Ann Coulter used to make different kinds of jokes about abortion. In 2009, when President Obama spoke at Notre Dame about “finding common ground” on the issue, Coulter quipped,
How about for next year's graduation ceremony Notre Dame have an abortionist perform an abortion live on stage?
This is typical Ann Coulter humor. Ann’s base of support—“conservative” activists, FOX News watchers, and the “Religious Right”—finds the joke poignant and hilarious; most everyone else cringes at its tastelessness.
Today, Ann’s joke—which walks the line of explicit racialism—is that all the conservative “hot buttons” don’t really matter if the European-American nation is broken.
Despite the fact that Ann has been labeled “far Right” for most of her career, I’ve always disliked her. She has been, for me, a kind of extreme expression of the stupidity of “conservatism” in the 2000s—the “Age of the Flag Pin”—when the American Right dedicated itself to bombing Muslims into democracy, accusing antiwar or anti-Zionist intellectuals of “treason,” and generally squandering Republicans’ six years of total power in Washington on some of the stupidest, most destructive projects possible. (It’s worth pointing out that Donald Trump opposed all this nonsense at the time.)
I have no doubt that Ann, like most intelligent people, is a secret “race realist,” who, in private, has few illusions about race differences in intelligence and behavior. It is her articulated arguments that are the problem. In her 2012 book Mugged—which includes retellings of various race hoaxes and misdeeds—it is the Democrats who are the real racists. (Vdare's Alexander Hart has a good essay on the inaccuracy and uselessness of this kind of thinking.) In the book’s opening chapter, Ann endorses affirmative-action and even busing as a redress against segregation: “As with Truman’s unenforced executive order desegregating the military, it took a Republican to actually get the job done.”
There are many conservatives who simply want race to go away. In their rosy view of history, the race problem was solved by the Civil Rights Act and related Supreme Court decisions, and there’s nothing more to do. It’s now time to stop talking about race and stop taxing and berating White people. “Just leave us alone.” (We, on the other hand, know that race won’t just go away. . .)
Ann’s view is a bit different. In Mugged she bizarrely argues that White guilt ended after Whites witnessed the miscarriage of justice of the O.J. Simpson verdict. But then she also argues that Whites carry a special burden with regard to Black people. One reason she opposes mass immigration is, as she reiterated recently, because it would be a way for Hispanics to “piggyback on the Black experience,” that is, benefit from the debt that Whites owe Black people.
Should we consider Ann’s arguments to be mere rhetorical flourishes? Or a savvy strategy for confronting the demographic issue?
Or is she engaging in “race baiting,” that is, raising provocative issues, hoping the Republicans will benefit from the angst they generate, while ultimately doing nothing?
Does Ann “surrender the pass before the battle begins,” that is, does she take good positions on issues like immigration, while demoralizing the basis for White identity?
Or we could put aside these tricky and complicated questions and ask a simpler one:
Has Ann officially left “conservatism”?