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Editor’s note: In a compelling talk-radio interview with WorldNetDaily’s Geoff Metcalf, author, former Los Angeles National Organization for Women president and self-proclaimed homosexual Tammy Bruce talks about the value of liberty in a country controlled by “the left-wing power elite.” Bruce spoke openly about liberals’ influence on the media and American pop culture, criticizing the left’s hypocritical demand for tolerance. Her thought-provoking views are detailed in her book, “The New Thought Police: Inside the Left’s Assault on Free Speech,” which is available in WorldNetDaily’s onilne store.
Metcalf’s daily streaming radio show can be heard on TalkNetDaily weekdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time.
Q: You readers have often heard or read me note that some people don’t like to be confused with facts that contradict their preconceived opinion. The corollary to that is true as well, and I for one love it when you can find facts that support your preconceived opinion. The only caution I offer is my old bromide about, “It’s not a question of who is right or wrong but what is right or wrong.” Please keep that in mind as I introduce you to Tammy Bruce, the author of “The New Thought Police.”
A: Thank you for having me. I appreciate that introduction. It is a good admonition as we begin.
Q: Joseph Farah flagged me to your book. Your publisher sent it. I read it, and this is outstanding.
A: Thank you. I am very proud of it, and it is doing quite well. I also have the opportunity to talk to people like you, which is an opportunity I might not normally have been given.
Q: I wouldn’t be a problem, but our audience and readers – maybe.
Q: Let’s explain to those folks who might be confused by my caution that “It’s not a question of who is right or wrong but what.” You are a self-proclaimed lesbian …
A: That is correct.
Q: … and a former president of a chapter of the National Organization of Women.
A: That’s correct. Your audience is going, “Oh, no!”
Q: However, you are also pro-gun and pro-death penalty.
A: I am indeed.
Q: How the hell did the NOW crowd let you into the room?
A: I kind of snuck in. They were a little shocked. Actually, it was an election that made me president of Los Angeles NOW. We like elections. At the same time, I came in without a lot of political experience. … My feminism spans the political spectrum, as it should. But I came into NOW, which really had been mired in group-think and socialism masquerading as feminism. And to say the least, for the seven years I was president of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW, I was a bit of a thorn in the sides of Presidents Molly Yard and Patricia Ireland.
Q: I’ve been saying stuff like that for 10 years, and they just say, “He’s a radical, right-wing, wacko, knuckle-dragging, Green Beret nut.”
A: Part of what I experienced was exactly that kind of tactic. There is really no willingness to recognize what is deemed to be the enemy – what they are saying. Instead, people are labeled.
Q: They marginalize them.
Q: You are either a homophobe or a racist. I mean, come on. Willie Brown brought that to an art form.
A: That’s the whole tactic of the new thought police, which is coined through George Orwell’s “1984.” I saw this new thing becoming even stronger through my experience within NOW. And then I saw it applied to Dr. Laura Schlessinger by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. With this tactic, instead of debating those with whom you disagree, the idea of destroying them becomes paramount. Part of my realization was the left does this because there is really no “there” there. They can’t debate the issues – or they are too afraid to – because they will lose. And so the solution becomes to silence those who think differently or who challenge the status quo of the left.
Q: I often remind my listeners and readers that the blessing and curse of the First Amendment is that it guarantees our right to say whatever we want, but unfortunately, it also means we have to listen to some stuff we don’t like as well. It often seems like the left only got half of that.
A: For me, as an open lesbian – and I think anyone who is on the fringe of society, which I have to admit I am – it is ironic that gays and lesbians and feminists ask everyone else for tolerance and for understanding and accepting a divergent point of view …
Q: … and they are the first to reject it.
A: Exactly! And my point here is exposing the transgressions of the left, because the right is replete with efforts to try to shut things down as well. But my argument is that it is neither liberalism nor conservatism – it is totalitarianism.
Q: Arguably, a lot of people who embrace a leftist philosophy perceive themselves as being intellectuals. But if they are smart, can’t they recognize their own hypocrisy?
