The Neo-Authoritarians

Is there a bigger, fatter, more egregious hypocrite on God’s green earth than David Horowitz? What else can we call someone who mounts a campaign for censoring campus speech – in the name of “academic freedom“?

According to Horowitz’s own website, Colorado Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation embodying his Orwellian concept of “academic freedom”:

“The bill requires schools to enact a grievance procedure for students subjected to a ‘hostile environment’ toward their religious and political views. It also says students have a right to be free from professors who introduce ‘controversial matter’ unrelated to the subject they are teaching.”

Echoing the left-liberal victimology he’s supposed to be so opposed to, Horowitz and his campus minions are crying that their views are not automatically accepted and given credence – and they want their “rights” as an officially accredited “minority group”! But since when is anyone entitled to be free of “hostility” on account of their ideas? Should, say, a Nazi be accorded the same hostility level as a liberal Republican? Does a defender of Joseph Stalin have the right to be free from a “hostile environment” – when his ideas amount to an endorsement of genocide?

For years, conservatives and libertarians have been complaining about campus “speech codes” that forbid, for example, campus Christians from promulgating their views on, say, homosexuality, and quash any rational discussion of affirmative action. So now Horowitz is campaigning for legislation to ensure that the tender little egos of the campus Republicans are protected from bad vibes and other potentially deadly hate-thoughts! How pathetic. Horowitz isn’t and never was opposed to “political correctness” – he just wants in on the PC game.

The voluble agitator and his fellow neoconservatives are openly taking an ominous new turn – which has long been apparent to us paleocons (and paleo-libertarians), but never mind that now – in the direction of outright authoritarianism. There is no other way to describe a law forbidding professors from raising “controversial matters” in class. It’s almost comical to see how Horowitz agitates for state repression in the name of “freeing” students from controversy: C’mon, guys, let’s “free” ourselves from the tyranny of the First Amendment!

Parodying Horowitzian hypocrisy, a new group is spreading throughout Colorado; “Students for an Orwellian Society.” They’ve set up a website, and managed to pull off an end run around Horowitz’s numerous and well-funded but utterly clueless employees:

“You can imagine how dismayed we were when our Director of Electronic Propaganda discovered that someone at the eminently doubleplusgood David Horowitz‘s vast media enterprise had forgotten to register all iterations of his new liberal traitor investigative website’s domain name! This might seem trivial to you, but imagine what would happen if some cabal of granola-chewing, net-savvy liberal traitors were to get to it first?

“Since we’re always looking to help, and also because Mr. Horowitz’s latest witch-hunting internet project is very dear to our hearts, we felt compelled to intervene. The very busy people working for Mr. Horowitz can rest easy, knowing that despite their incompetence, (as opposed to their .org) is in safe and friendly hands.”


I didn’t know it was possible to parody a parody, but the Metropolitan State College of Denver chapter of Students for an Orwellian Society has managed to do it. Bravo!

Horowitz’s latest project, “,” is meant to be a database documenting the pernicious activities of subversives, where the researcher will be able to connect the dots that link to obscure Kashmiri guerrilla groups and agents of the Mikado. Witch-hunting has always been the stock-in-trade of turncoats like Horowitz, once a waterboy for the Black Panthers and assorted commies, now a professional snitch. His intent is to set up a national network of little snitches from coast to coast, who would then report professors who dare to bring any “controversy” into the classroom. Presumably law enforcement would have ready access to Horowitz’s database of “subversives,” constantly updated by his campus cadre of aspiring J. Edgar Hoovers.

The same police state mentality pervades An End to Evil, a book advertised on Horowitz’s website, in which authors David Frum and Richard Perle propose a national identification card recording the bearer’s retinal pattern, and advocate setting up a national domestic spying system that would “alert” authorities to such “suspicious” activities as expressing opposition to U.S. foreign policy or “suddenly” growing a beard (!) “A free society,” intone Frum and Perle, “is a self-policed society.” So peek in your neighbor’s window, and write down the license plate number of every car parked outside that antiwar meeting, lest any of them feel un-free. Yeah, and just remember: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength.

