May 12, 2006

Horowitz lectures on conservatism

A crowd of nearly 300 filled Kent 107 on Tuesday to hear well known conservative David Horowitz’s views on race relations on campus in a lecture sponsored by the College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation.

Horowitz is known for his conversion to conservatism after being a vocal member of the New Left in the 1960’s and 1970’s and an associate of the Black Panthers.

The murder of friend and co-worker Betty Van Page—a crime he attributes to the Black Panthers—led Horowitz to reject the view that liberals are “champions of the oppressed,” and to leave the New Left for conservatism.

The event drew an audience of supporters and critics. A number of students received pamphlets against Horowitz’s work distributed by UC Democrats, which also held a small demonstration before the lecture.

Horowitz denied the existence of society-wide racism, citing the public’s acceptance of black figures such as Oprah Winfrey as evidence. Horowitz used the Kobe Bryant rape case as evidence for an unprejudiced public willing to hold a black man innocent until proven guilty.

Horowitz spent most of his time, however, decrying what he claimed was a lack of political neutrality in academia. He discussed what he identified as a false belief in earnings inequality between men and women, as well as criticism of the Iraq War.

In the question-and-answer portion of the lecture one student, seeking to contradict one of Horowitz’s earlier claims that the left is “afraid of the argument,” asked those audience members who did not identify themselves as conservative to stand up; a little less than half the room stood, prompting Horowitz to commend his audience.