From Chapter One
The natives are superficially agreeable, but they go in for cannibalism, headhunting, infanticide, incest, avoidance and joking relationships, and biting lice in half with their teeth. —Margaret Mead
Political "debate" in this country is insufferable. Whether conducted in Congress, on the political talk shows, or played out at dinners and cocktail parties, politics is a nasty sport. At the risk of giving away the ending: It's all liberals' fault.
As there is less to dispute, liberals have become more bitter and angry. The Soviet threat has been vaporized, women are not prevented from doing even things they should be, and the gravest danger facing most black Americans today is the risk of being patronized to death.
And yet still, somehow, Tom DeLay (Republican congressman from Texas) poses a monumental threat to democracy as we know it. The left expresses disagreement with DeLay's governing philosophy by calling him "the Meanest Man in Congress," "Dangerous," "the Hammer," "the Exterminator," and the "Torquemada of Texas." For his evident belief in a Higher Being, DeLay is compared to savage murderers and genocidal lunatics on the pages of the New York Times. ("History teaches that when religion is injected into politics-the Crusades, Henry VIII, Salem, Father Coughlin, Hitler, Kosovo-disaster follows.")
Liberals dispute slight reductions in the marginal tax rates as if they are trying to prevent Charles Manson from slaughtering baby seals. Progress cannot be made on serious issues because one side is makingarguments and the other side is throwing eggs-both figuratively and literally. Prevarication and denigration are the hallmarks of liberal argument. Logic is not their metier. Blind religious faith is.
The liberal catechism includes a hatred of Christians, guns, the profit motive, and political speech and an infatuation with abortion, the environment, and race discrimination (or in the favored parlance of liberals, "affirmative action"). Heresy on any of these subjects is, well, heresy. The most crazed religious fanatic argues in more calm and reasoned tones than liberals responding to statistics on concealed-carry permits.
Perhaps if conservatives had had total control over every major means of news dissemination for a quarter century, they would have forgotten how to debate, too, and would just call liberals stupid and mean. But that's an alternative universe. In this universe, the public square is wall-to-wall liberal propaganda.
Americans wake up in the morning to "America's Sweetheart," the Today show's Katie Couric, berating Arlen Specter about Anita Hill ten years after the hearings. Or haranguing Charlton Heston on the need for gun control to stop school shootings. Her co-host, Matt Lauer, wonders casually why the federal government has not passed a law on national vacation time. The New York Times breathlessly announces "Communism Still Looms as Evil to Miami Cubans" and Time magazine columnist Barbara Ehrenreich gives two thumbs up to "The Communist Manifesto" ("100 million massacred!").
We read letters to the editor of the New York Times from pathetic little parakeet males and grim, quivering, angry women on the Upper West Side of Manhattan hoping to be chosen as that day's purveyor of hate. These letters are about one step above Tiger Beat magazine in intellectual engagement. They are never responsive, they never include clever ripostes or attacks; they merely restate the position of the Times with greater venom: I was reminded by your editorial that Bush wasn't even your average politically aware Yalie; he was too busy branding freshmen at his fraternity house.
In the evening, CBS anchor Dan Rather can be found falsely accusing Republicans of all manner of malfeasance or remarking that a president who has been impeached, disbarred, and held in contempt for his lies is an "honest man." Diane Sawyer pronounces that "the American people" are yawning at the news that the president was engaging in sodomy with a cigar and oral-anal sex with a White House intern.
Hollywood movies preach about kind-hearted abortionists, Nazi priests, rich preppie Republican bigots, and the dark night of fascism under Senator Joe McCarthy. Hollywood starlets giddily announce on late-night TV how much they'd like to give Bill Clinton a "certain type of sex" (as Paula Jones called it).
And then Americans wake up for another day of left-wing schlock, beginning their day with the CBS Early Show's Bryant Gumbel somberly asking smut peddler Hugh Hefner for his views on a presidential campaign.
We read national magazines that pretend to be reasonable while seething with the impotent violence of women. We wade through preposterous news stories on Enron, global warming, Tawana Brawley, "plastic guns," the melting North Pole, the meaning of the word "is"—until you can't keep up with the wave of lies. It's like being in an earthquake listening to all the gibberish.
