October 15, 2007

Strakon Lights Up

The perfection of Ann Coulter

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There she goes again, and here I go again, despite my druthers — defending warchick Ann Coulter's latest "intolerant" remarks, which she delivered during Danny Deutsch's CNBC show "The Big Idea" on October 11.

Veering from her initial context, politics, Coulter opined that America would be better off if all Americans were Christian, and that Christians are "perfected Jews." A reasonable inference is that Jews are imperfect, in terms of their faith; and you know what that had to evoke. It evoked it immediately from Deutsch, who is Jewish; and now some of the most vocal among the media's chatterers and scribblers are denouncing Coulter as an anti-Semite. Actually, all of the denouncers I've heard so far have been Jewish, but I assume there is a scattering of Judeo-Christians out there in medialand who are crowding into the usual amen corner.

As the interview proceeded, and Deutsch waxed ever more indignant, Coulter got a bit tangled in what she was saying, sliding from "perfected Jews" to "perfected Christians"; and she soon retreated to respectable Judeo-Christianity in citing Jerry Falwell's ruling that non-Christian Jews, too, can go to heaven; but no matter. Old Strakon the atheist will now clear everything up. *

Thirty-some years ago, a Catholic co-worker of mine informed me that, in his view, Catholic belief was the only true belief, and the Catholic Church the only true church. I think he expected to get some sort of rise out of me (I was more militant in those days), but in fact if he had said anything less, while continuing to advertise himself as a Catholic, he would have lowered himself in my estimation.

I expect people to believe that what they believe is right and good. That may sound a little tautological, but you can't take anything along those lines for granted these days. Judeo-Christians in particular seem to believe that while their faith may be right and good for them, it's maybe not so right and good for everybody, especially Jews. In other words, they appear to have slipped a bit on the universalism front, over the past forty or fifty years — perhaps in hopes of placating powerful folks who hate them; I don't know.

Now, certainly it can be right and good for you to dine on boiled broccoli, and right and good for me to resist that delicacy and choke down a chocolate eclair instead. That's just Diversity! But when we treat fundamental matters of truth and right and good, we'd each of us better keep Diversity, i.e., polylogism, off the menu if we don't want to come down with mental indigestion. Or be accused of bad faith. In cases of fundamental disagreement, I'll argue stoutly for what I believe; you'll argue stoutly for what you believe; and if we deadlock, we'll fall back on the old bromide about agreeing to disagree. It may be somewhat defeatist, but it preserves not only the peace but everyone's honor, too.

I once listened to a taped symposium that featured a number of prominent libertarians, including Murray Rothbard, and one moment of the proceedings has stuck with me for twenty years. Rothbard the anarchist was hammering away, albeit with his usual good humor, at the inconsistencies and waverings of those panel members who weren't as radical as he. One limited-government type finally got fed up, and accused Rothbard of believing that everything he said was right. Rothbard responded, reasonably enough, that he believed most people believed that what they believed was right.

Sounded right to me. At least at the time; I'm not so sure now.

But, even now, Communists believe that since Communism is right and good, we'd be better off if everyone were a Communist. Vegetarians and prophets of global warming think the same about their respective flavors, too. And let me announce here, lest any doubts continue to lurk, that I believe we'd be better off if everyone were an anarchist — a "perfected" state-believer, if you will. Since I advertise myself as an anarchist, no one should be personally offended by my belief that I'm right, even if he believes anarchism to be an evil or silly or just plain wrong system of thought. I find Communism offensive, but I do not collapse on the divan, hankie fluttering, upon learning that Communists are Communists.

From the vitriol being sprayed at Coulter (one Jewish lady warned that Jews might have to start wearing a yellow star) I can only conclude that when someone argues that her beliefs are better than her interlocutor's beliefs, many modern folk automatically envision thugs loading innocent victims onto cattle cars at gunpoint. Given the totalitarian assumptions that pervade modern discourse, one isn't surprised to hear that from the less thoughtful, but it's still infantile. Damn it! — I want to tell these people — grow up and start thinking like an adult.

Actually, though, I won't bother telling that to Jews who identify with the tribal collective. Unlike Communists qua Communists, and vegetarians qua vegetarians, tribalist Jews have a hard time with universalism, even as the statists among them pursue certain purportedly universal values — "racial justice," "equality," civil disarmament, and so forth. Kevin MacDonald has written a few words about this contradiction.

Tribalist Jews don't proselytize other people to convert to Judaism, and they recommend that self-restraint to Christians when Christians commit the "hate crime" of proselytizing Jews. But it's not really self-restraint at all, any more than it is self-restraint when Mensa members exclude the less-bright, or when ruling-class members bar KMart shoppers from their charmed circle.

Here's hoping I don't have to rise once more, anytime soon, in defense of Loose Cannon Coulter. But whatever happens, you may count on me — at least in terms of political-economy and Western culture — to keep The Last Ditch from filling up with the free-floating ecumenical garbage of our age. We aim for perfection.

October 15, 2007

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* For all I know, Falwell was referring to Abraham, Moses, & Co., and a Christian tradition does exist suggesting their salvation; but Coulter was talking about modern Jews.

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