Friday, October 21, 2005

Leaving The Left

Pretty good symposium over at FrontPageMag. I've excerpted just a sample of the wealth of conversation to be found there.


Tammy Bruce: I joined NOW in my 20s because it seemed the right thing to do. I was attracted to the idea of women working together to improve women’s lives. At that time, around 1983-1984, I was a “paper” member. Interestingly, I wasn’t very interested at all in activism or politics at that point in my life.

The early and mid 80s were also the beginning of the abortion wars. While, thankfully, I’ve never had to make that decision, even as an “apolitical” woman, I’ve always felt strongly about abortion rights, simply within the framework of being able to live our lives on our own terms. The tipping point for me was on that issue—I remember the moment of my conversion like it was yesterday. I was sitting in my West Hollywood apartment in 1988 and watching CNN (that tells you how long ago it really was!) and watched their coverage of Operation Rescue blocking women’s health care centers in New York. I sat up from the couch and determined at that point that writing checks would no longer be enough and vowed to become personally active. In the event that group of bullies were to ever come to Los Angeles, I pledged I would be there.

They did, I was, and one year later I became the president of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW. For me, this initial plunge had less to do with politics than it did with my own self-interest. But then again, narcissism is what the Left counts on.

FP: Thank you Ms. Bruce, can you kindly expand on what you mean that the Left counts of narcissism?

Bruce: Narcissism, while frequently thought of as “self-love,” is in fact the opposite. It is self-obsession based on victimhood and paranoia. Narcissism is actually the belief that everything that happens, happens because of you, or revolves around you. As an example, feminist narcissists see the pro-life movement as being against women, or as a jihad against women, as opposed to an expression of those peoples’ concern for life. The issues for narcissists, whether they be feminist, gay or black, is always about them, surrounding them, or about how the opposition is out to get them. Paranoia is a key factor in narcissism and easy to exploit.

The Left’s organizing relies on selling the line that everyone who disagrees with the leftist status quo is a hater of some sort; those who disagree with leftist policy are not dealt with as serious people who have a different opinion on the issues. That would then require arguments based on reason. Instead, leftist leadership casts their opposition as haters who live every moment planning to eradicate the gay, woman or black. When your base is primarily narcissistic that’s an easy line to sell, remains emotional devoid of reason, and makes people easy to condition and control. Leftist politics, like a vicious circle, rely on the damaged as footsoldiers, while the most damaged, the “Malignant Narcissist,” as I explain in The Death of Right and Wrong, move into positions of power and leadership, furthering the cultural and political destruction of our culture and of the left in general.

FP: Thank you Ms. Bruce, this is fascinating.

I have always noticed when talking to leftists that they create fantasy victims in the world and then carry themselves with great indignation about their supposed concern for these victims -- on the assumption that these mythical victims actually have something directly to do with themselves. I have always sensed some kind of profound emotional and psychological illness here. But one thing is for sure: no amount of facts that challenge the leftist’s viewpoint will shake him, since his priority always has more to do with his perception of his self-image and identity than with the actual reality at hand.

During my doctorate in history, I spent year after year arguing with many of my colleagues about the Cold War. They insisted the U.S. was the bad guy in it. I was the heretic for thinking Stalinism had something to do with it. In any case, when the Soviet archives were opened and many of the disclosures proved, beyond reasonable doubt, myriad of the things I had argued, I approached my colleagues with the evidence. They shrugged their shoulders, rolled their eyes, and made smug and demeaning comments about how “Glazov was involved in necrophilia and chasing old ghosts.” And these were historians! And they went on as proud as ever, convinced as ever of their cause, and simply just moving on to new agendas and battles.

Hopefully our panel will give some insight into this leftist charade. It is also interesting that Ms. Bruce refers to gays, women and blacks as being the central life-force of the Left’s agenda. Today, in our Terror War, our enemy is comprised of the most fascistic gay-hating, women-hating and minority-hating despots. Yet the Left has reached out in solidarity to this enemy and refuses to mouth one word of criticism about the persecution of groups that are supposedly sacred to its mission.

I hope that the panelists can comment on some of these themes.


FP: Michael Lopez-Calderon, your dark night of the soul?

Lopez-Calderon: My doubts began to emerge about a decade ago when I was challenged by teaching colleagues who were themselves freed from the left’s university-based cloistered environment. They had been working in the real world for decades and thus uncontaminated by the latest trends in “scholarship.” My colleagues often asked one simple question: What are the left’s solutions? Real world, real time, pragmatic solutions, not fantasies about the “inevitable” Utopian triumph. I began to realize that all of the works of Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Edward Said, a then more Leftist Christopher Hitchens, the writers at The Nation, and most of my professors were heavily skewed toward criticism but incredibly light on solutions.

