Bullies: How The Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America

Editor’s note: Ben Shapiro will be speaking at the Freedom Center’s Wednesday Morning Club at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles on April 9, 2012. For more information and to register, click here.

To purchase Bullies, click here.

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Ben Shapiro, an attorney and writer and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is the author of the new book, Bullies: How The Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America.

FP: Ben Shapiro, welcome to Frontpage Interview and congratulations on your new book.

Let’s begin with you telling us what the book is about and what inspired you to write it.

Shapiro: What inspired me to write Bullies was the growing realization that the left was completely uninterested in political discussion, and instead was interested in resorting to bully tactics to slime their opposition’s character. Andrew Breitbart was one of my mentors, and he always used to say that the folks on the left were more interested in demonization than they were in debate. They wanted to polarize Americans from one another so they could then pick up the pieces and form them into a coalition for leftism. When Barack Obama was elected, we were supposed to see America transformed into a unified nation once again. Instead, Obama pursued the left’s favored bully tactics more than any president in American history. I felt I had to expose that.

FP: What are some of the Left’s bullying tactics?

Shapiro: The left’s favorite bully tactic is painting its opposition as morally deficient and unworthy of being part of the conversation. The left uses this tactic on virtually every topic. Sequestration? It turns out that those dastardly right-wingers just want to hurt first responders and teachers. Gun control? Those conservatives just don’t care about dead kids. Gay marriage? Conservatives hate homosexuals. Once you paint your opposition as morally bankrupt, you don’t have to win the debate. You win by default. That’s the basis of the political correctness movement.

The Obama administration uses that tactic to destroy its opposition. They work with groups outside the government to target their political opposition and destroy them personally and economically, launching smears and boycotts rather than countenancing the argument.

FP: Who are some of the biggest leftist bullies out there right now?

Shapiro: President Obama is clearly the ringleader of the leftist bullies. He seeks conflict so that he can paint his opposition as evil. Then he tells the American people that the people he’s facing just won’t compromise –- even as he refuses compromise at every turn – and begs for public support. It’s very effective.

But the left couldn’t get away with any of this without the media. The media are the greatest of all the leftist bullies, because they play at objectivity while sliding the knife in as deep as humanly possible. By lying to the American people about their disinterested reportage, they are able to convince Americans that people of good heart cannot take conservatives seriously. That’s a damaging message.

FP: Your thoughts on how the bullies have taken over our media, many of our institutions  and academia. Why are all the major vehicles of political persuasion controlled by the Left?

Shapiro: We see leftist bullies in all the major institutions of American life: the university system, Hollywood, the non-profit world. The left thinks institutionally; we think individually. They think about how they can take over institutions and use them as weapons of mass conversion; we think about how we’d like to be left alone. The left understands that it’s more important to control the means of distribution than to convince individuals. That’s why they see Americans as members of groups: religious groups, ethnic groups, age groups, classes. Nobody is an individual. We’re all interchangeable widgets, defined by our socioeconomic environments. That means we’re infinitely changeable if we only had an institution to guide us. Conservatives don’t think this way, so we lose.

FP: Can you talk a bit about how the Left pretends it is on the side of the poor, women and minorities but how reality shows that the opposite is actually the case?

Shapiro: The left defines itself solely by its self-perception that it stands up for the poor. It can’t claim any victories on that score – civil rights was a bipartisan victory, and in the aftermath of the civil rights movement, the left proceeded to absolutely cripple minority communities through “helpful” government programs that created a massive cycle of dependency. But members of the left have to sleep at night, and so they still define themselves as the folks standing up for all minorities. That’s why they can’t tolerate members of minority groups (those interchangeable widgets) who disagree with them politically. If minorities don’t agree with the left, how can the left claim to stand up for minorities? The only way members of the left can justify their incompetence to themselves is to pretend that those who oppose their agenda oppose minorities, even though it is leftist programs that have done more damage to minority communities than anything since Jim Crow.

FP: Why does the Left hate and bully Sarah Palin so much?

Shapiro: For the same reason the left hates and bullies Clarence Thomas or Larry Elder: if you’re a member of a minority group and dare to disagree with the left, you’re challenging their very identity. They can’t handle that. So Palin has to be demonized as a tool of the right, an idiot, or corrupt – preferably, all three.

