The controversy over Diana West’s book American Betrayal took a road trip to the Heritage Foundation today.
David Horowitz, whose website FrontPage Magazine began the uproar over American Betrayal with a review by Ronald Radosh back in August, appeared at Heritage to promote his new book, The Black Book of the American Left: The Collected Conservative Writings of David Horowitz. After he spoke he took questions from the audience, including three successive questions about his stance on Diana West and her book, from Dr. Sebastian Gorka of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Peter Huessy, a contributing editor for Family Security Matters, and M. Stanton Evans.
The video below contains fourteen minutes of footage excerpted from an hour and a half of live stream from the Heritage Foundation. Listen closely to the questions directed at the guest speaker, and his answers. To my mind, the most telling statement by Mr. Horowitz is this one:
“I see it as a threat to everything that I’ve done, and that Radosh has done, and that Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes and all of the conservatives who have dredged up the information from the archives about Communist influence.”
This is the crux of the matter in a nutshell: Diana West’s book was a personal attack from the point of view of David Horowitz and his associates. It was not something with which they could simply disagree, and present reasoned arguments against in rebuttal. The author had to be “taken down” through personal attacks, snarky insults, misrepresentations of what she said, denigration of her character, and anything else that would serve to consign her to academic oblivion.
Notice that David Horowitz brings up historical events, and then declines to “get into the weeds” when confronted on what he said by a historian who is an expert on the subject matter involved (which Mr. Horowitz admits he is not).
This is not about academic matters. This is not about history. This is a personal conflict initiated by someone who feels his pre-eminent position being threatened by another writer’s book:
The full video of the Heritage live stream is available here.
For links to previous articles about the controversy over American Betrayal, see the Diana West Archives.