John R. Bradley’s statement “that the Left never offers any kind of practical solution to the world's problems” bears an uncanny resemblance to what I had written nearly four years ago about my earliest doubts of the left: “However, there was one troubling, recurring weakness about the Left that kept reappearing like termites, eating away at my wooden edifice of arguments and premises: The Left offered no solutions. … We hammered and chipped away at America, but unlike Jean-Antoine Houdon, we created detritus instead of magnificent sculptures.” The left has a tendency to embrace failed causes, losers, and the envious. As part of the latter, it reserves a special place of loathing for those that succeed in the corporate world and the market place. That's why Ward Churchill’s "Little Eichmanns" statement was met with indifference in some leftist circles and celebrated in others.

Also what I saw happening to those of us on the left was the growth of an unexpected elitist hostility to ordinary folk. Many of my leftist friends and a few colleagues adopted the position that the masses were not only deceived, but had also played a willing role in their deception. Here we were, the harbingers of an ideology that purported to stand with the ordinary folk, and yet we despised practically everything they embraced, e.g. family, faith, consumerism, money-making, patriotism, and so forth. We did not live in a world where most lived, ensconced as we were in universities. Near the end of my university years, I began to notice this strange contradiction of “loving humanity but hating people.” I’ve realized since that it was part of the stock-in-trade of the unrealistic vision of the left, and blaming the failure of that vision not on the flawed assumption of the ideology but rather on the ingratitude of the “great unwashed” that we sought to liberate.

FP: Ah yes, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s portrait in The Brother’s Karamazov of the socialist revolutionary who loves humanity from a distance but despises human people up close.


FP: Ms. Bruce, your dark night of the soul?

Bruce: Unfortunately for me, it was several events. I say unfortunately, because there were quite a few situations I chose to ignore because the price of dissenting—loss of friends, banishment—was too high. Not that I was the Golden Girl of NOW. I was a constant thorn in the side of national leadership, but still I belonged. I have always looked for family, and I felt I had found it. What I was willing to ignore to be accepted still astounds me.

One of the earlier instances was in 1991, when Bill Clinton was running for president and I was one year into my presidency at Los Angeles NOW. Clinton, of course, had asked for and rightly expected the support of the feminist establishment. I supported him then and voted for him. I believed he was the best man on our issues and was excited with the potential.

I walked into a meeting of national feminist leaders where the endorsement of Clinton was being discussed. Instead of how quickly they could endorse the man, the discussion centered around whether or not they should do so. Why? Because the election of Democrat would negatively affect their fundraising. You see, they had so associated the feminist movement with the Democratic Party, they felt the election of Clinton would send a message that there had been actual success, and so feared donations would dry up if he were to be elected.

The cynicism of this, and the willingness to sell women short for money, was my first “click,” that something was wrong.

The second episode came courtesy of my feminist mentor, Toni Carabillo. For the life of me I don’t recall the details of the issue we were discussing, but I knew I was upset that the feminist establishment wasn’t doing enough to solve a problem. Toni then shared with me a fundamental leftist maxim—every now and then you must rub salt into the wound.

If we had too much success on the issues, she explained, then we might not be here in the future, and yet we would always be needed. So, in the long run, while it seems harsh, she told me, it really is better for women overall.

In other words, we were helping destroy the village so we would be here in the future to save it. Or more likely, only save it a little bit. The cycle would never end, with success never quite reached, always within our grasp, with the Great Oppressor never quite vanquished, but weakened. Always perpetually needed, because of constant, unending victimhood, yet laced with enough success to make it seem like actual success was just around the corner. Always possible, yet never manifest.

I especially relate to Phyllis Chesler’s note that she “also still believe[s] that trying to help others, to repair the injustice in the world, is an ethical choice.” It is indeed the reason why I entered the Left, and remains at the heart of my politics and activism. Ironically, it is also why I left the left. It does come down to ethics, the deeply personal variety, where commitment to the issues eclipses our desire to please people or to belong. For women I think this is especially challenging, but then again, being free to become ourselves as women is the whole point of feminism, isn’t it?

FP: Thank you, Ms. Bruce. Can you add a little bit about the fallout when you left the Left? You had feared that you would lose your family and community. Did you? Give us a little portrait, an anecdote or two, to illuminate what happened when you informed your leftist comrades and leftist feminists that you were about to commit the greatest sin of all: leaving the political faith.

