Coulter’s ethics questionable

Shawn Redden

I remember being stunned when I heard that Ann Coulter was part of this spring’s Assembly Series. I don’t know what sort of vetting process the university uses before accepting speakers, and I don’t know how much money they gave her, but surely, I thought, they could do better!

But I’ve reconsidered. Coulter is perfect! Kudos to the College Republicans for bringing her! Everyone should see her next Wednesday.

Ann Coulter’s vociferous advocacy of white male supremacy and her ignorance of the wider world demonstrate quite clearly why she’s needed now: reading book reviews from other continents, one sees how Treason and Slander enable the rest of the planet to better see the hysterical mindset Coulter represents in American political discourse, including that of the President and his clique of neo-cons.

The invective of Trent Lott is no longer fit for public consumption. Hate needs new packaging, and that’s what Ann Coulter offers. She is the right-wing’s most important shock troop in the propaganda war because she is, in her own words, “emboldened by [her] looks to say things Republican men wouldn’t.”

People have established entire websites that show how virtually every one of her citations is inaccurate. Much like the premeditated aggression against Iraq, her lies are easily documented by any 12-year-old with a modem.

But this misses the point. Coulter continues to attract massive public attention and remains a best-seller because of – not despite – her blatant disregard for factual accuracy. That’s what propaganda is all about.

Her absurd aphorisms are marked, almost universally, with bitter racism and a resentful sexism unmatched in public discourse.

Her feeling towards Middle-Easterners is well documented. In the aftermath of 9/11, Coulter wrote that, “we should invade [Arab countries] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

She says that Congress should pass a law demanding “that all aliens from Arabic countries leave [America],” adding that “we should require passports to fly domestically. Passports can be forged, but they can also be checked with the home country in case of any suspicious-looking swarthy males.”

But Arabs aren’t the only target of her assaults. Coulter also advocates poll taxes and literacy tests, as well as repeal of the Emancipation Proclamation. The absurdity of these suggestions does not camouflage their history or intended meaning.

Coulter says that women “should be armed but should not [be allowed to] vote.”

She’s told a disabled Vietnam vet that “people like you caused us to lose that war.”

Her assertion that “the presumption of innocence only means you don’t go right to jail” betrays the absence of hyperbole in her lament that her friends “never appreciate the benefits of local fascism.”

The attack-dog mentality Coulter exhibits towards those who see the world more humanely than she serves two functions: first, it puts her opponents on the defensive, forced to rebut her charges.

But more importantly, Coulter’s rhetoric turns politics into spectacle, redirecting us away from the truly consequential. Coulter ‘wins’ when she slanders, because her interest is not in factual accuracy. Her intent is to divert attention from the politics of the right-wing. She slanders critics as those who side ‘with the terrorists’ or those who ‘hate America’ in order to change the subject.

If one has the audacity to question the benevolent motives of the Bush regime or the American government, she will slander you. That, and not to reason why, is her job.

So if you ask her on Wednesday about what’s going on in Haiti, where the United States government has funded and armed death squads to overthrow the same democratically elected president the CIA overthrew under Bush I, she will slander you.

If you ask her about how many of the same elements active in Haiti – the CIA and a misnamed State Department program called the National Endowment for Democracy – are also providing aid to Venezuelan rebels in their attempt to overthrow that country’s democratically elected leader, she will slander you.

That’s because Ann Coulter’s role in the propaganda war has no relationship to the truth. Her role is to justify American domination of the entire world – the reason we’re in Haiti and Venezuela – and attack anyone who thinks otherwise.

She’s told us as much in her own words: “God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.'”

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