5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on the sad state of America
Tammy Bruce's book is a wonderful comentary on the damage being done by politically correct thought. Bruce, who is a liberal, exposes what she sees as inherent contradictions in the liberal ideology, as well as takes vehement opposition with the tactics employed by liberal politically correct scholars. Bruce argues that the liberal agenda is rooted in censorship of...
Published on May 26 2004 by J. S. Lewis
3.0 out of 5 stars Good observations, under-applied
Not having any real attachments to either the Right or Left, I really enjoyed Bruce's book. I think its main strength is its description of the subversion of groups by pathological individuals (ponerization) and their activity. The first clue that a group has undergone the initial stages of ponerization is a moral warping of its original ideology. Bruce shows that the...
Published on Nov. 23 2007 by Harrison Koehli
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good observations, under-applied,
This review is from: The New Thought Police: Inside the Left's Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds (Hardcover)Not having any real attachments to either the Right or Left, I really enjoyed Bruce's book. I think its main strength is its description of the subversion of groups by pathological individuals (ponerization) and their activity. The first clue that a group has undergone the initial stages of ponerization is a moral warping of its original ideology. Bruce shows that the rights groups she describes have ceased operating for their original principles, now using the banner of morality and civil rights in pursuit of power.
A small group of leaders "work to propagate divisions and hopelessness" and "their positions rely on a series of myths that relegate those they lead to perpetual victimhood". This exploitation is maintained by what Bruce calls "rubbing salt into the wound", which has the effect of inspiring primitive feelings of vengeance and a strong moralizing interpretation of perceived threats. Machiavellians rely on their ability to manipulate these emotions (e.g. Goring's quote about telling people they are being attacked and then denouncing critics as unpatriotic).
The problems with the book lie elsewhere: in Bruce's reliance on the "natural world view" and a lack of objective language and concepts. She does not factor psychopathology into her analysis, and thus, no matter how well she describes 'symptoms', her efforts are futile, even harmful. Lacking an understanding of psychopathy, the general laws of ponerogenesis, and her own reality-deforming tendencies, she confuses concepts and has obvious blind spots.
First, she confuses ideology with essence. All other failings stem from this one. While she correctly identifies the similarities between these groups and pathocracy, she doesn't clearly distinguish between normal people, pathological ideologues, and psychopaths who operate under a mask of ideology to exploit 'true believers'. Because of this error, she both fails to apply her observations to other relevant groups, and exaggerates the importance of her case studies.
Regarding the latter, she focuses on the perils of 'socialism' instead ponerization of groups in general, which is inevitable in ALL groups without proper psychological knowledge. Thus, she views the 'Right' ("capitalism and competition") as a healthy alternative, which, unfortunately, it is not. The 'Right' is just as susceptible to the first criterion of ponerogenesis (i.e. ignorance of pathological signs), and thus ponerogenic activity, as we can see now: exploitation of victimhood, assaults on free speech, 'us versus them' mentality, free speech zones, provocation of primitive emotions, paramoralistic epithets, etc.
This is a common mistake of politicians and groups everywhere. They focus on symptoms and not causes. Thus we have 'hate-crime laws' and 'anti-terror laws' which are absurd and ineffective. Focusing on domestic violence would prove much more effective, and providing adequate psychological education would be even better. Instead we have "The War on Terror", "The War on Drugs", "The War on Communism"--all futile and hypocritical. In the Terror War, we have the same paralogicisms that Bruce identifies in civil rights groups: "in order to ensure civil rights and liberty, we must be silent and conform." In other words, in order to protect our rights, we must give them up.
The only effective "war" will be against ponerogenesis, and thus by definition, it must not include ponerogenic factors, like vengeance, moralizing, false divisions, etc. There is only one "monolithic conspiracy", and it is psychopathic: not Communist, Anarchist, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, etc. Any other focus is either misguided or a diversion purposefully created by Machiavellians to divert attention from themselves. At the psychopathic level, there are no ideological divisions.
"Divide and conquer" is simply a macrocosmic version of the two-party system. Paraphrasing Bruce, "If normal people can be divided, there will be no real threat to the Machiavellian-dominated status quo." If you can convince people they only have two options, most people will end up choosing one of them, believing it is a free choice. They will thus focus on partisan politics, ignoring real issues; or they will focus on an external threat, also ignoring real issues. For this reason"the blurring of ideological lines"we always see connections between, for example Mossad/CIA/MI5 and various Muslim terrorist groups; and between Western governments and third world dictators.
This ties into the former result of Bruce's error: under-applying her observations. This is where her hypocrisy (i.e. conversive thinking) is evident, and it is fairly obvious after viewing her website/blog. She fails to see the obvious application of her observations to groups such as: a) official government agencies (e.g. the CIA's long history of every crime imaginable) b) "Right" news agencies (e.g. Fox news), and c) the most obvious corrupt minority rights group: the ADL and the Israel lobby.
