Re: [sixties-l] a plea

From: Jeffrey Apfel (
Date: Tue Jun 13 2000 - 22:07:02 CUT

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    Ted Morgan wrote:

    > List folks should realize
    > there's no real enlightenment to be gained by an "exchange" with David
    > Horowitz on this one [snip] If necessary, perhaps the moderator could be
    > a little
    > more pro-active in screening ad hominem attacks, at an earlier point in
    > the discussion.

    I don't understand what you mean that no real enlightenment is to be gained
    by an exchange with Horowitz on this point. It seems tantamount to saying
    that everyone's mind is made up and that is that. To my mind, the list is
    valuable for precisely the reason that it creates a forum for different
    takes, sometimes wildly different takes, on the era. No historical period
    is so singular and unique--no matter how it "felt" at the time--that new
    insights cannot be gained from sincere interchanges with those with whom you
    have profound disagreements.

    David crossed the line with one of his comments using the word "dumb", but
    later semi-apologized for it and agreed to abide by the moderator's rules.
    I think on balance he has done so. Taking issue with "the left", which is
    admittedly his stock in trade, is not an ad hominem attack and ought to be
    debated as what it is: a considered opinion from someone who has had second

    If you read the postings over the last few days, you will find a lot more
    heat emanating from Horowitz's critics than from Horowitz himself. It would
    seem odd to blame him for this state of affairs. So while I think it would
    be sad to lose members who feel frustrated by Horowitz's presence, the fact
    that they may exit should have no bearing on the continued need for the free
    exchange of ideas.

    I've read a lot of Horowitz from Ramparts to Radical Son. While there is no
    doubt that he is a skilled polemicist, and can be brutal outside the
    confines of this listserv, that has no bearing here. Plus, while I never
    personally felt the need to ditch Marx for Hayek (never being a Marxist in
    the first instance, I suppose), I find many of his criticisms on point. I
    could be wrong about them being on point, of course, but that is why the
    dialogue is so valuable and needs to continue. If people throttle the
    dialogue, they'll only be underscoring David's point about the left, and
    I'll be left to ponder what that means.

    Jeff Apfel

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