Ann Coulter’s chilling two-chapter recapitulation of the French Revolution is worth well more than the price of her new book, Demonic, but that’s just a bonus.
Also priceless are Coulter’s plethora of one-liner skewerings of the liberal mob, but I digress. What make this her best book are her incisive demonstration that the revolution was the mother of the many totalitarian “revolutions” it spawned in the name of the people, her dissection of the mob mentality that drove it, and her case against today’s American liberals as exemplars of this mob mentality.
She first establishes her base line, defining the mob as “an irrational, childlike, often violent organism that derives its energy from the group. Intoxicated by messianic goals, the promise of instant gratification, and adrenaline-pumping exhortations, mobs create mayhem, chaos, and destruction, leaving a smoldering heap of wreckage for their leaders to climb to power.” Sound familiar? It should, because “the Democratic Party is the party of the mob. … Indeed, the very idea of a ‘community organizer’ is to stir up a mob for some political purpose.” No truer words.
She then systematically identifies the Democratic Party’s mob characteristics and how its leaders’ appeal to them — through distortions, inflaming passions, demonizing opponents and substituting propagandist images and sound bites in place of facts, ideas and persuasive argument. The Democratic Party is nothing if not a repository of hackneyed slogans (“the laws of logic have no action on crowds”), repeated mindlessly and incessantly and designed to thwart the rational consideration of ideas with appeals to incendiary, false rhetoric: “Bush lied, people died.” “No blood for oil.” “Tax cuts for the rich.”
Next, Coulter takes us on a gripping tour of the murderously barbaric and ghoulishly bloody years of the French Revolution and its philosophical underpinnings, which were inspired in part by Jean Jacques Rousseau.
Rousseau, as you know, is one of the left’s celebrated secular political philosophers. Anticipating modern liberals, he twisted words and concepts to turn common sense on its head. Rousseau was a proponent of the “general will,” but his idea of the general will did not remotely resemble any bottom-up expression of the people en route to republican government. It more closely resembled the process whereby autocrats impose their “superior” ideas on the masses in the name of carrying out the people’s will. As Coulter puts it, “a select group of elites with absolutely no grasp of human nature will figure out the program, inflexibly impose it on the people and thereby regenerate mankind.”
Coulter’s guided tour of the French Revolution (and her contrasting summary of the American Revolution) is hardly a mere historical joyride. For in the book’s last section, she makes her closing argument, highlighting the inescapable parallels between today’s liberals and the revolutionary French. She writes that “all the bloody totalitarian dictatorships of the twentieth century have drawn inspiration from Rousseau and the French Revolution.” All the “great liberal ‘reformers’ of the twentieth century, from Lenin to Hugo Chavez,” got their “playbook from Robespierre” — probably the worst and most radical of the French revolutionaries — “who argued, following Rousseau, that a ‘Republic of Virtue’ could only be achieved by ‘virtue combined with terror.'”
Democrats, says Coulter, “are heirs to the French Revolution, the uprising of a mob,” whereas “conservatives are heirs to the American Revolution and the harmonious order of a republic.” Indeed.
She details the leftists’ attraction to tyrants in the past 75 years, from Soviet leaders to Pol Pot, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, and its reflexive opposition to democratic leaders and movements, from Chiang Kai-shek to the Nicaraguan Contras. In the name of peace, American liberals removed our support for the South Vietnamese and Cambodian governments, and a gruesome bloodbath ensued in the entire region.
But it’s not just the liberals’ choice in regimes that parallels the French revolutionary tradition. It is their strategy to advance their policy agenda through exploitation of mob psychology, a phenomenon we are witnessing with alarming frequency today, especially under the Obama administration.
It’s no accident that the Democrats’ campaign for Obamacare was bathed in unconscionable lies, beginning with the grossly inflated numbers of uninsured, and then forced into law over the people’s strenuous, well-known objections — a perfect illustration of the totalitarian outworking of the “general will.” Just as predictable is the Democrats’ obscene obstruction of entitlement reform proposals that offer the only possibility of salvaging these programs without bankrupting the nation. All the while, they boast that they are protecting the elderly and downtrodden, whom, in fact, their obstruction is guaranteed to devastate.
Whether or not you agree with Coulter’s trenchant analysis, she has done her homework and applied tight logic, two things you can be sure her leftist critics will eschew in favor of the mob-style tactics of name-calling, innuendo, distortions and demonization.
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter