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Those Coastal Puritans

I realize that there are those who tune out anything that Ann Coulter writes, but when she's right, she's right:

Uttering the standard liberal cliche a few years ago, Richard Reeves described "representatives of the new South" as "Republicans of old puritan definition, righteous folk afraid that someone, somewhere, is having fun." ...

Like all beliefs universally held by liberals, Reeves' aphorism is the precise opposite of the truth.

It's the blue states that are constantly sending lawyers to the red states to bother everyone. Americans in the red states look at a place like New York City — where, this year, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade featured a gay transvestite as Mrs. Claus — and say, Well, I guess some people like it, but it's not for me.

Meanwhile, liberals in New York and Washington are consumed with what people are doing in Alabama and Nebraska. Nadine Strossen and Barry Lynn cannot sleep at night knowing that someone, somewhere, is gazing upon something that could be construed as a religious symbol.

I've said it many times, mostly with reference to atheists: this sort of secular liberalism is fundamentalist in nature, purely and simply. The coastal elites have The One Truth, and it is therefore incumbent upon them to force it upon the rest of humanity. I'll acknowledge that I hold contrary beliefs that I would characterize as Truth, and that it is morally incumbent upon me to spread, but there's a pivotal difference in approach.

My Truths have to do with what people must feel to be true and what they must think to be true. For both thinking and (especially) feeling, force is not an effective method of persuasion. Therefore, it is counterproductive to seek to impose beliefs on others. In effect, I would seek to persuade somebody that the religious symbol that he's hung in the public square relates to incorrect presumptions (if I believed that to be the case) and to give full consideration to what is and is not applicable about it.

Secularists and liberals go in the other direction. Their Truths have to do with what people must say is true. They seek to tear down the manifestations of belief and to stigmatize it as something bad, or at least too dangerous to be given public airing. There is no differentiation between applicable and inapplicable qualities. As Ms. Coulter points out, there's not even any differentiation between monuments and laws, public parks and Congress, or honoring the Ten Commandments and establishing a religion.

That, in my view, is the essence of "fundamentalism" — restricting the word to its unfavorable connotation in modern discourse. If people in the sticks are forced to adhere to The Right Rules, surely they will come around to agreeing that the blue-staters are much further along in their ideological formation. Wherever inappropriate activities are pursued, they must be hunted down and stopped. No persuasion. No argument. No autonomy. Just lawsuits.

Posted by Justin Katz @ 04:58 PM EST