Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism
Crown Forum, New York 2003
‘Liberals’ are the villains of this book, and its first word. How it became pejorative would need research more diligent than that to unearth the origin of ‘neoconservative’. Still respectable in the United Kingdom, though most of us are aware that the Liberal Democrat party stands on the left of New Labour, in the United States it is a label which those to whom it is affixed seem reluctant to display and wary of using even in discussion. Ann Coulter, it is hardly necessary to say, is dealing with ‘liberals’ in the United States and, while confident that her designation of her quarry is well-understood, she states, for additional clarity:
“Whenever the nation is under attack, from within or without, liberals side with the enemy… They are either traitors or idiots, and on the matter of America’s self-preservation the difference is irrelevant. Fifty years of treason hasn’t slowed them down.”
Taking more than one chapter to deal with the case of Alger Hiss, Coulter begins by emphasising to what extent he was protected by the government establishment, as high up as the two Presidents, Roosevelt and Truman. Hiss’s guilt would probably never have been established but for the persistence of Richard Nixon in 1948, more than nine years after Whittaker Chambers had defected from the Communist Party and as a Soviet agent and then reported to a high government administrator that Hiss, his brother and “at least two dozen” others working for Roosevelt were Soviet spies, an allegation which Roosevelt himself simply laughed off. The documentary evidence against Hiss produced by Chambers, in Hiss’s own hand or typed on his typewriter was sufficiently overwhelming to have him convicted, not of espionage (prosecutions for this have a time-limit) but for perjury.
Yet it would not be too much to say that the media, academic and ‘establishment’ consensus that had been incredulous about the accusation remained incredulous about the verdict, up until and even after it had been verified by opened Soviet archives. Before their British opposite numbers preen themselves on being different, however, it might be as well to remember that the famous quartet of traitors – Burgess, Maclean, Philby and Blunt – were never pursued, prosecuted and imprisoned, as was Hiss – the incredulity or inertia of the ‘establishment’ was quite enough to prevent that happening. Joe McCarthy (… America’s Most Hated Senator, in the sub-title of a recent biography) might seem a much more difficult subject for Ann Coulter to handle, but she should be read if merely to clear up some widespread misconceptions. McCarthy’s anti-communist activities lasted from 1950 to 1953, by which date the Democrats had been in power for twenty years, ample time for communist infiltration. He had nothing to do with the investigation of Hiss, or, since he sat in the Senate, with the House [of Representatives] Un-American Activities Committe (HUAC) which was responsible for it. He had nothing to do with the arrest and conviction of the Rosenbergs. He had nothing to do with firing Hollywood actors.
So what was he doing? He was a member of the Senate Permanent Sub-committee on Investigations, charged with finding out about loyalty risks within the Federal Government and – this is the important thing – the most robust, persistent, noisy and rude member on it. And needed to be all of these things. “A host of other right-wing Republicans had sought to dramatize the communism issue, but only McCarthy succeeded,” Coulter states. “Thank God somebody’s doing it,” remarked J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI.
There were, as we now know from opened Soviet archives, not only plenty of Communists in government service, which it would be perfectly reasonable to regard as security risks, but many of them were Soviet spies, right up to the top. Hoover was well aware of this at the time, but could not risk alerting the Soviets to the fact that their spy code had been broken. Coulter believes that “McCarthy had so badly stigmatized Communism [that] his victory survived him.” But it also broke him; he did not survive himself. Just as DDT has been demonized because it is the only insecticide most people have ever heard of, so McCarthy has been demonized as the only anti-communist crusader of that era familiar to everyone.
Although Ann Coulter’s further considerable documentation of the subversive and outright treasonable activities of the Liberal/Left is overwhelming, and her book should be read if only for her hundred or so pages on Joe McCarthy, there is little in it to lead to an understanding of the motives of those she attacks. As she makes clear, throughout the whole fifty year period these were the same sort of people – very often actually the same people – academics, journalists and opinion formers, having influence but no political power. Reared in a legal and political adversarial culture, they are very properly expected to monitor the nation’s rulers, reveal the shortcomings and mistakes of its social system and suggest improvements and remedies. That there are dangers of this situation getting out of hand might seem obvious: after all, those who make a living out of muck-raking don’t want to run out of muck. They do, and did, however, one notices, treat the Democrats more tenderly than Republicans: when Kennedy initiated involvement in Vietnam he was applauded, and left uncriticised after the Bay of Pigs disaster which, as Coulter see it, encouraged Khrushev’s missile brinkmanship in Cuba. Certainly after President Johnson mismanaged the war and the Republicans and Nixon took it over, the Democrats turned against it, with relentless negative media support. And after all I believe it is a fact that around 90 percent of journalists and media persons in the US vote Democrat. Coulter makes much of the contrast between their treatment of Nixon and of Clinton in the case for impeaching either of them. She feels, in fact, that Nixon’s downfall was the revenge the liberals took for his unmasking of Hiss.
The American defeat in Vietnam remains the great landmark for left-liberals. For them it proves that the United States can never win a war. It embeds the word ‘quagmire’ in their every description of one, right from the start. With this defeatist chorus, applied to Gulf War I, Afghanistan and Gulf War II within days of each start, and weeks before each swift conclusion, the only lesson would seem to be to ignore it whenever subsequently used. The only defeat suffered by the United States, that of Vietnam, was self-inflicted. The penalty was borne by the Vietnamese, and, by a terrible extension of American responsibility, by the Cambodians.
Coulter concludes her book with examples and discussion of the left-liberal mockery and attempted media sabotage of the current War Against Terror. During the Cold War many, perhaps most, of those involved might feel an ideological identity or affinity with their country’s enemies. But how are they supposed to justify the aid and comfort they give to those dedicated to impose world-wide a Taliban-like society opposed to all the causes they advocate at home – feminism, abortion, permissiveness in sexual behaviour and orientation, to say nothing of other liberties longer established, such as freedom of speech and worship? Coulter notes that they frequently ask for “other solutions” rather than opposition to enemy activities, but that these turn out to be indistinguishable from surrender.
To repeat Coulter’s thesis:
“Whenever the nation is under attack, from within or without, liberals side with the enemy.”
For related books on this type of subversion, see my Archive under the titles: “Admit nothing, explain nothing and apologize for nothing” and “Idiots (complete with a big list of idiots)“.