In some fit of open-mindedness, I read a mainstream book that did not involve combat, namely Ann Coulter’s Demonic. I probably won’t do it again; it was slow, in that while it made a good point, it was not a book’s worth of a good point, so the result was profundity fed in tiny bites of pre-ground baby food, which probably pleases her audience but bored me.
Coulter is probably a genius of marketing. She likes to pose in contour-fitting clothing, not chaste but not excessive, with the gold cross displayed prominently on her decolletage zone. Her alternately Anglo-Saxon and Irish features are carefully displayed to look both knowledgeable and friendly (she literally looks like several different people: from straight ahead, she’s a dead ringer for James Hetfield, but looks like Alice Cooper from the side and from the top, like a more aggressive Drew Barrymore). She knows her audience and works them, but at the same time, gets in some of the best zingers and provocative “trolls” known in politics.
As a result, I’ll continue to admire her work, although I’m not going to be drawn in by the muted T&A or too-adamant Christianity. Whether she is simply selling a product, or believes this stuff, she makes some valid points. She is probably most profound as a writer of satire, because when you set aside the polemic, her books are ultimately a mockery of the stupidity that we as Americans tolerate because we’ve been taught it’s polite to do so.
Like most conservatives, she is a consequentialist, and believes in end results and reality more than fanciful notions of moral purity and idealistic unity. However, on some topics, this forces her to walk a fine line, which she does by publicly proclaiming loud allegiance to the dominant thought, and then sliding invisible knives into its back through oblique comments.
Notice this subtle footwork:
The reason our revolution was the opposite of a directionless, violent mob running wild in the streets is that the dominant American culture was Anglo-Saxon and Christian. Even while fighting “the British,” as we now call them, Americans considered themselves British with the rights of Englishmen, who bore the tradition of the Magna Carta. In fact, one rebel explained that he was fighting the Redcoats to protect his house by saying, “An Englishman’s home is his castle.” (140)
When you break that statement away from the surrounding context, you see a clear message: culture held us together where politics could not. Even more, our culture upheld certain values that kept us from the anarchy of the French or other tribes. And by implication, in the same way our culture — and heritage — can save us in the future.
Here is Coulter explaining why Martin Luther King Jr was a fraud, and by extension, why race politics in America are extraneous:
Martin Luther King Jr was the heir to Rousseau. He used images in order to win publicity and goodwill for his cause, deploying children in the streets for a pointless, violent confrontation with a lame-duck lunatic: Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor.
Connor was a machine-politics, pro-union Democrat who had been elected to the Democratic National Committee from Alabama. He was also a vile racist, endorsed by Alabama’s Democratic, segregationist governor, George Wallace. After witnessing Connor’s brutal tactics to enforce segregation, the good citizens of Birmingham stepped in to remove him from his position as Commissioner of PUblic Safety. Birmingham’s middle class, business leaders, and Jewish community weren’t interested in having beery KKK nightriders in their town. First, they voted to eliminate Connor’s office; then — to be extra clear — they decisively voted against Connor when he ran for mayor.
It was over — responsible citizens and civil rights advocates had won. But Martin Luther King planned one last protest before Connor’s term expired. City merchants, including the black millionaire A.G. Gaston, opposed King’s protest on the grounds that Connor had already been beaten at the ballot box. On the day of Connor’s electoral defeat, Burke Marshall, a champion of civil rights in Kennedy’s Justice Department, called King and asked him to call off the Birmingham protests.
But King decided to deliberately provoke Connor, who was insane. This was a way to extend the movement, just as, years later, King would branch out from racial justice into “social justice.”
With television crews crawling all over Birmingham, King arranged for hundreds of black children to march on the city. As expected, this led to a total conflagration when Connor turned fire hoses and police dogs on little children, some as young as six years old. The explosive images from this confrontation were instantly broadcast around the world.