FP: In your book, you show how the Duke lacrosse rape case was a perfect example of leftist bullying. Can you talk a bit about that case as an example of your book’s thesis?

Shapiro: The goal of the left in bullying is to set a narrative that jibes with their view of the world. In the Duke lacrosse case, the left wanted a narrative of whites oppressing blacks, especially in the South. So they simply ignored the facts and created a story out  of whole cloth about privileged white men raping a black woman. The entire media ran with it in order to talk about how America was still, underneath, a racist country. All of this was designed to remind the left that they are the white hats in this moral equation – that they are fighters against the prevailing racist establishment. It turns out that the whole story was a fabrication. But the left media had already ruined the lives of the white lacrosse players. Even today, some members of the left media express little or no remorse for their actions in the Duke case – including MSNBC’s own Al Sharpton, who has done more damage to race relations in this country than virtually anybody.

FP: How does the Left get away with all of this?

Shapiro: The media is what shapes Americans’ perceptions, and the media is dominated by the left. The truth is that most Americans don’t follow politics all that closely. They bathe in the water of the culture, and the culture is controlled by the bullying left. So when they watch movies and corporations are always nasty and evil, they take away the message that corporations are nasty and evil. When they watch TV and see that all gay families are wonderful and loving, and most straight families are dysfunctional, complete with stupid father and put-upon mom, they take away the socially liberal message that all family structures are created equal. The right is still operating under the assumption that the background noise in this country is still conservative. It isn’t. Every day that we refuse to fight back, we lose more ground.

FP: What if we continue to allow the Left to engage in bullying without fighting back?

Shapiro: Then the left will continue to win. The only way to have a civil debate with someone on the left is to get past their character assassination. And that takes guts.

FP: How can we fight back? What can we do to make a change? As you reveal in your book, Andrew Breitbart had some of the best ideas and tactics in this regard, yes?

Shapiro: Andrew was a warrior. He recognized that if we’re going to win, we have to walk toward the fire. The left will attack us no matter what. We have to embrace that and tell them that their slings and arrows mean nothing. When they call us racist, sexist bigots, they have no arguments – they are showing their weakness. All we have to do is turn those arguments back on them. If they lie about us, we will tell the truth about them. It is not racist to support voter ID. It is racist to suggest that supporting voter ID somehow makes you racist – and it’s even more racist to suppose that black people are somehow incapable of getting a voter ID. It’s most racist of all to use the charge of racism to cover for your own incompetence, keeping millions of minority children in failing schools to pay off your teachers union cronies and bilk taxpayers out of billions of dollars.

FP: Tell us some of the Left’s reactions to the book.

Shapiro: They hate it, predictably. Most won’t read it. That’s okay. It’s a handbook on how to fight them. It’s foolish of them not to, just as it’s foolish for conservatives not to read Rules for Radicals by Alinsky. The left has reacted to the book and to my arguments by threatening me, tweeting my home address, and targeting me personally. I had to move my wife out of the house for a week. No shock there. This is who the left is, when the mask is off.

FP: Final thoughts?

Shapiro: We cannot win unless we see this as a war. The left does. We’ve seen this as a hobby, because we always figured that the status quo of capitalism and family values would carry the day. That’s no longer the status quo. William F. Buckley famously said that it was our job to stand athwart the rails of history yelling stop. That’s no longer true. The train ran us over awhile back. Now it’s our job to get another train – a bigger train – and run it down those tracks at higher speed. We have to derail the left’s agenda, and then push the country back in the right direction.

FP: It was an honor and privilege to speak to you Ben Shapiro. Thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

And we encourage all of our readers to get their hands on Bullies. It is an absolutely brilliant book. BUY IT!

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.  



  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    What an appropriate title for the book – BULLIES. Yes, they are all that and then some, both mental and physical – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/07/01/leftist-dogma

    You gotta understand them to counter them!

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • theleastthreat

    He should have titled the book "Psychopathic Bullies on Performance Enhancement Pharmacology".

