In “Dark Agenda,” Horowitz dives into our country’s history, leading us to the current political climate by marking specific examples of recent movements and events in society that demonstrate how we got here.
However, the book is never cumbersome or dense, but rather engaging and easy to read. Horowitz begins with the “disastrous Supreme Court decision rendered nearly six decades ago: Engel v. Vitale—which banned talk of God in public schools” to the rise of identity politics and politically correct censorship.
Since the formation of Horowitz’s Freedom Center in 1988—to serve as a platform for conservative speakers and debates between conservative and liberal individuals, yet has been described as “Islamophobic” because of its Jihad Watch blog—Horowitz has found himself on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) progressive left hate list.
It may be hard to imagine how this genial, mild-mannered, older man who looks like he could be someone’s grandfather could be on a hate list, but when Horowitz, a former left-leaning 60s activist rejected the left, he says they rejected him right back.
At a recent event, Horowitz explained how he got the calling to leave the left and walk away.
“I believed our own propaganda and supported the Black Panther Party, thinking they were persecuted by a racist government when in fact they were gangsters,” Horowitz told The Epoch Times.
During the ‘70s Horowitz even raised money to purchase a Baptist church in East Oakland to turn it into a learning center for the Black Panthers and their children. Thinking the government would shut down the Panthers if they didn’t have properly kept books, Horowitz recruited his bookkeeper Betty Van Patter to create a 501c3 nonprofit for the Panthers.
To Horowitz, he was attempting to be responsible and efficient, ensuring the Panthers organization was “dotting i’s and crossing t’s.” At the time, Horowitz was editing “Ramparts”—one of the largest, new-left magazines—a launching pad for former staffers to found publications such as “Mother Jones” and “Rolling Stone”—and Van Patter had been working as a bookkeeper for “Ramparts” as well.
In December of 1974, after Van Patter found discrepancies in the Panthers books, she mysteriously went missing. Her body, badly beaten, was later found on a beach in San Francisco.
“I’d been interviewed by the police, and by the time her body was fished out of the bay, I knew the Panthers had murdered her,” said Horowitz.
To this day, her death is listed among 27 historical icons whose assassinations remain unsolved. “All my leftist friends blamed the ‘white power structure’ for her death,” said Horowitz. But Horowitz’s eyes had been opened, and that was the end of his career with the left.
For some time, he feared for his life. Today, he says the larger threat looms from leftist persecution and censorship issues facing conservatives and moderates.
“I think [censorship] is the greatest threat to American democracy, and it is supported by the Democratic Party and the left. In fact, the Democrats are zealous in pressuring the tech companies to censor conservatives,” said Horowitz.
Facebook recently shut down accounts of Alex Jones and others deemed “dangerous individuals and organizations,” while Twitter closed accounts of notable conservatives such as James Woods and Meghan Murphy.
“[Censorship] should frighten every American. I don’t know any conservatives who have any prominence who haven’t lost a lot of income because of the black list,” said Horowitz.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is one of the organizations at the center of the controversy. The New York Times reported the SPLC was “credited with undermining the influence of the Ku Klux Klan and extremist groups. But in recent years, the center has come under scrutiny for its classifications of ‘hate groups,’ and whether the organization has abused that label in pursuit of a political agenda or increased donations.”
An article on the SPLC’s website accuses President Trump of “fan[ning] the flames” of hate and quotes the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, as he compares Trump to Satan.
Horowitz explains it this way: “The national media, that is not conservative, and I’m talking about Huffington Post, New York Times, Washington Post, GQ, Esquire, New York Magazine—all collude with these criminals who smear people and attack anyone who disagrees with them.”
In “Dark Agenda,” Horowitz says, “Stigmatizing one’s opponent is a classic radical tactic. It is the thirteenth rule of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Attack your opponents personally and cut them off from any possibility of sympathy. That is why radicals paint their political opponents as homophobes, xenophobes, and Islamophobes.”
Horowitz added, “Conservatives have had their heads in the sand for 30 years. The Obama administration finally woke them up, but they have to get much more awake to see how vicious and dangerous people who see themselves as liberals are.”