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David Horowitz


(born January 10, 1939) is an American conservative writer based in Southern California. He is a founder and current president of the think tank, the David Horowitz Freedom Center; editor of the Center's publication, FrontPage Magazine; and director of Discover the Networks, a website that tracks individuals and groups on the politicalleft. Horowitz founded the organization Students for Academic Freedom, purportedly to oppose political correctness and leftist orientation in academia.[2]

Horowitz was raised by parents who were members of the Communist Party USA during the Great Depression, until rescinding their membership in 1956 after learning of Joseph Stalin's excesses. Between 1956 and 1975, Horowitz was an outspoken adherent of the New Left. He later rejected leftism completely and has since become a leading proponent of conservatism. Horowitz has recounted his ideological journey in a series of retrospective books, culminating with his 1996 memoir Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey

After the death of Stalin in 1953, his father Phil Horowitz, commenting on how Stalin's numerous official titles had to be divided among his successors, told his son, "You see what a genius Stalin was. It took five men to replace him."[9]

The Horowitz family broke with the American Communist Party after the publication of Nikita Khrushchev's Secret Speech in 1956. According to Horowitz:

The publication of the Khrushchev Report was probably the greatest blow struck against the Soviet Empire during the Cold War. When my parents and their friends opened the morning Times and read its text, their world collapsed – and along with it their will to struggle. If the document was true, almost everything they had said and believed was false. Their secret mission had led them into waters so deep that its tide had overwhelmed them, taking with it the very meaning of their lives.[7]

Writing on the Right

In 1987, Horowitz co-hosted a "Second Thoughts Conference" in Washington, D.C., described by Sidney Blumenthal in The Washington Post as his "coming out" as a conservative. According to attendee Alexander Cockburn, Horowitz related how his Stalinist parents had not permitted him or his sister to watch Doris Day and Rock Hudson movies. Instead, they watched propaganda films from the Soviet Union.[22]

In May 1989, Horowitz, Ronald Radosh, and Peter Collier travelled to Poland for a conference in Kraków calling for the end of Communism.[23] After marching with Polish dissidents in an anti-regime protest, Horowitz spoke about his changing thoughts and why he believed that socialism could not create their future. He said his dream was for the people of Poland to be free.[24] In 1992, Horowitz and Collier founded Heterodoxy magazine. The magazine focused on exposing what it described as excessive political correctness on American college and university campuses. Horowitz wrote in his memoir Radical Son that he thought universities were no longer effective in presenting both sides of political arguments. He thought "left-wing professors" had created a kind of "political terror" on campuses.[25]

Horowitz supported the interventionist foreign policy associated with the Bush Doctrine. But he wrote against US intervention in the Kosovo War, arguing that it was unnecessary and harmful to U.S. interests.[28][29] In the early 21st century, he has written critically of libertarian anti-war views.[30][31]

In 2004, Horowitz launched Discover the Networks, a conservative watchdog project that monitors funding for, and various ties among, leftists and progressive causes.[2] In his 2004 book, Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left, Horowitz says that leftists support, intentionally or not, Islamist terrorism, and thus require ongoing scrutiny.

In two books, Horowitz accused Dana L. Cloud, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Texas at Austin, as an “anti-American radical" who "routinely repeats the propaganda of the Saddamregime."[citation needed] Horowitz accuses her and 99 other professors listed in his book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, of the "explicit introduction of political agendas into the classroom." (pp. 93, 377)

Horowitz appeared in Occupy Unmasked, a 2012 documentary film that portrays the Occupy Wall Street movement as sinister, violent, and organized to destroy the American government.[33]

Academic Bill of Rights[edit]

See also: Academic freedom

In the early 21st century, Horowitz has concentrated on issues of academic freedom, wanting to protect conservative viewpoints. He, Eli Lehrer, and Andrew Jones published a pamphlet, "Political Bias in the Administrations and Faculties of 32 Elite Colleges and Universities" (2004), in which they find the ratio of Democrats to Republicans at 32 schools to be more than 10 to 1.[34]

Horowitz's book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America (2006), criticizes individual professors for their academic conduct. Horowitz accuses these professors of engaging in indoctrination rather than a disinterested pursuit of knowledge. Horowitz says that his campaign for academic freedom is ideologically neutral.[35]

Horowitz has published an Academic Bill of Rights (ABR), which he proposes to eliminate political bias in university hiring and grading. Horowitz says that conservatives and particularly Republican Party members are systematically excluded from faculties, citing statistical studies on faculty party affiliation.[36] Critics such as academic Stanley Fish have argued that "academic diversity", as Horowitz defines it, is not a legitimate academic value, and that no endorsement of "diversity" can be absolute.[37]

In 2004 the Georgia General Assembly passed a resolution on a 41–5 vote to adopt a version of the ABR for state educational institutions.[38][39]

In Pennsylvania, the House of Representatives created a special legislative committee to investigate issues of academic freedom and whether students who hold unpopular views need more protection. In November 2006 it reported that it had not found evidence of problems with students' rights.[40][41][42][43][44][45]

Personal life

Horowitz has been married four times. He married Elissa Krauthamer, in a Yonkers, New York synagogue on 14 June 1959.[46] They had four children together: Jonathan Daniel, Benjamin Horowitz, Anne Pilat, and Sarah Rose Horowitz.

