Ann Coulter, who knows almost nothing about anything, let alone American history, and has written a new book to prove it, is greatly vexed by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley for wanting the Confederate battle flag to come down.
Having no real argument to make, Coulter, in true conservative fashion, settles for an ad hominem attack (that is, an attack on Haley personally rather than her argument), saying Haley is an immigrant and therefore ignorant:
COULTER: I’m a student of American History, so I’m appalled by — though I would really like to like Nikki Haley since she is a Republican. On the other hand, she is an immigrant and does not understand America’s history. The flag we’re talking about —
KENNEDY: You think immigrants can’t understand the history?
COULTER: Well, she doesn’t. The Confederate flag we’re talking about never flew over an official Confederate building. It was a battle flag. It is to honor Robert E. Lee. And anyone who knows the first thing about military history, knows that there is no greater army that ever took the field than the Confederate Army.
Of course, Nikki Haley is no more an immigrant than Ann Coulter is a student of history. Born in South Carolina, she is as American as Ann Coulter. Doubtless Haley is also as well-informed as Coulter, which admittedly is not saying much.
And sorry, reading David Barton or books by the Heritage Foundation, is not reading history. What Coulter means to say is that she is a student of speculative fiction – and poor speculative fiction at that.
Yes, the flag in question is the Army of Northern Virginia’s battle flag. She is wrong, however, to say that it is to honor Robert E. Lee. Not in his lifetime – for he dissociated himself from all things Confederate after the war and no flag of any sort flew at his funeral – and not when it was raised in modern times, when its purpose was as likely to champion white racist resistance to the Civil Rights Movement as it was to mark the Civil War’s centennial.
And the flag’s history does not begin with Robert E. Lee, a Virginian. it was actually Louisiana-born General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, the first commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, who was responsible for the battle flag. Its simple purpose was to replace the national colors on the battlefield, which, in the swirling smoke, looked too much like the Union colors and was confusing to the troops.
And to say no greater army ever took the field…Well, she must be joking. Fine as the Army of Northern Virginia was, it does not compare to Napoleon’s Grande Armée in terms of accomplishment. In Western history alone, Caesars legions conquered Gaul while Lee flubbed his invasion of Pennsylvania, and Alexander’s army conquered modern Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, again, while Lee’s army could not even conquer Pennsylvania.
I won’t even mention Genghis Khan.
I don’t want to upset Pennsylvanians, cut c’mon, man. And at Gettysburg, Lee threw that army away. Later, General Ulysses S. Grant used Lee’s army as a punching bag.
Regardless. We can debate the merits of one army over another, but even were Coulter right about the Army of Northern Virginia, how would that make the Confederate flag morally acceptable? Or maybe her knowledge of history does not include the South actually LOSING the Civil War?
Of course, Coulter, like Bryan Fischer, wants to portray the Confederate flag as the symbol of the Democratic Party. Rather than getting rid of the battle flag, she called instead for abolishing the Democratic Party as “a much more hateful symbol.”
Right. Which is why 9 out of 10 blacks today are Democrats.
And like Fischer, she ignores the century of history after the Civil War, when the GOP’s Southern Strategy sucked all the racists out of the Democratic Party and turned them into Republicans. She ignores the fact that it is Republicans waving the flag around today and protesting its demise, not Democrats.
Coulter is more than willing to exhibit her hateful, ill-informed trollishness for all to see. Indeed, she seems to revel in it and has done so here.
Nikki Haley is culpable on other grounds, but not based on where she was born. By accusing her, and everybody else of being ignorant, Coulter has only exposed her own profound, perhaps willful, ignorance.
We have seen the mind of Ann Coulter, and it is not pretty.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.