America’s favorite rabble-rouser has struck again. Apparently disappointed in the response (or lack thereof) to his recent ad in The Badger Herald, David Horowitz yesterday placed a 22-page pamphlet in the Daily Cardinal entitled “Think Twice . . . Before You Bring The War Home.”
Filled with the typical inflammatory rhetoric characteristic of Horowitz’ writings, the pamphlet lambastes anti-war protesters in general and professor Norm Chomsky of MIT, Congresswoman Barbara Lee and professor Bill Ayers of the University of Illinois in particular.
Of course Horowitz is most notorious for the anti-reparations ad he placed in college papers around the country last spring. The ad sparked protests around the country (including here in Madison), and Horowitz gladly sacrificed himself as a First Amendment martyr.
But the contents of yesterday’s pamphlet and the fact it was placed in the Cardinal reveal Horowitz to be nothing more than a media whore with a twisted idea of what free speech really means.
Of course in Horowitz’ world I have no right to call him a “media whore.” That’s not free speech.
I know this because I know Horowitz’ reaction when the editor in chief of the Herald did just that — called Horowitz a “media whore.” Horowitz called it censorship, and since the editor hurt Horowitz’ feelings, Horowitz decided to “punish” the Herald and place the pamphlet in the Cardinal. Horowitz says as much on his website, writing, “The 10,000 pamphlets appear in the Daily Cardinal rather than the university’s rival student newspaper The Badger Herald — which called Horowitz “the nation’s foremost media whore” after he published an ad in the Herald.”
Now I have no idea how much it costs to run a pamphlet, but it is clear Horowitz hopes the Herald would feel the financial impact of his decision. In other words, he hoped to punish the Herald for daring to write something he did not like.
Of course it is Horowitz’ pamphlet and he can place it wherever he pleases (and truth be told, I feel sorry for the Cardinal that they have to deal with him). But it is extremely hypocritical how he portrays himself as a free speech martyr when he responds to criticism in such a petty way.
But the most damning evidence of Horowitz’ hypocrisy is the pamphlet itself.
The first two pages of the pamphlet reprint the ad printed in the Herald. Horowitz says, “The blood of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, and tens of thousands of Americans is on the hands of the anti-war activists who encouraged the enemy to resist and prolonged the actual war.”
If ever there was a statement chilling free speech, this must be it. Whatever you think of the anti-war protesters, they, with a few notable exceptions, were exercising their free speech rights. To equate that with the killing of “tens of thousands of Americans” would be disgusting coming from anyone, but is doubly so from a self-proclaimed free-speech martyr.
Horowitz goes on to claim this new war “has no ambiguity,” thus no one should protest it. Well, I am glad things are so clear to Horowitz, but since when does he decide what is ambiguous and what is not? Apparently the Vietnam War was ambiguous enough. Apparently the reparations issue was ambiguous enough.
Horowitz’s attitude is no different from the political correctness movement he so despises. Both say some topics of discussion are off-limits, and dissent from established ways of thinking is not free speech.
By the end of the letter Horowitz is labeling such dissent treason. More appropriate would be the labeling of Horowitz’ philosophy as McCarthyism. To identify those with whom you disagree as traitors is to spit on the First Amendment, and in the case of Horowitz, to brand himself with a scarlet ‘H’ for hypocrite.
Horowitz is hardly done. In the rest of the pamphlet he bemoans that the writing of professor Norm Chomsky are available to college students; describes Rep. Barbara Lee, the only congressperson to vote against the anti-terrorism war authorization as “an anti-American communist who supports America’s enemies” (if that’s not straight from the mouth of Sen. McCarthy, what is?); laments that Americans are so unprejudiced toward Muslims that the terrorists were able to move freely in this country, and other disgusting vitriol that defies the free-speech principles Horowitz claims to defend.
Regular readers know my position regarding the anti-war protesters is clear: I think they are wrong. Moreover, I think those that protested the Herald’s acceptance of Horowitz’ anti-reparations ad were wrong as well.
But what I believe even more strongly is that both have a right to criticize the Herald and myself, respectively. Free and open debate leads me closer to the truth, for I am either proved right or forced to abandon wrong positions. Either way I am stronger.
As far as Horowitz, his latest actions show he is a weak man.