Bruce: I have to admit in many ways I envy Keith’s note that he didn’t lose any friends during his transition. I certainly did, but my “transition” was never really apparent. Perhaps it’s not our politics that have changed at all—it’s what we’re willing to put up with. It’s finally refusing to continue to go down the wrong road, knowing it leads us away from the truth of our convictions as Classical Liberals.

The most basic realization that I had been banished was the fact that my phone stopped ringing, and my calls were not taken. Activists I had worked with who were completely invested in the establishment of course were out of my life. But then, I didn’t want them in it. The most surprising thing to me, however, was the fact that reporters I had dealt with for years on the issues and with whom I thought I had a good relationship, actually stopped taking my calls or returning messages.

I also think Keith must have made better choices than I did when it came to so-called friends. There are a lot of damaged people in the feminist establishment, with leadership being the most severely troubled. It didn’t matter to me, however. I ignored the malignant narcissism, anger, betrayals, threats, and manipulation. Some people would be surprised at the “Feminist Violence” directed by so-called feminists at other women. Phyllis’s book “Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman” is a must read on this chilling reality.

While there were obvious examples that I was being shunned after I resigned from Los Angeles NOW, probably the most shocking event I experienced occurred while I was still president, and precipitated my resignation. At a press conference called to specifically condemn me by then-NOW president Patricia Ireland, I was called a racist by Ireland because I had ignored the “racial” issues involved with the OJ Simpson murder trial. She actually used the term “racially insensitive” perhaps either to avoid a lawsuit or at least as a bow to my hard-won credentials. Either way, Ireland had decided to eat one of her own, in public, because I did not bow down to the race-baiting of Johnny Cochran and dared to be a feminist first.

After “The New Thought Police” was published, invitations to fund raising events and other get-togethers also stopped. But then new ones began to arrive—I was finding that while I was indeed alone politically, there was, shall I say, an informal group of the Politically Alone. David Horowitz was the first person to reach out to me. I’ll always remember his call to me—it felt like I was on an island and there was David, rowing out to me in a little boat, waving and shouting “Hi!”


FP: I have always been intrigued by the Left’s inability to “look back” in general and how leftists never see themselves as culpable in the earthly incarnations that their own ideals spawn. For instance, anyone who promoted the ideologies that gave life to, let’s say, the former apartheid regime in South Africa, the Nazi regime, the KKK or the former institution of slavery in America, then that person is demonized in our culture and is seen as a guilty person with blood on his hands. And fair enough, that is a legitimate perspective, for that person does have blood on his hands.

But if you shared and promoted socialist ideals, and still do, for some reason it is considered inappropriate to suggest that you are complicit in the crimes that were, and are, carried out in their name. Why?

Try to imagine, for instance, a group of anti-Semites in the 1930s, holding Nazi convictions, who stood by and promoted the road toward Auschwitz, Dachau and Treblinka. We would agree that they were complicit in the spilling of human blood, yes?

And yet, to have promoted socialist ideals and to have promoted class hatred throughout the 20th century, for some reason, excuses one from complicity in the monstrosity that such ideals spawned in their experiments on the human race.

So, for the record, I guess I will just say something that is completely taboo in our culture where the Left controls the boundaries of permitted discourse: if you were a leftist during the Cold War, and you promoted and espoused socialist ideals, which means you championed class hatred, and you made excuses for Soviet barbarity and you argued or implied a moral equivalency between the U.S. and the Soviet Empire, then your hands are soaked, to one degree or another, in the human blood of the millions of victims that communism butchered throughout the 20th century.

You cannot protest the Vietnam War and then, after the communists win and a bloodbath ensues, and the North Vietnamese concede that the anti-war movement helped their victory, just pretend that you are not culpable and complicit in the crimes you helped perpetrate.


Ladies and gentlemen, as former members of the Left, you obviously know some things about the Left that many others may not completely understand. In our terror war today, the Left is in league with the Islamist enemy. Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, Tom Hayden, George Galloway and many of their ilk are championing the terrorists and cheering for their victory. I remember after 9/11 in my own community, leftists I personally know were gleaming with euphoric inspiration. I hadn’t seen them so happy in years. It was one of the creepiest things I had ever witnessed.

The Left is supposed to be for women’s rights, for minority rights, for gay rights and for all democratic rights. And yet, today, the members of the political faith are vehemently cheering on the most gay-hating, women-hating, minority-hating and democracy-hating force on the face of the earth. They are in league with a repulsive and sadistic and fascist death-cult.

