When the Right is Very Very Wrong

Sure we believe in liberty except when we don't, says Ann Coulter.

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right on one side of her sneering lip
And when she was Right
She was very very Right
But when she was wrong
It was bullship.

(Okay, okay, so I couldn't come up with a better rhyme on short notice so I munged[*] the last line.)

CoulterWhen Ann Coulter turns her guns on deserving targets,[*] and opens up with both barrels, it's as much fun as it is inspiring to watch her blast open the bull's eye. When she seems to be just putting words together to rattle the enemy by throwing them curve balls,[*] it can be somewhat enjoyable, but not so much. When she's going after what I consider the wrong targets, it's no fun at all, and very sad. I have the same problem with most Right-wing spokesfolk, even (and sometimes especially) Our Leader Mark Levin.[*]

When I tuned to yesterday's column,[*] and saw that she was going to comment on Monday's Republican beauty pageant, I had high hopes of being entertained, and possibly informed (especially since I hadn't watched the "debate"). I was quickly disappointed.

She writes, "Monday night's debate did crystallize for me why I dislike libertarians." Of all political labels, libertarian would probably fit me best. When I first took The World's Smallest Political Quiz,[*] I scored right at the top, although I've discovered the questions keep changing. However, the label is not a comfortable fit for me, not for the sake of libertarianism, but for the reality of most libertarians, so while I'm disappointed at the direction she's taking, I start nodding in agreement when Ann writes she dislikes libertarians ("[e]xcept one, who is a friend of mine and not crazy" she adds parenthetically, with disturbing duplicity).

Then comes the next sentence. "They lure you in with talk of small government and then immediately start babbling about drug legalization or gay marriage." THUMP! That's the sound of my hopes hitting the floor. I have to drag myself through the rest of the column as a matter of duty, but like the time I walked into a relative's house and saw a big poster of Prem Rawat, I knew all too well what lay ahead. Like so many Right-wingers, Ann had stepped right into two of the three tar-babies[*] of the Christian-Republican alliance.

Let me step back a minute to quickly grab some statistics courtesy of Professor Google. According to a Pew Survey[*] for which I find no date, nearly 80% of Americans consider ourselves religious, and over 80% of those are either Protestant or Catholic. For the faithful follower of Jesus, that at first blush seems hopeful. However, according to a Gallup poll from last December,[*] 40% of Americans also "believe God created humans in their present form about 10,000 years ago." For the record, I'm among the 38% who "believe God guided a process by which humans developed over millions of years from less advanced life forms." I find the 40% who are just plain scientifically ignorant to be somewhere between a problem and a serious threat. Between the 40% who don't understand progressive development is scientifically unquestionable, and the 16% who don't think God is involved, reasonable theists are outnumbered. My point with this digression is, believers can be beautiful beings, but they can hold some awfully stupid, and socially dangerous, views. Among those are the Big Three on which liberals consistently capitalize. Now back to Ann, slugging away at two of those tar-babies.

Ann characterizes Ron Paul's answer regarding gay marriage as "a chicken-s**t, I-don't-want-to-upset-my-video-store-clerk-base answer." First of all, disagreement on the issue is one thing, but this seems to unfairly question Paul's sincerity. What Paul said, as quoted in Coulter's column, was, "The federal government shouldn't be involved," and "I don't think government should give us a license to get married." As it happens, this has been my own stance since long before I wrote Defending Common-Law Marriage in 1997. Ann argues that unless the government defines marriage, "courts are going to be bulging with legal disputes among the unalert, who neglected to plan in advance and make private contracts resolving the many legal issues that are normally determined by a marriage contract." The problem is real. However, Ann's arguments are along the same line as a reply I got from a lawyer, and essentially deal with the convenience of the government. I answered those questions in a second article to which the reader can refer for more detail, but the essence is in this sentence (quoting myself seems so odd): "Mary Jo and I have been married for over twenty years, legally, without recourse to State or Church, and since such liberty is feasible, it is not our burden to suggest why it would be a 'hardship' to register with the Gummint, but the Gummint's impossible burden to prove why private marriage contract should not be valid without State approval." I note that, as with any contract, it is up to the individuals contracting to be wise in contracting, and careful to establish their positions in the case of dispute or other reason to turn to the courts. While what I disputed was an Oklahoma legislator trying to do away with Common Law marriage between a man and a woman, the same reasoning would hold in any union, whether between two people of the same sex or even a group marriage. When Ann or others argue against gay marriage as a legal matter, they are, politically and philosphically, indistinguishable from other tyrants who promote government control over everything from our educational systems to our light bulbs.

Covered with tar from that baby, Ann proceeds to use her remaining free extremities to tangle with a second. Freedom from government licensing in marriage, she opines, is "exactly like drug legalization." Indeed it is: a matter of individual liberty uncontrolled by unnecessary legislative tyranny! She characterizes both as trivial. Apparently, she is unaware of how the drug war destroys families, imprisons people for non-transgressions, and is directly responsible for the drug gang violence in Mexico and throughout Latin America. She offers nothing else on the matter, though, so I won't bother to further address her non-existent arguments against this form of tyranny. I will, however, refer the reader to another pair of articles of mine on this subject, also from 1997, on the Constitutionality and social value of Repeal. Most folks who argue like Ann does here seem unaware that the very arguments they use are the ones others employ to fight against second amendment rights, for example.

You know how folks can be. When it's the other guy's ox getting gored, we chuckle,[*] but when it's our sacred cows being attacked, we are disgruntled. So, maybe it's just me, but I find that when Ann has the right targets in her sights, her wit and wisdom make for excellent reading. When she's off-base, she struggles like a liberal to explain her inconsistency. In the end, Ann engages in her special brand of sneering derision and smarmy excess to deride libertarians as "cowering frauds too afraid to upset anyone to take a stand on some of the most important cultural issues of our time." Like the Left who employ the Constitution only when it suits their needs and call it obsolete when it doesn't, too many who should otherwise be true American heroes say they believe in liberty except when their pet tyrannies are threatened. Whether merely egregiously ill-informed, propagandistically disingenuous, or both, Ann is, in this instance, representative of what's really wrong with the Right.