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Anne Coulter's Godless

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The Wrath
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I don't normally read books by pundits, but my dad brought me this book and wanted me to read it. When ever I do read them, I don't take them too seriously, but they can still be fun to read if, for no other reason, you can get some quotably sarcastic lines out of them. And, in this book, Coulter's sarcasm has been funny enough to make me laugh out loud a few times.

Positives:

  • It's quite funny
  • her chapter on the left's war on science (dealing with pesticides and AIDS and things like that)
  • the chapter on public education is easily the best chapter in the book...lots of facts backing up the idea that public education sucks
  • she exposes quite a few double standards and ridiculous tactics of the left, particularly in the area of "racism"
  • her chapter "Sobbing Hysterical Women" is dripping with sarcasm and does a good job of putting people like Cindy Sheehan in their place

Negatives:

  • about a third of the book consists of her fundamentalist Christian ravings
  • her arguments against Evolution are laughably easy to debunk (or at least to turn them around and use on Creationism)...seriously, these are the kinds of argument I would have used in the 6th grade

Neutral:

  • she has a whole chapter on abortion...I put this in neutral because, more than arguing against abortion, she rails on liberals for the tactics that they use when defending the pro-choice standpoint...I must admit, that the tactics of the pro-choicers get a bit ridiculous sometimes

Edited by Moose
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Thanks for the review. I typically like what Coulter has to say, and I think a great book, which spans American politics in the mid to late 20th century, is Treason. I had always wondered why we were always taught in school to hate McCarthy. Like most work by politcal pundits, it is extremely redundant (Lieing Liars and the Lies they whatever....) But, This book is a great defense of a patriot and fighter for the free world against Communism/USSR as well as an argument against the notion that liberalism/pacifism can keep us safe.

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I read it. I have to agree with Lazlo. While it made some good points, it also made some really bad ones (4 chapters trying to debunk evolution was just a little much).

While I tend to wit in general, I think Coulter's heavy handed sarcasm is meant for "preaching to the choir" as it would turn any rationaly reader off.

She ignores the obvious implication of her theme. While she tries like the dickens to prove that leftists really have a religion in spite of their claims to the contrary, and then she shows how irrational the religion is, she is very silent on the topic of what that might imply for her religion.

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I read it. I have to agree with Lazlo. While it made some good points, it also made some really bad ones (4 chapters trying to debunk evolution was just a little much).

While I tend to wit in general, I think Coulter's heavy handed sarcasm is meant for "preaching to the choir" as it would turn any rationaly reader off.

She ignores the obvious implication of her theme. While she tries like the dickens to prove that leftists really have a religion in spite of their claims to the contrary, and then she shows how irrational the religion is, she is very silent on the topic of what that might imply for her religion.

Yeah, it's preaching to the choir. But, when it comes to the issues in her book (except religion), I am a choir member.

She actually brings up a few points about Evolution that I don't quite know how to answer, though most are ridiculous, as I said before.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I would recommend that nobody ever purchase a book authored by Ann Coulter so as not to indirectly give her any money. She is one of the most illogical persons of all political pundits that I know of today. Even if someone happens to like one of her conclusions, her reasoning for arriving at that conclusion is surely atrocious and anti-intellectual. She in particular strikes me as disingenious, because someone with her educational background surely knows better.

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I would recommend that nobody ever purchase a book authored by Ann Coulter so as not to indirectly give her any money. She is one of the most illogical persons of all political pundits that I know of today. Even if someone happens to like one of her conclusions, her reasoning for arriving at that conclusion is surely atrocious and anti-intellectual. She in particular strikes me as disingenious, because someone with her educational background surely knows better.

I think Ann,who I generally agree with politically, though I am an aethist, is just trying -- like Rush ten years ago to make a spectacle out of herself to espouse a generally good political philosophy. As a republican I hate that our actual values are tainted with religious jargon, but next to the opposition ... at least we have some values. :pirate:

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I would recommend that nobody ever purchase a book authored by Ann Coulter so as not to indirectly give her any money. She is one of the most illogical persons of all political pundits that I know of today. Even if someone happens to like one of her conclusions, her reasoning for arriving at that conclusion is surely atrocious and anti-intellectual. She in particular strikes me as disingenious, because someone with her educational background surely knows better.

