John Hawkins: There’s an old saying: conservatives are always looking for converts while liberals are looking for heretics. Is that true in your opinion?
Tammy Bruce: I disagree. I think, in actually coming from the left, (that the left is) a religion unto its self if you will. It is really the ultimate entity that looks for converts and then heretics. It is a dynamic where a complete submersion into the left, void of self, and erasure of the individual is required.
What I�ve found coming in from the left — and at least being able to observe and get to know people on the right is that � and this has actually helped my sensibility about this third book � you can really only come to conclusions about individualism from the right. The left requires so much conformity and there is so much pressure and threat to not dissent that the idea of the individual almost cannot exist. It is like the epitome of a cult if you will.
On the right, on the other hand, you�re looking at a (different) framework because it�s based in the expectation of personal responsibility….It really is a much more conducive arena for a level of individualism that really harkens back, if you will, to the foundation of this nation and what makes us great.
John Hawkins: In the book, you said: “The feminist establishment wanted people to be like stupid, submissive, noisy parrots.” You pretty much confirmed that just now. Conservatives can be individuals; the left can�t. Why can�t you be an individual on the left?
Tammy Bruce: Well, it is as the left has done and has shown us historically; it is a basis of an existence of collectivism. That is what all of the energy is put into. It requires massive numbers of people to march lock-step within a certain framework for a certain goal.
…The reason that becomes important is because if you were to really think about the nature of what the left is saying, if you were to question it, feel safe questioning it, you would find that there�s no, �there,� there. So the left is always in danger.
…I would always ask why, I would always challenge the status quo — and let�s just say I did not make friends of left wing leadership. There were no answers to my questions about…why a certain thing would happen and one of the transitions for me was when my mentor at NOW noted that…it was important that every now and then we rub salt into the wound. It would help us continue to be needed. And that�s when I realized that people had co-opted the issues that were important to me and were invested in maintaining problems in society so that the elite could maintain their power and money and control.
John Hawkins: Is that what you mean when in the book you said, “I spent the whole of my activist career compromising myself, my individuality, and my sense of right and wrong in order to belong.”
Tammy Bruce: Yeah, and my experience is not unique. Ultimately what you have is the left appealing to people who have had difficulties or sometimes victimhood in their (youth), and telling those people that it is their empowerment, and then maintaining those people in that victimized framework.
The biggest threat, of course, on the left, …is the threat that if you do not compromise, if you do not conform, if you are too much of a lone wolf or an individualist, you�re going to be shunned, and…when you�re looking for family, as I did for years — that becomes a very potent threat.
John Hawkins: Now at one point in the book you said something related to that. You said victimhood is the cornerstone of the identity of many liberals and for that reason, it’s very difficult for many of them to give it up. Why do you say that?
Tammy Bruce: …With an identity that�s based in victimhood, if you find either that you�re not a victim or you find personal independence and power, it literally becomes a threat. (If) your identity (is) based in victimhood (and) that is removed, it literally strikes at the core of the identity of that person.
It literally becomes consciously and subconsciously, a fight for life and death, and oddly in a very macabre way, it is that being a victim is what keeps you alive in your own mind… It�s the ultimate world of the looking glass that getting out of victimhood will cause you to die and that is, I think, at the root, the psychological root of identity as victim. Many people have no concept of what life would be like not in that environment. That is their power, it is their passion, it is their sense of themselves. It�s a real pathology that is massaged and fomented by left wing leadership.
John Hawkins: Now obviously you probably get a whole different class of hate mail and venom directed at you these days than you used to when you were head of…your local chapter of NOW. Any differences now between your critics on the right from back then and your critics on the left today?
Tammy Bruce: Well, I�ll tell you something. Every experience I have is an eye opener. When I was on the left my activism began on abortion rights and even in facing pro-life individuals, I would get the occasional death threat but really nothing to speak of. Upon my being honest and coming out and writing my book and dissenting from the left as a liberal, the threats and attacks are extraordinary. It is a remarkable window into the kind of venom, the kind of hate that drives the left.
Now my problem here is I don�t know if that�s always been the case or if that is a new development over the last decade, (but)…I have one sense that this new kind of hatred that has fomented and is a result of the left for the most part losing power to some degree in this nation or at least a shift of the American attitude (because) the left has been effectively thwarted…
Hatred is manifest more aggressively and essentially kind of like the death throes of an effort…to try to survive and I think that�s why we saw the kind of hatred we saw in last year�s election, the kind of violence exacted against people who are conservative or Republicans. It is eerily reminiscent of how the left has always resorted to violence and threats and intimidation in order to gain or maintain power.
