If you like David Horowitz, you will love his essay below. Although a bit long it is a very thought provoking analysis of past and present failures to counter leftist propaganda.
Stephen Miller is President Trump’s senior advisor for policy and has been my friend since he was a student at Santa Monica High School in 2001, taking on his teachers and administrators for failing to respect country and flag in the wake of 9/11.
Steve was raised in a liberal Democratic California household and his
second thoughts politically constitute one of the bonds of our
friendship, which can serve to illuminate the unique character of this
White House – widely misunderstood on the left and right – whose
president and chief strategist, Steve Bannon, followed similar paths.
In the fourth year of the Obama era, I was the subject of a leftwing profile in Tabletmag.com
titled, “David Horowitz Is Homeless.” It was an early example of what
would now be called a “fake news” story, portraying me as a hapless
figure suspended between the warring camps of left and right, unable to
find a place in either. The false narrative was easy to expose. Through
the David Horowitz Freedom Center my efforts were financially supported
by over a hundred thousand conservative donors while the Restoration
Weekend I hosted featured dozens of prominent conservative figures
including now Vice President Mike Pence and soon to be Attorney General
Like all effective hit pieces, the Tablet story contained a
kernel of truth. While conservatives and Republicans were generally
supportive of me and my work, they also took a noticeable distance from
the confrontational stances and actions that became my political
In 2002, for example, I launched a campaign to end the leftist
stranglehold on the curricula of our major liberal arts schools. I
organized chapters of “Students for Academic Freedom” on college
campuses across the country, and called for an Academic Bill of Rights
that would require professors to present students with two sides of
controversial issues in a fair-minded manner. This modest proposal was
viciously condemned by the academic left, and in the heat of the battle
that ensued, I found myself pretty much alone. Republicans and
conservatives failed for the most part to rally around the proposal and
mainly avoided association with the effort. After seven years of
futility and isolation, I was forced to acknowledge that I had failed.
I had come into the political right vowing to be as aggressive in
defense of America as we leftists had been in attacking her. What struck
me at the outset was the absence of a war mentality among my new
political friends – a mentality I knew as second nature for the left.
Democrats were relentlessly on the attack, framing moral indictments of
their political adversaries and denouncing them as oppressors of the
weak and vulnerable.
contrast, Republicans addressed their adversaries in the language of
accountants complaining about tax-burdens and budget overages. I
noticed, too, how thoroughly intimidated Republicans were by the left’s
moral attacks; they seemed temperamentally incapable of returning fire
with fire. While Democrats routinely referred to them as racists,
sexists and homophobes, conservatives responded by calling their
Unassimilated as I felt to this political environment, I was never
entirely alone. Like-minded conservatives were attracted to my work,
especially younger conservatives who had been schooled by their leftist
antagonists in the art of political warfare and were ready to fight
back. One of these was 17-year-old Stephen Miller.
When we met in 2001, Steve was engaged in a battle with his high
school authorities over their failure to stand up for the country in the
wake of the 9/11 attacks. At the time, the nation was unusually united
in rallying around the flag to defend the homeland, and schools had been
directed to have students say the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily
basis. Santa Monica was one of the most leftwing cities in the nation,
and Santa Monica High refused to do so. One teacher even placed an
American flag on the floor for his students to walk over and show their
disrespect. Steve responded to this outrage with a one-man protest. He
went on the Larry Elder Show, on KABC’s primetime hour, to launch a
public campaign. I supported his effort with my online site Frontpagemag.com.
Even then I was impressed by how articulate and smart this young man
was, and that he pulled no punches, so unusual in the conservative
circles I was familiar with. Steve was so effective that he was
eventually called on the carpet by the Superintendent of Schools who
accused him of being personally responsible for the failure of the Santa
Monica School bond issue on the November ballot – the first time that
had happened in Santa Monica’s history.
Steve formed a chapter of our Students for Academic Freedom at Santa
Monica High, and invited me to come to campus to speak. The event was
initially blocked by the school administration, which forced Steve to
undertake another battle, this time for free speech, a battle he
eventually won. Over a hundred students attended my speech which was
recorded by a film class. But the leftist faculty in charge of the
class, apparently unable to handle its content, destroyed the film
When Steve graduated, and informed me that he had been accepted by
Duke University, I was relieved. Throughout these battles he had fought I
had always wondered how he was going to get the faculty recommendations
he needed to be accepted by a first-rate college, given the hostility
of his school authorities.
In one of the Platonic Dialogues, Socrates observes that
before a person can be judged to be courageous one has to ascertain
whether the person was aware of the risks and possible consequences of
his actions. Steve was an extraordinarily bright and ambitious young man
with a promising future, and well aware of the obstacles he might be
creating for himself. He went ahead with his protests anyway because he
cared about his country more.
University campuses are so dominated by a potentially violent
political left that I am unable to visit them without bodyguards and a
campus security presence. Without such protection, I could never get
through a speech and never be sure of emerging from the event unscathed.
This is not personal to me, but is true of all conservatives targeted
by the left, many of whom like me have been physically attacked. When I
do speak, I am always mindful to point out, however, that the vicious
verbal attacks directed at me are really intended to intimidate my
student hosts, who are regularly called racists and Islamophobes for
inviting me and have to live with these stigmas long after I am gone.
These slanders are an injustice to me but an even greater one to the
students. Unfortunately, in the present political climate there is no
campus authority – faculty or administrative – who will defend
conservative students and their right to have their own opinions.
