Reviewing the Passion of the Liberal By Ann Coulter
This essay is to review one article by Ann Coulter entitled The Passion of the Liberal. More specifically, the aim is to evaluate the validity of the author’s arguments by critically analyzing her statements, considering her biases, and by deciphering the literary techniques she uses in order to express her opinions, and determine if she is trying to influence the reader into her beliefs. In an attempt to do so we must first understand the background of the writer.
Ann Coulter is a former graduate student from the University of Michigan Law School’s corporate law program and is a columnist who has also authored seven books. She is known for her crafty style of writing and her opinionated passionate nature. She has worked for the senate and is a self-declared Christian, Presbyterian. She has written such books as Godless: The Church of Liberalism, a book in which she implies that liberalism rejects the idea of God while bearing the characteristics of a religion itself.
The article at hand is a commentary on today’s liberal society that, according to the author, fails to see the humanity and justice brought forward by Judaism and Christianity, with the majority of the emphasis being on the Christian religion. Coulter strongly believes that the moral fabric of today’s America is obsessed with criticizing and, if you will, crucifying, the wrong matters. The article is more directly a response to the controversy surrounding the release of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” and its title is a play on the name of the recent film.
In The Passion of the Liberal, Coulter opens her angry outburst with the generalization that liberals in general do not have a clue about the intricacies of the Christian religion. She continues in her attempt to discredit those with opposite opinions as she alludes to George Bush’s apparent incompetence and basically refers to the writers of the New York Times as sex-craving abortion-loving homosexuals. The article is filled with satire and is written in a sarcastic tone that leaves one wondering if there is a possibility that Coulter is not offering an objective opinion piece, but rather has some sort of personal vendetta against the “loony-left”, as she eloquently alliterates. She sarcastically uses Maureen Dowd, a Pulitzer Prize winner, as an eponym for the intellectual bodies of liberal writers in order to further discredit their knowledge of Christianity.
The outstanding remarks made by Coulter refer to the Islamic religion. The notion here is that she believes Muslims are set out to “kill everyone who doesn’t smell bad and doesn’t answer to the name Mohammed”. Not only is this hyperbole offensive, but a fallacy as well as a contradiction to her prior arguments. She condemns the “know-nothing secularists” for their constant criticism of Christian and Catholic values due to their assumed lack of knowledge on the subject. At the same time, she slanders the Muslim faith by using the appeals of terrorism.
At the time this article was written, the affiliation between Muslim people and terrorism was quite ubiquitous. However, I personally have many Muslim friends who have, fortunately, yet to take a stab at me with a kitchen knife. The fact that there are extremists practicing any religion does not justify the slander of an entire religion. With that in mind, the prejudice displayed here leaves Coulter looking resentful, disrespectful and uneducated.
Upon revising the article, the author seems to lack focus on the topic and tends to go on small individual rants. This backfires, in my opinion, when she makes the following claim: “The religion that has transformed Western civilization for two millennia is a blank slate for liberals.” There are two determinants or factors in this argument that are subject to dispute the validity of the argument. As this argument is a premise or basis for the entire piece, it throws a slight skew onto the entire article.
The first questionable claim is that Christianity transformed Western civilization on its own. Note how the author uses religion in the singular tense. It is rarely argued that the founding fathers of America were free masons; even the White House is constructed with Masonic architecture. The combination of theism and deism being present in Masonic ideology supports natural religion based on an individual aspect rather than revelation. Masons were known to advocate and consider all religions equally. This is important especially for Western civilization because there is inevitability that religion is privatized in America. The reason it is privatized is not necessarily money, as some tend to believe, but the necessity for choice. Compared to countries in which religion is considered a nationality (see Israel), America is a Diaspora that is infused with many cultures and religions. Here you can see why a Christian conservative may find confusion in the behavior of today’s Western civilization, especially seeing as the item most worship are inscribed with the words “In God we trust”.
The other problem is that liberalism is a movement that advocates the individual’s freedom of choice, and positive progress for the future. According to liberalism, identity and free choice is predicated not by the past but rather the future. Whereas the concept of religion references three rather important points in time; which are the beginning of the world (the past), the point of revelation and the messiah (the future). A conservative’s claim that liberalism is oblivious to a religion is therefore unlikely, improbable, and moot. This is due to the concept of liberalism in its true sense is not critical of the past and does not consider revelation as a determinant of identity.
Ann Coulter is a very passionate writer with a strong academic background. The literary techniques she uses are very overpowering and convincing. The article The Passion of the Liberal is a series of her works that deal with the same subject. The eloquence of Ann Coulter's testimonial leaves you wondering which point she is arguing, whether it is the quality of Mel Gibson's movie, the fight between conservatism and liberalism, or if she is just a Presbyterian preacher. It seems that the most important message Coulter is trying to get across is the following. It is not such a bad thing to believe in God. This is a valid and sound point that could have been expressed in a much softer and more inviting tone. However, this method of instruction works too.