A: Hopefully, this book will begin to get them out of that. I detail a psychological concept called “group-think” in one of the chapters of “The New Thought Police.” It discusses this mob mentality that begins to grip people who are in “group-think,” which eliminates the ability to hear other evidence. It includes the stereotyping of outsiders or dissidents. I think what we see here is a combination of “group-think,” and also, when you are in the seat of power – which I believe the left is culturally, and it’s manifested through media, through the special-interest groups of GLAD, NOW, the NAACP, the general black power elite – when you are in those seats of power, it becomes very easy for the newly powerful, who were the previously marginalized, to start to marginalize their new opponents. And in this instance, it is the religious and the conservative. I am neither. But what I won’t have, as a progressive who relies on individual liberty, is to have my supposed side of politics set the standard for shutting down individual liberty. I think it’s a matter of being a grab for power, wanting to stay in power, and wrongly thinking that what may be best for you is best for everyone else when we know that is also false.
Q: It is really the personification of the bromide I have been using for a decade: People don’t like to be confused with facts that contradict their previously conceived opinion. There is an anecdote – and I think it is way in the back of the book somewhere – where you were invited to speak at some college thing. You’ve got to tell that story, because it typifies the people who don’t want to hear what they don’t want to hear.
A: The book chronicles the groups on the left – the special-interest groups and also media and academia. And what we found, certainly, is that those radicals from the ’60s who come from a socialist framework did not move to Woodstock to watch pot grow and drink green tea. They became professors and journalists and politicians. So now they are part of this society, which I believe they still hate and still want to condemn to some degree.
Q: So give up the academia gem.
A: I was invited during the height of the attacks on Laura Schlessinger – and I’m a personal friend of hers – to speak on a panel that also included GLAD, the website that was against Laura and the ACLU, which had declared earlier that freedom of expression doesn’t apply to Laura Schlessinger. So I said, “That’s three against one. I’ve handled worse.” Well, after a couple of days, the professor called back and literally said, “I have to uninvite you.”
A: I became one of the uninvited.
A: Because the other people on the panel refused to participate if I was there.
Q: Wait a minute. If there is any strength to their principles, if they believe in what they are puking out, why would they resist anyone? Was it because you were once one of them and have now somehow become “tainted?”
A: Certainly you couldn’t dismiss me as a right-wing nut.
Q: What I got a kick out of was you were originally included in the panel as a “conservative spokesperson.”
A: Who would have thought that someone coming out in favor of freedom of expression and individual liberty would then be labeled a “conservative”? That is where things have moved.
Q: I spent almost six years working in San Francisco for ABC for their conservative station. If I announced to my audience that we had a lesbian, former president of the L.A. chapter of NOW joining us, the cumulative shock of dials clicking would have created a seismic event in the Bay Area.
A: What we all have to fight against – and this is one of the things I encourage in the book – is actually what we have to fight for. It is a conscious sense of individualism and to be personally aware of the choices we make and to be able to take responsibility for them.
Q: You have an interesting anecdote about Brown University. Once upon a time, I used to actually live next to Brown. Please tell our readers what happened at the excessively politically correct Brown University.
A: Let me tell you, in researching this book, probably the most shocking thing that I found was what in general was happening on campuses. I had really found out, like I think a lot of people, that the thought police were in academia with David Horowitz’s experiences, with his reparations argument and what happened there. The interesting thing is the left does control academia, because again, those radicals went on to become professors, and a whole variety of things happened that people don’t realize. True “Fahrenheit 451” events that people don’t realize are occurring on many of the Ivy League campuses, including Brown, and it ranges from …
Q: Let me interrupt, because Glynn Custred is a friend and professor at UC Hayward. I think. He was one of the co-authors of Proposition 209.
Q: He told me a story about an incident where they had an opening in the history department for a “black studies” professor. They did a national search and eventually came up with the best candidate in the country. They wanted to hire her, but the department went nuts because she was white.
A: Oh, I remember this. Absolutely! Forgive me, I have to tell something, and I don’t know the specifics of the campuses, but there is also one instance where a woman had been hired in a similar dynamic – a white woman. Actually, she had been fired to kind of make up for the racial quota that was required. She got her case up to the Supreme Court, and the black civil-rights groups ended up paying her money so that she would withdraw her suit, because they knew they would lose within an argument of the U.S. Supreme Court. Certainly, what the left-wing power elite does not want – and this is where the speech code comes in so powerfully – if individuals felt comfortable speaking about the serious issues of the day, the left would lose a lot of those arguments. So the dynamic becomes shutting people down – enforcing the idea that if you step out of line socially, something terrible is going to happen to you. It certainly starts, not necessarily at the university level, but I also tell a story in academia, which starts very young.
