Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The new anger

Peter Wood deconstructs Chaitred in a preview of the argument of this new book.

I’d be interested to see whether there’s anything about Republican Clinton-hatred in the book, because the article focuses on liberals and libertarians, with only a gesture in the direction of Ann Coulter--marginalized, he says, on the right. (I have to confess that I’m dismayed by the number of otherwise mild-mannered conservative friends who profess to like her.)

Discussions - 13 Comments

I have to confess that I’m dismayed by the number of otherwise mild-mannered conservative friends who profess to like her

Maybe I’m not mild-mannered, but I do indeed like her. Why wouldn’t you? She may from time to time slide over the top, but at least she sports a pair.

Having said that, what’s with the
profess to like bit? Can you say condescending?

Really. Try working hard at being obnoxious, for a change.

She may from time to time slide over the top, but at least she sports a pair.

Aha! Then it wasn’t my imagination!

what Ann says is distilled experience and what most anyone with a practical bent would admit to be the truth. Or at least far more of the truth than what we get from the MSM or Dem politicians. ( who use just as much if not more, ridiculous invective....)
I don’t see her manufacturing simply incorrect ideological positions like the left does (gun control, conservative stinginess, you name it)- i would say her views line up with reality much more closely. Even if you dont particularly like that reality.

and she’s a breath of fresh air compared to the "vitriolic PC crowd". Giving back in spades what they dish out. Until they start acting more intelligent and reasoned, she’ll have a role.

So Mike, you agree that over half the country at any given time is comitting treason? And that the 9/11 widows are glad they’re loved ones are dead because it allows them to get publicity?

Thanks. I can stop feeling guilty about agreeing with Michael Moore.

How can one be mild-mannered or moderate or thoughtful or (by any reasonable definition) conservative and admire Coulter as anything but a cleverly positioned brand, a Barnum-like laugh-all-the-way-to-the-bank? The young on college campuses go for her because she is outrageous and because they are too young to know the real thing (whether conservative or PT Barnum). The resulting uproar rings her cash register.


That’s what mystifies me about the, as I said, mild-mannered grown-ups who say they like her. Is she just a kind of guilty pleasure?

Joe - Maybe that’s it. There are certainly like figures on the left. Daniel K. calls attention to Michael Moore.


I’m already on record as being in the Steve Thomas camp. He explained my revulsion nicely. I perhaps would add that she adds to what I call the coarsening of conversative discourse and the constriction of conservative intellectual horizons.

Ann Coulter, pro or con, yawn.

I do look forward to dipping into Wood’s book if I can, ’cause there really is something heavy about the anger that pulses through the left these days. But as good as anything Wood writes on it, it’s not going to touch what a real conservative heroine, Chantal Delsol, has already given us.

In her Icarus Fallen she analyzes the state of present-day (French and American) liberal thinking with a symbolic retelling of the Icarus myth, in which after flying too close to the sun, Icarus falls back into the labyrinth he came from, and somehow survives. “He has to go back to normal life after having thought himself capable of attaining the sun…Today we find ourselves in a similar situation. For the past two centuries, in order to escapethe labyrinth of mediocrity, we have believed ourselves capable of radically transforming man and society. Since Condorcet, the philosophy of Progress has promised to eliminate war, disease, and need, and various ideologies have announced a radiant future. We have just come to the realization—because of the [post-1989] revelation of human disasters in Eastern Europe, and in the West through the reappearance of poverty, illiteracy, war, and epidemics--that these hopes were finally in vain. We have fallen back to earth…”

I give you that long quote to set up the one from her latest book The Unlearned Lessons of the 20th Century which really explains liberal anger:

Contemporary man, i.e. liberal man, is "hostage to his old desire...He begins to hate this world, which has revealed itself to be incapable of achieving the Good. [i.e. socialism, and everyting else promised in Lennon’s ’Imagine’] He blocks it out, prefering not to see its mediocrity. Thus we can explain the bitterness, resentment, and rancor harbored by the present era."

"It is like the passionate participant in the events of May 1968 who advocated an which nothing is forbidden...and then later suddenly realizes that his own children obey no creed or law. When his error finally dawns on him, he realizes that it is much too late to change anything: he prefers to discredit what he does not have rather than to recognize the harmful consequences of his theories. He methodically ridicules any form of education other than his other words, he continues to propogate the utopia he no longer lives by, and attacks the moralism of those who simply put into words what he himself is doing."

Conservatives are those who simply put into words the fact that 1789 failed, 1848 failed, 1917 failed, and that the whole kit and kaboodle of 60s liberalism, New Leftism, Great Society, sexual revoultion, etc. failed, failed, failed. After 9-11, something similar could be said about the "always negociate" Carter dogma and about multiculturalism. But the truth is, contemporary liberal man, especially the baby-boomer version, is very depressed, and thus very given to lashing out. Things ain’t supposed to be like this. It’s %^&$ing 2007 and where ARE the flying cars and the integrated schools and the happy feminists? Seriously, though, many of them are profoundly dissapointed. If you want to piss ’em off in a way that might allow them to actually rethink things, to actually have the bravery to move forward, take them to writers like Delsol. Pissing people off ought to have a point, that is, it ought to be mericiful at bottom.

There. So why bother with Coulter’s game?

Nicely said, Carl.

I disagree with you about your list of "failures." Social upheaval produces good effects and bad effects, and unless you wish your kids could get sweatshop jobs and we wouldn’t have had "all those problems" if Strom Thurmond had been elected, then Liberalism has its sucesses too.

For my part I’m happy that Communism fell and Lincoln freed the slaves, so some conservative advances are okay by me. I’m reachin’ out to you man.

Thanks, Daniel. Occupied right now, so I’m not going to go into your point about upheavals.

I should mention, though, that one of the conservative blogosphere’s finest moments was its castigation/punishment of Sen. Lott for his pro-Strom remarks.

I should mention, though, that one of the conservative blogosphere’s finest moments was its castigation/punishment of Sen. Lott for his pro-Strom remarks.
I wasn’t reading ’em then, but I’ll take you at your word.

Carl, good quotes, good point(s). Liberal progressivism or progressivism (see Aurel Kolnai) more or less belives that man is (or can become God), that we are (or can become) our own creators (of values, of selves, of lifestyles, of institutions, of a world); it tends to cast human beings and intellectual/cultural/political positions into reactionary and progressive, with the great unwashed "populace" inbetween; it’s thus terribly anti-reality (God; moral order; natural limits; binding traditions/Tradition; chance); it therefore is constantly being thwarted and disappointed, and not just in its social projects; it is constitutionally incapable of deeply reconsidering itself (it may make adjustment for tactical reasons, but the basis of adjustments is mainly kicking against the pricks of recalcitrant reality experienced as "brute"); I will acknowledge that it’s pretty good at reinventing itself (one might look at Paul Gottfried’s new book on this). Add to this "ideological"-analysis Peter Lawler’s "Bobos"-class analysis and you have people who live and thrive in virtual reality (Christopher Lasch’s point) but are terribly disconnected from what I will awkwardly call real reality.

My position toward AC is to ignore her and to wonder/worry about anybody who takes her as a positive conservative intellectual and/or political force.

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