The horror of Horowitz

Many cruel things can be said about the mendacity of David Horowitz. Few of them were not already said by the brilliant Michael Bérubé, but he-of-the-accents doesn’t seem to blog any more, while D. Ho. remains as prolific as ever in his search for Reds in the Ivory Tower.  RightWingWatch observes Horowitz first suggesting that Anthony Weiner is a s3kr1t Mussulman*, and then that Holocaust survivor George Soros is a Communist Nazi, or something.  He told hate group leader Tim Wildmon:

George Soros, who is an evil man, who has evil designs on this country, once said, he said he aspired to be the conscience of mankind. He knows that he’s a corrupt businessman who has caused a lot of pain and so he redeems himself by being the champion of the progressive future. That’s what it does for them. If you look at history you will see that all these ‘isms’—communism, socialism, Nazism—they all emerge after Darwin, that is after the decline of organized religion. They replace the religious vision of a redemption in the next life with a communist vision with a redemption in this life, and that is why they are so bloody dangerous.

This is fairly standard wingnuttery, but somewhat funny to see from Horowitz.  Horowitz is, after all, a proponent of a so-called “academic bill of rights” which would function as academic affirmative action for conservatives.  His argument is that conservatives are under-represented in the academy because mean communist, Jewish, feminist, atheist professors exclude conservatives from their ranks.  

One standard riposte is to argue that conservative intellectuals generally don’t measure up well against intellectuals in general.  There are fewer of them – the argument goes – and those tend to be of lower quality, so they don’t advance in academia.  

And if we wanted to point to evidence for this proposition, we could easily point to Horowitz’s historical claim above.  Apparently “the decline of organized religion” coincides with “Darwin,” and communism and socialism and Nazism came after Darwin so, post hoc ergo propter hoc, Darwin caused the decline of religion and the rise of communism, socialism, fascism, and Roseanne Barr.

Even if post hoc ergo propter hoc weren’t a logical fallacy, this argument falls apart.  Socialism’s modern roots can be traced at least to Fourier’s ideas, which he began publishing a year before Darwin was born.  Communism can’t have started later than 1848, when Marx and Engels published the Communist Manifesto; it would be 10 years before Darwin presented anything more revolutionary than a taxonomy of barnacles.  This isn’t “after this, therefore because of this,” it’s “before this, therefore because of this.”

Also, are we to believe that George Soros is both an international financier and a communist?

* Yes, Weiner must be an apostate because he’s married to a Muslim woman who also happens to be deputy chief of staff to Hillary Clinton.  Horowitz reasons (if we can apply that verb here):

Anthony Weiner is a Jew. So according to Muslim law, either Anthony Weiner has secretly converted to Islam or Huma Abedin has been given a special dispensation to marry a Jew so she can infiltrate our government.

He’s a Jew, so he must not be a Jew or, like magnets, he and Abedin would be unable to join together.  Make this man a professor.

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