Far be it from me to leap to the defense of an author
whose latest book has been on the New York Times
bestseller list for five weeks and whose next book has
already fetched her the tidy sum of $3 million.
I confess at once I haven`t read Miss Coulter`s book,
a volume with the fetching title of
Treason and, from all reports, the thesis that
liberals commit it—treason, that is. For obvious
reasons, liberals don`t care for the book, but what may
be more puzzling, to some at least, is why
neoconservatives don`t either.
But if you understand what neoconservatism is—a
brand of liberalism that likes to masquerade as a
phony conservatism, mainly so it can wheedle influence
in the Republican Party—the puzzle is solved. What`s
especially interesting about the
neo-con onslaught against Miss Coulter is that it`s
virtually indistinguishable from the liberal one.
Thus, the Wall Street Journal op-ed page last
month unleashed the
sarcastic reflections of neocon Dorothy Rabinowitz
on Miss Coulter and her book. The burden of the attack
was that Miss Coulter praises the late Joe McCarthy as
someone who was willing to call the spade of liberal
treason by its proper name. Then there was a
review by Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post
Book Review, followed a week later by yet
another broadside from neo-con
Arnold Beichman in the
Miss Applebaum, an editorial writer for the
Washington Post, is a liberal, one supposes, but
it`s hard to tell the difference between her sneers and
those of the other two. "Even the company of
Maoist insurgents would be more
intellectually invigorating than that of Ann
Coulter," Miss Applebaum avers. "More to the
point, whatever side this woman is on, I don`t want to
be on it."
Miss Applebaum at least shows signs of having read
the book, which is more than Mr. Beichman did. "I
have tried to read Miss Coulter`s book and failed,"
he admits and then gets nasty. And what all these
savants dislike about it is not just Miss Coulter`s
inclination to say nice things about McCarthy but also
her claim on page one that "Liberals have a
preternatural gift for striking a position on the side
Well, as I noted, I haven`t read the book (although,
unlike Mr. Beichman, I bet I could), and it may be that
Miss Coulter kind of O.D.`s on the hyperbole. I know the
Nevertheless, if she`s seriously arguing that
liberalism is inherently prone to
treason, she`s right.
Indeed, neither Miss Coulter nor I am the first to
say so. Decades ago Whittaker Chambers
expressed much the same insight, one that explains
why liberals of his time were so cuddly with
Alger Hiss and almost as mean to Chambers as
neo-conservatives today are toward Miss Coulter.
Franklin Roosevelt`s New Deal "was only
superficially a reform movement" and really
"was a genuine revolution, whose deepest purpose was not
simply reform within existing traditions, but a basic
change in the social, and, above all, the power
relationships within the nation," Chambers also
grasped that both the liberals who pushed the New Deal
revolution and the communists who
piggybacked on it shared a common goal, even if they
differed on methods.
"At the basic point of
the revolution," he wrote, "the two kinds of
revolutionists were at one; and they shared many other
views and hopes. For men who could not see that what
they firmly believed was liberalism added up to
socialism could scarcely be expected to see what added
up to Communism."
The ultimate loyalty of liberalism is not to the
concrete realities of human life—one`s people, nation,
community and family—but to the
Great Abstractions: Equality, Peace, Tolerance,
Freedom (sometimes), Progress, Diversity.
When your own country doesn`t measure up to them,
loyalty to it is—well—negotiable.
I don`t know if Miss Coulter quotes Chambers, but she
should. Like other real conservatives of his day, he saw
that liberals and communists are essentially on the same
wave length, the same page, and that explains a good
deal about the long record of liberal treachery, from
Roosevelt at Yalta to the last
insipid cuddle with communism at the end of the Cold
Real conservatives have always understood this ugly
truth about liberalism, even when too polite to mention
it out loud.
Neoconservatives don`t understand it, and that`s why
they`re so hard to distinguish from liberals—and why
they apparently feel a typically liberal compulsion to
trash any real conservative who dares call
liberalism the treason it is.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
[Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,