Q: This is whacked! Tell us how young?
A: A little girl entered a science fair using two Barbie dolls – one a black doll and one a white doll – and wanted to find out which doll was preferred psychologically when shown to adults and children. She found that the children liked the white doll better, and of course, it was a critique of stereotypes. She was eliminated from the fair, and the officials said at the school district that they didn’t want to risk hurting the feelings of the minority children. So she got a message that you had better not do anything serious for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. And the little minority kids then get reinforced with the fact that they are victims and too weak-minded to be able to handle a serious discussion, a good discussion about what could be seen as stereotypical prejudice.
Q: This cancer of political correctness has really eaten away at the essence of what the country was and is incorrectly still presumed to be. Charlie Daniels has a new song with the lyric, “It’s not a rag, it’s a flag …”
A: There you go.
Q: And they wouldn’t let him play it at some music-award event.
A: Oh dear!
Q: They said, “It might offend someone.” And he said, “Yeah! It was supposed to offend someone.”
A: Exactly. They should have been able to figure that out.
Q: He said, basically, I don’t care Jack-spit if these people are offended. They just killed some 6,000 of us.
A: You know, and that’s part of what everyone is saying – you can’t dissent. And that’s part of the argument like with what happened with Bill Maher. But what we’re talking about here is we also have to listen to the arguments that are being used. The issue of multiculturalism in particular has sent a message that every culture and every act is worthy, has a good reason, is not to be judged. And that has made it impossible, or at least politically incorrect, to be able for us to judge acts like serious terrorism as being a bad thing. The left wants us to consider the horribleness of their [terrorists] lives, and that they might have a good reason for slamming into the World Trade Center because, gosh, we’re racist Americans, and we just don’t understand the hellish lives they lead. I reject that argument.
Q: I don’t care how unfortunate or allegedly disenfranchised or anything else. If someone breaks into my home in the dark of night, I will kill them. I don’t care about their personal history or anything else.
A: Absolutely! Neither do I. And that is the difference with my being a gun owner. Anyone who comes into my house uninvited is not leaving. They are not walking out, and what we have to be able to do is to recognize how the left has really affected our ability to come to important judgments and that, in fact, the American character is stronger than what we have been told by the left. The left has told us that inside each one of us is a little Hitler – that if left to our own devices, we’d kill Jews, enslave blacks and throw women back into the dark ages.
A: It is! But yet, we have bought it, and what we need to do is realize that if we challenge that notion, if we believe in the inherent goodness of the American character, in fact that is not the case. But the left, which relies on victimization for its constituency, must perpetuate that idea, because otherwise they are not needed.
Q: So what happens when the left is confronted with a sea change in attitude and an abundance of facts that contradict their dogma?
A: They ignore it.
Q: I know. They throw a hissy fit, or they “uninvite” you.
A: They uninvite you, they apply the speech code via attacks on people like Laura Schlessinger and even myself; they establish an environment of fear by name calling; they establish legal reasons for people not to be able to run their company the way they want. You’ve got Jesse Jackson running around the country calling companies racist because they hadn’t hired African Americans, when in fact 40 percent of their board was minority.
Q: I interviewed a guy about a year ago, T.J. Rodgers, a great guy.
A: That’s his story I chronicle in the book.
Q: T.J. is a great guy. He took on Jesse and basically said, “Hey, if you’ve got any qualified minorities, I’ve got the jobs.” We were talking about a year after the incident, and he said he was still waiting for the applications. He never got a one.
A: It was Rodgers and the bravery of the San Jose Mercury News that exposed the absurdity of Jackson’s attacks on Rodgers’ company.
Q: Hey, T.J. took on a nun. Some nun was itching and moaning about how his board was all old white guys, and she wanted more diversity in the board. T.J. ate her for lunch.
A: And that Brown University story you asked about is a good example. Essentially, it is the perfect thing if you want to know what’s happening to your kid at school. In a segment called “Opposition to Opposition,” the Office of Student Life at Brown sent out essentially a memo saying, “Important message to all students: A dialog is to be owned by the persons involved. The Office of Student Life opposes the use of anonymous actions to give voice to hate, opposition or dissent.” So what Brown University had decided was that because someone had scrawled a derogatory reference to women, which I can’t repeat on the air, the Office of Student Life said you can’t dissent without telling us who you are. The Brown Daily Herald covered this, and they got lampooned. At least the students were saying – in fact, one student, Sarah Fix, said, “Unfortunately, you can’t change someone’s opinion by silencing them.”
