Tammy Bruce depicts a society in which felons are lauded as heroes, murderers as victims, and rapists as liberators. In this society, various groups strive to be more equal than others. Sadly, her book describes not some Orwellian nightmare of the future, but the moral relativism that today’s liberal establishment is already laboring to force on the American people.
In The Death of Right and Wrong, Bruce decries the current subversion of American culture by the Left. She argues that the most vocal of the feminist, academic, black, and gay activists are not only causing the decay of America’s moral fiber — they’re looking forward to it.
The contention is a familiar one to conservative readers, but it is particularly noteworthy for coming, in this case, from a liberal activist. Bruce describes herself as a pro-choice, lesbian feminist and has the credentials to prove it — for seven years, she served as president of the L.A. branch of the National Organization of Women (NOW). While conservatives might question a gay liberal activist preaching morality, Bruce’s experience within the liberal movement has armed her with an insider’s perspective, and she wields that advantage masterfully.
As a gay feminist, Bruce was a poster child for the gay movement — until, that is, she began questioning why the gay movement should accept depraved and harmful practices as “alternative lifestyles.” For expressing her opinions, Bruce was accused of being intolerant and a danger to the community.
Bruce’s book presents evidence of abundant moral relativism, egotism, and a shocking lack of personal responsibility within these movements. In searching for universal acceptance, these groups ultimately demand that the general public withhold any judgment, even as special interests blame all of their problems on society.
Bruce notes that many individuals, including many of her former coworkers, had suffered from psychological trauma — such as rape, molestation, or violence — and never fully recovered. These special-interest groups never moved on to the third stage of recovery: “reintegrating the survivor into the community of ordinary people.” They look to social, rather than personal, modification. The resulting “malignant narcissism” has spread and threatens to damage the very traditions from which the leftists had once sought acceptance.
Bruce, as a feminist, laments the usurpation of legitimate movements by the liberal elites. For example, in 1966, NOW sought to bring women “into truly equal partnership with men.” Today there are no positive references to men at all in the statement of purpose. Instead, they write: “We envision a world where patriarchal culture and male dominance no longer oppress us on our earth.”
Bruce catalogues shocking examples of depravity among the leadership of these movements, and makes it clear that the Left is truly to be feared. The heart of the book, however, is her repeated detailing of villains who were transformed into victims to further a cause. Among the more heinous examples of the “victim culture” are: a cop killer turned martyr because his skin was black, a mother who was declared a victim of postpartum psychosis after killing her five children, and a rapist who became a poster child for “adult-child sex”. Al-Amin shot and killed a black officer who was trying to serve him with an arrest warrant for receiving stolen goods. Andrea Yates was the only one out of 4,000 reported cases of postpartum psychosis to act out in murder. Mary Kay Letourneau served only six months’ time for raping a 13-year-old former student, violating parole so she could get pregnant by him a second time. According to the Left’s elites, these people were not responsible for their own actions; they are the victims of an oppressive society.
The Left wants a world where there are no rules, no morality, and no personal responsibility. In a relativistic world, those people who do have beliefs or morals must be held as the enemy. Liberal elites thus must seek to undermine traditional values and the status quo. Bruce’s book does a good job of pointing out the moral vacuum so often disguised as social activism and acceptance. Bruce quotes Orianna Fallaci’s poignant observation: “Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights.” Unfortunately, this self-evident truth is just what is denied by the liberal elites.
— Meghan Keane is an NR editorial associate.