All conservatives do not think alike

Why do blacks vote as a bloc? David Horowitz replies to Joel Dreyfuss.

Published December 3, 1998 8:00PM (EST)

There is something ugly under the civilized surface of Joel Dreyfuss' complaints about my column, myself and conservatives, and about black conservatives in particular. It is an attitude I alluded to in my original article and is therefore worth bringing out into the open in this response. Instead of simply arguing the merits of Larry Elder's "15 reasons that blacks should not support Clinton" and the several reasons that I added myself, Dreyfuss moves immediately to the ad hominem mode and suggests in not so subtle ways that I am probably a racist and at the very least (like whites "generally") don't give a hoot about blacks. Whites like me who disagree with blacks like Joel Dreyfuss care only to maintain our alleged social dominance. This is the very poison that I identified in my piece as making differences of opinion so sinister as to have the effect of locking the black community into positions that are destructive to its own interests.

Dreyfuss suggests that I imply black people are stupid and then that my entire argument is merely a racist lament that black people actually vote their interests. Well, if Maxine Waters -- a screeching, Marxoid leftist who thinks that a crack epidemic raging among inner-city blacks (but not inner-city Hispanics or Asians) is the creation of the CIA rather than the moral breakdown of the community affected, who never saw a government handout she wouldn't defend, who champions urban gangsters and excoriates urban law enforcement while her own people are the primary victims of urban crime -- if this ill-mannered and stupendously shallow chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus represents the authentic interests of black people, Dreyfuss is probably right. Otherwise, read on.

Dreyfuss accuses me of what he characterizes as a typical conservative insensitivity to the difference between oppressor and oppressed, so that "90 percent of blacks voting as a bloc is rendered equal to 90 percent of whites voting to maintain their dominance." Coming from an educated person like Dreyfuss this just shows how big the Big Lie has grown among the community of black professionals. Because the political reality in this country is just the opposite of what this slander of white America suggests. In point of actual fact, 90 percent of white-elected white representatives voted FOR the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act that ended white political dominance in the South 30-odd years ago. And that is just one example. The overwhelming majority of white people in this country have supported every step of the civil rights movement, have backed and financed massive government programs to help blacks make up for the deficits caused by slavery and segregation and have implemented and sustained nearly 30 years of misguided affirmative action programs just to show that they understood the injustice of the past and wanted to make it up for the future. That Dreyfuss could so thoughtlessly advance the libel that 90 percent of whites care only to maintain their dominance over blacks shows just how perniciously effective the anti-white propaganda coming from the left has been in impacting the national dialogue on these issues.

Black thinkers and political commentators who have been decent and courageous enough to attempt to remind their community and the rest of the country of obvious facts like these have been rewarded by vicious slanders and by race-baiting no less ugly than the epithet "nigger lover" once hurled at whites who stood up to the lies of the race-preference crowd in the South, and by actual death threats as well. The African-American community hasn't been allowed to hear the arguments of the Glenn Lourys, Ward Connerlys, Clarence Thomases and Larry Elders, let alone reject them as Dreyfuss suggests.

To be fair, there is at least one moment in Dreyfuss' commentary where he actually attempts to deal with an issue raised in my column on its merits. He acknowledges that the welfare system has been damaging to inner-city black communities. He then makes the preposterous claim that I "and other conservatives ignore [the fact] that many African-Americans have long cited the damaging effects of welfare." Really? Why on earth would we? Why wouldn't we jump to cite the support for our criticisms of welfare from African-Americans? Especially since black Democrats like the reprehensible (but much lionized) Rep. John Lewis has called us Nazis for even the slightest reforms to the welfare system. Dreyfuss suggests that we didn't embrace African-American welfare-reformers because "blacks favored a more gradual, well-planned process." C'mon. What welfare reform has Maxine Waters or Kwesi Mfume or Julian Bond proposed? Democrats controlled the Congress for 30 years of welfare policies. What dependency did they remove? Name one.

Unlike Dreyfuss, I don't think that all blacks think alike. In my column and my response to critic C.D. Ellison, I did not line up "black conservatives" in order to hide behind them, as Dreyfuss claims. I pointed out that Alan Keyes, Clarence Thomas, Glenn Loury and Larry Elder have profound differences with each other. Elder is not even a Republican. Yet Dreyfuss, in a manner recalling that of the most sun-dried Southern cracker, still lumps everyone who is black and who disagrees with him into one common bag. The most basic idea of a democracy is that no one has a monopoly on truth. That is why it is essential that many voices be heard. That's why in democracies people don't win by 94-percent majorities unless their opponent has murdered her husband during the election. In order to maintain his point that it is in black people's interest to vote in 90-percent majorities for Democrats, Dreyfuss has to convince himself that Republicans are racists. This is a racial smear that is all too common among leftists, both white and black. That was the real point of my article. I'm sorry Joel Dreyfuss missed it.

By David Horowitz

David Horowitz is a conservative writer and activist.

MORE FROM David Horowitz

Related Topics ------------------------------------------