This is just silly. Most authors are irrational in some respect. Unless you think we should never buy anything except books by hardline followers of Rand, you should reconsider your position.

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This is just silly. Most authors are irrational in some respect. Unless you think we should never buy anything except books by hardline followers of Rand, you should reconsider your position.

I certainly do not think that we should only purchase the works of the adherents of Ayn Rand. I personally have a voracious reading appetite, and read many works beyond the scope of Objectivism.

I agree that most authors are irrational in some respect. However, Ann Coulter tends to be abhorrently irrational in many respects. Allow me to list a few of her proud quotes:

  • "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building." (emphasis mine)
  • "[Canadians] better hope the United States does not roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent."
  • "It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact. In fact, in every presidential election since 1950 - except Goldwater in '64 - the Republican would have won, if only the men had voted."
  • "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." (emphasis mine)
  • "They're [Democrats] always accusing us of repressing their speech. I say let's do it. Let's repress them. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment."

Most of the quotes here have sources listed in Wikiquote.

Needless to say, I am not accusing anyone here of supporting the ideology stated above. But considering these and a lot of the stuff that Moose indicated is in her latest book, I consider her to be insane or (more likely) just pretending to be insane to sell books. I highly recommend that nobody purchase any of her books.

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[*] "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building." (emphasis mine)

sarcasm

[*]"[Canadians] better hope the United States does not roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent."

complete sarcasm

[*]"It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact. In fact, in every presidential election since 1950 - except Goldwater in '64 - the Republican would have won, if only the men had voted."

I actually agree with this. I don't support taking away women's right to vote, but it is a fact that women tend to vote for the extreme left with much greater consistency than men. If Hillary is allowed to become the socialist Richard Nixon, it will be entirely on the women's vote.

[*]"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." (emphasis mine)

While, I don't like Christianity, I would much rather that the Middle East be converted to American-style Christianity than to continue living in stone age-style Islam. I'll give you half credit for this one, however.

[*]"They're [Democrats] always accusing us of repressing their speech. I say let's do it. Let's repress them. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment."

dripping with disdain

Edited by Moose
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The problem with Coulter is that she is about forty percent good, and sixty percent bad. It is of course good to buy books by non-Objectivists, even books with heavily irrational elements, but the fact that Coulter is a respected figure among conservatives and that she avowedly bases her views on religion and constantly appeals to religion is scary. It's better if she has much less cultural influence, not more.

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I haven't read her, but it is extremely important to differentiate between the end-result suggestions of a commentator and the line of reasoning that brought them to their conclusions. For instance, O'Reilly on TV is sometimes (say 20% of the time) suggesting the right action, and sometimes (say 20% of the time) is suggesting substantially the right action. However, I wouldn't say he's about 40% right, because more often than not his reasons are either wrong, or (more frequently) he just thinks "it's obvious". To me, all those unexplained and incorrect lines of reasoning, which nevertheless brought him to a somewhat correct conclusion, should be discarded as wrong. It's all about epistemology.

When judging an intellectual, the key is their underlying arguments and reasoning. I can come to conclusions myself.

Beware of supporting the person, however, who's conclusions match yours, and who is loudly willing to fight shoulder to shoulder with you, but for all the wrong reasons. When you have defeated what you consider your common enemy, he will likely turn on you. Beware of building a Bin Laden to fight the communists!

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First of all, I'd like to reiterate that my dad is the one who bought the book. As long as I got it for free, I might as well have read it. I had no intention of buying it myself.

Having said that: Anne Coulter is hilarious. When I read her, I realize that her conclusions, though often right, are based on bad premises. However, the way that she presents her conclusions is quite often hysterical. I love reading her scathing comments about liberals. Whatever faulty moral basis forms her support of the war, free markets, or private education, it does not show up in this book. Yes, her religious conservatism shows up quite a bit, but almost entirely in the third or so of the book that is devoted to Evolution and abortion. The rest (the chapters making fun of Cindy Sheehan, Willie Horton, public education, etc.) do not have anything I would call irrational. Maybe her bases for these chapters are irrational, but she does not include them in the book. Instead, it's good, old-fashioned liberal-bashing at its best. Some of her arguments in these chapters would be very difficult for a liberal to refute, because they are firmly grounded in reality and, yes, in reason.