By attaching her criticism to an ideological, and not psychological, source (i.e. anti-"Islamofascism"), which is largely mythical, she rationalizes equally ponerogenic activity inherent in the anti-terror movement. In such a world, the CIA works for the good of America and its "excesses" are rationalized in typical conversive fashion.
Regarding Fox, she criticizes "Leftist" groups of exposing youths to pornography in her books, and yet is a regular contributor and supporter of Fox (google "fox attacks decency"). I find it no surprise, though Bruce might, that the one News organization she quotes as challenging the status quo (during Clinton) has turned itself into the propaganda arm of the Bush administration. It has, in Bruce's words, "morphed into a movement obsessed with identity politics, victimhood, and an us-versus-them mentality."
Regarding the Israeli lobby, it seems there are several myths that are inextricably intertwined with Bruce's natural world view, one of which is the legitimacy of Israeli occupation of Palestine and its ethnic cleansing of same. All other extrinsic belief systems follow from this myth. Contradictory information (e.g. the morally depraved treatment of Palestinians by the IDF) is rationalized, denied, or repressed. Because of such conversive phenomena, their analysis cannot be called "wrong"--it is "not even wrong". The initial assumptions are faulty on both factual and moral levels.
I think this excerpt from Bruce is relevant: "[T]he vast majority of those who commit crimes have experienced abuse in their own lives (personal hate directed at them) and disfranchisement (society's later hate). It is possible that, by targeting those who act out in tangible hate against a protected group, the hate-crime theory actually revictimizes those who were initially the victims of hate."
The material on her website is nowhere near the quality of her book: insults, crude humour, paramoralisms, paralogicisms, etc. She engages in the same attack mentality that she derided in 2001, even using the "favored Thought Police accusation" of racism: she frequently uses the label "Jew-hater" for anyone critical of Israel. She even has the movie 300, one of the most violent movies of the year, in her recommended reading/viewing list. This coming from the woman who championed the boycotting of American Psycho.
Overall a good, but misguided book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on the sad state of America,
This review is from: The New Thought Police: Inside the Left's Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds (Paperback)Tammy Bruce's book is a wonderful comentary on the damage being done by politically correct thought. Bruce, who is a liberal, exposes what she sees as inherent contradictions in the liberal ideology, as well as takes vehement opposition with the tactics employed by liberal politically correct scholars. Bruce argues that the liberal agenda is rooted in censorship of alternative points of view, with the systematic destruction of anyone who opposes the liberal voice.
If the book had been written by a conservative, it would easily be billed as propaganda. The fact that it was written by a liberal (former President of the LA chapter of NOW), gives the book formidable credentials and a unique voice. Bravo to Tammy Bruce for this insightful book!
5.0 out of 5 stars One Brave Woman,
This review is from: The New Thought Police: Inside the Left's Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds (Paperback)Tammy Bruce, an openly gay, liberal feminist, and former president of NOW LA Chapter, has written one of the bravest books I've read in a long, long time. In The New Thought Police, Tammy Bruce reveals the hidden agenda of the extreme left, which she says isn't equality and understanding, but rather control of the very THOUGHTS of everyone in our nation.
Topics covered are: the ridiculousness of hate-crimes legislation, the unfair treatment of Dr. Laura (known for disagreeing with homosexuality, but also for demanding they be treated with dignity and respect), the exploitation by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson of African-Americans and how they are destroying the progress made by the civil rights movement, the selling-out of NOW and the feminist establishment by refusing to come out against OJ Simpson as a wife batterer, how multicultural apologists have actually made things worse for immigrants, the danger to the career of Hollywood stars if they should 'come-out' as having right-wing or pro-life tendancies, and perhaps worst of all, the mind-control of the academic establishment on America's college campuses.
Bruce sounds a wake-up call for all women, gays, minorities, and true liberals that trying to police what people think and say not only doesn't make the world a better place, but pushes dissenting opinions underground where they tend to fester and breed resentment, giving fuel to the truly dangerous types, like the KKK. Rather than trying to silence all opinions that we disagree with, Bruce suggests, we need to work to balanced viewpoints in media, and true dialogue. When the vitriole is turned off, she says, we actually find the the left and the right agree more than disagree, and can at least work together on issues that are common to all people (as she demonstrated happened when conservatives wrote donation checks to NOW in support of a project to help the plight of battered women). On the other hand, Bruce shows, if we don't stop the thought police, we will soon be living in the society of George Orwell's 1984, and we will no longer even be able to pretend that we live in a society where we can have the free exchange of thoughts and ideas.
