12:18 and still
no David Horowitz. Typical of Columbia to start the program late.
Roone Arledge Cinema, one of the smaller auditoriums on campus,
was full of mostly white, mostly male, mostly Republican spectators,
and they were getting restless. Four middle-aged Communist protesters
were stationed outside in the rain handing anti-Horowitz handbills
to students who had come to Lerner Hall for the engineering job
fair. No one bothered to inform the protestors that they were at
the wrong door. Finally, a hush fell over the crowd as a faceless
Columbia bureaucrat assumed the speaker's position in order to remind
us to turn our cell phones off and avoid yelling Communist slogans
once the speech began.
applause greeted Horowitz's appearance at the speaker's podium.
I was a bit disappointed myself, having expected a tall, grand,
imposing figure with a posh accent in the mold of William F. Buckley
circa 1968. Horowitz is short, rotund, balding, and speaks in a
nasal, pseudo-Brooklyn twang. They don't make 'em like they used
to. Then again, considering Buckley's overweening neo-conservatism,
it seems they never did.
led off with a few pleasant generalities about his alma mater, but
soon strayed into more contentious territory. Columbia used to be
a friendlier place 52 years ago, said he. Professors kept their
political opinions to themselves and all viewpoints — even his own
Communist one, a very unpopular one at the height of the era of
McCarthyism — were tolerated from students. Now, alas, all the conservative
faculty has been purged and the militant leftist academics (activists
first and scholars second, natch) who remain wish to bring us back
to the teaching methods of the 19th century, when professors
at religious colleges merely spouted their doctrines and presented
no opposing viewpoint to students. To be a conservative on campus
these days, Horowitz said, is a character-building experience. As
a student at a college which spoon-feeds pseudo-Marxist pablum to
all of its incoming students through its much-vaunted Core Curriculum,
I must agree in principle, if not in detail. At least we have Islamo-Fascism
Awareness Week on 114 campuses (I thought it was 200
campuses, David? You'd better update your website) this week, though.
That'll show them terrists.
outlining his basic views on the liberalization of our universities,
Horowitz chose to enlighten the listeners about his reasons for
creating the Week. There is nothing about the Week or its rhetoric,
he said, which could or should be construed as anti-Islam or anti-Muslim.
The Week, it seems, is all about separating the moderate Muslims
from the Islamo-Fascists, and praising the former while decrying
the latter. In fact, the very term Islamo-Fascism was coined by
Muslims — Algerian Muslims, to be exact — who wished to speak out
against the Islamic militant groups which had killed 150–200,000
of their co-religionists. He — Horowitz — first picked up the term
from Christopher Hitchens, and thus did not think of it himself.
In his Slate article,
Hitchens disagrees with this description of the term's provenance,
but agrees with Horowitz's use of it.
went on to echo much of what Hitchens said in his article. That
is, Islamic regimes have a long history of being Fascist. The Grand
Mufti of Jerusalem was an acolyte of Hitler and wished to set up
death camps for Jews in the Middle East modeled on ones in Germany
and elsewhere. The Iranian Republican Guard, he said, goose-steps
in homage to the SS. (Funny that the Russians — haters of all things
Nazi — still goose-step as well.) Islamo-Fascists, Horowitz said,
are first and foremost at war with moderate Muslims and Islamic
countries whose regimes are not hyper-religious. As evidence he
cites al-Qaeda's bombing of a wedding in Iran. Actually, the bombing
was in Jordan.
(The US has certainly never blown
up a wedding,
has it? Okay, that one was a mistake. This
any of this matter? Horowitz has an answer for that as well. We're
at war, he said, and "you can't fight a war unless you can
name your enemy." Alas, all too often the enemy is right here
at home. Sami
al-Arian, for instance. Horowitz claims that al-Arian held pledge
drives to raise money for Islamo-Fascist groups. "$500 to kill
a Jew," to be precise. This shows, he says, that leftist professors
are in league with Islamo-Fascists around the world. In Horowitz's
words, the left "tried to save Saddam" and are now "supporting
the nuclear program of the Persian Hitler."