Sarah died in March 2008 at age 44 from Turner syndrome-related heart complications.[1][47] She is the subject of Horowitz's 2009 book, A Cracking of the Heart.[47] She was a human rights activist who cooked for the homeless, stood vigil at San Quentin on nights when the state of California executed prisoners, worked with autistic children in public schools, and with the American Jewish World Service, helped rebuild homes in El Salvador after a hurricane, and traveled to India to oppose child labor.[48] In a review of Horowitz's book, FrontPage magazine associate editor David Swindle wrote that she fused "the painful lessons of her father's life with a mystical Judaism to complete the task he never could: showing how the Left could save itself from self-destruction."[49]

Horowitz's son Ben Horowitz is a technology entrepreneur, investor, and co-founder, along with Marc Andreessen, of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz).

Horowitz's second marriage to Sam Moorman also ended in divorce. On 24 June 1990, Horowitz married Shay Marlowe in an Orthodox Jewish ceremony conducted at the Pacific Jewish Center by Rabbi Daniel Lapin.[50] They divorced.

Horowitz's fourth and present marriage is to April Mullvain Horowitz.[51] They live in Los Angeles County.

Horowitz describes himself as an agnostic.[52][53]


Books and other publications


(all co-authored with Peter Collier)

  • The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976) ISBN 0-03-008371-0
  • The Kennedys: An American Drama (New York: Summit Books/Simon & Schuster, 1985) ISBN 0-671-44793-9
  • The Fords: An American Epic (New York: Summit Books/Simon & Schuster, 1987) ISBN 0-671-66951-6
  • The Roosevelts: An American Saga (1994)



In a famous 2002 article in the Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, Harvard scholars Edward Glaeser and Andrei Shleifer named the so-called “Curley Effect” after its prototype, James Michael Curley, who served four (non-consecutive) terms as mayor of Boston between 1914 and 1950. This phenomenon, the authors explain, is the strategy of “increasing the relative size of one’s political base through distortionary, wealth-reducing policies.”Forbes magazine puts it this way: “A politician or a political party can achieve long-term dominance by tipping the balance of votes in their direction through the implementation of policies that strangle and stifle economic growth. Counterintuitively, making a city poorer leads to political success for the engineers of that impoverishment.” 

The Curley Effect typically occurs when Democratic political leaders adopt policies that redistribute wealth from the prosperous to the poor, causing the latter to become economically dependent upon their political patrons, and thus to become a permanently pro-Democrat voting bloc. At the same time, these redistributive policies cause the people harmed by them (i.e., those from whom wealth is extracted) to emigrate to other cities, states, and even countries, thereby further solidifying the political power of Curleyist practitioners.

Curleyists commonly try to gain popular support for their agendas by engaging in incendiary class-warfare rhetoric that demonizes wealthy people as exploiters of the poor. This serves to distract voters from the fact that redistributive left-wing policies may actually be responsible for the declining economic and social conditions around them.

Consequently, the beneficiaries of Curleyist redistributionism invariably become unable to perceive the connection between left-wing policies and their negative consequences. Instead, they view Democrats as the noble, last line of defense that stands between them and total destitution. As a result, their loyalty to Democrats persists, undiminished, regardless of how badly conditions may get -- chiefly because they interpret the failures of leftist policies as evidence that those policies simply did not go far enough, probably as a result of conservative obstructionism. Thus do residents of Democrat-controlled centers of poverty and crime continue to elect Democrats to political office.

America's poorest cities today provide a contemporary example of this syndrome. In 2010, the ten poorest U.S. cities with a population of 250,000 or more were: Detroit, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Miami, St. Louis, El Paso, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Newark. All of these cities had poverty rates between 24% and 32%, and none had elected a Republican mayor since the 1980s. In fact, 8 of the 10 cities had been led by Democrats for more than half a century.

Similarly, as of 2011 the ten most dangerous cities in America (in terms of violent crime) were Flint, Detroit, Saint Louis, New Haven, Memphis, Oakland, Little Rock, Baltimore, Rockford, and Stockton. All ten have been strongholds of Democratic mayors for many years.

Glaeser and Shleifer summarize their "Curley Effect" thesis as follows:

"It is generally thought in economics [that] [g]ood policies bring in resources and voters; bad ones keep them out. With the Curley effect, this result is reversed. When politicians seeking to stay in power use distortionary policies to force out their political opponents, [it] renders bad policies more, rather than less, attractive. The Curley effect, and more generally the economics of shaping the electorate, might thus shed light on a broad range of government policies that appear too bad to be true from alternative perspectives. "