When Steve arrived at Duke he formed another chapter of Students for
Academic Freedom and again invited me to speak on his campus. I had just
published a book called The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America which
was already notorious in academia. It was about the political abuse of
the classroom by tenured radicals, and its appearance had created a
firestorm in the academic world. Spokesmen for the American Association
of University Professors denounced me as a McCarthyite witch-hunter and
other academic leftists slandered me (improbably) as a Maoist and a
Torquemada. The American Federation of Teachers created an entire
website devoted to attacking me and distorting what I had said.
In the eyes of the academic community, I was public enemy number one.
None of this daunted Steve. The event he singlehandedly organized was
attended by 600 students and filmed by C-Span. Three professors
organized a vocal demonstration inside the auditorium. Their original
plan was to have their female students strip to the waist as part of the
protest but the students declined.
Once again I was impressed by the young man’s fortitude in facing
down his professors, and also by his organizational skills in putting
together such a large event under difficult circumstances. My appearance
was only one of many actions that Steve took at Duke to oppose its
one-party classrooms and the thinly veiled prejudice of Duke faculty
members — in full display during the public witch-hunt of the Duke
Lacrosse players, which 80 of them openly supported. By the time he
graduated Steve was the most well-known student leader and conservative
on Duke’s politically correct and politically hostile campus, and
looking for bigger horizons to conquer.
Steve’s ambitions were political, and when he graduated he went to
Washington to pursue them. I provided him with recommendations first for
jobs he took with Representatives Michele Bachmann and John Shadegg,
and then with Senator Jeff Sessions a man whom I had known and admired
as one of the most decent human beings in the Senate and one of its
handful of stand-up conservatives. During the years that Steve served
Sessions, as his right hand, my political passion was also for the
minority and poor inhabitants of America’s inner cities and what I
perceived as their oppression by the Democrats’ fifty to a hundred-year
As with my academic campaign, for reasons I tried hard to understand,
Republicans were deaf to the plight of these victims of Democrat
policies. The entire situation was summed up for me in a front-page
story that appeared in the Los Angeles Times in January 2000.
The article reported that Los Angeles had dropped a plan to end “social
promotions” — the practice of passing students to the next level when
they had learned nothing — because to do so would mean holding back
350,000 children – half the public school population, which is mainly
After reading this, I called Tom Campbell, who was running for the
Senate as a Republican, and for whom I had hosted a fund-raiser. I said
to him, “Tom, if you want to be senator, hold a press conference, call
on President Bush to declare Los Angeles a social disaster area and
demand that FEMA provide the funds to get these kids to schools private
or otherwise that will teach them. His reply? “I don’t believe in
federal aid to education.”
I bring up this incident because it once again it summarizes my
frustration with Republicans over many years trying to direct their
attention to such problems and trying to prod them into aggressive
political actions. Once again, it showed me that as a former radical I
was constitutionally different from most Republicans. But there were
important exceptions and Senator Jeff Sessions and his top aide, Steve
Miller, were two of them.
Steve was in effect my conduit to Sessions, and soon I began to see
in Sessions’ speeches and website posts the concerns I had expressed
about the inner city and its forgotten victims, and also the facts that I
had assembled and the outrage I had expressed. I knew this was Steve’s
work, and that it reflected the fact that both Sessions and he shared
these concerns in a way that was rare on the political right – not
because Republicans were racists, but because they had what they felt
were more pressing and practical agendas, and because Democrats had such
a tight lock on the voters of those districts that Republicans were
content to concede them in advance. And, of course, part of this was
because they didn’t have a fire in their bellies over the injustice that
this shame of America’s inner cities represented. But Steve Miller did.
When Steve joined Trump early on in the campaign and Sessions’
endorsement soon followed and my friend Steve Bannon, who was
like-minded on these matters, became his chief strategist, I realized a
new day was dawning in Republican politics and therefore in American
politics too. Trump was focused on making inroads with inner city voters
and the victims of Democrat policies.
In light of this, I sent a memo to Bannon and Miller resurrecting a
plan I had drawn up for George W. Bush during the 2000 campaign, which
had been politely rejected by his domestic policy chief Josh Bolten when
I presented it to him. My plan was for a voucher program, designed to
be so big the media couldn’t ignore it and to provide such significant
scholarships (equivalent to the tuitions taxpayers were investing in the
failed public schools) that when inner city parents became aware of
them, it would blow up the Democratic base. The Bush team’s rejection of
this voucher plan was just another case of the Republican fecklessness
to which I had grown accustomed.
Yet while Bush’s team rejected the plan to help the inner-city
children, Trump’s team incorporated it into their campaign platform.
Trump’s plan would allocate $130 billion in vouchers for inner city
children with a tuition of $12,000 for each child, which was equivalent
to the amount paid by taxpayers to public schools where 40% of the
students never graduated and 40% of those who did graduate were
When I watch Steve’s rapid fire responses now, as he is interviewed
before the cameras, and relish his articulation of complex policies and
mastery of the arguments that support them, I am still impressed, even
though I saw this coming many years past.
But what I continue to marvel at is the way he continues to move
forward despite the incoming fire, the way he doesn’t bend or falter
before the onslaught of mean-spirited and ignorant attacks on his
character and motives. In this he is like Bannon and their boss Trump,
and unlike the Republicans we have known. These are the new
conservatives who are changing the face of the Republican Party, and
America too. For me it is all captured in a single image.
Over the years people would refer to my Freedom Center as a “think
tank” and I would correct them, “No, it’s a battle tank,” because that
is what I felt was missing most in the conservative cause — troops ready
and willing to fight fire with fire. The Trump administration may be
only a few weeks old, but it is already clear that the new White House is
a battle tank. I am as proud as could be that my friend Steve Miller is
one of its generals, and I no longer feel in any way homeless.
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