"Persian Hitler" — still Columbia's
enemy du jour. Horowitz went on at some length about human rights
abuses in Iran. Did you know that Ahmadinejad has just passed a
law saying that couples can't hold hands in public, and that this
edict will be enforced by the Morality Police? Neither does the
mainstream media. He's right about one thing, though: hatred for
America in the Middle East did not start with Bush. Horowitz blames
it on Jimmy
Carter. Then Clinton wanted to invade Iraq and the "entire
Democratic congress was for it" but unfortunately this was
in 1998, and Clinton got himself embroiled in more important matters
with a certain "cupcake."
Damn those missed opportunities. Of course, when it came time for
Bush to bomb Iraq, the Democrats reversed their former support.
are we at war with Iraq? Because we've always been at war with Iraq.
The Gulf War, he says, ended with a treaty. Part of the treaty involved
Saddam not gassing
Kurds any more, and the other part of the treaty involved Saddam
inspectors into Iraq to search for weapons. Saddam violated
both parts of this treaty and thus asked us to attack him. So that's
the reason, then. Nothing about yellowcake
uranium or cooperation
with al-Qaeda or anything else.
we "know our enemy" and have a justification for fighting
him, what would happen if we left Iraq? Hundreds of thousands of
moderate Muslims would die. You know, "everyone who voted in
the election that George Bush made possible"? Yeah, them. All
dead. Iran would become the "major power" in Iraq and
would invade all of its neighbors for "not being Muslim enough."
That having been done, Ahmadinejad would "wipe America off
the map" just like he said in his Colu… wait. I seem to remember
that speech in person, but what I don't remember is Ahmadinejad
saying that he wants to wipe America off the map. Or Israel, for
that matter. But Horowitz said he "watched the speech"
and heard Ahmadinejad threaten to kill us all ("because if
they detonate a dirty bomb in New York, it won't distinguish between
liberal and conservative"), so maybe my memory is failing.
"That's a gun to your head," he kept reminding us. I suppose
that questions about the morality of Osama's guns versus Bush's
guns are better left to philosophers.
okay, though, said Horowitz. None of the above horrors will come
to pass because we're not going to leave Iraq. Bush won't leave
it, and Hillary won't leave it when she's elected. Let's repeat
that, shall we? She won't leave Iraq when she's elected.
(The slightest possibility makes you want to give
your entire paycheck to Ron Paul.) The problem with that, he
said, is that we're fighting them over there, but we won't fight
them here. "Why are the traitorous New York Times editors not
in jail?" he yelled. "They revealed state secrets in the
middle of a war. In the middle of a war!" Same goes for the
traitor Cindy Sheehan, whom Horowitz thinks should be cooling her
heels in the next cell.
continued for about 45 minutes in that same vein. Then came the
question and answer session, with questions having been submitted
in advance and fully vetted by the College Republicans. Of course,
the questions were real softballs. "Why only Islamo-Fascism?
What about American fascism?" Horowitz said that anyone who
considered that America was at all fascist is "delusional."
Next question. "Are you familiar with the rate of tenured female
professors in Iran?" "No." Next question. "Why
does the US deal with Islamo-Fascist regimes like Saudi Arabia?"
"Unfortunately it's a complicated world. " The Saudi royal
family is "corrupt and evil," but because of environmental
radicals we need Saudi oil and thus we need them as our allies,
he said. Apparently, my question about the hypocrisy of his decrying
of human rights abuses in Iran while promoting some of those very
same abuses in the US wasn't deemed worthy of his consideration.
As a parting
thought, Horowitz offered this translation of the first amendment:
that it is the right of individuals to make utter fools of themselves
in public. If that translation is correct, then he is one of the
nation's foremost exploiters of the first amendment and ought to
be congratulated. So, sir, my hat is off to you for having the cojones
to promote your particular brand of neo-conservatism on 114 (or
200) college campuses. Similar kudos to the Columbia University
College Republicans for providing Horowitz with enough rope to hang
himself and a convenient forum to do it in.
[send her mail] is second-year
student at Columbia University.