King had stoked this incredible fire to ignite his dying movement — dying because civil rights had won in the courts, at the ballot box, and in the hearts and minds of Americans. (151)
There is so much to learn from this rather small passage.
First, our society worships false idols. Bull Connor and Martin Luther King were the same man, essentially: a manipulator of the masses based on reactions to mass tastes. That’s the type of politics that Bill Clinton ran as a science; if asked his opinion on an issue, he dug out his spreadsheet to see what the majority of voters thought, and began making vague noises along those lines.
Second, it shows where Coulter has to stop and cannot take her thinking further. The idea of civil rights is a leftist invention; the right believed in civil duties and some rights to all, but no concept of specific rights movements to force society to acknowledge what it did not want to tolerate. Civil rights was a highly divisive movement, and remains the source of power for the left.
She defends it because, as a member of the good elite like Peter Thiel to whom this book is dedicated, she is invested in the system and must believe it contains a mechanism for salvaging itself. In this case, the talisman is democracy; conservatives defend democracy, she thinks, and liberals destroy it. In contrast, a more mature assessment would show that the same impulse that produces democracy produces liberals because it takes focus from the effects of our actions to our mental emotions about the possibility of those actions. That is what we call Crowdism.
This is not to say that I am against fair treatment of African-Americans or other minorities. On the contrary, I think it is cruel, unnecessary and suicidal not to ensure fair treatment. However, as a historical realist I have to point out that diversity never works, and so fair treatment may be a repatriation/reparation pair for all who are not of the majority group, taking a hint from Theodor Herzl’s majority/minority analysis. Civil rights movements, which fragment societies and leave majority and minorities forever opposed, are not fair treatment although they appear to be so at first.
Coulter does however point out that liberals are members of the majority using the minority as an excuse for the power of liberals, a sort of moral shibboleth:
This was the basic set piece for all the university protests of the sixties. The students would cook up some synthetic “cause” that seemed to link them to Third World people, and law enforcement would move in and restore order. Then college administrators would demand an immediate surrender to the drug-fueled protesters while heaping praise on them as the most idealistic and brilliant generation in all of human history. It was the perfect incubator for creating the Worst Generation. (159)
The hatred of Baby Boomers is a right granted by logic itself to all who come after them. While there are some wonderful people who happen to be born in that gnarly 1944-1957 zone, the generation as a whole are the most selfish people we have ever experienced, and they left for those who come in their wake nothing but disaster, downfall, decline and decay.
Coulter makes a good point in the above which is that “Third World people” are the moral anchor to the causes the students espoused. They couldn’t do it for themselves; they were suburban white kids in the wealthiest country on earth. They had to invent a justification, and came up with saving the Third World, which like saving the poor, the retarded, the criminal, the addicted and the obese is popular for two reasons:
In this, she shows the root of the 1960s protest movement: find big emotional symbols that can compete with the kind of “USA Freedom versus the Fascist World!” propaganda of WWII, and use that to demand attention from those who are in power. This was a demographic conflict, after all — it was the millions of children of the Baby Boom trying to wrest power from those who had fought WWI and WWII.
Coulter shows us a mainstream conservative walking a fine line. She can point out the mechanism of the 1960s and show how “Third World people” are the pity object that gives it power, but she can’t step outside of the liberal democratic framework and suggest that it’s not true that every person has a right to be in any place at all times.
But she can get insightful on the leftist take on race:
Two weeks after the Hutaree bust in Michigan, another group of anti-government extremists were arrested in New York City. New York police arrested more than a hundred violent extremists who had been caugh ton phone taps engaging in anti-government rhetoric, including a plot to shoot law enforcement officers. They had also already committed at least two murders, eleven shootings, and one home-invasion robbery, as well as some assorted drug crimes. But unlike the Hutaree, the New York group did not inspire media speculation about conservative rhetoric encouraging violence. The New York group was the Bloods and the crips.
