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.
on April 27, 2004
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.
on April 11, 2004
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).
on February 15, 2004
Tammy Bruce has an opinion that many are assaulting our right to have an opinion. Tammy defends those who would not agree with her lifestyle and those who may actually condemn her lifestyle. Interestingly she supports the conservatives in their right to have an opinion.
This book is a warning to America that we need to be able to state an opinion, whether left, right or center. Bruce is not promoting the right to slander and villify someone, however, she does support ones right to say that something is not correct without being labelled politically incorrect.
America has values as a foundation to our society. Is is possible for either side of an issue to debate without accusation and reprisal? Her main foundation is the insanity that surrounded Dr. Laura and her attempt to get on TV after she discussed homosexuality on her radio program. Bruce breaks down the matter for us to show how Dr. Laura's freedom of speech was attacked.
The reason Bruce is concerned here is because she does not want that right taken away from anyone, by anyone. At what cost is it that we lose the ability for dialogue?
The New Thought Police is a good book for any idealogical point of view. That is my opinion, was this review helpful or am I going to get a no because you don't agree with the conservative approach of the book? Please, rate the review....not the perspective.
on January 3, 2004
I am a liberal, I'll admit that. But I started reading this book with a lot of interest. I was loaned a copy of The New Thought Police by a conservative friend of mine, and the premise was intriguing: the left has led the population to believe that some things just shouldn't be uttered. Interesting.
However, after reading the first hundred or so pages, I had to put the book down. I could not get past the logical problems with her arguments. If it is wrong for the left to attack the general public (who is admittedly more centrist--hence the term) for any unsightly remarks, why is it okay for Ms. Bruce to attack Rosa Parks for being hand-picked as a defendent? Does that fact make the Civil Right's stuggle any less powerful? Does the fact that the Scopes' "Monkey Trial" was selected diminish its importance? What is proven by the proclamation that Martin Luther King Jr. was a communist? Who cares!?
I'll consider reading the entirity of this book as soon as a "Republican" writes a book titled: "American Nationalism--When Did Dissent Come To Mean Treason?".
on November 24, 2003
I was watching C-SPAN sometime in the summer of 2002, when I found Tammy Bruce at UC Davis. She was giving a speach to students intrested in her book. Others, obviously Left wing, wanted to insert their own wisdom. Tammy won me over, not with her politics, but, with her fairness and even handed aproach to the subjects. She was promoting this book, to the dismay of some professers and students, and held her own. She challeged the know it all students and asked them for the facts. That's the way you do things.
Needless to say, I wanted her book. After much delay, I finally found one in Davis, CA and started reading it when I could. To be honest, the book started slow, and with to many Catch phrase's like "group think" and "misery merchants". But, once she started to present the cases and how the "Far-left" applies two different standards, it started to catch with me. Case in point, GLADD. Her point, and mine, are that if you guys want tolerance and to be heard using free speach, you should apply that to others you may not think diserve the same treatment. Like Dr. Laural. And, I hate her.
I think the basic point that should get across is not that the Left is crazy and needs to be crushed. Her point concerns the side she's been on for most of her life. How, as well intended as it once was, has now become a corprate political machine where words like "racist" are used to silence disenters by some who use that same power to gain power and/or profit. Such as, the Not Really Honorable Rev.'s Jackson and Sharpton.
The kicker is she backs up her points with paper trails and reported news facts, that most people should have picked up on.
I loved her probe into the non-profits. The, Biggest ones were NOW and GLADD. Two, noble organizations, that have been twisted and used as extensions of the Left and Democratic Party.
The most important slam was when Bruce pointed out the difference in outrage between Bob Packwood and President Clinton. I won't give away the story, but, it drove the point home. A point coming from that side of the aisle. Note, that this can be applied to the right, aswell.
The case she makes is one of dismay. A group that preaches one thing and brow beats people with another. It's her warning for blind Lefties. And, for Righties too. Question everything. If you see something wrong with the way things are done, speak out. Don't just take it. It's good to rock the boat. It's always a~ healthy thing.