Edited by Moose
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From what I know of her (and I admit that it's very little), she's a caricature of a hardcore republican.

Does she really try to disprove evolution in one of her books?

Oh, and Moose: Just saw your new sig. Not sure how long you have it already but I had a good laugh. Thanks. :)

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Good post softwareNerd.

With regards to many of Ann Coulter's comments that I listed being sarcastic, they better be sarcastic. We all know that if she actually wanted to see the New York Times building detonated, she would be a terrorist. In addition to the quotes I have provided, she has a repeated history of unapologetically issuing sarcastic remarks where the punchline is that people with opposing views to the neo-con branch of the Republican Party should be deprived of their freedom of speech. The underlying message insinuated here is pretty alarming, especially if some of her ideas are ever acted upon in a resurrection of the Sedition Act. I highly doubt that her humor is one hundred percent devoid of suggestion.

While at times, irrational and illogical, Coulter creates an incredible flow of logic throughout most of Treason in her defense of McCarthy.

Kingofthething, so what is this "incredible flow of logic" that she uses to defend Senator Joseph McCarthy?

I am intrigued by Dr. Leonard Peikoff's DIM Hypothesis. According to this theory, if I am perceiving it correctly, someone like Ann Coulter who exhibits atrocious epistemology is apocalyptically bad while some wimpy "liberal" who just comes to bad conclusions is not nearly as dangerous. (the assessment on Ann Coulter is my extrapolation, not Dr. Peikoff's.) I am eagerly anticipating the release of the book on this topic.

Lastly, when I first heard Ann Coulter's quote concerning the forceful conversion of Muslims to Christianity, my first reaction was that all of the Sunnis would convert to Protestantism for some reasons, all of the Shiites would convert to Catholicism for some other reason then they would resume slaughtering eachother with just as much fervor as before while citing Leviticus and Deuteronomy. :)

Edited by DarkWaters
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Actually, McCarthy was unjustly villified, in my view (and in Ayn Rand's, Harry Binswanger's Robert Tracinski's, for that matter) and Coulter DOES do a good job of defending him in Treason.

Her leftist-bashing is admittedly very funny and irreverant, and she often makes good points. However, I still can't stand her because I think her bad points far outweigh her good.

Here's Harry Binswanger's review of her second book, Treason:

http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?id=2984

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Actually, McCarthy was unjustly villified, in my view (and in Ayn Rand's, Harry Binswanger's Robert Tracinski's, for that matter) and Coulter DOES do a good job of defending him in Treason.

Thanks for the book review, Laszlo.

I would like to add that Miss Rand did explicitly say that she was not an admirer of Senator McCarthy but indicated that it was not because of the reasons implied by the (anti-)concept of McCarthyism ( "Extremism," or the Art of Smearing ). I am curious as to why she did not like him then.

All this being said, Ayn Rand seemed lukewarm on Joseph McCarthy while Ann Coulter seems to lionize him as one of the greatest unsung heroes in American History.

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Whatever faulty moral basis forms her support of the war, free markets, or private education, it does not show up in this book.

I wonder if it's possible at all to support all these things as a result of a faulty moral basis. An altruist will inevitably hate America and capitalism, as they are the embodiment of what his ideology views as evil. So a conservative who truly supports the things you mentioned, must support them not as a result of, but in spite of his flawed explicit morality. And I think this is evidence that, beneath the explicit morality that he feels for some reason compelled to espouse, there are some implicit, unidentified remnants of the right morality, which form the true basis of his political ideas.

This is why I love and respect Ann Coulter.

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Wait a second...is that last sentence sarcasm? Because it looks like you just launched into a criticism of the conservative stance, then you turned around and said you loved Anne Coulter.

I enjoy some of Anne Coulter's rhetoric, but I can find very little about her to actually "respect."

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From what I know of Anne Coulter, Christianity forms the basis of pretty much all her political beliefs, including those supporting capitalism and an aggressive foreign policy. That basis just doesn't show up that much in her latest book, apart from the stuff on abortion and Evil-ution.

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From what I know of Anne Coulter, Christianity forms the basis of pretty much all her political beliefs, including those supporting capitalism and an aggressive foreign policy.

