David Horowitz at CPAC

CPAC 2008 Logo Macro View CPAC presented the Blogger of the Year Award to Ace of Spades and the Journalist of the Year Award to Mark Tapcott, editorial page director of the Washington Examiner and proprietor of Tapscott’s Copy Desk. Both are quite deserving.

I got there early and was “treated” to a 20 minute rant by David Horowitz on the evils of political correctness. The basic premise, that there’s a “party line” being foisted on us by elite Powers That Be that stifles debate on such issues as Islamist terrorism, is one with which I agree. As is increasingly the case, though, advocates for various political causes seem to feel that the only way to get noticed is to adopt extremist rhetoric and take arguments several steps beyond their logical conclusions.

He’s right that college campuses, especially at elite institutions, are dominated by a leftist professoriate and weak administrations that value sensitivity over vigorous debate. But it’s surreal to make the argument, in an auditorium filled with college educated conservatives, that the conservative message is thus being drowned out.

Much of what he says is complete nonsense. One can certainly criticize George W. Bush for kowtowing to Muslim sensitivity, emphasizing the “religion of peace” aspect while downplaying the degree to which mainstream Muslim society supports the extremists. It’s absurd, though, to argue that he refuses to acknowledge that Islam and terrorism are connected or that he’s refused to utter the words “Islamic terrorists.” He’s done it repeatedly for years.

The suggestion that American politicians like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are virtually indistinguishable from totalitarian dictators and that their wish is to line those who disagree along walls and shoot them is simply appalling. And, yet, such outrages were greeted with more than a modicum of applause.

To be absolutely clear, the vast majority of the speakers at CPAC are much more mainstream and gracious. For every Horowitz, there are a half dozen Mark Tapscotts and Mike Pences. But it would be much more comforting if the radicals generated less enthusiasm.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dantheman says:

    “The suggestion that American politicians like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are virtually indistinguishable from totalitarian dictators and that their wish is to line those who disagree along walls and shoot them is simply appalling. And, yet, such outrages were greeted with more than a modicum of applause.”

    And yesterday’s speech by Romney indicated that Obama and Clinton were going to surrender to terrorists, which was loudly applauded. It’s a feature, not a bug, of political discourse, especially on the conservative side of the aisle.

  2. Tano says:

    The sane ones hold positions of power only through the propagandistic efforts of the extremists. That is the shame and disgrace of modern conservatism.

  3. Triumph says:

    It’s absurd, though, to argue that he refuses to acknowledge that Islam and terrorism are totally unconnected or that he’s refused to utter the words “Islamic terrorists.” He’s done it repeatedly for years.

    Yes, in fact, Bush invited to the White House and met with an Islamic terrorist weeks before 2001: Sami Al Arian.

  4. Bithead says:

    The suggestion that American politicians like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are virtually indistinguishable from totalitarian dictators and that their wish is to line those who disagree along walls and shoot them is simply appalling. And, yet, such outrages were greeted with more than a modicum of applause.

    Well, in all honesty, you might be able to fit water between them, but not very often.

    And as for Islamic Terrorists, who is a terrorist today that is not driven by extremist Islam?

    Also, setting a firm date for leaving Iraq, win loose or draw is, in fact, surrendering.

  5. Triumph says:

    who is a terrorist today that is not driven by extremist Islam?

    You ever hear of ETA? Or FARC? Or the CPP/NPA? Or Aum Shinrikyo? Or the Continuity IRA? Or FARC? Or the Tamil Tigers? Or Sendero Luminoso?

  6. legion says:

    And as for Islamic Terrorists, who is a terrorist today that is not driven by extremist Islam?

    To continue Triumph’s rebuttal of that utterly ridiculous, pandering garbage, I would point you to the Chechens and the Palestinians. Both groups _contain_ Muslims, but their goals are pretty much entirely based on national independence, not extremist Islam. Oh yeah, and how about them Kurds? Really, Bithead, that’s the sort of tripe I’d expect to hear _at_ the CPAC, not in defense of it…

  7. John425 says:

    Civil discourse never really gets you anywhere in your defense of Liberty. We American conservatives need a few bomb throwers like Old Tom Paine.

    I would love to see an organization like CPAC start a Conservative’s “Shadow Government” with real conservatives holding “real” political posts in thes shadow government and then holding forth.

    E.G. Gingrich as Sec State, Bolton back as UN guy, Romney at Commerce, Ted Olson as Atty. Gen. and Fred Thompson as Veep, etc.

  8. Dantheman says:

    “who is a terrorist today that is not driven by extremist Islam?

    You ever hear of ETA? Or FARC? Or the CPP/NPA? Or Aum Shinrikyo? Or the Continuity IRA? Or FARC? Or the Tamil Tigers? Or Sendero Luminoso?”

    The Unabomber? Tim McVeigh? Quite likely the long-forgotten Anthrax envelopes of 2001?

    Never let a few facts get in the way of a misleading rant, Bithead.

  9. Bithead says:

    You ever hear of ETA? Or FARC? Or the CPP/NPA? Or Aum Shinrikyo? Or the Continuity IRA? Or FARC? Or the Tamil Tigers? Or Sendero Luminoso?

    Sure, I’ve heard of them.
    But, did you notice I said ‘Operating Today”?

  10. Triumph says:

    Sure, I’ve heard of them.
    But, did you notice I said ‘Operating Today”?

    Uhh…Im not sure what your media diet is, but readers of the Washington Post know that ETA set off a bomb in Bergara less than 24 hours ago.

    Im sure the family of Ronald Sendrijas would take offense with your statement, as well.

  11. John Burgess says:

    Let’s not forget the Nepali Maoists, the ‘Real IRA’, the Turkic ‘Grey Wolves’ and their opposites, the Armenian ARSALA.

    Lots of hatred out there!

  12. glasnost says:

    You’re a reasonable human being, Dr. Joyner. Driven not by fantasy, conspiracy, and self-invented pseudo-intellectual thuggism. In your head, you’re living by a philosophy, not waging a demented subform of warfare.

    You’re in the minority. Professional conservatism is a market, and markets reward exaggeration, demagoguery, dishonesty, and stupidity.
    In the short term.

  13. Bithead says:

    ETA set off a bomb in Bergara less than 24 hours ago.

    Ah.
    And these constitute a real threat?
    Sure.