.
Then, when called on it during the Q&A, he tacitly recanted: “The blacklist is not a list of names.” He went on to describe how it is a set of ideas. I initially considered the charge of blacklisting conservative academics to be a slander against the university, but I’m not so sure because it was such a blatantly obtuse thing to say. Horowitz displayed a beautiful ignorance about Indiana University – especially when he tried to guess the number of professors. On top of that, he didn’t cite a single case within Indiana to support the HABR, which is fundamentally an issue for this state.
- Horowitz on Our Failing Public Schools. It’s the Left’s fault that over half of the students in schools serving large urban areas drop out. The schools are run by the teacher’s unions, and the party that supports them is a racist party.
I’m going to need some of you educators to chime in on this one: “Teacher’s unions are run by Socialists. [Groaning in the back of the crowd.] They absolutely are.”
- Horowitz on Liberals. Horowitz refuses to call those on the left side of the aisle “liberals”. Instead he prefers the following terms of endearment: leftists, fascists, national socialists, racists, Democrats.
And in a reference to this Lenin title, Horowitz remarked, “Progressivism is an infantile disorder.”
- Horowitz on What Real Liberals Are Like. “Lieberman.”
- Horowitz on Homosexual Activism. “I am the most vocal conservative defending homosexuals.”
- Horowitz on Lookism. Horowitz actually went on a raving tangent that had nothing to do with Iraq! This one was on what he sees as a new form of contrived discrimination: lookism.
He debunked the existence of such a thing by presenting the counterexamples Oprah Winfrey (who “has a weight problem”, but is “the richest woman in the country”) and Michael Jackson (“a strange human being”; “[you] don’t know if he’s white or black”).
I’m not sure how this fits into his lecture on academic freedom. Perhaps he’s arguing that mainstream concerns for discrimination are misappropriated. I agree, there is little talk of women’s rights, worker’s rights, etc. on television, unless there’s one of those big frivilous lawsuits where a poor widdle corporation has to pay millions for screwing people over.
During the whole lookism tirade, I couldn’t help but think that he has some self-loathing in the looks department. Sure, he’s jolly and made those conservakids who introduced him look like little sticks, but he’s not a disgusting looking person. Taking the lecture as a whole, I know he’s kicking around some ugly thoughts in his brain. I’m guessing, from the mean-spiritedness coming out of him, that Horowitz will live into his late nineties, after finally achieving the status of Most Hateful Grandpa in the Universe.
- Horowitz on Marxism. Marxists have never created wealth, because they don’t know how. All they do is redistribute the wealth created by Capitalists.
Recall that Horowitz is a Marxist scholar, and claims that academic freedom is close to his heart because of the criticism he received as a leftist university student. I contacted my friend Ed Nelson, an expert in Marxist theory, and here is an abridged version of his reply:
Horowitz is a fool. Marx, and the people who agree with his views generally never claimed that “Marxists” create wealth, any more than Adam Smith claimed that “Adam Smith-ians” create wealth.
Marxists don’t generally use the word “wealth” but the more accurate term “new-value”. The source of all new-value comes from only two sources; 1) nature; 2) human labor power acting on nature. A capitalist can invest until the cows come home, but at some point, labor must create new-value, or there is nothing to invest in. Folks like Horowitz, who know better, try to confuse profits, wealth acquired from capitalist exploitation of the working class, with new-value created by labor in general.
Finally, I’d like to make a few suggestions and observations that came out of my experience last night. Horowitz is not a racist; he’s a racial fetishist. There’s a difference.
A modest proposal to campus liberals: Instead of searching for a lefty speaker to spout the analogous radicalism that Horowitz did, let’s urge the Union Board to give the same amount of money that Horowitz received, including travel costs, to UNICEF or Doctors Without Borders.
When countering him, don’t treat David like Ann Coulter. Make your protests silent, and fill up whatever venue he’s in with like-minded people. Chanting at him only feeds his ego-driven belief that he’s the victim of some Socialist cabal. Be polite and leave when the performance is over.
If you’re so inclined, bring him flowers and offer him a hug. I think he needs it.
†Please note that I left after Horowitz announced he would only take four more questions. I was not afforded the pleasure of being one of those four brave souls. Therefore, nothing here reflects any of the long-winded, substance-free answers Mr. Horowitz bestowed upon the crowd of approximately 500 people (a leftist estimate).
‡Note to conservatives: If you perpetuate this myth that somehow Americans who voted for Kerry are fascists, you will continue to alienate your peers and embolden liberals.