This is nothing new, of course, for Leftists’ support of communism throughout the 20th century, of mass murderers like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro and Mengistu was all part of the same tradition.

But what gives here in general? Can you give us a psychological analysis of why, let us say, a leftist feminist would support an ideology that enforces a vicious form of gender apartheid? What motivates these people in general to venerate ideologies and regimes where they themselves would be extinguished within 30 seconds of contact?


Bradley: Jamie, I think -- to return to your question of the "unholy alliance" between the Left and Islamist terrorism -- that it is mainly a case of my enemy's enemy is my friend. When the Berlin Wall came down and the Communist threat disappeared, the Islamist threat filled the vacuum. Those on the Left who saw the imminent triumph of free-market capitalism, and were initially filled with dread, welcomed the rise of the Islamists because they seemed to check American power by challenging American hegemony and norms.

On the personal level, I think it is a combination of ignorance and wilful self-delusion. Perhaps I can best illustrate this by way of example. I met a female British journalist in Cairo recently who is a notorious Leftist in sympathy with the Iraqi insurgents who, as you suggest, would only keep her alive for more than 30 seconds if it was to torture her before a final beheading. She is forever pointing out the supposed pitfalls of those on the Right who criticise Arab culture. And yes, she is in favor of gay and women's rights, something those she lives among of course are not.

But it didn't take me long to see how she reconciles these apparent contradictions: She just doesn't ever mix with the locals! In fact, I can tell you that she privately had nothing but contempt for Egyptians and Egyptian culture. Her whole stance was just a pose. She was exploiting the issues raised by America's role in the Middle East to promote an anti-American agenda. She was dealing with symbols and not reality. And when reality had to be confronted -- as in the outrageous arrest, torture and imprisonment of gays in Cairo, or the obvious violations of women's rights in Saudi Arabia -- she would say something about how these cultures are "different", that we have to respect other people's cultures -- cultures she actually hated so much that she couldn't bear to immerse herself in them even though they were on the doorstep.


Lopez-Calderon: On the matter of the Unholy Alliance between elements of the radical Left and Wahhabi-inspired radical Islam, I would remind people that there also exists an unofficial tacit alliance between the White Supremacists, neo-Nazis, and isolationists on one hand and the radical Islamists on the other. Dr. Chesler spoke of belief in “Paradise Now” and Keith Thompson said that the “capacity for self-delusion is an existential factor of human nature per se, rather than a specific characteristic of the Left or even a defining quality of ideology as such,” while John R. Bradley referred to the alliance as one of “a case of my enemy's enemy is my friend.” All three of these observations come closer to the reality of the American Left than suggestions of outright nefarious plans for treason.

The American Left has a faith in the overall goodness of humanity, and that belief system of theirs does not wish to be disturbed by the ugly truth that evil exists. So they misplace their anger by engaging in elaborate conspiracy theories about corporate power and Chomsky’s favorite anti-MSM charge, “webs of deceit.” The vast majority of American Leftists are misguided; however, they are neither stupid nor suicidal. Their naivety is dangerous in that it can undermine a national consensus to steel our resolve for the long war ahead against radical Islam. But the majority of American Leftists most likely would drop their anti-American pretensions in the aftermath of a catastrophic terror attack that makes 9/11 look like child’s play. They would come around as did the America First isolationists of over three generations ago.

What is different today from the isolationists of December 7, 1941 is that September 11 did not serve as a catalytic event for domestic critics of U.S. power the way Pearl Harbor did. I have always feared that 9/11 was not enough and have wondered if it would take a more devastating blow finally to awaken a sizeable number of “soft” and muddleheaded, wind-chiming Americans. I fear the answer is 9/11 was not enough. But make no mistake, if there is a massive Al-Qaeda WMD attack or a series of smaller but deadly attacks that bring war, death, and destruction to our soil, the percentage of American Leftists now thought be a “threat” would shrink to a tiny, rabid few aged communists, youthful halfwits, and a pitiful number of professorial clowns like Ward Churchill.

So in essence, the real threat posed by the American Left is one of demoralizing the military, confusing and misleading the public; undermining long-term and admittedly difficult foreign policy goals; and thus making us more vulnerable to attack. However, should those attacks occur in frequency and grow in scale you will witness a majority of the American Left finally making a stand to defend home and hearth. They’re naïve, we strongly disagree with their political positions, but they’re not suicidal-inclined traitors. They’ll realize the Islamists are equal opportunity murderers that make no distinctions between right and left.

FP: I’m afraid that I ascribe much more malicious and destructive intent to the Left and its vision than some of our guests here today.

