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Diagnosis, but no prescription

  • Aug 20, 2002
Ann Coulter's central thesis is that "the impossibility of having any sort of productive dialogue [with Leftists] about civic affairs has become an immovable reality" (p. 8). Though it's hardly unusual to hear a conservative charge that the Left dominates most media outlets, she nevertheless makes a compelling, and impassioned, case. The argument itself could probably have been made in four pages. The other 240 or so are exhaustive evidence (be sure to read the footnotes!)

Most interesting to me were her discussions of the huge sales success of conservative books, in spite of their being boycotted by the "mainstream" media, and her analysis of the Left's frenzied attacks on their favorite, though, she argues, non-existent, whipping-boy, the "religious right."

By the end of the book, it's very clear that critics who charge Miss Coulter with hypocrisy for name-calling while accusing Leftists of name-calling have missed the central point she's trying to make. For her, the peppery characterization or zingy one-liner is a rhetorical device. For the Left, it's all they have: "Liberals don't try to win arguments, they seek to destroy their opponents and silence dissident opinions" (p. 91).

While she has the diagnosis nailed, though, the weakness of this book is that the author fails to give us a prescription for dealing with it. She offers a suggestion ("As a start, one would have to cut out public schools, colleges, the evening news, sitcoms, movies, children's cartoons, book reviews, Lifetime: TV for Women, Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel, People magazine, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, and, indeed, all major newspapers and magazines" [pp. 116-7]), but never explains why she seems unwilling to go this route. A large-scale Hoppean "strategy of personal secession" (Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Democracy: The God that Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order Transaction, 2001) would seem to be just the ticket for leaving the Left nobody but themselves to talk to.

In sum, "Slander" shows Ann Coulter has her mind around the essential problem. Now she needs to tell us what she would have the American Right do about the situation she so ably, and passionately, describes.

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review by . April 27, 2012
That is a line from a song on Elvis Costello's excellent debut album.  Now that I might have just established a bit of hip cachet, I'm going to destroy it by saying I've never gotten anything he's done since then, and thus reveal myself as an old, curmudgeon who doesn't get it.      But that line pretty much sums up my response to Coulter's cult classic.  I realized I'm still as conservative as always in my philosophy, thought processes, …
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Andrew S. Rogers ()
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"Liberals have been wrong about everything in the last half century," writes conservative pundit Ann Coulter, author of the bestselling anti-Clinton tomeHigh Crimes and Misdemeanors. They've been especially wrong about Republicans, she writes. The bulk ofSlander, in fact, is a well-documented brief dedicated to the proposition that most of the media despises anybody whose political opinions lie an inch to the right of theNew York Timeseditorial page. This is hardly an original observation, though few have presented it with such verve. Coulter is the shock-jock of right-wing political commentary, able to dash off page after page of over-the-top but hilarious one-liners: "Liberals dispute slight reductions in the marginal tax rates as if they are trying to prevent Charles Manson from slaughtering baby seals." There's a certain amount of irony about an author who says "liberals prefer invective to engagement" also declaring, "The good part of being a Democrat is that you can commit crimes, sell out your base, bomb foreigners, and rape women, and the Democratic faithful will still think you're the greatest." But then carefully measured criticism never has been Coulter's shtick--or her appeal. Fans of Rush Limbaugh and admirers of Bernard Goldberg'sBiaswon't want to missSlander.--John Miller
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ISBN-10: 1400046610
ISBN-13: 978-1400046614
Author: Ann Coulter
Publisher: Crown

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