EdgeWise 1.8.2003


To Speak or Remain Silent

The always interesting Avedon Carol has me very conflicted. She says that books like Ann Coulter's "Treason" should be ignored rather than publicly condemned. Although Rush W. Dozier's "Why We Hate" is the scientific authority in how to defuse your own hatred, and that of those you directly interact with, most of us do not interact with Ann Coulter, and Mr. Dozier has little to say on how to deal with that situation. David Neiwert has spoken persuasively that ignoring extremists who spew hatred and violence is the worst possible thing to do, but I don't find his alternatives very compelling because they do not scale from moderate to extremist. My perception of Ann Coulter is not that she is actually calling for vigilante violence against liberals, but that she is mainstreaming hatred of liberals so that those who do are more acceptable. Shining a spotlight on those who advocate outright violence causes them to wither, but Avedon could be right that controversy sells books for those who are less extreme.

Is controversy causing increased sales of Ann Coulter's books a "necessary evil" in innoculating the mainstream against her hatred? How can we best stop and prevent hatred in the public sphere?
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August 2003
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