Q: So basically, Brown University said, as a matter of policy, you may not dissent.
A: Yes. They are opposed to opposition. You can’t dissent against the status quo, the hierarchy. And of course that would happen, because that is the fundamental foundation of the left.
Q: I have heard from so-called “progressives” who observe that it is disturbing to them that “the right” is now the free-speech group and “the left” is now the anti-free speech group. They also note that the left went after Dr. Laura, and frankly, it was a bad show. Why not just let the market unplug the show through the natural process?
A: Part of understanding why they didn’t is important. They needed to make a point, not to Laura, but to those progressives and to the rest of us. The message was much larger than to Laura Schlessinger. It was to everybody else that they are setting the tone that if you stray from our party line, you will be hurt. And it is a shame. Let me tell you, it is the left right now …
Q: It is about control.
A: Yes. Whoever is in power wants to maintain control. It is a big tempting thing to want to maintain that control by whatever means necessary. As progressives, we have a responsibility to point out when it happens in our own house.
Q: The left actual had the stones to present Laura with a contract of terms by which she was expected to comply … or else.
A: The shocking thing about the attack on Laura in particular is they actually gave her producers a list of “banned” words. Laura actually apologized. She went out of her way to have a dialog, but when she refused to sign their little agreement about banned words, they needed to punish her. Part of that reason is because it sent a message to her audience, but another part is the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is funded by Seagram. Their parent company is Universal, which is also the parent company of Interscope Records, which is the label of Eminem.
Q: They didn’t bother boycotting that bigoted, racist misogynist dirtbag?
A: No, they didn’t. And he talks about, sings about killing gays and lesbians with knives and how wonderful that is. But with their hands tied because of their financial link to his parent company, I think it was out of a lot of frustration that they then used Laura as a scapegoat, and also because she was the better target to spread the speech code.
Q: You included a quote in your book that I was delighted to see: “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We should not let our enemies have guns; why should we let them have ideas?”
A: I wonder if your readers know who said that.
Q: I want you to tell them.
A: It was Josef Stalin. What we are seeing here and what we saw in the Soviet Union and the dream of those minorities of how socialism was supposed to give them the better life, it certainly turned into their nightmare, because what socialism demands is a collectivism. And in order to have collectivism, which is group rights, the group has to be more important than the individual. What you do, of course, is you eliminate individual drive and ambition and talent and happiness. And it doesn’t work! And certainly, that nightmare of the Soviet Union, as brought on by Josef Stalin, shows you that those who then take that power and run the groups will simply use it to their own benefit at the expense of the people on whose backs they rode to power. And that is what’s happening to the left right now.
Q: I have been itching for a long time about how the mainstream media controls things. …
Q: … and it’s influenced by the left. And the left says, “Oh no, no, no. Look at all those right-wing talk shows.” But all you have to do is look at the facts in evidence.
A: Exactly, absolutely!
Q: You have a whole chapter on specifically that.
A: I do, and you know, I find that particularly egregious – that denial that the media is controlled by the left. When I was president of L.A. NOW, I used that mafia to move my messages. I was in a much better position on the issues that were important to the feminist line, like abortion rights and sexual harassment, because the media was there for me. I found out now with this book what it’s like to be on the wrong side of an issue.
Q: It is fascinating that Fox News gets marginalized for having the temerity to make a concerted effort to be “fair and balanced.”
A: Exactly. Or even, frankly, just not to pledge allegiance to the left’s worldview. I think that what is happening is – and this is why the denial is so ridiculous – you just have to look at what is on television. I’ve even had denials from academics who read this book who say, “Well, there really is no organized left in this country anymore.” I’ve explained that when you look at the television line-up. We have “The Ellen Show” …
Q: Back again.
A: Back again. The moment you give me a show that is about a conservative Christian, or is anti-abortion, then we can talk about the media being balanced.
Q: That is not a two-dimensional cartoon character.
A: Exactly. It certainly would be negative, and it’s not out there.
