July 11, 2003
Careful with the "T" word
Here's Sullivan on Horowitz on Coulter. I tend to agree with Andrew and David, but caveat that I haven't read Ann Coulter's "Treason," though I have read the reviews and believe I get the gist. I think it's unhelpful, as Don Rumsfeld might say, to suggest that "the Democratic Party, as an entity, has become functionally treasonable," as she did on the Chris Matthews show. Coulter seems to have made some useful points in her book, but to position the debate as not between right and left, or even right and wrong, but as between the right and the criminal, while being factually inaccurate of course, will polarize the debate in an unhealthy way. There are certainly unpatriotic and even anti-American elements of the left--but this is different than treasonous and those view points ought to be debated, not dismissed. It's good to see so many strong conservatives take Coulter to task on this. Horowitz puts it best:
It is important for conservatives to make distinctions between those on the Left who were (and are) traitors or self-conceived enemies of the United States, and those who were (and are) the fellow-travelers of enemies of the United States, and those who are neither traitors, nor enemies, nor friends and protectors of enemies, but are American patriots who disagree with conservatives over tactical and policy issues. It is important, first because it is just, but also because it is a condition of democracy. Citizens will disagree over many issues and matters. In order for the democratic process to survive, all parties must refrain from attempts to de-legitimize those who disagree with them, provided they have legitimate concerns and dissents. If every Democrat is a traitor, if “the entire party cannot root for America,” we are left with a one party system.