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lol!



http://www.amazon.com/Godless-Church-Liberalism-Ann-Coulter/dp/1400054206

I walked into Borders today and wandered around, till I found the above book by Ann Coulter. I just skimmed through a few pages here and there, but this has got to be some of the funniest shit I've read in a while... wow, I'd love to get my hands on whatever kind of drugs she's shooting. The most bizarre part is, this book is listed as a New York Times bestseller! Some choice quotes:

"If a Martian landed in America and set out to determine the nation's official state religion, he would have to conclude it is liberalism, while Christianity and Judaism are prohibited by law. And not just in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where it's actually on the books, but throughout the land."

(note, among other things, that Martians can apparently be male)

"Environmentalists want mass infanticide"

"The most important value to Liberals is destroying human life."

"Actual science excites them (Liberals) only if it involves some sort of Nazi experimentation with human embryos."

"...of course, there's the liberal creation myth: Charles Darwin's theory of evolution."

"The basic tenet of liberalism is that nature is god and men are monkeys."

and finally:

"A word to those of you out there who have yet to be offended by something I have written or said: Please be patient. I am working as fast as I can." –Ann Coulter, 2006

My biggest question is... who is she trying to offend? Liberals, or conservatives? I suspect most conservatives would be more offended by this book than liberals... it seems like the main point she's driving home to America is that extreme conservatism can breed fanaticism and drive one insane.

As an afterthought, wouldn't it have been awesome if they somehow could have cast her for the part of Dolores Umbridge in Order of the Phoenix?

Another thought I had is... to all of the misguided philosophers (usually, extreme liberals) who have suggested science is "just another religion", I hope you're happy with the result of proposing such nonsense! Coulter has taken you literally... and so will the army of redneck zombies that follows her.

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
ratkrycek
Jul. 29th, 2007 07:46 am (UTC)
Her as Umbridge... hahahahaha!

Did you get to the part about Dawkins and Dennett?

It's just - I've never read anything by her, really - even the titles of her books make my hackles go up. But sometimes I think I should just to see what "they" are up to.

As for offending conservatives, I just don't give them that much credit to catch on. I know, I'm a horrible liberal elitist.
spoonless
Jul. 29th, 2007 09:16 am (UTC)

Did you get to the part about Dawkins and Dennett?

No, but I saw one part where she said something like "some liberals aren't even denying their godlessness now"... which I assume refers to Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, et al
ratkrycek
Jul. 29th, 2007 09:33 am (UTC)
Oh, she wrote about four pages of stupidity regarding Dan and Dawkins. Basically accusing them of being - what was the phrase I liked, not in her book, but somewhere - "Darwinian fundamentalists."

I don't think that's such a bad thing to be.
spoonless
Jul. 29th, 2007 07:45 pm (UTC)

As for offending conservatives, I just don't give them that much credit to catch on. I know, I'm a horrible liberal elitist.

At least among college educated conservatives, I think the fraction that believes the crap about evolution being a "creation myth" is very small. My impression is that most middle-class (or higher) conservatives would view her book as a harmful caricature of the conservative viewpoint. Especially those in the business world. Then again, many of them may view it as distortion, but don't mind if it convinces more people to join their cause.
xleste
Jul. 29th, 2007 09:09 am (UTC)
The "Ann Coulter" as Dolores Umbridge made me laugh a LOT. :)
easwaran
Jul. 29th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
to all of the misguided philosophers (usually, extreme liberals) who have suggested science is "just another religion", I hope you're happy with the result of proposing such nonsense!

I don't know how many of those are philosophers, and how many are literary theorists that get called philosophers (like Jacques Derrida, and Stanley Fish). And actually, I think these are also the people that originally started turning "liberal" into a bad word, by attacking them from the left. (They like Marx's quote about philosophers understanding the world, but not yet having done anything to change it - and that's their thought on liberals (as opposed to leftists) too.)

And some of these people, like Slavoj Zizek, actually do seem to have some rightist sympathies.
spoonless
Jul. 29th, 2007 09:43 pm (UTC)
interesting
Where is the dividing line between "continental philosopher" and "literary theorist"? Is there a clear distinction?

I was thinking instead of "extreme liberal" I should have said "extreme leftist" but didn't change it for some reason (perhaps because it makes the irony more explicit). I forgot that classical liberalism was essentially pro-capitalist libertarianism, and modern liberalism is supposed to mean a sort of tempered mixed-strategy approach to economics. Whereas more extreme leftists advocate Marxism/communism, or at the very least socialism. (Do I have that right?)

One of the things I find weird about the kind of things Coulter is saying is that... even if science or liberalism were a religion, why does she think it's an insult to call something a religion when she admits that she herself subscribes to one? She also contradicts herself in sometimes saying liberals are godless, and other times saying they believe nature is god. I wonder if she presents any argument as to why her god makes a better god than nature. At least the leftists like Derrida appear to avoid subscribing to any particular religion, so their critiques of science being a religion are more effective (although ultimately flawed).
easwaran
Jul. 29th, 2007 10:54 pm (UTC)
Re: interesting
Where is the dividing line between "continental philosopher" and "literary theorist"? Is there a clear distinction?

It's not totally clear, and there probably isn't one. From what I understand, the idea of literary theory is that there should be unified frameworks from which to read a variety of different novels - they tend to roughly be race-based, gender-based, or Marxist (class-based). From here on I'm giving a bit more of a caricature: once you start reading novels through the lens of different theories, you might naturally want to start reading the whole world that way, and see everything (from advertising to physics) as a piece of oppression or amelioration along the relevant dimension. Also, when you're interested in everything just for this social dimension of it, one can easily ignore the material dimension of what's actually going on in the world. I've heard anthropologists start this way because they're interested in social practices (like burning witches, or voodoo or whatever) that have no basis in reality, so social practice really can have a large impact on one's worldview. But then it's easy to slip into thinking that every human practice is just like this - there are no facts of the matter under any of it, and it's all just social custom. And this naturally leads to philosophical views about science and religion (supposedly neither of which is any better or worse than the other, or any more true or false) and things like that. But they still think there's a reason to strive for equity along race/class/gender lines even though there are no facts of the matter for anything - we can change the world by changing our social practices.

