Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

More Smoke And Mirrors From the Left

You’ve probably heard the name David Horowitz. He’s the conservative theorist who has taken out ads in college newspapers across the country that explain “Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery Is a Bad Idea – and Racist Too.” Needless to say, this undertaking has caused a stir among many college students, especially those on campuses where ads have appeared in the school newspaper. The majority of schools refused even to print the ad. Some students at University of California at Berkeley went so far as to trash the newspaper office in protest of the ad.

This piece is not necessarily about the merits of Horowitz’s views. Instead, I want to examine what I see as a disturbing trend in the conversation on this and similar issues. The left seems to have a new tactic for dealing with people who espouse views other than their own: Label that person a “bigot” or a “racist.” You don’t have to bother to think out any counterarguments to that person’s views. Just tarnish his or her character enough with a label of racism so that no one will take him or her seriously. This type of demagoguery is simply pathetic; even more pathetic is that it actually works.

I’ve read Horowitz’s ad. Some of his points are pretty good; he writes that it would be impossible to find “one group that benefited exclusively” from slavery and that “only a tiny minority of white Americans ever owned slaves.” Reasonable enough. Horowitz loses me, however, when he says that blacks are now better off in the United States than they would be in Africa.

While he does move on to some shaky ground, nowhere in the ad does Horowitz use racist language. Read it, and you’ll see for yourself. The “bigot” label simply does not fit Horowitz. Sure, his ideas are unpopular with the majority of college students. Does that alone make him a bigot? Of course not – but the labeling tactic has worked. It has placed Horowitz on the defensive, forcing him to say that he’s not racist rather than giving him the opportunity to argue his views in a civilized manner. These liberal students can sit back, knowing what may have been an important addition to the reparations debate has now been essentially thrown into the trash.

We’ve seen these tactics of the left in action before with the confirmation hearings for Attorney General John Ashcroft. Did you go down to Capitol Hill to protest his confirmation? If you did, do you have any idea why? Members of Congress on the left almost instantly labeled Ashcroft a bigot because he opposed the confirmation of one black judge. Consequently, much of the time during these hearings was spent with Ashcroft defending his character, rather than addressing how he would implement the law fairly and justly for all Americans.

Forget the fact that Ashcroft served his home state of Missouri with the utmost dignity as attorney general, governor and U.S. Senator. Forget the fact that in Missouri he confirmed the appointment of dozens of black judges. Forget the fact that his deep religious devotion would make him more likely to ensure that the laws of the land are followed. Forget all of that, and the left’s “bigot” label is right on target.

The left doesn’t want conservatives like Ashcroft and Horowitz to have their views known – they’re probably afraid that too many people will agree with them. They didn’t want Americans to know about Attorney General Ashcroft’s exemplary record or how he plans to clean up the Justice Department after years of malfeasance under former Attorney General Janet Reno. Now they don’t want Americans to be informed about “the other” side of the slavery reparations debate. For the left, it’s either their way or the highway. And they’ll use any means necessary, including racist demagoguery, to keep Americans in the dark about opposing conservative views.

The worst thing you can do to another person’s character is to label him a bigot or racist. Liberals at college campuses such as Berkeley should be ashamed of their use of these tactics against Horowitz. Should The Hoya or any other Georgetown publication decide to print Horowitz’s ad, I hope that our students will debate the issue in a fair and balanced manner, as they have done so many times in the past.

Frank A. Gagliardi Jr. is a senior in the School of Foreign Service.

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