In 1956, Nikita Krushchev, then the leader of world communism, gave what was supposed to be a secret speech about the crimes of Josef Stalin, including millions upon millions murdered. As David Horowitz has often recounted, the page-one publication of that speech by The New York Times shook American communists to the core. These included such self-styled "Progressives" as Horowitz's own parents, who were devastated by the news that validated claims long posited by anti-communists of the political right.
Yet, the discredited movement for "social justice" – which Horowitz defines as "equality enforced by government" – did not perish. The next generation, the "destructive generation," launched a "new left," fatuously believing its adherents would be untainted by the Soviet legacy of totalitarian repression and unlikely to repeat such crimes. Later, the Soviet empire's collapse spawned predictions of the movement's death that have proved greatly exaggerated. Instead, as Horowitz has observed, the collapse proved liberating (perhaps the only thing about social justice that can be said to be liberating) "because the utopian vision is no longer anchored in the reality of an existing socialist state," enabling the modern left to "indulge its nihilistic agendas without restraint."
The result has been predictable: The new left, Horowitz explains, is "no different from the old – embracing Communists in Vietnam and Central America and, eventually, Islamic totalitarians in Gaza and the Middle East."