Q: The mainstream media has done a superb job of marginalizing dangerous critics – people like Ward Connerly, Rev. Jesse Peterson, Walter Williams. Because they are black conservatives, they are branded as “Uncle Tom.” J.C. Watts – they don’t quite know what to do with him, but what do they do with you? You are really a contradiction in terms and stereotype.
A: The gay community, certainly, since I have exposed the lie of their attack on Dr. Laura, has termed me as “self-loathing.” I’ve been variously called during my activist history a racist. They can’t really call me a homophobe because I’m gay, but the line-up of the terms that are used to ostracize and isolate people – it’s certainly a classic “group-think” symptom. And the problem is that it also keeps people from being able to then discuss what those other individuals and those other people with other ideas are saying. I certainly talk about Ward Connerly’s experiences, my own, and others who have been similarly attacked by the left. And the irony here is that “liberalism” in its classic form demands that every idea be heard, and it expects a level of character in us as Americans.
Q: Now wait a minute. Thomas Jefferson was a liberal. The liberals of today are not liberals.
A: No. They are socialists. When I say the left-wing establishment, that’s who I’m talking about. I think also classic liberals who normally identify with the left are getting really confused in some ways. Because on one hand they do want open dialog and discussion, but then their leadership is saying certain people have to be silenced in order for the benefit of everyone else. We haven’t been allowed to think out of that box without fear ourselves. For me, what they see is a progressive, feminist lesbian being called “self-loathing” – or at least they say there must be something wrong with me to be coming to a different conclusion. We have to smash that myth. I am not a conservative. I am not a Christian. I am not a secret anything. Who I am is right out in front. But those of us on the fringes, who rely on individual liberty, have got to make a choice to reject this idea that people with divergent opinions, even if we don’t like them, have to be shut down.
Q: That’s one of the challenges and why, when I started, I reminded readers it is not a question of who is right or wrong, but what is right or wrong. I can remember back around 1992 when the NAFTA debate was in full swing, there were some very strange political coalitions. I was an ardent opponent of NAFTA, as was Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson. I mean, normally you don’t see these guys getting together and having a beer in the corner bar.
A: Of course.
Q: I still get callers who will say, “If Chuck Schumer is for it, I’m against it.”
A: Sometimes that can be correct.
Q: Well, actually in the Chuck Schumer case, it is.
A: In a lot of instances, we have to be able to have open minds. If we are consciously aware of what’s being said, be willing to listen to it, we might come to the same conclusion we would have before. But you are right about strange bedfellows. On the back of my book, the people who have endorsed the book are David Horowitz, Larry Elder, Ward Connerly and Andrea Dworkin.
Q: By the way, I have had every single one of those on the air as a guest.
A: Including Andrea?
A: Excellent! As people recognize for themselves what classic liberalism really is – that we do actually have more in common than not – and where it has to start is with the freedom of people to be able to live their lives as they choose as individuals. And for those of us who get sucked into the group-think, especially of the left, and certainly on the right sometimes – we have to admit that it is not a good thing, and being the thought police is only injurious to all of us.
Q: Are you sure you want your e-mail address put out for everybody and anybody?
A: I think that’s fair. Part of my experience is hearing the diversity of ideas of what I am saying, and I think it will help create a critical dialog and will help educate me a bit on where your audience and the readers of WorldNetDaily.com stand.
Q: Email her at email@example.com.
Quickly, before we run out of time, you have a section in your book on the “Power of the Individual.”
A: Absolutely. You know, that’s what we have all forgotten here. We have dealt with decades now of the left pushing on us multiculturalism and group rights. The power of the individual – I have experienced as an activist that most social change and good things have happened when one person has wanted to make a difference. And I think we’ve seen that certainly before Sept. 11, during that crisis and now in its aftermath. And we, as individuals, have to decide what we want to take with us into our new future. It is the perfect time to throw the curtain back on what has happened in the past and realize that the power we have as individuals is like no other, despite what Jesse Jackson or Patricia Ireland or anyone else might say to you. You, as an individual, make the biggest difference, are the most important, and I think that is what has made this country the best place on earth and our people the best people on the planet.
Q: I like smart, honest, bitchy women, and I like you.
A: That seems to fit the bill, doesn’t it?
Purchase Bruce’s new book, “The New Thought Police: Inside the Left’s Assault on Free Speech,” in WorldNetDaily’s online store, ShopNetDaily.
Visit Geoff Metcalf’s
archive for previous “Sunday Q&A” interviews.