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 Washington Times.
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 of treason."
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 problem myself.
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.
Perceiving that 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, religion, 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 War.
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.
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[Sam Francis [email him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection of his columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control. Click here for Sam Francis` website.]