March 30, 2007

A young friend of mine, Chris Preble of CATO Institute, recently recounted to me an incident in which Republican controversialist Ann Coulter made a statement on FOX (where else?) that Chris found “€œparticularly disgusting.”€ When asked whether the U.S. should launch an attack on Iran, Ann, true to bad form, responded “€œThink how much fun it would be to blow up Iranians.”€ Having heard this Republican equivalent of Alec Baldwin say equally scandalous things for years, I was not surprised to learn of her most recent infantile outburst. Like Chris, I despise Ann but the reason for my distaste may be different from his. What disgusts me most about this loudmouth is the function she faithfully serves. Ann shills for the Republican Party, and the reason that she is the darling of FOX is that she is good at what she does. Far from being a “€œright-wing extremist,”€ as one might imagine from reading about her in the New York Times and the French press, Ann keeps the American Right from taking off as an electoral force. Her predictable answer to “€œgodless”€ and cowardly Democrats is to go out and vote for generic Republicans or for Lieberman Democrats, a course of action that would allow us to kill more “€œtowel-heads”€ while giving the social Left a more or less free hand domestically.

I am still waiting for Ann to attack W and Rudy for their views on immigration with the same savagery she regularly unleashes on Democrats. If Dame Coulter were a right-winger, instead of a Republican shill, she would be doing exactly this. Instead she exposes her listeners to endless tirades against “€œantiwar”€ Democrats, without even telling us that there are people on the social Right who disapprove of the present neocon-incited war in Iraq as much as the leftist bloggers. It is also never explained why starting a war against Iraq to bring its inhabitants women’s rights and the current American version of “€œdemocracy”€ is a “€œconservative”€ enterprise. I might find Ann minimally bearable if only she had the honesty to point out that the two parties are for the most part indistinguishable. They are both big-government, welfare-state parties, which truckle to designated minorities and which engage equally in such moronic rituals as pulling down Confederate flags to please black race-hustlers and the liberal media. If Ann told us that she hates both parties but considers the Stupid Party slightly less obnoxious than the Evil one, I would find her diatribes less disgusting. Unfortunately she spends her time whipping up her fans to vote for one of the two parties, as a serious conservative alternative to the other one. And she plays this game by impersonating what we are supposed to take for an authentic right-winger. 

Coulter’s recent expression of pleasure at the thought of blowing up Iranians brought to mind the reaction of Mussolini’s son in 1936, as he watched bombs fall on Ethiopia, a country that the Italian army was then trying to conquer. The young Mussolini, a fan of the Italian Futurists, dwelled on the “€œbeauty”€ of modern warfare, which he considered a source of aesthetic pleasure. Such musings raise the question of whether something that is artistically satisfying can nonetheless be morally offensive. But in Coulter’s case, there is no need to consider such a dichotomy between the ethical and the aesthetic. She and her sponsors are simply not subjects for intellectual debate. What they are about is not the unity or disunity of the beautiful and the moral but drumming up votes for Republican placeholders and hacks. In pursuit of this end, Coulter appeals to the vulgar and easily duped Right.


Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!