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The Testament of a Good Man

Thursday, 26 May 2005 12:00 AM

David Horowitz is best known today as a crusader for freedom of speech on America's college campuses, where free speech is limited to liberal professors and the students they have successfully indoctrinated.

But as his extraordinary new book "The End of Time" reveals, he's a lot more than that, a searcher after that most elusive of all answers – the meaning of life.

And following him along on that search is a fascinating experience.

At the root of this work is David's belief that he is dying. No, he doesn't have a terminal illness, although he suffered through a winning battle against prostate cancer a few years ago. He is dying in the sense that I, you and every human being is dying.

Death comes to us all sooner or later, and having moved into his later years, David thinks he hears the flapping wings of the angel of death hovering over him.

So he set about taking stock of his life, reaching back into the past and digging deep into his roots to discover what made him what he has become.

Along the way he writes lovingly of his parents, recalling the last days of his mother, for whom he cared in her declining years. He speaks tenderly of his father, but does not spare him from his scathing view of the futility of the man's life and the delusions that drove that dedicated Communist.

David was what in his book "Radical Son" he called a "red diaper baby," the product of a marriage between two militant Marxists, and as he grew up he joined his parents in their quest for a perfect society built on a foundation created by Karl Marx, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Josef Stalin, who his father adored.

His own march toward Utopia ended with a personal tragedy - the death of a friend and colleague at the hands of the radical Black Panther party with which he had allied himself. It was the beginning of the end of David's love affair with Marxism.

As his friend Jamie Glazov wrote in a forward to David's "Left Illusions," he had to ask himself if there was something rooted in Marxism "that had led to socialism's worldly horror." In "The End of Time" he answers that question with a resounding yes.

Early on, David writes: "The desire for more than is possible is the cause of greater human misery than any other."

To illustrate that point he writes of two seekers after Utopia: his father and Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the Islamic thugs who flew jets into the World Trade towers and the Pentagon.

Both men sacrificed their lives in pursuit of a perfect world. Both died for causes lost eons before they embraced them.

The vision of Atta's Utopia was best expressed by Sayyid Quitb, who David explains was the intellectual father of the Islamic Jihad. The mission of Islam, according to Quitb, was to "unite heaven and earth in a single system." To make the world one. This required nothing less than a permanent war of faith.

David's atheist father's Utopia was a secular heaven on earth. "My father was a decent man who was not prepared to harm others, even in the service of his radical faith, let alone murder innocents as Mohammed Atta did," David recalls.

"But along with millions of decent progressive souls, my father abetted those who did just that. Progressives looked the other way and endorsed the murder of untold innocents for the same reason that Mohammed Atta and the Islamic martyrs did: to make a new world possible."

David confesses that he can "no longer understand my father's faith, his belief that men alone without divine intervention can transform the world in which they find themselves and create a paradise on earth." Having jettisoned his Marxist faith, David, an agnostic, sought to find meaning in his existence and wondered if beyond self there was some guiding force that moved humanity.

Sitting at his mother's bedside when she died, he asked himself how he had happened to visit her in what he hadn't known would be the final moments of her life. "Why was I there? How had I come to her the very morning that was her last? I have no answer."

In his quest to answer those questions, he turned to the writings of the 17th-century Catholic philosopher and scientist Blaise Pascal.

Citing Pascal's famous observation that "the heart has its reasons which reason does not know," David writes that "I do not have the faith of Pascal, but I know its feeling ... I will be unafraid when death comes. I will feel my way toward the horizon in front of me, and my heart will take me home."

In what he views as the final years of his life, David writes: "I understand the finality of death, and do not make light of the end ... I have no faith in a life hereafter. But I will not be desperate over my own disappearance. If there is nothing further, what of it? Why should I waste my time left in misery over what I cannot change."

His loving wife April has a response to this.

"The voice I could not answer was April's. ‘You're so arrogant,' she rebuked me. ‘Think of what God has done for you. Look at the times He has looked after you, how He saved you from cancer. You need to show some gratitude. I need you to do this for me. If you don't believe, you won't be there when I come for you and I'll be alone. And I don't want to be without you.'"

Those who know and love this man share April's feeling. They too want him to be there when they go home. Without him around, eternity will be a lot less interesting.

In "The End of Time," David Horowitz, the gentle but bare-knuckled street fighter/philosopher, persuasively lays bare the horror and futility of the search for a perfect world, and attempts to answer the oldest question of all: In the end, what's it all about?

He doesn't quite know, but joining him on his search for the answer provides some of the best reading around today.

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David Horowitz is best known today as a crusader for freedom of speech on America's college campuses, where free speech is limited to liberal professors and the students they have successfully indoctrinated. But as his extraordinary new book "The End of Time" reveals, he's...
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Thursday, 26 May 2005 12:00 AM
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