Poets: Ann Coulter’s views are vile and abhorrent.
They are so abhorrent they are a manner of unintentional satire, mocking the worst attributes and outlooks of human character—she wonderfully and obliviously mocks herself, as many people see. It might be good for the world if she were accidentally run over by a truck.
We’ll go ahead and say it: We will hardly mourn her if she does, in fact, get run over by a truck.
In general, cynical opportunist performers of political porn who use racist hatred for personal gain are best left accidentally dead in the road. Unfortunately, the particular creep in question is not yet dead, and she has garbage to speak, as a citizen granted democratic rights. And those “Leftists” (most of them supported by U.S. government monies in one way or another) who are trying to ban her from speaking her garbage at Berkeley as we write this are also abhorrent.
Even if their abhorrence is slightly askew to the abhorrence of Ann Coulter. I.E., their proto-Stalinism to her proto-Fascism. Though admittedly, we don’t wish most of them to get run over by any trucks, mainly because most of them are naively well-intentioned, guided by certain feelings of social justice—certain feelings we ourselves endorse. Most of them, as we said, anyway; some of them are actually political-porn opportunist commissars and tyrants in waiting, and some of them might be best eventually run over by trucks, too. The thing is: Coulter is playing the suppression of free speech (hers) like a fiddle.
We’re curious: What is the position of the Bay Area Commune folks and poetic-political orbit, for example, on whether or not Ann Coulter should be allowed to speak? If there are any poets at all who are advocating she be banned from speaking at UC/Berkeley, then let those who are advocating such base censorship speak openly here to defend their position.
For the simple reason that anyone who would deny the right of speech to a political opponent, no matter how reactionary that opponent may be, is a political coward by definition—an enemy of the most basic principles of the Enlightenment and of the best of Left traditions—it is nigh-certain no one will take us up on it.
But they are honestly invited to do so, and we hope our suspicions that a Lukácsian cowardly “type” has in past decades come to dominate their Academic kind are wrong.
We offer anyone who may wish to defend the banning of Ann Coulter at Berkeley the full space here at Dispatches to defend his or her anti-Free Speech ideology.
Berkeley! Non-solipsistic and sacred space of Free-Speech within the heroic Anti-War movements of the 60s. The matter of ethical principle and the matter of sane pragmatism are one: For if you consent to the suppression by governing institutions of the extreme Right, then you open the logical door to the suppression of far-Left, oppositional speech, as well. A very basic, well-trodden historical lesson. How shameful and embarrassing these so-called U.S. “Leftists” of the moment are.
They betray the most fundamental principles of the Left. They help destroy the future of any democratic revolutionary hope. Where will poets be on the matter of ground principles of Freedom of Speech? To stand against such outright censorship is perhaps the most immediate task poets can take up in this urgent political conjuncture.
Where will poets be? With the proto-Stalinist politics so prominent in the academy today, or with the venerable and essential principles of the libertarian and anti-Stalinist Left, for which so many heroic revolutionaries over the past century have offered their very lives?