When arguments are premised on lies, there is no foundation for debate. You end up conceding to half the lies simply to focus on the lies of Holocaust-denial proportions. Kind and well-meaning people find themselves afraid to talk about politics. Any sentient person has to be concerned that he might innocently make an argument or employ a turn of phrase that will be discerned by the liberal cult as a "code word" evincing a genocidal tendency. The only safe course is to be consciously, stultifyingly boring.
It isn't just public figures who have to be worried-though having millions of people listening to their spontaneous on-air remarks obviously raises the stakes a bit. But even a private conversation can be resurrected a decade later. Just a few years ago, a killer walked largely because a detective involved in the case had used the "N-word" almost ten years earlier. In a conversation with his then-girlfriend, Mark Fuhrman spun out imaginary dialogue for a movie script, and in so doing committed a hate crime. If the jurors in the O. J. Simpson case could have given Fuhrman the death penalty, he'd be sitting on death row right now. Cutting off your ex-wife's head is a lesser offense in America than using certain words.
Vast areas of public policy debate are treated as indistinguishable from using the N-word (aka: the worst offense against mankind). Thus, Representative Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) took issue with the Republicans' proposed tax cuts, saying: "It's not 'spic' or 'nigger' anymore. They say, 'Let's cut taxes.' "
The spirit of the First Amendment has been effectively repealed for conservative speech by a censorious, accusatory mob. Truth cannot prevail because whole categories of thought are deemed thought crimes.
For a fleeting moment, after the September 11 attack on America, all partisan wrangling stopped dead. The country was infused with patriotism and amazingly unified. The attack on America was such a colossal jolt, liberals even abandoned their endless pursuit of producing some method of counting the ballots in Florida that would have made Al Gore president.
Liberal sneers about President Bush's intelligence suddenly abated—at first for reasons of decorum, but then because of the indisputable fact that Bush was a magnificent leader. In a moment of crisis, the truth overcame liberal naysaying. After having demeaned President Bush as a lightweight frat boy hopelessly ignorant of foreign policy, even Democrats were overcome with relief that Al Gore was not the president.
The bipartisan lovefest lasted precisely three weeks. That was all the New York Times could endure. Impatient with the national mood of patriotism, liberals returned to their infernal griping about George W. Bush-or "Half a Commander in Chief," as he was called in the headline of a lead New York Times editorial on November 5, 2001. From that moment on, the left's primary contribution to the war effort was to complain.
They complained about the detention of terror suspects, they complained we were going to lose the war, they complained about military tribunals for terrorists, they complained about the Bush administration's failure to solve the anthrax cases instantly, they complained about monitoring terrorists' jailhouse conversations, they complained about the war taking too long, they complained about a trial for John Walker, they complained about (nonexistent) ethnic profiling at airports, they complained about the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, and they complained about Bush's "axis of evil" speech.
And they complained about all the damn flag-wavers. The infernal flag-waving after 9/11 nearly drove liberals out of their gourds. For the left, "flag-waving" is an epithet. Liberals variously called the flag a "joke," "very, very dumb," and-most cutting-not "cosmopolitan." New York University sociology professor Todd Gitlin agonized over the decision to fly the flag outside his apartment (located less than a mile from Ground Zero), explaining: "It's very complicated."
It must have been galling that no one in America cared. Eventually, the New York Times gave up harping about Bush's handling of the war and turned its full attention to attacking Enron.
Here the country had finally given liberals a war against fundamentalism and they didn't want to fight it. They would have, except it would put them on the same side as the United States. In the wake of an attack on America committed by crazed fundamentalist Muslims, Walter Cronkite denounced Jerry Falwell. Falwell, it seems, had remarked that gay marriage and abortion on demand may not have warmed the heart of the Almighty. Cronkite proclaimed such a statement "the most abominable thing I've ever heard." Showing his renowned dispassion and critical thinking, this Martha's Vineyard millionaire commented that Falwell was "worshipping the same God as the people who bombed the World Trade Center and the Pentagon" (the difference being liberals urged compassion and understanding toward the terrorists).
Indeed, an attack on America by fanatical Muslims had finally provided liberals with a religion they could respect. Heretofore liberals deemed voluntary student prayers at high school football games a direct assault on the Constitution. But it was of urgent importance that Islamic terrorists being held in Guantanamo be free to practice their religion. This despite the fact that we had been repeatedly instructed that the terrorists were not practicing "true Islam."
