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Book Review: Leftalitarians By: Lowell Ponte
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, November 09, 2001


TAMMY BRUCE FROM 1990 UNTIL 1996 WAS PRESIDENT of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW, the National Organization for Women. 

Those who follow the party line can parlay such a position into highly-paid sinecures. But Bruce, a genuine feminist, had too much integrity and individuality to politically prostitute herself.  When national NOW President Molly Yard voiced concerns that Bruce was no “team player” and was out to “injure” NOW, Tammy Bruce knew that unless she bent her knees, her years as a NOW leader would be few.

Molly (“I am OUTraged!”) Yard had been outraged because of a specific event.  As Bruce describes it, on her first day as President of the L.A. chapter “I went to the NOW office…opened the door, and found an office full of Democratic Party workers using the space as though it were Party headquarters.  At the time, I was a registered Democrat, but I was still disturbed by this.  Not only did it endanger our tax status as a not-for-profit organization, but it also worked against our nonpartisan mission.  I put a stop to it immediately.”

“Democrats are our friends,” Yard chided her, “and that’s who we are.” 

The imperious Molly Yard then asked Bruce’s party registration.  “Although I actually was a Democrat,” Tammy writes, “I refused to answer and told her that I would not run my chapter as though it was some Democratic Party club…. My feminism transcends party politics, and so would the L.A. chapter’s.”

Today Tammy Bruce describes herself as “an openly gay, pro-choice, gun-owning, pro-death penalty, liberal, voted-for-Reagan feminist.”  She is also a rugged individualist whose intelligence, honesty, and independence of mind has in this superb book produced an indictment of Leftist groupthink and totalitarian tactics that should be on every American bookshelf, including yours.

In this enlightening book she exposes today’s Left as only an insider who sat in its inner circles could reveal.  We discover that the real agenda of many radical feminists has not been to advance the rights of women.

Tammy Bruce tells us about modern feminism’s founding mother, author of The Feminine Mystique Betty Friedan, who claimed to be only “a politically inactive housewife” but in fact was an enthusiastic member of the Communist Party whose feminism was little more than a mask to advance her “left-wing politics.”

Gloria Steinem, who founded Ms. Magazine and became the telegenic face of the feminist movement, writes Bruce, “serves as an honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America… the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International.”

NOW’s immediate past-president Patricia Ireland, writes Bruce, “admits that her socialist sympathies and participation in pro-Communist rallies in Miami (of all places!) were due in part to the fact that her friend and future lover, Pat Silverthorn, was an activist in the Socialist Worker’s Party.”

Bruce quotes Ireland: “[Pat Silverthorn] would confide that she, too, had wondered how much more dangerous she’d made her life by openly professing communist convictions in that volatile, violent, commie-hating city….”  Ireland apparently would prefer a world where communism is not hated.

Bruce opposes such leaders not because they hold extreme views, but because they have “hijacked” feminism as a vehicle to serve their Socialist-Marxist ideologies.

Such political terrorists now hold millions of Americans as hostages to their fanaticism, not only in the name of feminism but also through multiculturalism, civil rights, gay rights, hate crime laws, university speech codes, and other paths.  A tiny minority, using chicanery and force, is trying to deny freedom of speech and thought to everybody else. 

“The issue here,” writes Tammy, “is the moving of the line of forbidden speech into the territory of your thoughts and ideas about the culture. The restriction against yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater when there is no fire has been extended to a restriction on your free expression of your opinions about welfare reform, affirmative action, gay marriage, religion, or any other matter that has societal repercussions.

“I’m speaking,” she continues, “about attempts to stigmatize as outrageous the speech and thoughts of the average person, speech and thoughts whose real offense is straying from the Left’s approved range of opinions.  Courtesy of the Thought Police, there is not one segment of American society today that feels entirely comfortable expressing its opinions on the issues, particularly if they’re dissenting in nature.”

With its divide-and-conquer tactics, the Left has pitted black against white, rich against poor, female against male, and Balkanized the nation.  This has, notes Bruce, created an unfree society of isolation, alienation, and self-censorship. 

And while it conjures and exacerbates social divisions purportedly to solve problems and injustices, the Left really desires no remedy for real or imagined problems at all.  If these problems and carefully cultivated victim groups went away, writes Bruce, then parasitic Leftists and “Misery Merchants” would no longer be needed and would lose their power, money, and status.

Shakedown artists like the Rev. Jesse Jackson, she shows, in the absence of much real racial discrimination have held on to their privileged positions “by concocting the explanation that racism is now in our subconscious. We may be unaware of our racism, may even consciously reject it, but, alas, it’s still there.  In fact, it’s stronger than ever.  The Confederate slaver in you is hiding in your shadow.”

The Left has methodically taken over our universities, media, and activist organizations such as NOW and NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  “As the organized Left gained cultural power,” writes Bruce, “it turned into a monster that found perpetual victimhood, combined with thought and speech control, the most convenient and efficient way to hold onto that power.  Suddenly, it was the Left, the protector of liberty, that was setting rules about what could and could not be said, or even thought. And because we do not give up our freedom willingly, the strategy of the left-wing establishment has become one of intimidation, backed up by legal force.”

One example of this new totalitarianism Bruce discusses is the virtual assassination of her friend, media star Dr. Laura Schlessinger. 

“If she can’t be controlled, she must be stopped,” said Joan Garry, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Garry attacked as part of a campaign (“designed and controlled by as few as half a dozen people,” writes Bruce) to terminate Schlessinger’s pending national television show with extreme prejudice.  Dr. Laura had become a target for saying, among other things, that gay behaviors (but not homosexuals themselves) were a mistake of nature, a preachment consistent with her Orthodox Jewish faith.

