I do not see what is controversial about Ann Coulter’s new book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, for I do not see what is controversial about stating the obvious. Such is the degeneration of our intellectual culture that almost any statement of fact (say, ‘There are physiological differences between men and women”) will be labeled “controversial” by the zombies in the media and the universities. We need to distinguish ”controversy” from “impudence”—not that I am opposed to impudence, as a tactic in a good cause.
Coulter suggests that conservatives are misled into a defensive struggle when the Left attacks traditional Judeo-Christian faith. Instead, they should themselves be attacking the godless tenets of an alternative faith that has seized control of the intellectual establishment, proselytizes constantly, and enforces its edicts by the tyranny of political correctness.
“Of course Liberalism is a religion,” Coulter writes. “It has its own cosmology, its own miracles, its own beliefs in the supernatural, its own churches, its own high priests, its own saints, its own total worldview, and its own explanation of the existence of the universe. In other words, liberalism contains all the attributes of what is generally known as ‘religion.'”
She places Darwinism at the center of the contemporary liberal creed, without doubting supplementary contributions from Marxism and Freudianism. It is not a scientific or even scientistic commitment to the received evolutionary doctrines that animates them, but rather the core dogmatic assertion that God had no part in the creation of the world.
Nor, I would add, do the philosophical implications of this dogma much interest them. Ernst Haeckel, the great 19th-century German physiologist, worked through the implications until he had established a “monistic evolution” that embarrassed him by implying the existence of a “quasi-God.” But such schemes require the painful exercise of intellectual consistency.
Coulter’s anti-Darwinism uses arguments that appear to be the ones with which Origin of Species was effectively refuted by such as the famous Catholic convert Arnold Lunn, when he did battle with the liberals of the 1920s. But Darwin’s “givens” had already been demolished more thoroughly by the great Canadian geologist and paleontologist Sir J. William Dawson, among others. His essays from the 1880s, gathered and coordinated in Modern Ideas of Evolution, anticipated every argument the Darwinists might ever try to spring out of their ontological corner—which is why it hasn’t been reprinted for a long time.
Now the argument is complicated because the liberals of today use the rhetorical device not only of denying they have a religion, but of denying that they are even liberals. Their trick is only to oppose, and never to defend anything except by inference. It’s hard to argue with a nihilist when he denies the validity of anything at all.
The problem is not that liberalism presents a rival to the Christian religion, which it has been doing for more than a century now. Rather, it presents an alternative religion that is wicked and irrational. Belief in an indefensible creation myth—strict Darwinist evolution—is indeed its “touchstone that separates the enlightened from the benighted.”
But what is more interesting is how the refusal to allow the possibility of God leads to moral positions that consistently prefer the worse alternative to the better, and the indecent moral operator over the comparatively decent one. And it is by this fruit that we know them.
Perhaps a purely moral argument could be constructed for the existence of God, by some greater philosophical mind than my own, who could show why this is inevitable. Turn the major premise of human existence upside down, and our whole universe is inverted.