Less than three months after Islamic terrorists slaughtered thousands of Americans, ABC's 20/20 ran a major report titled "Abortion Clinics in U.S. Targeted by Religious Terrorists." As Jamie Floyd reported: "Since September eleventh the word 'terrorists' has come to mean someone who is radical, Islamic, and foreign. But many believe we have as much to fear from a homegrown group of anti-abortion crusaders."
New York Times columnist Frank Rich demanded that Ashcroft stop monkeying around with Muslim terrorists and concentrate on anti-abortion extremists. Rich claimed that only pure political malice could explain Attorney General Ashcroft's refusal to meet with Planned Parenthood while purporting to investigate "terrorism."
Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman recommended dropping the war against global terrorism ("declare victory at the first decent opportunity"!) and instead concentrate on "home-grown extremists." In lieu of a military response against terrorists abroad and security precautions at home, liberals wanted to get the whole thing over with and just throw conservatives in jail.
Rarely had the great divide in the country been so manifest. Liberals hate America, they hate "flag-wavers," they hate abortion opponents, they hate all religions except Islam (post 9/11). Even Islamic terrorists don't hate America like liberals do. They don't have the energy. If they had that much energy, they'd have indoor plumbing by now.
Long before the war, conservatives had a vague sense that liberals didn't much like them. Consider that a president whom liberals themselves called "indefensible, outrageous, unforgivable, [and] shameless" had staved off removal from office merely by calling his opponents "right-wing Republicans." It was apparent then that we were dealing with a species of primitive religious hatred.
Clinton's lies under oath in a judicial proceeding were such a shock to the legal system that just weeks before every Senate Democrat would vote to keep him in office, the entire Supreme Court boycotted Clinton's State of the Union address—one of many historical firsts in the Clinton years. That stunning rebuke was meaningless. Liberals were impervious to any logic beyond Clinton's mantra that his opponents were "right-wing Republicans."
Professional Democrats have clintonized the entire party and they will destroy anyone who stands in their way. All that matters to them is power. They believe their moral superiority allows them to do things that would appall ordinary people.
In May 2001, former Clinton strategists James Carville and Paul Begala released a "Battle Plan for the Democrats" on the op-ed page of the New York Times. Their central piece of advice was for Democrats to start calling President George Bush names. "First," they said, liberals must "call a radical a radical." Other proposals included calling Bush dangerous and uncompassionate: "Mr. Bush's agenda is neither compassionate nor conservative; it's radical and it's dangerous and the Democrats should say so."
That's it. That's the new plan. It's the same as the old plan. Call Republicans names.
In a comic spasm of sophistry, the Democrats' Big-Think men wrote: "We don't believe the spin that stopping Mr. Bush's assault on middle-class programs will hurt Democrats with voters." Evidently someone was retailing the yarn about an "assault" on the middle class being hugely popular. But Carville and Begala begged to differ. (Even the editor must have been overwhelmed by the spin on that one.) These must have been the guys who helped President Clinton formulate his thoughtful response to Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America." In his unifying, statesmanlike way, President Clinton referred to it as a murderous hit man's assignment, repeatedly calling it the "Contract on America." Go out right now and ask any liberal what was objectionable about the "Contract with America" and see if you get a more reasoned argument than that.
Meanwhile, the left's political Tourette's syndrome has gone completely unremarked upon. All parties to the debate carry on as if it's totally normal for two of the most famous Democratic consultants to be recommending name-calling as political strategy. Clinton seemed to be making a good argument against impeachment by perseverating about a "right-wing" conspiracy out to get him.
An annoying typical Republican response to liberal hate speech is to attack one's friends in order to appease one's enemies. Democrats still hate the Republican appeasers; they just hate them a little less. And when it comes time for the left to tear down the conciliators, these Republican "moderates" won't have many friends left willing to defend them. As Winston Churchill said, appeasement reflects the hope that the crocodile will eat you last. With some portion of (admittedly craven) Republicans casually acknowledging the liberal premise that conservatives are mean and hateful, the left is emboldened to carry on with ever greater insolence.
Copyright 2002 by Ann Coulter