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Why former “Liberal” Feminist Icon Naomi Wolf Left the Authoritarian Left

[The] difference between the way I saw the world [when I was a Leftist] and the way I see the world now: you know that [Biblical] parable, “Who’s my brother?” [Mark 3:33] right? The people [the Left] I thought were my brothers and sisters are not my brothers and sisters.  My brothers and sisters [now] are people from all walks of life, many conservatives, libertarians, people of faith … who care about their fellow human beings.

Former iconic “liberal” and feminist Naomi Wolf (Ph.D. Yale 1984), interview with Tucker Carlson, April 12, 2024

I was invited to talk with Jeffrey Tucker at a libertarian think tank.  I was nervous because I still thought I was a liberal and someone asked me about capitalism.  I gave my standard liberal answer and braced because I thought “now I’ll be frozen out … No one will talk to me” and I remember this look of open curiosity [on his face].  He said “why do you think that?”  I thought “this is so surreal, we’re not fighting, we’re just exchanging civil views in a desire to understand each other better.” I literally hadn’t had that kind of conversation on the Left since the 70’s [emphasis added].

Naomi Wolf at the Mises Institute Supporters Summit, Oct 12, 2023

It is often quite difficult for conservatives, libertarians and other grown-ups to understand “liberals” and “the Left”.  They call themselves tolerant and “inclusive” but many of them immediately cancel anyone who disagrees with them.  In fact, conservatives and libertarians detest NAZI’s, white supremacists and fascists but if one puts an article by Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz criticizing the Trump guilty verdict in New York on Twitter (X) or Facebook (Meta) the “liberals” start calling one those names. One posts a factually correct article on social media and it is censored.  But there are presently articles on Facebook, e.g., one by Democrat Jamie Raskin (Rep. MD 8th District) , that falsely call Trump an “adjudicated rapist” and there are currently multiple articles on Twitter that falsely call Trump a “rapist.”  One post now on Twitter claims that Trump “was never president”.  None of those are censored!  Vicious false leftist propaganda is fine.  Factually correct conservative articles blocked.  One feels one is transported into Orwell’s 1984.  What has happened to these “inclusive liberals”?  Do they even understand what words mean anymore?

Naomi Wolf’s illuminating and fascinating account of her departure from “liberalism” and the Left helps one to understand what one is now dealing with.  She describes how she began as and for many decades was a “media darling on the Left”:

I found myself a fixture, a media darling, on the Left. I advised Bill Clinton’s and Al Gore’s presidential campaigns.  [I was] deep deep deep blue [in] the deep deep deep bubble where all those ideas were incubated on the Left.  I didn’t know how wrong some of my ideas were.  And you don’t know that in that bubble because [it] is so hegemonic and so self-perfecting in its self-referential suffocating reflection of itself.  It’s a bubble without escape.

The leftist “bubble” is “hegemonic”, i.e., the “strongest and most dominant control others.”  They call you a fascist because they are fascists.  There is no escape” from the leftist “bubble” because it is “a self-referential suffocating reflection of itself”.  They give each other fraudulent degrees and Pulitzer prizes for false stories and then refer to those fraudulent degrees and awards as justification for their hegemony in their little elitist club.  “Listen peasant! Did you ever get a Pulitzer?”  One “suffocates” because there is no “air” outside their authoritarian bubble.   There is no outside.  The Left is all there is.

Wolf’s awakening began during the Covid-lockdowns when the White House began instituting “Draconian” measures, telling people they could not meet more than 6 people in their own homes, cannot go to church or restaurants or that they must wear a mask whenever inside (while, of course, leftist elites did as they pleased).  Wolf tells Carlson how she discovered data that females who took the Covid vaccine stopped menstruating but her mere suggestion that this should be investigated got her cancelled!  Lifelong friends stopped talking to her.  She was not invited to Thanksgiving dinner, etc.  Wolf’s observation about the vaccine effects has, of course, been verified, not, as she points out, that any of her “liberal” friends have apologized.  Wait, haven’t “liberals” told us for 6 decades that they are the ones who care about women’s health?  Or is that really only about aborting babies?

Wolf describes how she briefly encountered these ideas once when young:

When I was a baby feminist in my 20’s I had this talk with [Llewellyn] Rockwell.  I had never talked with a libertarian before. … In one 30-40-minute conversation, he literally made me reconsider the foundational basis of my consciousness.  [I was] rethinking, “maybe there’s this whole other world here about which I know nothing, a world of intellectual freedom, social freedom, institutional freedom” that I was glimpsing that no one had ever showed me before.  It was intoxicating, but as the decades went on and I wasn’t surrounded by people like that, I never glimpsed [it] again.

Wolf’s glimpse of a new “other world” of “freedom” dissipated because in her entire later career at Yale, Oxford and on the Left she never encountered these ideas again.  What?  Despite their carefully cultivated affectation of superiority, don’t “educated” people read anymore?   Wolf states that hadn’t had an open discussion on the Left since the 1970’s?  Read Anchee Min’s account in Red Azalia of growing up in Mao’s communist China and you will recognize Wolf’s all-knowing all-controlling “liberal” comrades!

One of her most revealing discussions in her talk to the Mises Institute concerns her change of heart about guns:

I hated guns.  I wanted gun control because everyone in my liberal circles had to believe that.  [But] my husband is an armed former military intelligence guy and I went to buy a firearm with him … This young woman, maybe 27, showed me her firearm in a hip-holster [under] her blouse and I realized I’ve been working for rape and domestic violence survivors my whole life. I’m a survivor myself. I realized this could change everything for women.

One can support rape crisis centers and sing “We shall overcome” all one wants.  That’s all fine but when a 220-pound male corners a 110-pound female in a basement and she pulls out her .32, points it at his chest and says, “not today pal,” it stops right thereSisterhood may be powerful but a .32 in the hands of a trained female in that basement is more powerful. 

Wolf, also at Mises, mentions her article in Human Events in which she “apologizes to conservatives” for believing all the “lies” she was told by the “news” media about Jan. 6th – lies that “liberal” Bill Maher, apparently not as independent as he thinks he is, still believes

Wolf does say that she does not unreservedly call herself a conservative or libertarian.  That’s fine. In a sense that is the whole point.   Work it out in your own way and at your own pace!  Welcome to the philosophy of freedom, sister!  What can we teach each other?

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Richard McDonough

Richard Michael McDonough, American philosophy educator. Achievements include production of original interpretation of Wittgenstein’s logical-metaphysical system, original application Kantian Copernican Revolution to philosophy of language; significant interdisciplinary work logic, linguistics, psychology & philosophy. Member Australasian Debating Federation (honorary life, adjudicator since 1991), Phi Kappa Phi.

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