  • Cassandra

    I have read Both Bullies and Rules for radicals.It is very important to read both to understand good and evil. The probem with the average American is that they like the group idea. They do not like to stand alone and be without support from the group. I go almost very day to the YMCA to exercise so I am in a group. I like being in the group too because it is warm and secure. But in appearance only . We had very nice and good teacher in the water exercise class but she had to leave because of surgery. We now have a replacement who is a young female BULLY. Everybody in the class except for one are seniors. They are complaining behind her back constantly. I went alone to the manager to complain. They were even afraid to do that. I now tell her right in her face NO. And also reminded her that we are the clients and we pay her salary. That really shut her up. That's how I deal with bully. Tell them the truth loud and clear.

    • Whateverman

      Thank you so much for that inspiring story. Alas! bullying in water exercise class is an all too common problem and your heroic stance is but admirable.
      Can you share more stories about how you stood to bullying in the grocery section of the supermarket, on the bus, at the gynecologist?

      • Choi

        You can be sure the replacement instructor is a Lefty who voted Democratic.

  • http://www.clarespark.com clarespark

    Here is one example how some fashionable segments of academe bully their readers and students into believing that there is no such thing as "the self" except as the self is constituted by disourses. See http://clarespark.com/2013/03/28/power-and-aristo…. "Power and aristocratic radicals." One could make a case for their being reactionaries, not even leftists or social democrats. They are definitely counter-culture and loathe the bourgeoisie, that they view as jailers. Harvard Ed School Magazine recently ran a piece on "bullies" and for them, the major victim of bullies was trans-gendered. See http://clarespark.com/2012/09/19/bullies/,

  • jem

    “The truth is that most Americans don’t follow politics all that closely. They bathe in the water of the culture, and the culture is controlled by the bullying left.”

    Herein is the essence of the problem. Unless conservatives are enabled to speak into the culture, we are doomed to defeat. The prospects are not very great that we will be able to change the bathwater unless some crisis has the effect of opening the ears and eyes of the American people. The path we are on is likely to bring a crisis. The question remains, are the American people so immersed in the present culture that they will not be able to see the right pathway out of the dilemma?

  • pierce

    The left in this country really are bullies, they force their ideas on you, and won't take no for answer.
    As far as Rules for Radicals, the left have some of the most radical ideas I have seen or heard, so their entire agenda fits them to a tee, and they are not even practical, or for that matter useful.
    It is terrible to say, but I wish a tsunami would come along and wash them all out to sea, a fitting ending for their out in space attitudes.

  • Bob

    The bully tactic was talked about by Jesus 2,000 years ago. From Luke 6:22 – "Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man."

    You don't have to be a believing Christian to be suject to the mockery and being called evil, you'll be the target of this bullying for advocating moral behavior, speaking truth and defending life.

    For example, when you advocate traditional Catholic social justice detailed in the encyclical Rerum Novrarum: that government assistance should go no further than aid in dire circumstances when assistance from family, friends and the community are exhausted to keep the government from replacing fathers, you'll be called evil: greedy, racists, conducting a war against the poor, etc.

  • Bob

    The warnings of Jesus of the tactics of those who oppose a moral way, the truth and life define the playbook of the Left. They hate you. They mock you if the entertainment media. They exclude qualified people from university faculty positions.

    As Dennis Prager says, you'll be called SIXHERB: Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Racist, Bigoted, not to mention the many other insults and charges of evil.

    • Woofula

      Good observation, Bob, but you spelled SIXHIRB incorrectly and, as a result, omitted a couple of smears Leftists like to use. SIXHIRB stands for Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, Bigoted.

      • Bob

        Thanks. I couldn't remember them all, but the list is hardly exhaustive. I think Greedy needs to be in the list.

        • Whateverman

          And Stupid, Moron, Dumb, Idiot and Imbecile should also be added to the list.

          • Maxie

            Your 'comment' is what's known as Projection. Look it up.

  • gee59

    I am a liberal-conservative non-conformist. I believe in the Constitution and all that it states about equal rights for ALL Americans. I am Jewish and oppose most of the 'mainstream Jewish' organizations.

    If marriage gives couples more rights than non-married couples then either non-heterosexual couples must be allowed those same rights.

    I believe that our government and everybody else should stay out my personal life and that government involvement in business must be limited to what is necessary for safety and fairness only.

    I believe that executing people for crimes ensures that they won't do it again. I am against abortion, but do not feel I have the right to tell a woman what do with their own bodies.

    I don't care if somebody gets stoned – just stay off the road and don't endanger others.