John Hawkins: Now this is another quote from the book: “And as I’ve shown how fascism progresses naturally from socialism, the Democrat Party is flirting with becoming fascist. I mean it and I’m not kidding. This is not political rhetoric or hyperbole. I’ve never been more serious or more concerned.” Now, why do you say that?
Tammy Bruce: You can see it and it�s sometimes subtle and sometimes it�s not so subtle…(J)ust after the election, as an example, and during the election last year — (there was) a shot fired into offices of Republican headquarters, an individual trying to run down Katherine Harris during a campaign rally on a street in Florida — when you had after the election a gang of a hundred masked people with bats invading a GOP office. These are events that never used to play a part in American politics.
John Hawkins: Tammy, I note that in Michelle Malkin�s new book,�Unhinged,� she details lots and lots and lots of events like that, too.
Tammy Bruce: Yeah, you know there are. Of course, the mainstream media didn�t cover them well because they expose the left for what they are. (A)…variety of resources for information � books, certainly blogs…and talk radio as well…feed into each other and are showing Americans, �Look, here�s what�s been happening. Here�s what you�re not seeing and judge for yourself.” (That) opens up an entire door to a new realization, in addition to seeing how unfair and unclear and biased the mainstream media has been.
But, yes, there�s a fascism that is a basis of not just violence exacted out at your opponents, but it also is reflective of when you have to resort to violence and to such demonization, such as saying that the President of the United States is like Hitler. When you dissolve into such a demonizing and level of hatred, it�s because you can no longer engage on the issues themselves and that is also a fascist framework ultimately.
I say this not just about the American left, but whether it be about Cuba, North Korea, Stalin�s Soviet Union. You have nations that are simply run by fear and oppression for the glory and wealth of the very few and that�s what you see manifesting in the American left. For classical liberals and authentic Democrats, that kind of George Soros hatred, the kind of violence exacted during the election, is not reflective of what they want.
It is a very few at the top who are so filled with hatred for the opposition that they believe they have sole possession of the truth that they�re going to use important issues to Americans to ride their way to power. It�s classic, it�s happened before around the world, and America�s left is no different than the Russian left. It is the same theory, it is a religion, and it is a self-destructive one at that.
John Hawkins: Let me ask, Tammy certainly there are some bad elements in the Democratic party and there were certainly, like you say, episodes of violence…, but I think a lot of us on the right, like myself, we could never imagine Howard Dean or Hillary Clinton trying to throw out the Constitution and rule by force, you know, that sort of thing, (in order) to really run a fascist country.
Tammy Bruce: Well, you know, I�ll tell you, these are simple steps I tell my readers about when it comes to taking action on a big issue. …(I)f you look at an elephant and you know you have to eat it, you think, � I can�t eat that whole big thing,� so what you do is you do it one bite at a time. I�ve written about elements that have moved us into fascist states…(I)f you thought that the government (would) criminalize what you think, you�d say I�m crazy — but we�ve done that with hate crimes legislation.
We�ve not only criminalized what people think � remember hate�s not a thought, it�s really a feeling � we�ve managed in this nation to criminalize the feelings of people and piggy back a feeling crime on top of an already existing crime. That�s one of the fascist steps that�s been taken.
There are elements frankly of the Patriot Act. While our borders remain open we have a Patriot Act that gives the government power to look at your library record. Now let me tell you something, if you�re a terrorist and we�re relying on the books that you�ve taken out, we�re in trouble.
…I would tell you that depending on the nature of who�s in office, if there was another catastrophe in this country, let�s say, God forbid, a small nuclear device is exploded, I would tell you that someone like Hillary Clinton would be much more inclined to suspend the Constitution and impose marshal law than certain Republicans would be.
I think that we need to look at the nature of individuals, also realize that a President does not work alone, that you can get a collection of people who in and of themselves believe that they have sole possession of the truth, that what they�re doing, they believe, is best for this nation because they don�t trust the people. More often than not, of course, you�re going to find that mentality on the left — which I contend despises the average person, despises the nature of capitalism and competition because as victims, they can never compete properly.
So it is really a projection in an attempt, in their somewhat depraved lives, to become normal again by making society look like them and that is why you have to be…very careful (of) even though I consider the parties are very much the same these days. With Republicans and conservatives, you�re going to have more trust in the average person. With people of faith, you�re going to have more trust in the decency of people, and you don�t have either one of those on the left.
