Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review: Demonic by Ann Coulter

After reading Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America, I'm through apologizing to anyone for my fanship of conservative provocateuse Ann Coulter.  She's exactly right.  She knows her history better than many tenured professors at major universities, and uses her considerable research and writing skills to present a compelling case that liberal groupthink must be countered vigorously by ordinary Americans and resolute leaders if we want civilization to survive.  The question that kept coming to me, page after page while reading, was "Why aren't we taught this in our history classes?"

If Coulter tends to follow her meticulously-researched facts with a chaser of caustic wit, usually at the expense of contemporary Democrats, it's probably because earnest conservatives without that protective armor of irony quickly fall victim to the relentless attacks of the very mob psychology she describes here.  (Not that those who do write with the requisite irony are safe from attack, as Coulter's own biography demonstrates, but at least they give fair warning to the rabble that they are not intellectual lightweights, and that in itself does scare off quite a few.  I know whereof I speak.  There are sectors of the online knitting community -- yes, knitting -- where the liberal bullying and Palin Derangement Syndrome make it unsafe for conservatives to post.  And of course, the 2009 Ides of March purge has never been satisfactorily explained.)

Central to Coulter's argument is the neglected history of the French Revolution, which she retells in chilling detail in two seminal chapters that are not for children or the faint of heart.  Later in the book she returns to the mob-induced Terror and links it to its modern equivalents.  From pp. 265-266:
   ... In the course of France's short revolution, 600,000 French citizens were killed and another 145,000 fled the country.  That's in a country with between 24 and 26 million people, about the current population of Texas.  In terms of population loss, that would be the equivalent of the United States having a 9/11 attack every day for seven years.
   ... How did the nation of Voltaire, Descartes, Pascal, and Moliere transform itself into a bloody saturnalia overnight?  This is a question liberals don't want us to think about.
   The inheritors of the French revolutionary tradition always adhere to the same basic program.  Psychopaths from Lenin, Stalin, and Mao Zedong to Kim Il Sung, Pol Pot, and Fidel Castro have used the rabble to grab power, with essentially the same justification, the same objectives, and the same bloody results.
  All these monsters were praised in the New York Times and enthusiastically supported by the Democratic Party.
Some of the more shocking results of mob psychology in our times are terrible miscarriages of the criminal justice system.  Sometimes the innocent are falsely accused, as during the '80s, when false accusations of child abuse led to witch hunts and wrongful imprisonments led by, among others, Janet Reno.  Sometimes the guilty are wrongly excused, as when 5 attackers in the vicious 1989 rape of the Central Park jogger had their convictions vacated, despite their videotaped confessions and being found guilty in a jury trial.  (This is also a very difficult chapter to read, and the book as a whole is definitely not for children).

I challenge my Democratic friends to read this book.  You will not like it; you will probably be infuriated.  But ask yourself if your party is really going in a direction you are happy with, or, as Coulter contends, has become "the party of abortion, adultery, and everything bestial in society."  While I personally want Republicans to win at the ballot box, I would also like to live in an America where both parties are equal believers in basic human rights and dignity, and where there is a free, fair, and civil debate.

Sometimes, I think, living a decent life really is as simple as keeping the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule.  Moderns who pretend otherwise, who base their morality on an attempt to be well thought of and sophisticated, nearly always fall into the mob mentality that Coulter so aptly describes in this book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"...simple as keeping the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule" -- well said. I can't support Coulter, however, as she doesn't appear to hold these values. I have only met her on several occasions, true, and have not read all of her writings, but I don't think that she is any way living in concert with the straightforward moral values that we share. Instead, she seems in every way to be "attempt[ing] to be well thought of and sophisticated" and to whip up mob opinion in support of her celebrity.