    In short I am all over the board – I believe that we the people have rights and that nobody from the left, right or center has any authority over those rights.

    I am an individual!

    • kuffar geoff

      i am a jesus loving non religious zionist not jew who skateboards and smokes dope! i hate communism and leftism and islamofascism yet i hate the fact that i have to hate anything! how is that for individualism? that is me, i to am an individual. weird so no i feel i am apart of another group, individualism!?

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "If marriage gives couples more rights than non-married couples then either non-heterosexual couples must be allowed those same rights."

      Gays have just as much right to marry as anyone else. They simply must choose someone to make a couple that has a plausible chance to create children. That's why the state has an interest in marriage. To raise children in the healthiest environment possible.

      Couples don't have rights collectively. Each individual has rights. Each person has a right to marry anyone of age and the opposite gender. It makes more sense to allow children to marry than it does to allow homosexual couples to marry.

      What about a child's right to get married? What about my right to marry myself?

      It makes a lot more sense for the state to remove benefits for heterosexual couples than it does forcing everyone to accept any leftist redefinition of what we label any given thing. But it doesn't actually make sense to do that.

      • Western Spirit

        Don't you understand? The country has been divided into collectives, we're no longer just plain Americans anymore we're African-Americans, Italian- Americans, Hispanic-Americans and so on. Divide and conquer.

        Individualism has gone the way of everything else of value in our society. Since I'm a product of the great success of the melting pot they can't divide me so they lump me into simply the white category. But even that's defective since a grandmother was a half-breed Cherokee.

        The Leftist bullies are successfully remaking the country into what they want it to be but it won't be great when they're finished reshaping it. It will simply be finished.

        • Whateverman

          When was this mythical time when people were known as plain ole Americans?

      • gee59

        So – my wife and I got married 3 years ago – she cannot have any more children. There will be no more children. Why should I have more rights than a gay couple? And yes couples have RIGHTS collectively that singles do not have. Such as right of inheritance and pensions.

        Your argument totally fails on those points.

        Fine if you think you can get the laws changed – I am for EQUAL rights and not a leftist. I spent 9 years of my life defending those rights and I will not give up mine without a fight – but will continue to fight for them for ALL Americans period

    • Whateverman

      You are also a moron!

      A man has as much say regarding his child's life as a woman does, even if said child is a fetus.

      Gay couple can do whatever they want,they can they can obtain any rights they wish. But Marriage should be untouchable. In every society, at any given time, marriage was between a man and a woman. Marriage was a basis for society. When you only see yourself as an individual and not part of the whole, the survival of said society does not matter to you. .
      How can a society that facilitates abortions and encourage homosexuality survive for long?

  • http://shugartpoliticalaction.shugartmedia.com/uncommonsense/ Chris_Shugart

    Anyone who would criticize bullies is an intolerant bullyist!

    • Donna

      Or a bullyophobic.

  • watsa46

    We are witnessing Marxism-Leninism in action! A small group of far left thinkers has hijacked the gvt!
    Will the American people respond?

    • Whateverman

      What is marxism-leninism and how is it in action? Please elaborate instead of throwing around concepts to sound intelligent.

      • watsa46

        Why don't you look at the origin of political correctness and go from there!

        • Whateverman

          So you don't know what you're talking about?

          • watsa46

            Who invented PC? and WHY?

      • Maxie

        How is it in action? Upwards of a hundred million people slaughtered by engineered mass starvation (the Kulaks); worked to death in prison camps (Gulags), shot by firing squads (Katyn Forest), tortured and executed in the Lubyanka prison (Moscow); All the above plus in Mao's Chinese Great Leap Forward and Pol Pot's Cambodian KIlling Fields. Read the Black Book of Communism or just look it up on Wikipedia. Also read "Stalin: The Red Tsar" by Montefiore.

  • Donna

    In Britain the extreme left's tactics border on terrorism, if the right were to engage in such aggression/violence we would be arrested for terrorism!

    And when they say that the right are racist in wanting to control immigration, we can say the left and liberals have created a humanitarian crisis in Britain through their open door immigration policy; we have immigrants living in squalor under bridges etc after being promised the world by these leftists and 'liberals'.