I haven't heard of Anne Coulter, but I think that some of Ann Coulter's political ideas are genuinely pro-American, and I hold that it's impossible for Christianity to cause a person to uphold genuinely pro-American ideas.

Notice my use of the word "cause." I am not saying that it is impossible for Christianity to co-exist with genuinely pro-American ideas. What I am saying is that if a person holds genuinely pro-American ideas, it is not because he's a Christian. He must have some other reason for holding those ideas. "I love Jesus, therefore I love money" just doesn't make sense, neither logically nor psychologically.

Now it is important to distinguish between three kinds of Christianity: Augustinianism (the original version, the creed of the Dark Ages), Thomism (a much more pro-reason philosophy with a strong Aristotelian influence), and Calvinism (the doctrine that your actions on Earth have absolutely nothing to do with whether you go to heaven or hell). America has been mostly Thomist and Calvinist. Calvinism has given Americans the permission to do whatever they want on Earth ; Thomism has allowed them to use reason to decide among the various courses of actions possible on Earth.

So this is how it is possible for Christianity to co-exist with genuinely pro-American ideas. But notice that both factors are only a permission, not a cause. Calvinism says, "You are free to do what you want on Earth." It doesn't command, "Thou shalst make money." It doesn't automatically make you a productive person (nor is that possible!) ; it merely removes the threat of divine retaliation against productive people (as well as hedonists, murderers, non-believers, ... everyone). Thomism asserts the efficacy of reason; it does not command you or automatically cause you to be rational (which is again impossible).

So what these particular variants of Christianity do is remove the obstacles from the path that leads from the choice to think to the acceptance of genuinely pro-American ideas. They are catalysts, but not prime causes. The prime cause can only be one: the desire to live a life worthy of man through the use of reason.

Do you now see why I love and respect Ann Coulter?

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I haven't heard of Anne Coulter, but I think that some of Ann Coulter's political ideas are genuinely pro-American

My perception is that she worships America and the Republican Party not because she is using reason or because she values the ideals of the founding fathers of the United States but because she has some almost blind, jingoistic commitment to the United States and the Republican Party that is almost completely independent of their actual ideals. As a paragon of a Republican attack dog, Ann Coulter cheers for the Republicans as if they are her favorite football team. She even promotes views that I perceive to be far from "pro-American". Some examples being her repeated (sarcastically) insinuations that liberals should be deprived of their freedom of speech and her enthusiasm for a number of pro-religion and anti-mind views.

Ultimately, we all recognize that she is just trying to sell her books. Thus explains her willingness to go out of her way to be controversial and her shameless use of intellectually dishonest arguments that help her accomplish her goals. With her, sometimes I wonder if the Republican party were to gradually trade places with the Democratic party over the course of twenty years, then I would expect her to be writing scathing diatribes against the Democrats while extolling views that were once antipodal to her own.

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Ultimately, we all recognize that she is just trying to sell her books.

If that were the case, she would do it the Gail Wynand way and give the masses what the masses want.

It's easy to speak about it now, in retrospect, but when she wrote her first book, no one would have predicted it would become a best-seller. No one who "mattered," at least. The consensus in media circles and in the intellectual elite was that an "extreme right-wing" publication would be generally shunned and its author ostracized. The intellectuals were not aware of the great chasm between them and the rest of American culture; they thought it was "the People" vs. "the rich," who "exploited" the "People" through the "military-industrial complex." In that climate, it took a great deal of courage and independence to publicly say things that were considered "controversial" and "not politically correct." People who showed some mild signs of being willing to speak out against leftist orthodoxies were immediately labeled as "hardliners" and were expected to "tone down their rhetoric" and "reach out" in a spirit of "bipartisanship"--and they would all comply.

It was thought that, if you wanted to sell a book, the easiest way to accomplish it was literally to kneel before Democrats. It took first-handed reason to recognize that it wasn't so; that perhaps there might be some audience for a different kind of political book. And of course there is a long way from "some audience" to "best-seller." The extent of the success of Miss Coulter's first book took most conservatives by surprise--including, IMO, Miss Coulter herself. There is no way she knew in advance what a star she would become. She probably just felt that somebody needed to challenge the liberal establishment and, since nobody was really doing it, she took the task upon herself.

This should give you a good idea of why I love and respect Ann Coulter!

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