John Hawkins: One of the themes of Bernard Goldberg’s book Bias, was that members of the liberal media live in a bubble, where they’re rarely ever forced to confront opposing views. You sort of hit on the same theme in the “Tearing down the Institutions” chapter of your book. Do liberals have a tendency towards groupthink because they’re not exposed to opposing views in the same way that conservatives are?
Tammy Bruce: Well, see, it becomes a Catch-22 in a way. On the left, primarily because the intensity of the group is imperative, (the) intensity of group action (is stronger than on the right). When people get together and it�s for a thing they feel very passionate about, or as we discussed earlier about life and death issues, about who they are and their identity. Automatically they�re going to move into groupthink and they�re going to feel that they do have sole possession of the truth.
Now that�s why when the media is asked about liberal bias, they say it doesn�t exist. …You know, you believe what you believe because you believe it�s right. (So) you don�t have the perspective of bias and when you feel that you are reflective of the average world and what everyone else thinks and you have sole possession of the truth. And if that�s the case, people who disagree with you or have alternative points of view, are just stupid and why waste your time with them?
So it really becomes like a snowball of a building of a feeling of — as I experienced in NOW and as leadership on the left of an almost ecstatic sense of greatness — having an understanding of the world, that everyone who doesn�t understand it is stupid or misled. There is this…kind of grandiose sense of one�s self and as a result because everyone else is so lost, or doesn�t understand, or has drank the Kool-Aid or has been brainwashed by religion. You, of course, for their own good — are to control them. And I think that when it comes to the media that is the same mentality that pervades. There is an attitude of, �We know better than you; you are indeed the great unwashed masses.�
It�s just like with the blogs, you know, a bunch of people sitting around in their pajamas daring to have an opinion on the world�s events. …The reality is that media in general has become so detached from the average person because of their own sense of self-aggrandizing, if you will, that people, the average person represented most currently by bloggers, as an example, is hated because you don�t have the right to do what they do. You don�t have the insight, and especially because you don�t think the way they do, and you have a different point of view…
We see it in the success of the internet, we see it in the decline of the circulation of newspapers, the decline of the New York Times� profits… Americans are finally looking to other sources. They�re tired of this pontificating holier-than-thou attitude that hates this nation. They preach to the choir, but that choir on the left, I think, is getting smaller.
John Hawkins: Here’s an interesting comment from the book that I assume comes from your Post-NOW days: “Imagine my shock when I realized through talk radio that the enemy wasn’t thinking day in and day out about me. And, most inexplicable, they didn’t hate me at all.” Why did you say that and do you think the average lefty believes conservatives really hate them?
Tammy Bruce: Oh, yes. On the left, I�ll tell you, (there were) meetings I attended where the discussion was how everyone was working to destroy us. I�ve described (this) in, �The Death of Right and Wrong,� as malignant narcissism and narcissism � and to a lot of people it�s the belief that you�re great, but it really is quite the opposite. It�s based in victimhood and it�s the belief that everything that is happening is happening because of you and as a result, imagine a leadership of a political wing of this country truly believing that everyone who is on the other side is obsessing about them, and making choices based on them, and plotting and planning to hurt them.
So it is a self-obsession based in victimhood. Now I was raised on the left to believe that in fact this was life and death, that we�re going to destroy you before you destroy us. Now that is almost non-existent on the right, if you will. I don�t see that kind of � there�s certainly some paranoia when it comes to the extreme right � but the level of paranoia and narcissism really drives all the decision making (on the left).
I�ll give you an example when it comes to gay marriage. If Christians are against gay marriage, the gay elite don�t believe that�s because the Christian is concerned about tradition, concerned about the future of this nation, or has a series of issues (with it) surrounding their faith, instead, of course, the gay elite says, �Oh, they�re homophobes.�
They�ve made a decision because they hate me, that they�re thinking this way because of me, that they�re making that decision because they want to hurt me � as opposed to, that they may be against gay marriage because, again, of faith, because of the importance of the tradition of marriage. In fact, God forbid should they ever consider that it might not have anything to do with homosexuals at all, but it has everything to do with (people’s) families, that kind of deeper thinking beyond one�s self, they�re incapable of.