    These people don't care one jot about immigrants, they have used then and are continuing to use them as a weapon to break down British identity, they are ruthless and will try to crush anyone who gets in their way.

    Regards from Britain.

  • zsqpwxxeh

    Shapiro's main point is clear as crystal: We must fight. Not reach across the aisle, not compromise, not hold back, not refrain from tearing the left and its rotten cause and its bullying methods to ribbons, not continue to play their PC games. FIGHT!

    There is no reason why Barack Obama, the worst president in the history of the United States of America, a cowardly leftist weasel with no qualifications or positive accomplishments, could not have been defeated for re-election by a potted plant. But he won reelection, because the Republicans ran a wimp against him. Against a fighter he would have gone down to a defeat of Biblical proportions, media or no media. To win against bullies, you must fight.

    You must fight.

    • Western Spirit

      That sounds good and I share your sentiments. But it would be wise to remember that HItlers battle-cry in the beginning of his reign of terror was, "we will fight."

      The war we're fighting is between good and evil nothing less. So we must use the sword of truth and the shield of righteousness if we are to prevail. Of course saying this is not politically correct so please excuse my piety.

    • Whateverman

      We have to fight for our right to PARTAAAAYYYYY!

  • ADE

    He's right, they herd us to our doom not at the point of a real bayonet but a psychological one, we must learn to ignore the insults, call us what you like, we don't want what you're offering.

  • Ghostwriter

    I read Mr. Shapiro's book and it's interesting. It amazes me how many on the left act like they have the right to say things but nobody else. What a bunch of creeps.

  • Whateverman

    The book should be titled "Projection: How the Idiots On The Right Like To Project Their Tactics On The People They Smear, Write A Book About It and The Morons Who Waste Their Money By Buying Any Drivel As Long As It Is Racist And Islamophobic"

    • Makeadifference

      Hey Whateverman, you have a great name that fits you very well. But, after all, what's your problem? Do you have anything to say, or do you just spend your time trashing "whatever" you can?

  • Whateverman

    2 Thousand years ago, a man was bullied and than crucified because he told the truth to a certain chosen people.

    • UCSPanther

      Still using that "Schtick"?


      That man was a member of the chosen people.

    • Choi


  • Infovoyeur

    Kudos kabingo to "Whateverman"! Left maligns Right, and it seems this book is Right maligns Left. WHERE is the Centered discussion whose goal is not CV Combat to win Victory for one's own side, but CV Communicatiion toward Veracity and Validity, to responsibly maturely evaluate complexity and work toward pro-and-con judicious movement toward best-for-all re-solutions?

    Oh okay I am either Idealistic or Unrealistic or whatever. But, the above goal–one of truer Education thought not taught in Schools–can be done IF YOU WANT TO BUT ALL SIDES GOTTA WANNA!

    • http://www.themadjewess.wordpress.com MAD JEWESS

      Its not left vs right. Its Commies against Americans



  • http://www.themadjewess.wordpress.com MAD JEWESS

    The way to talk to the left; Dont answer ANY of their q's. YOU ask the Q's

  • stevef

    Yet Conservatives and the GOP never shove back the DPM (Democratic Party Media) when given the opportunity…It's like the Right is like a battered spouse or bullied weakling unwilling to speak up.

  • umustbkidding

    yet they teach our children to cower from bullies. To circle together and cringe. And if your children are in school and stand up for themselves they are punished just as harshly for doing so as the bully. TSA is another great example of bullying. They are just getting us ready for what is to come.

  • slider 96

    Demonizing ? LOLOL…..Ben Shapiro ?……..look who's calling the kettle black !

  • Flowerknife_us

    Everyone plays to the politically correct tune in place of the Symphony of truth.

  • Bob Marshall

    Another excellent book is THE AMERICAN TYRANT by Chris Hambleton available at both Amazon.com book store and AbeBooks.com for under $11.00.

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  • Frank

    Wow. Just… wow. The best fiction I've read in quite some time.

  • Green Smoke

    Its a common news.Every country has faced this situation.The country government should take manage this problem. After passing some days it make a great problem.

    Green Smoke

  • loggard852

    Corporate America has created a culture of fear in this country. Fear of everything from bad breath to truth. We have been programed to be afraid we do not have enough or will not be good enough if we do not have the right material goods.

    Anxiety Attack