Re: [sixties-l] a plea

From: David Horowitz (
Date: Tue Jun 13 2000 - 23:16:48 CUT

  • Next message: Jeffrey Apfel: "[sixties-l] now and then"

    Thanks for this post. It's thoughtful and fair (although you missed the fact
    that my "dumb" remark was actually a reaction to someone who had flamed me much
    more extensively. You should know that I have withdrawn from this "debate" since
    obviously the list is not in the mood to exchange ideas. Your assessment of the
    heat on the other side jibes with my own reading of what happened. Apparently
    there were several people who left the list in a kind of protest at my presence.
    Enough pressure was put on the moderator so that a "Horowitz-free" day was
    created. I have no quarrel with this but it does put a kind of stigma on me
    (even though another poster on the other side also came under the quarantine). I
    think the moderator did a good job, but there's just so much you can do when
    people don't want to acknowledge that others can honestly disagree with them. I
    wish there were more people on the left like yourself, it would be much
    healthier political world.

    Jeffrey Apfel wrote:

    > 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
    > thoughts.
    > 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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