That�s why on the abortion rights front there is no consideration that a pro-life individual is… really just a person of faith and really truly believes that (conception is) when life begins. Instead it�s about misogyny. It�s about hating women, it�s about controlling women, it�s about men�s jealousy of women, it�s all about us…
I�ve grown, I�m proud to say, to realize…that thoughtful people can come to seriously different conclusions on the issues and that on the right, more often than not, it really is about the issue, and yet on the left, you have a group of foot soldiers and politicians and leadership raised and believing in the idea that everything is about them. This is a war, people are out to get them, and to suggest otherwise, of course, would completely smash the entire foundation of why the left existed in the first place. They must have an oppressor, they must have a victimizer, because their entire existence relies on it, and if it�s not there, they�ll make it up.
John Hawkins: A related question, I guess you would have been pretty surprised when you said in the book that while Christians “hold religious beliefs against homosexuality,” they are some of the most tolerant, understanding, and kind people I have ever met.� So was that a big surprise for you when you weren�t getting condemned?
Tammy Bruce: Yes, it was; it was shocking. For me it was quite life-changing in my sense of how I viewed the world and I was also, when it comes to my view of Christians, quite surprised by how happy they were. I mean, I remember being on the left; no one is happy, trust me. They (are the) biggest group of miserable people you would ever want to meet. Everything is wrong, everything is going bad, everyone is after you, everyone wants to get you, people are building camps.
To speak with finally, on talk radio, with Christians, I was struck first by the genuine happiness from these people and also the fact that even though they disagreed with me, finally I was having conversations with people who were curious, disagreed with me, but didn�t want to hurt me, were interested in persuading me, and it was quite a revelation, I have to say. I owe my beginning in talk radio to that kind of — it�s the only place really where you can have that kind of exchange between someone like myself and conservative Christians and have it be safe and have it be really life-transforming.
John Hawkins: Let me ask a related question to this because I thought this was kind of fascinating because it�s so different from what you often hear. In the book, you were talking about how you came to decide that you wanted to be a lesbian and you pretty much framed it in those terms. It was a choice. You were attracted to men and women and you chose to — you just liked women better — would you say that�s common or….
Tammy Bruce: Well, it�s difficult to say because it�s so politically incorrect to ask these questions. It�s one of the reasons why � and I�ve made that discussion in the epilogue � so that…parents (could allow) their children (to read) at their discretion.
I felt that it was finally time in a book about individualism to discuss the two things that really differentiate me from a number of my listeners and readers and, of course, that�s one of those aspects. Normally it would be a very private part of my life, but since I�m public, it becomes important because of the nature of my position on issues and what I stand for.
In that regard, I thought being honest and this, of course, is key (to) that when it comes to homosexuality. There is such a variety, at least within the community itself, …about why women identify as lesbians, but even what that means.
There are a number of women who identify as lesbians, some of them, somewhat well-known, have regular liaisons with men. …There are some women in the community that you could get to know…who�ve experienced violence at the hands of men and have turned to women for that reason. There are other women who say that they�ve been gay since they�ve been born and that, of course, is also politically incorrect to question or to ask them how or why they know that.
…I challenge and suggest that the gay label is rejected by homosexuals who don�t want to be associated with left wing politics, which is also what it stands for these days. I�ve always taken issue with this demand and this comes into conformity again — the conformity demand by the left, that if you�re a homosexual you�d better identify as gay, you�d better say it is an orientation, that it�s not a preference, that all of these singular lines should be adhered to so that you have a united front.
Well, I say bunk with that and how absurd that the community that says that it is the most different and the most unique demands such serious conformity on its own members. So I think it�s certainly time for some level of honesty in that discussion about the nature of it…
John Hawkins: Can you tell us a little bit about your new book, “The New American Revolution.�
Tammy Bruce: Well, you know, it is the third of a trilogy, if you will. After my first two, people mostly asked me about what could they do about what it is I�ve shown them about the intentions of the left. �The New American Revolution� is now a reflection of a monumental social change, I contend, in America.
Not only did our foreign policy change after September 11, but each of us as individuals were transformed in realizing that tomorrow is not guaranteed. There are people out there who want to kill our children, that the government cannot be relied on to keep us safe no matter how hard they try. It really is up to each one of us.
In this nation we�ve been in a cultural coma for the last 4 to 5 decades; we looked away saying, �Well, maybe let the left have the culture, maybe they know best.� We looked away and when we looked back, after September 11, we saw the carnage that the left had done — with political correctness, multi-culturalism, the kind of things France is now seeing — the end results of, as well, and the fact is now that we�re rejecting that, I contend.