Of course, it's possible to be engaged in Marxist literary theory (reading books through what they say about class interactions) without even having Marxist political leanings, much less the whole deconstructionist/post-modernist worldview mentioned above. And presumably other parts of this can be detached too. But if you really buy it all, then I think that calling science a religion isn't exactly critiquing it, but rather just categorizing it, since everything is basically just a religion. There are no objective values (except perhaps ones based on race/class/gender liberation - and maybe even these aren't supposed to be objective, but just somehow dear to the theorist).

Of course, Coulter doesn't make any sense at all there, unless she's just calling leftists hypocrites. But I'm also at times tempted to think that this sort of post-modernism doesn't make any sense at all, and is equally self-refuting.
easwaran
Jul. 29th, 2007 10:58 pm (UTC)
Re: interesting
Sorry about the rant there...

My thoughts on all that keep changing. There's certainly something of value in at least some of it, though probably more as history, art criticism, and perhaps sociology, than as philosophy, in most cases. (There are borderline cases like Wittgenstein though.)

And also, continental philosophy also includes things that are unrelated to all that, like phenomenology from Husserl through Heidegger, and descendants of American pragmatism, and perhaps some existentialism (if anyone does that any more).
spoonless
Jul. 29th, 2007 11:19 pm (UTC)
Re: interesting
Wittgenstein was only a "borderline philosopher"? I think of him as a brilliant philosopher, and really admire him. As Russell's student, and having such a huge impact on the Vienna circle, how could he not be considered an actual philosopher?

I agree with you that when people in humanities try to view science entirely through the "social commentary" lens, they miss the point, and get too focused on the way scientists act without knowing anything about what they're actually working on... which is after all (like the hokey pokey) what it's all about. :-)
easwaran
Jul. 29th, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC)
Re: interesting
Wittgenstein's definitely a philosopher, but borderline continental philosopher (despite also being one of the founders of so-called "analytic philosophy"). The main theme of his late work is that there's no such thing as a language (or perhaps even a pattern in general) without a community with the appropriate dispositions to recognize (and perhaps enforce?) new instances of "the same" regularity. There's an interesting skeptical challenge he raises, but it's also often taken to undermine all sorts of objectivity in logic, math, or science.
spoonless
Jul. 29th, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC)
Re: interesting

But I'm also at times tempted to think that this sort of post-modernism doesn't make any sense at all, and is equally self-refuting.

Well, it's always sounded self-refuting to me to say there is no objective truth, and then go out to try and change the world the way you think it should be. (Although I don't know enough to know whether that's an accurate characterization of post modern literary theory). Personally, I don't believe in any objective moral truths, but I do believe in objective (albeit approximate) ontological truth. So to the extent that I ever decide I'm going to change the world, I don't make a big pretense about it being a big moral imperative... it's just something I'd enjoy seeing done. This could be somewhat backwards from the way the literary theorists see things, or it could be not far off... I'm not sure.
spoonless
Jul. 30th, 2007 12:02 am (UTC)
Re: interesting

But if you really buy it all, then I think that calling science a religion isn't exactly critiquing it, but rather just categorizing it, since everything is basically just a religion.

But surely they must realize that it undermines the whole point of science. Nobody would do science if it turned out it was no more justified than any arbitrary belief system. The point is to gain knowledge about the world, an entirely different purpose than religion has.
easwaran
Jul. 30th, 2007 12:13 am (UTC)
Re: interesting
You're right that this position undermines science - they just don't have to see it as putting science any lower than anything else, since nothing can achieve objectivity.

I wonder though about whether religion has a different purpose than science here. Maybe putting it in terms of purpose makes that true, but religions do claim to have knowledge about the world, which enables them to tell you how to achieve other goals.
spoonless
Jul. 30th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
Re: interesting

they just don't have to see it as putting science any lower than anything else, since nothing can achieve objectivity.

If it's about objectivity, then I'd agree with them that science isn't always objective, and isn't really ever "perfectly" objective. There will always be some amount of personal bias involved, as the people doing it are after all human. However, I think it's clearly differentiated from religion in that the basis of science is not just faith... we actually go out and measure things rather than just fabricating mythologies.


religions do claim to have knowledge about the world

Well, I think they're wrong about that. To the extent that was their purpose, they failed miserably at it... although I think they're probably even wrong about their own purpose. Unless you include something like "the psychological world" or something very internal as part of the world. I used to think religion had no purpose or place in the world at all, but now I'm starting to see that it helps comfort people, helps people be nicer, and perhaps gives them the courage to acheive things they wouldn't have otherwise. Maybe it only becomes bad when they phrase it in terms of knowledge about the (external) world.
entomologist
Jul. 29th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
I don't seen Ann as Umbridge, but she'd have made quite a good Rita Skeeter in "Goblet of Fire" -- not that Miranda Richardson didn't do a fine job in the role. But the fictional character I think the hysterical yet sinister little conservatwit most resembles is Cordelia Ransom, the sadistic, megalomaniacal Minister of Information for the post-coup government of the People's Republic of Haven in David Weber's "Honor Harrington" novels.
thaumaturge
Jul. 31st, 2007 04:25 am (UTC)
that book is just one huge troll post
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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