The liberal rule is: Any criminal act committed by white men with guns is a right-wing conspiracy, whereas any criminal act committed by nonwhites with guns is the government violating someone’s civil liberties. (If a black man ever shot an abortionist, liberal brains would explode.) (220)
Honest talk about the perpetual failure of diversity leads to understanding; covering up the truth always leads to deception and resentment.
Coulter tells a good truth: liberals hate white people and will do everything they can to destroy them.
She tells a partial truth: it doesn’t make sense to say that a gang war conflates with political resistance. While the two have similar effects, one is a profit-making neighborhood defense cartel and the other is a desire to change a nation. She is following the mainstream media narrative, ironically, of conflating violent resistance with crime.
She also walks a dangerous path to racism: in the name of avoiding racism, she will not attack civil rights or diversity directly, preferring to attack the liberals who use them as leverage for their own insane plans. However, she also feels OK about stoking the flames of white male victimhood, which will cut directly to resentment.
It’s more honest to just say that diversity makes enemies of blacks and whites, and that liberals are using minorities as leverage and don’t care about the consequences for those minorities. Since diversity fails, minorities will fail also, even if they “win” demographically; they will inherit a shattered nation and be unable to form the consensus to restart it.
As quoted in my review of Coulter’s book, she does call out liberals for their hypocrisy:
But that’s not how the Central Park rape case was finally resolved. It was decided not by multicultural juries hearing both sides and carefully weighing the evidence, but in law offices and pressrooms by a remarkably undiverse group of mostly Irish and Jewish college-educated New Yorkers, who lied about the evidence in order to vindicate a mob and destroy trust in the judicial system. (243)
Let’s focus on that “mostly Irish.” I don’t know enough Coulter yet to know whether her mention of Jews is statistical, as in “38% of those people were Jewish,” or whether it’s part of her very public and sometimes unconvincing Christianity. But the Irish I can talk about.
Starting in the early 1800s, the United States began admitting Irish people, peaking right before the Civil War. Before that, Irish had been considered too different — neolithic throwbacks mixed with ancient middle easterners — to be accepted into the Anglosphere, which was primarily Germanic by way of England.
This means that of all people, those of Irish descent should know the trials of becoming accepted into a majority. However, this seems to have been forgotten; instead, they’re using their majority status to be “different” and act against their ostensible self-interest, thus appearing to be altruistic instead of self-interested.
If Coulter wants to know the origin of liberalism, it is this phenomenon: act against self-interest (as a group) so that one is perceived as an unselfish altruist which allows one to act aggressively in self interest (as an individual). It’s a gaming of the system, a trading off of group wealth for that of the individual, or more colloquially, scamming everyone else for their own gain.
The important note is that the advocacy of “diversity” is just a sham — a way of proving that lack of self-interest (as a group) that makes the individual able to scam the rest of us. As Coulter wrote in saner times:
Never in recorded history has diversity been anything but a problem. Look at Ireland with its Protestant and Catholic populations, Canada with its French and English populations, Israel with its Jewish and Palestinian populations.
Or consider the warring factions in India, Sri Lanka, China, Iraq, Czechoslovakia (until it happily split up), the Balkans and Chechnya. Also look at the festering hotbeds of tribal warfare — I mean the beautiful mosaics — in Third World hellholes like Afghanistan, Rwanda and South Central, L.A.
“Diversity” is a difficulty to be overcome, not an advantage to be sought. True, America does a better job than most at accommodating a diverse population. We also do a better job at curing cancer and containing pollution. But no one goes around mindlessly exclaiming: “Cancer is a strength!” “Pollution is our greatest asset!” – AT THE END OF THE DAY, DIVERSITY HAS JUMPED THE SHARK, HORRIFICALLY, November 18, 2009
Possibly mainstream books cannot contain such topics. I do not know. But Coulter, despite being one of the prominent aggressive conservative voices out there, misses the boat when she performs such fancy footwork on diversity — it leads her, and the conservatives she leads, back into the conditions that formed liberalism.