GUILLOTINES AND UNION THUGS
You can love her, or you can hate her, but either way, Ann Coulter always makes a compelling argument for the side of modern Conservatism. In her new book, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America, she advances the idea that modern liberalism finds its strength in a type of mob mentality.
She references the works of Gustave Le Bon, a nineteenth-century French psychologist and sociologist, as a basis for her allegations. Le Bon wrote numerous books on social psychology and human behavior including The Crowd (1895) and The Psychology of Socialism (1896). Coulter refers to Le Bon as the “father of mob psychology.” She makes the point that Adolf Hitler derived many of his propagandist ideas in “Mein Kampf” from the techniques cited in Le Bon’s books about crowd psychology and mob dynamics.
Coulter may use incendiary rhetoric: “The demon is a mob, and the mob is demonic. The Democratic Party activates mobs, depends on mobs, coddles mobs, publicizes and celebrates mobs — it is the mob.” But she has written a heavily footnoted book, which delineates her assertions in coherent and sequential arguments.
Demonic is divided into four main sections and is rife with historical accounts and anecdotes which support her claims in chapters such as: “American Idols: The Mob’s Compulsion to Create Messiahs,” and “Contraditions: You Can Lead a Mob To Water But You Can’t Make It Think.”
“Part 1:The Psychology of the Liberal,” draws upon the works of Le Bon, as well as contemporary stories and research, to explain why certain individuals, usually those who identify themselves as liberals, are suceptible to the pitfalls of a mob mentality. Her examples range from the New Testament to the current “birther” controversy. On page seven she charges that, “Conservatives don’t cotton to slogans … By contrast, liberals thrive on jargon as a substitute for thought.”
The acceptance of the unacceptable, like the threatening behavior by members of the New Black Panthers outside a Pennsylvania voting center in 2008, by liberals, Coulter postulates, can only come from a mob-mentality in which the crowd becomes an organism that reacts, not to reason or ideas, but to images and slogans. “Bush Lied, Kids Died,” “No Justice No Peace,” “Hope and Change,” (pg 6) are examples of such slogans which seem to have the power to whip the Liberal mind into a frenzy.
In Part 2 of the book: “The Historical Context of the Liberal,” Coulter uses the events of the French and the American Revolutions to demonstrate the contrast in approaches and outcomes used by mobs vs. statesmen and Minutemen. The mobs which rampaged through Paris, and in the end had executed some 600,000 Frenchmen, are contrasted with the Revolutionaries in the English Colonies who pushed back against a tyrannical king, not with pikes and guillotines, but with documents, pamphlets, and a citizen militia. Reason and action vs. mobthink and riots.
The tactics used by the Jacobins of the French Revolution are compared with those of modern liberals. Mobs would be incited through slogans and fear mongering. The policies and governing style of the rulers were not argued but their characters and reputations were smeared through widespread rumors. The Christian Churches of France were targeted in an effort to destroy the faith of its citizens. The physical structures were secularized, and the leaders of the Church were mocked and defiled. Religious marriages and funerals were discouraged and citizens were forced to drop their Christian names. (pp 119-120) “This,” says Coulter, “was not the American Revolution. This was the revolution of a mob.” And she compares this history with the efforts by atheist groups and the ACLU to remove religion in America from the public square.
Coulter traces liberalism in “Part 3:The Violent Tendencies of the Liberal,” through its transformative years and the radicalism of the 1960s and ’70s. She connects the Marxist-Left tactics of organizations such as The Weathermen, with the preeminence on college campuses and the mainstream media of radicalized professors and pundits. William Ayers, for example, was a mastermind in the Weather Underground movement which sought to create chaos and conflict on college campuses through extreme and violent mob activities. They were responsible for bombs which were set at the Chicago Police Headquarters and the Pentagon, among others. (Several of their members died as their homemade explosives detonated before they could be placed in public areas where they would have caused the deaths of many innocent people.) Ayers is one example of how liberals have accepted the violent, mob-like behavior of people who promote their leftist ideology. William Ayers is now a retired professor at the University of Illinois and a close friend of President Barack Obama.
“Part 4: Why Would Anyone Be A Liberal?” address more closely the dynamics and social conditions that define modern liberalism. The final chapter, 17, is titled “Lucifer: The Ultimate Mob Boss.” Coulter is unafraid to use the term “evil” and she has defined the evils of the unreasoning mob in Demonic.
If you have a bias against Ann Coulter, who is brash and ubiquitous on conservative television and talk radio shows, you may pass this book by without considering the extensive citations and confirmed sources she has used to support her theories regarding the thinking and behavioral processes of the modern-day left wing. It may behoove you, however, to step away from the crowd, open your mind, and explore this fascinating and well constructed book, even if it is written by a member of the Vast, Right-Wing Conspiracy.
By Marjorie Haun 7/22/11