This book, says the things many lafties wish they could say. It's what I've been saying for years. And, I would like her to take a look at the right in the next book. Fair is fair. I got my own beef to pick with the "moral majority$Q
<input type=hidden name=
Tammy Bruce explores the disturbing rise of the Thought Police that tries to silence individual opinion. They operate through the media, special-interest groups and the power elite that uses perpetual victimhood combined with speech and thought control to gain and hold power. This is even more destructive when it is done by the Left, the political wing that claims to be the protector of free speech and personal liberty.
The author writes from the belly of the beast, so to speak, as she was president of the LA chapter of the National Organisation for Women and experienced these activities at first hand. At the heart of Thought Police activity is the argument that certain types of speech and the expression of certain opinions hurt certain groups and as a result should be restricted. The explicit message comes in the form of politically correct speech codes while implicitly the message is to remain silent when the virtual assassination of those who oppose the Left's status quo takes place, as in the case of Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
Bruce shares her unique experiences on the inside of a social movement and dispels the myth that only the Left's prevailing opinions are valid. She encourages the reader to think for herself/himself and to bravely explore their own opinions and conclusions about significant and controversial social issues. The book is an appeal for reclaiming ourselves and our culture from the self-appointed Kommissars.
She deals with the evolution of political correctness and its speech codes, contrasting the difference between the Lockean ideal of classical liberalism and today's Left, while exposing the hidden socialist sympathies of feminists like Betty Friedan and others. She demonstrates how the Left has become a mind control cult with the sole purpose of perpetuating itself. Her investigation of the concept of "hate crimes" is astute and enlightening as is her analysis of Groupthink.
Her writing is engaging and often humorous, as in the chapter in multiculturalism which she calls "the Thought Police in costume." Throughout, she brilliantly exposes the hypocrisy of certain groups and individuals. She also shines a piercing light on the double standards in the news media, the entertainment industry and academia, with reference to the disgusting book American Psycho and the OJ Simpson case.
The book ends on an optimistic note with example of successful social activism that was meant to empower and achieved great results and a section on the power of the individual to adhere to sound values and morals. The book concludes with copious notes, a thorough index and a bibliography that includes Hannah Arendt, Andrea Dworkin, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell.
Other must-read books of related interest include In Defense Of Global Capitalism by Johan Norberg, The New Anti-Semitism by Phyllis Chesler, Tales From The Left Coast by James L. Hirsen, The Vision Of The Anointed by Thomas Sowell and Treason by Ann Coulter.
on September 22, 2003
I'm surprised so many gave such high scores to a book I believe deserves no more than three stars. The book is just okay. It has the facts, and interesting ones at that, but Tammy Bruce's tone and lexicon do not imploy sarcastic or even humourous undertones like most of these types of books. Instead, the overall vibe from the book is just a little silly.
Don't think this is some Left-winged (and God, if I hear that word one more time I'm going to explode) Commie from California. As a matter of fact, I deem myself a Libertarian. I agree that there is a new liberal media bias out there, and yes, it is destructive and very culturally burdensome. However, some of the diction/phrasing she uses to describe the bias just makes the book sound a little silly and even a little absurd.
Tammy Bruce lacks the wit and insight that other authors carry (such as Larry Elder). A more subtle and professional approach would have been better and simply more effective.
Again, the facts were good and I liked the message, but the style of writing Bruce uses is just plain silly.
on July 25, 2003
Tammy Bruce's book makes you do exactly what she contends the Left doesn't want you to: think.
My attention was immediately attracted in the first sentence of the book, in which she proclaims herself, in essence, to be a walking oxymoron who is anti-death penalty, pro-abortion, owns a gun, and is a lesbian feminist. This description of herself alone made me want to keep reading, and I am glad I did because it is a great book--in that disturbing, looking-over-your-shoulder-to-make-sure-you-aren't-being-watched kind of way.
Ms. Bruce is in the perfect position of someone who has been on the inside as a former president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women--a group, in my opinion, which is composed of rich white girls. Bruce somewhat reinforced that opinion for me in the portion of the book where she describes the leader of national NOW saying certain members didn't "fit the profile." I didn't know you had to be a certain age, gender, sexual preference, or have a certain "look" to be part of a movement.
The point of Bruce's book is evidenced by the sentence I just wrote--the New Thought Police would wish for me to say "sexual ORIENTATION," as "preference" indicates that someone chooses their heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality rather than having it be biologically predetermined. She outlines the New Thought Police at work in, among other situations, the news media, the entertainment industry (where you can be "blacklisted" in quite a McCarthy-esque style if you "come out" as a conservative) and, most frightening for me, as a student, the college campuses across America. As our world becomes dangerously closer to the horrific vision of a totalitarian future in George Orwell's classic "1984," Bruce says that not only does the Left want to keep us from saying the "wrong" thing (as in, the politically incorrect thing), they want to keep us from even THINKING in politically incorrect terms. Anyone who strays from this path of political correctness is ostracized with those ugliest of words: racist, sexist, or homophobe.
This book is extremely enlightening and I feel that it should be read on college campuses to combat this ever-growing phenomenon. It was especially comforting to me, as I have described myself as a feminist but have never wanted to really be associated with the white elitist women who have claimed feminism for themselves. Bruce gives me new hope in that other "dirty" F-word. This book also addresses important issues to which we need to pay attention before it is too late.
on July 1, 2003
Wow. Rarely have I read a book that so thoroughly destroys a facade like this book does. What adds to its potency is the undeniable fact that the author self professes in the beginning of the book to be a gay, liberal, pro-choice, former President of NOW. This she claims gives her "insider" status on what she writes about. While I may disagree with some of her views, I respect and admire the honesty with which she systematically exposes the hypocritical and destructive tactics of the "activists" on the Left. Tammy Bruce is an excellent author, and an expert on the subject.
The chapter describing the attacks on Dr. Laura by GLAAD are detailed and exposed for what they were, as she contends they were cowardly and shameful acts of hypocrisy. Despite her insider status, she was treated as an outcast within her own organization for even questioning such tactics. In looking at such supposedly benign issues such as hate-crimes legislation and those on the Left who support it, she demonstrates the logical absurdity of this legislation. By simply looking at the legislation we realize that it by definition implies that blacks, Jews, and gays must be much more neurotic and weak than others because we are led to believe that crime affects them much more than it does everyone else. Do the parents of a murdered straight child grieve less that those of a gay child? Is the pain or damage any less? (See page 40 for this discussion). She outlines the damage caused by "groupthink" and how much like cults some of these Left organizations have become. The irony of trying to silence people who disagree with the liberal left worldview for being intolerant isn't lost on her as it is with most everyone else on the Left.
The disturbing trend of mind control being practiced on our college campuses these days prompts her to say that when a woman giving a speech about individual empowerment has to flee for her safety there is something twisted going on. She also indicates in the chapter that the power the Thought Police wield at universities and schools is indeed disturbing. However, the good thing is that at least it gives us a clear view of what exactly the Left wants. In an environment under their ideological control, the Thought Police have free reign to silence opinions, squelch debate, and punish dissent (see page 222 for the exact quotes).
The exposure of minority leaders such as Jesse Jackson and others that actually deliberately attempt to perpetuate victimhood and create racial tension for their own benefit, where none actually exists, prompts her to describe them as "Misery Merchants". In devoting a chapter to these sad phenomena she implies that what started as a struggle for equal rights and a color-blind society has turned into a major profit industry - the victim industry. The details and evidence for this is truly disturbing in how disingenuous it all really is.
This is a powerful book. The arguments are so airtight, and due to her status as an "insider" to this movement, the result is a chilling look at just how far this group will go to create a "Stalin-like" state where any viewpoints except their own are severely punished. I experience this Thought Police approach in Corporate America and in the local media. This book will likely stir emotions on both sides of the fence. It states in the most compelling and undeniable way yet the dangers of the Thought Police and the agenda of the liberal left. Agree or disagree with her personal views, the evidence is beyond dispute.