The Left’s Ruling Ideas
“This is the ninth and final volume of my writings about progressivism, a movement whose goals are the destruction of America’s social contract at home and the defeat of American power abroad.”
That blunt statement from Freedom Center founder David Horowitz begins Ruling Ideas, the just-published, concluding volume of his series of collected works titled The Black Book of the American Left. Horowitz, of course, is the red-diaper-baby-turned-conservative-firebrand and the author of many other books, including the classic autobiography Radical Son, the battle plan for political victory titled Take No Prisoners, and the recent New York Times bestseller Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America.
In his introduction to this volume, Horowitz notes that The Black Book of the American Left series was conceived as a corrective to the frequent inability of conservatives “to appreciate the anti-American animus of the left and its apocalyptic goals.” As a former radical leftist himself, Horowitz has a deep appreciation for that animus and a unique grasp of the left’s religious fervor for a society built upon the utopian dream of human perfectibility. Ruling Ideas is the latest addition to his ongoing illumination of the left’s often deceptive animating principles.
Part One of the book includes three essays which Horowitz says “have more or less defined my life’s work.” With “The Fate of the Marxist Idea” he reprints two letters to former fellow radicals announcing and explaining his break with the left, one a childhood friend whose father was a cell leader in the local Communist Party, the other his political mentor and friend Ralph Miliband, the father of future British politicians David and Ed. The letters were impassioned attempts to awaken former comrades from their radical intoxication by presenting the undeniable, sobering realities of their failed dream.
“Slavery and the American Idea” addresses the Progressive determination to “destroy the American social contract and the constitutional system that supports it,” primarily by weaponizing the issue of race. Horowitz’s aim in the essay - first published as the closing chapter of Uncivil Wars, Horowitz’s controversial denunciation of slavery reparations, and updated for inclusion here – is to celebrate the vision of American exceptionalism behind this country’s successful ending of the near-universal human practice of slavery. The essay remains as vital today as when it was published, thanks to a revival among black intellectuals and politicians of the demand for reparations.
In the short essay “America’s Second Civil War,” Horowitz discusses the collectivist creed of identity politics as “the antithesis of the principles that are the cornerstones of America’s social contract.” A “reversion to tribal loyalties” and a condemnation of the anti-American mythology of “systemic racism,” identity politics is now the tip of the spear of the Democrat Party’s divisive platform and agenda. In contrast, Horowitz closes the essay by quoting President Donald Trump’s unifying call, “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”