5.0 out of 5 stars Why the Left can't win,
This review is from: The New Thought Police: Inside the Left's Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds (Paperback)Tammy does a great job exposing the hypocrisy of NOW, NAACP and the Rainbow Coalition. During the Afghanistan and Iraq offensives, before I could only wonder why these groups were opposed to actions which only would benefit women and children, the cry of the 'impending deaths of innocent women and children' due to these campaigns rang hollow. The support of groups like NOW for MTV (and its degradation of girls) and opposition to people like Dr. Laura Schlessinger (educated women with strong opinions) bely their true agenda. Her revelations about Betty Friedan and Rosa Parks diminish their accomplishments and call into question the credibility of the groups that hail them, Tammy warns of the dangers of deceit to further ones goals. She also offers insight into the O.J. Simpson debacle, how NOW ditched the domestic violence issues for its political bond with the NAACP.
The ADL, GLAAD, FAIR, and ACLU incriminate themselves by their actions and inactions. She also helps repair damage of those who had been demonized by the self righteous Left, without losing the principles of the Left. In a time where rhetoric is so impassioned, she offers reason and command respect.
This book gives us great warning about the danger of political correctness, where diversity means agreeing with one opinion.
She also offers compelling consideration of the 'hate crimes' laws enacted.
As terrific companion reads, I suggest 'The Invisible Heart' (the path of socialism) and 'Lost in the Cosmos' (the pifalls of group thinking).
4.0 out of 5 stars A book worthy of the best college professors,
This review is from: The New Thought Police: Inside the Left's Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds (Hardcover)I first saw Tammy Bruce on C-SPAN in a talk given at UC Davis. Tammy is the model for college professors - she challenges you, extremely well-thought and makes you think.
Her book is a close second best to hearing her live. What makes her point of view special is her background as a former President of L.A. chapter of Nat'l Org. of Women, and thus provides unique insight into liberals' tactics which parallels those described in books such as R.Bradbury's "Farenheit 451" and G.Orwell's "1984".
She offers unique insight into the leadership and strategy of the left which few have attained such credentials.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Breath of Fresh Air,
Mis. Bruce, your excellent work here was much appreciated. Not only is the book a fast paced and easy read, but it's also intellectually engaging and contains newness. The point you make about the left's need to stick to honest truth is demonstrated with your book. By being factual, you were able to make me think about the real issue with OJ's aquittal: wife beaters. And you stirred thoughts about how smut is entering the mainstream, and the ability of the market to prevent the spread of "sexualizing violence against women" -- and the necessity of activism to play a role.
But activism cannot be marred by the political machinations of the communist-leaning left. The horrid truth you reveal is that much of it is. The book serves as an excellent desk reference I will be sure to use. For exposing this truth, you have alienated many that held you as a friend -- but you've done a tremendous service to your country by writing this book, and made a friend of the entire conservative movement. I hope everyone gets a chance to read it. Thank you, Tammy Bruce.
1.0 out of 5 stars yes, liberals are destroying free speech,
This review is from: The New Thought Police: Inside the Left's Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds (Hardcover)As Tammy points out, it is the liberals who are destroying our way of life in the US. Liberal groups like the ACLU may take credit for defending the rights of the KKK to parade in the streets of Skokie or of a war protestor to burn the flag or of an anti-ACLU person to burn down the ACLU headquarters. And although it may be true that conservatives are the first to call for the beheading of anyone who dares to burn the US flag or to express doubts about the President's decision to go to war without the support of the international community, and we will be the first to call for a boycott of the Dixie Chicks and to burn their CDs because of the traitorous remarks against our Commander in Chief, let us not forget that it is the liberals who uh...lets see...oh, what was the point I was trying to make again? Oh goodness, I didn't get off to a very good start, did I? Let me try again. Bruce's assertion that liberals are destroying free speech and assaulting free minds, although baseless, is completely irrefutable. Indeed, it may be complete nonsense, but I completely agree with Tammy's assertion that the conservatives have always been the great protectors of free speech while the liberals have always been busy trying to censor the thoughts of anyone who opposes their point of view. There, I think I made my point.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Left Brooks No Discussion,
But it does make a difference. It makes a difference because it shows how bad the situation is. Even Tammy Bruce, a committed and prominent activist feminist, has come under the withering cannons of the left, silenced, in fact, for speaking out on behalf of women.
This book is about thought control and how the modern left tries to silence dissent both within its own ranks and in the society at large. Bruce makes her case by discussing her own experience with what she calls the "Thought Police" in respect of various issues (Dr. Laura, AIDS, O.J. Simpson, etc.), and finishes by making a call for more healthy dissent and for free discussion.
The book is readable and quick, with a very "from the trenches" feel to it. In addition to making her a dramatic example of how totalitarian the left has become, Bruce's history as an activist has given her a lot of really interesting stories to tell. Buy this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent discussion of issues from a new perspective,
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If you are interested in current issues, please try this book!
1.0 out of 5 stars She is faking it,
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The New Thought Police: Inside the Left's Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds by Tammy Bruce (Paperback - Jan. 28 2003)
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