We�re seeing…it manifest with Hollywood which has had its worst box office season in its history. People have stopped going to the movies. With mainstream media we talked earlier about declining circulations and profits, with television, broadcast television, declining ratings there — and with an electorate that re-called the governor of California, Democrats voting for President Bush in high numbers last year, with him winning by the highest margin of any modern President.
(M)y book…tells people how to…take this nation back. …I think the Minuteman Project is probably the best example of what I�m speaking of. You have regular people taking control of a situation in this country that the government has not just ignored, but made worse. And even (though) I think you�d agree they probably voted for George W. Bush, even when he condemned them, they did not care. They didn�t wait for his approval, they didn�t need it, they did what was necessary in securing this country. It is a really lovely thing to see and it is probably the purest manifestation of what I�m talking about.
John Hawkins: Are there any blogs you read at least semi-regularly?
Tammy Bruce: Indeed, I read your blog. I read Littlegreenfootballs.com, of course. I read, you know, I�ve got my blog up, which is, of course, I can�t help but read it, I write it, and Power Line blog as well.
This is my struggle now, like as a radio talk show host, I don�t listen to other radio talk shows because I don�t want to be influenced, and because I�m new at blogging, I wanted to get a sense of what was happening and I enjoy them, but I also don�t want to be influenced when it comes to what others are doing.
I almost didn�t view the blogs because all of you have been so established for so long and do such a great job. Roger L. Simon is an example of a very different kind of style and he inspires me, but it can be pretty intimidating out there. So I�m reading them less, but it�s hard because it is probably the best way to get news and information and opinion, better than anything out there, I�ll tell you.
John Hawkins: If you�re reading them less, you can feel free to dump all those others, but stick with Right Wing News, �cause that�s the important one to keep catching every day. (Laughs)
Tammy Bruce: (Laughs) Well, you know…it�s funny because with my background…you know, I was on the left for a reason. I had all of the traits and have all of the traits that made me a perfect foot soldier for the left — and…it�s just like that even the name, Right Wing News, it made me a little nervous going there.
John Hawkins: (Laughs)
Tammy Bruce: Because…I think to myself, it�s still this way that because I�m called a conservative…and as a pro-choice lesbian feminist it�s still odd that I�m now considered a conservative, but that�s because the left has gone so far to the left they�re fascists.
So someone like me is considered a conservative and it comes down to being willing to accept — and I�ve discussed labels in the book as well — be willing to accept what you�re called but also be clear for yourself about what you really are. In today�s day and age, I am a conservative, in the sense of what that stands for. Today�s conservative is yesterday�s classical liberal and I�m determined to try to help make that label more popular, more broad, more accepted, and more understood and I hope I�m doing a good job.
John Hawkins: You are.
Tammy Bruce: Well, good.
John Hawkins: Is there anything else you’d like to say or promote before we finish?
Tammy Bruce: Well, a big part of the book is about American nationalism and it is not just about us not feeling guilty about being great. It�s about loving that we are, accepting that fact and then realizing that the exportation of our values and our principles is not only the right thing to do, it is absolutely necessary.
Whatever happens after George W. Bush, we have found in the last century that being shy about being the greatest nation on earth has gotten us nowhere. The attempt to make friends — like on September 10, everybody liked us — and, you know, while Bill Clinton was busy getting Monica Lewinsky on her knees instead of Bin Laden on his, the whole world was our friend �- and you look what it got us.
Now we�ve got to be more clear in that, are we going to kill ourselves in efforts to be liked, or are we going to do what�s necessary to guarantee the future for our children and grandchildren?
…The (idea that other countries are) not ready for democracy and freedom, those are racist concepts. There is no one on this earth, and we�ve seen it with Iraqis and the Lebanese, who doesn�t want to be free, even the animals in the jungle. Nobody wants to be in a cage and to suggest that Asians or the Middle Easterners or Africans can�t handle it is an argument from the left and it is our responsibility as Americans…not sit back and look away condemning future generations…
It�s American values and principles, democracy and freedom. We�ve got to be the generation I�m sure that we are. I�m encouraging in the book for us to make sure that we are to aggressively export that. In part it means smashing the left in this country so that we can do so unfettered and I think that we�re capable, and we should do it and we can, and we should work toward doing it — not that I have an opinion.
John Hawkins: Thank you very much.