GLAAD did not try to silence the gay-hating, violence-advocating lyrics of singer Eminem, nor to end his career.  This hypocrisy may be because his recording label is largely owned by Seagram, which also distributes Absolut Vodka, which, writes Bruce, “is the major corporate sponsor of GLAAD, and it contributes significantly to many other gay and lesbian organizations as well.  Is it possible that a financial relationship has hobbled GLAAD’s response to Eminem? MTV has also been a regular donor to GLAAD.  Now guess what Joan Garry did for a living before she took the reins at GLAAD.  She was an executive at – surprise! – MTV.”

This same kind of hypocrisy may have prevented NOW and other feminists from criticizing the exploiter of women and accused rapist President Bill Clinton.  They defended him as a Democrat and socialist, of course.  But Bruce reveals that when he needed NOW’s support most, scandal-plagued Bill Clinton funneled more than $767,000 in taxpayer dollars – much of it in the form of a “tobacco control” grant from the Donna Shalala-controlled Centers for Disease Control – to prop up this nearly-bankrupt feminist auxiliary of the Democratic Party. 

Like Monica, these Leftist feminists used their lips in the service of Bill Clinton because they depended on Clinton for their fat paychecks, power, and importance. But in the process they set genuine feminism back 50 years and endorsed the message that abusing women is okay, so long as a Leftist man does the exploiting. 

Likewise they attacked Tammy Bruce for seeking the conviction of O.J. Simpson, accused of abusing and then murdering a woman, his wife.  Leftist feminists tended to take Simpson’s side against his dead blonde wife, arguing for female-minority solidarity that O.J. was a “role model for young black men.”  Is this what NOW wants young men of any race to do to young women?  Apparently so.  Patricia Ireland today is implicitly siding with the woman-oppressing, female-genital-mutilating Taliban, apparently because she hates America even more. 

And while Leftists rightly denounced the murder of homosexual Matthew Shepard, writes Bruce, they voiced no similar outrage over the savage murder around the same time of a 15-year-old Wyoming girl because she refused to abort her lover’s baby.

Leftist hypocrisy and hatred for America is evident among much of our academic professoriat, which on some campuses has stood by, smiling approval, while Leftist students shout down speakers (“the heckler as censor,” in Tammy’s on-target words), steal newspapers, and burn books in a literal “Bonfire of the Humanities.”

And while most views get censored on grounds that they offend the sensitivities of one or another Politically Correct minority, Leftists continue to expropriate student and other monies to subsidize offensive speakers and activities.  One example of this, notes Bruce, was $10,000 taken from Penn State’s student activities fees to pay for “C*ntfest,” a grotesque exhibition of bizarre female sexuality encouraged by feminists, foremost among them Eleanor Smeal. Conservative students were required to subsidize this, whether or not it offended their sensitivities.  

The latest Leftalitarian gimmick at places such as Tufts University, Georgetown, Oklahoma State University, the University of South Florida, the University of California Berkeley, and even Kansas and New Mexico State Universities and the University of Mississippi, is the creation of designated “free speech” or literature distribution areas.  Implicit in this, of course, is the rule that neither provocative literature nor free speech is to be permitted anywhere else on campus or in the public square.

Tammy Bruce’s splendid book is a treasure trove of insider information about the Left, its hypocrisy, corruption and dishonesty.  Make it part of your information arsenal in the struggle to regain liberty in America.  Like Richard Poe’s excellent The Seven Myths of Gun Control, it comes from the new Forum series of Prima Publishing, recently acquired by Random House.

“I still think of myself as a ‘progressive,’” she told my show’s radio listeners.  This modern synonym for socialist no longer fits her, however. If not a Libertarian, call her a 19th Century Liberal, from that era when “liberals” really stood for liberty, free markets, and free minds.  (This is why David Horowitz recommends always using the term “Leftists” for today’s Socialists — both to be accurate and to deny authoritarians the disguise of a once-honorable label.)

Beyond labels, Tammy is what “groupthink” Leftists most hate, fear, and want to destroy – an individual.  What education, and life, should be about according to Tammy Bruce is “celebrating the heroics of the individual mind.”  As this reviewer has often written, if diversity is a virtue, then what reflects more diversity – stereotyping people as members of a few groups, or honoring the uniqueness and value of six billion individuals?

What Tammy almost, but never quite, says – but I will – is that today’s self-righteous Leftists have become “conservatives,” and reactionaries.  These Leftists now defend a discredited socialist status quo, groupthink, censorship, mind control, and their own selfish elitist ruling power.  They are the ones who burn books and newspapers and are eager (as, by Freudian Projection, they accuse others of doing) to impose their morality on others at gunpoint. If young people on college campuses were truly revolutionary, these Leftalitarians are the smug little ruling elite whose authoritarian power the younger generation should rebel against.

And today’s Conservatives, I would add, have become in the best sense the true “liberals” on our political spectrum, defending individualism, freedom, tolerance, the “progressive” progress of dynamic economic liberty, and the revolutionary Enlightenment spirit of 1776.  And they feel deeply patriotic towards the republic that stands for such values.

“What we do as a community should empower everyone, regardless of whether they are on the same ‘side’ or not,” concludes Tammy Bruce.  “Whatever our politics, we can reject the Thought Police, the Misery Merchants, and anyone else who tells us that we need to be sacrificed for the good of the ‘group.’”


Mr. Ponte co-hosts a national radio talk show Monday through Friday 6-8 PM Eastern Time (3-5 PM Pacific Time) on the Genesis Communications Network. Internet Audio worldwide is at GCNlive .com. The show's live call-in number is 1-800-259-9231. A professional speaker, he is a former Roving Editor for Reader's Digest.


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