Daniel Pipes and his “CampusWatch,” which targets professors thought to be unsympathetic to U.S. foreign policy, is another sinister example of how neoconservatism is fast morphing into neo-authoritarianism. As a government official – in a testament to the complete moral inversion of the Bizarro World we are living in, the militantly pro-war Pipes was appointed to the board of the government-funded “U.S. Peace Institute” – his witch-hunting proclivities take on a threatening aspect. Pipes and his cohorts – notably Stanley Kurtz, of National Review – have launched a campaign that uses the post-9/11 hysteria to zero in on Middle East Studies programs on American campuses. The idea is to stamp out any and all scholarship deemed insufficiently pro-Israeli, and defund anyone who disagrees with them. Big Government “conservatism” strikes again: whereas the American Right used to stand for the diminution and decentralization of government power, the neocons have now embraced the Leviathan State as an instrument to not only punish their enemies but to silence them. And their first target is the college campus.

The extreme methods being pushed by the neocons are the measure of their desperation. They are on the way out – out of power, out of credibility, and out of the conservative-libertarian mainstream on the Right. Perle has just resigned his position on the Defense Policy Board because even he recognizes that his extreme positions are costing the Republicans support. As two grand juries contemplate whether to indict a number of prominent neocons in and around the Vice President’s office, they are not just out of power – at least some of them may be headed for the slammer.

The demagogic Horowitz seeks to cash in on a real problem: the leftist domination of campus intellectual life that seeks to crush any and all dissent from the prevailing paradigm of race, gender, and class oppression. In the key field of economics, free market advocates often have to hide their views in order to get tenure. Anyone who questions “speech codes” and other manifestations of political correctness is brought up on charges of creating a “hostile atmosphere” and thinking “hate thoughts.” For many students coming from a conservative or libertarian perspective, the situation is so stifling as to be intolerable.

But the solution is not to invoke the same onerous “principle” advocated by the PC crowd, and demand the “right” to exist in a non-“hostile” environment. Either have the courage to fight for your convictions, or shut the f*ck up.

Horowitz complains about the lack of intellectual "diversity" in college faculties, and how school money is spent on outside speakers of an overwhelmingly leftist orientation, but he doesn’t differentiate between public and private institutions. This is an odd stance indeed for an ostensible “conservative” to take. But doesn’t a private institution have the right to establish whatever speech codes, and other rules, the owners and trustees desire? Do we really want to make a law requiring Bob Jones University to invite Rep. Barney Frank to deliver a lecture on campus? Must Harvard give Horowitz equal time?

That’s what this campaign, which is spreading to Georgia and other states, is really all about. Horowitz and his crew want affirmative action for neoconservatives. They’re a disadvantaged minority, you see, what with all those millions shoveled into their projects by big right-wing foundations, and they’re the victims of campus “hate speech” by lefties (and Arab students who, for some odd reason, resent being called “sand-n—–s“).

Give me a break!

Horowitz, the phony “conservative,” deserves nothing but ridicule, and not just from his enemies on the Left. Students of a more traditionalist mindset, as well as libertarians, should realize that he’s after you, too. He doesn’t object to campus speech codes and other petty tyrannies: he just wants to institute his own version, one that will give him a guaranteed state-subsidized and sanctioned niche as the representative of the officially approved version of “conservatism.”

The Orwellian “Academic Bill of Rights” being pushed by Horowitz and his fellow neo-authoritarians is part and parcel of their campaign on behalf of Big Government conservatism, which has replaced the Goldwaterite “less is more” philosophy of the old GOP. Ex-leftists like Horowitz – the famous “liberals who’ve been mugged” – have infected the Right like a deadly virus, killing off its anti-government antibodies and leaving the movement open to a takeover by neocon pod people.

Conservative students of a thoughtful disposition, as well as my fellow libertarians, should ditch Horowitz – that is, if they ever took him seriously – and fight PC the only way it can be fought: by boldly challenging the doctrinal orthodoxy that stifles creative thought on campus, launching a frontal assault on academic political correctness by means of open defiance. Don’t run to the authorities, complaining and whining that life isn’t treating you fair, and demanding special subsidies and protections: confront the dominant paradigm and subvert it by out-arguing your opponents. There is no other way.

A national ID card, neighbor spying on neighbor, draconian laws invalidating the constitutional right to be secure from government spying in our own homes – who would’ve thought that alleged “conservatives,” who used to complain endlessly about the predations of “Big Government,” would embrace the cult of the omnipotent State? Opportunists like Horowitz are parasites on the conservative movement: by exploiting young conservatives’ fears, and ignorance of their own intellectual heritage, he manages to pose as their great defender. What he is, however, is a crude Bizarro World caricature, an inverted version of what it means to be a conservative.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].