I find it incredible that after a whole century of leftists supporting and venerating one mass murderer after another, one genocidal killing machine after another, that somehow, when the new killing machine is born, and the Left ecstatically jumps to wholeheartedly support its vicious path, we are somehow supposed to believe that, once again, most leftists are somehow acting out of some kind of good-hearted and naïve wish for a better world.

You witness Stalin kill millions, you witness Mao kill millions, you witness Pol and Mengistu and Castro and North Vietnam engage in mass murder. You witness 100 million human corpses sacrificed on the altar of utopian ideals. And yet, when you jump to support the next totality that is operating on the same principles that engendered the mass murder you just witnessed, you are somehow not entertaining any kind of malicious agenda; you are just naïve and misguided.

And now, a new totality emerges as the top enemy to freedom in the world, this time Islamism, and you know full well that it operates on the same totalitarian impulses that motivated the mass killers you supported throughout the 20th century. And it is massacring innocent human beings right before your eyes. And somehow, again, your support of this ideology and the terrorists who act in its name only involves some kind of naïve and misguided agenda.

Please. Isn’t this becoming a little tired?

I have a clue: when you support ideas that lead to mass murder, and then you witness that mass murder, and then you support new regimes founded on the same ideas that spawn more mass murder. And then you witness this mass murder. And then you support new regimes that are based on the same values and ideals as the last killing machine, and you witness more mass murder. And then a new ideology arises that begins to perpetrate the same acts for the same ideals and you support it. And this process goes on over and over again. The clue: it just may be that your motives have something to do with the end results of the earthly incarnations you champion.

Why this is so difficult to accept in our culture I have no idea. If it was racial hatred, it is a given. When it is class hatred, every and any excuse is used to exonerate what resides in the heart of the Left.


Bruce: I am particularly struck by John’s comment that the Left is simply ignorant and self-deluded. This ‘they do not know what they do’ argument is dangerous, as it lessens the seriousness of the Left and leads to underestimating the agenda, and length to which they are willing to go to achieve their ends.

But even more shocking was Michael’s comment that the American Left “has a faith in the overall goodness of humanity, and that belief system of theirs does not wish to be disturbed by the ugly truth that evil exists.”

So what does give? I can tell you in all of my years in national leftist leadership, working with the feminist, gay and the black elite, I never met an idealist. No one I knew had ‘faith in the goodness of humanity.’ On the contrary—their foundational belief was that humanity was evil; there was a little Hitler in everyone which needed to be controlled. It was their self-hatred (their admissions of racism, sexism and homophobia) which cleansed them, they felt, allowing them to see more clearly the evil in everyone else.

The apparent contradiction of the Left only exists if you actually believe what they say publicly. The Left has always presented an idealistic line, based on co-opting the issues of the underclass. They do this, of course, because no one will rally around a message based in a condemnation of humanity. So instead, it’s a message based in hatred for everyone who is not like the people listening.

Within the feminist elite, contempt for activists, other leaders, other women, the average person, was rife. The reality is Leftists truly do despise themselves and therefore despise humanity. Support for ideas and regimes which destroy humanity is ultimately a natural fit for those whose guilt is based in their very existence. The contempt and loathing within the establishment fuels in-fighting and organizational failure, and even corruption. Outside, it fuels an agenda which allows “feminists” to support predators like Bill Clinton, Communists and even Islamists.

I met more people than I care to remember on the Left (and this is pre-September 11th) who so loath this nation, they do wish her harm. If any of this had anything to do with reality, of course a normal person would see the savagery of Islamism, and the depravity of Communism. But the Left is not based in reality, it is a collection of people who are simply so damaged and so malignantly narcissistic and so self-destructive, they want to take everyone with them.

Assigning ignorance to these people is the last thing we should do. And self-deluded? Possibly, but not within the framework of the choices they make, and the end goal. Why they’re making those choices is what escapes them. I’ve heard before the argument that the Left means well, and that they truly believe in a utopia where all living creatures will live in peace. The biggest success of the Left has been their ability to con virtually everyone into thinking they actually have everyone’s best interests at heart, that they mean well.

And why do they hate America the most? Specifically because, despite our many imperfections, we do serve as an example of the goodness and decency of humanity. Our existence proves that happiness, hope and decency can and do exist. For a leftist, the values of this nation, and the nature of her people, is a constant reminder by counterpoint of what they are not—happy, industrious, hopeful, and truly free. For the leftist and Islamist, hatred of this nation, and humanity is personal. It’s that simple.

No comments: