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Fresh look at Ann Coulter’s “Godless”

This is my second Coulter book, and, not surprisingly, I find myself again both entertained and amused by what I’ve read. The titles alone for her chapters, such as “The Passion of the Liberal: Thou Shalt Not Punish the Perp,” “The Creation Myth: On the Sixth Day, God Created Fruit Flies,” and “The Scientific Method of Stoning and Burning,” are interesting and witty. (No wonder the woman’s a lawyer.)

Essentially, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, is one giant argument against the concept of “American liberalism,” something Coulter considers without any scientific or factual basis whatsoever, and even goes so far as to call it a “primitive religion.” She bases this idea on how she sees liberalism in America possessing many characteristics that define religions around the world. She says that it has “its own cosmology, its own miracles, its own beliefs in the supernatural, its own churches, its own high priests, its own saints…” and so on. Basically, Coulter sees this “faith” as something like nature being god and men being apes, or monkeys.

In my opinion, a lot of what she has to say, what she uses to back up her argument here, makes sense.

Coulter’s main points center around the following: creation “myths” (evolutionary theory); sacraments (Coulter compares abortion to the “virgin sacrifice”); Holy Writ (Roe v. Wade); martyrs (like Alger Hiss and Mumia Abu Jamal); clergy (public school teachers), churches (public schools where prayer is banned and condoms are passed out); doctrine of infallibility, and cosmology (Big Bang, where humankind simply appeared suddenly and from out of nowhere; essentially, the human race is just a big accident).

These bullet points are the supporting structures of Coulter’s argument, which basically says that liberalism constitutes a religion based completely on faith, not fact, and simply has no god or higher power.

As I agree with most of what Coulter argues in her book, there are some portions I found to be weak. One such section includes this excerpt, one of her descriptions that compare her religion (Christianity and all of its forms) to the religion of liberalism: “Our religion says that human progress proceeds from the spark of divinity in the human soul; their religion holds that human progress is achieved through sex and death.”

The remaining four of her descriptions like this one are similar, but didn’t stand out to me as much as this one. Of course, each is a generalization based on what really could be defined as a stereotype on liberal people. Generalizations, of course, are never fully founded in truth.

Another example, a generalization like this one, is: “Even after the complete failure of liberal policies on crime in the sixties and seventies, and the success of conservative policies on crime beginning in the eighties, liberals are itching to start springing criminals again. Attempts to rehabilitate liberals on this are futile. It’s in their DNA.”

As these specific examples demonstrate, Coulter has a tendency to base her arguments on weak generalizations, although fancy and witty as they are read. As much as the first portion of the first example I included here is true for Christianity, the second portion of that statement, I do not believe holds true for the majority of liberal people. As for the second example, one cannot state as fact that criminal rehabilitation is impossible because “it’s in their DNA.” We all know this is not true, as it has been done in the past, though statistics do fall heavy on the side of criminals not being able to be rehabilitated.

Overall, I simply find this a weak string in Coulter’s argumentative ability in this book, as there are several examples like this one throughout.

Then again, other uses of generalization I think work well for Coulter, such as with the following examples:
“Liberals say: ‘We’re the only modern democracy with the death penalty.’ ” Where Coulter retorts with: “I think this should be treated as a selling point: ‘Come to the United States for the economic opportunity, stay because we fry our Ted Bundys! Among our many other unique characteristics are these: We’re the only modern democracy founded on a belief that all men are created equal; we’re the only…the fought a revolution to redeem that idea and a civil war to prove it; we’re the only…that nearly single-handedly smashed Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia…”

And: “Liberals say: ‘Capital punishment should be suspended until the exact same percentages of blacks and whites are executed.” I think the argument against this one is obvious, so I won’t include Coulter’s retort here.

My point in bringing these examples to this analysis is to demonstrate Coulter’s brilliant argumentative abilities, on some points. With both of these points, Coulter highlighted two generalized liberal viewpoints and obliterated them with words. This is why she has such a large conservative following.

As for the attention she also carries, we’re all well-aware of the reason for that. She’s simply one of the most outspoken political speakers in the country. She has the gull, she’s brash, she’s brilliant, she’s witty and she’s fearless when it comes to presenting her perspectives on the world and politics.

These are the reasons why I will continue to read her books and continue to follow her in the news. In my opinion, Ann Coulter represents one of the strongest examples of free speech this country will ever see. Sure, she’s completely biased to the right, but that’s what this country is all about. Freedom. If one takes anything away from this book, as they should with reading any of her books, that’s it right there. Take Coulter’s works for the fact that they’re such great examples of personal freedom and one’s ability to express and push its limitations.

Not to mention, I believe any time one puts themselves into a situation that will challenge his or her beliefs is a good thing. It’s never a bad idea to challenge oneself, to push oneself to research and look up the facts. This book is a great chance to do all of the above.