Political polemicist-popculture entertainer Ann Coulter spoke at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School last week as part of a national "conservative campus protest" called Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. The Terrorism Awareness website, created by conservative political writer David Horowitz's Freedom Center, a major sponsor of the week's events, asserts that the aim of the protest was to "confront the two Big Lies of the political left: that George Bush created the war on terror and that Global Warming is a greater danger to Americans than the terrorist threat."
Horowitz has long opposed what he calls the leftist orthodoxy that rules American higher education, calling out professors who, he says, attempt to indoctrinate rather than inform. His book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, went after in particular professors whose teachings on the Middle East called into question US support of Israel and/or seemed to support grievances against the US voiced by Islamic and Arabic organizations.
The Terrorism Awareness website offers Horowitz-inflected expansions on the reasoning behind last week's protest: "In the face of the greatest danger Americans have ever confronted, the academic left has mobilized to create sympathy for the enemy and to fight anyone who rallies Americans to defend themselves. According to the academic left, anyone who links Islamic radicalism to the war on terror is an 'Islamophobe.' According to the academic left, the Islamo-fascists hate us not because we are tolerant and free, but because we are 'oppressors.'"
Coulter's scheduled appearance has spurred protest and debate on campus and on the USC internets. Chris Nelson, a graduate student in the Annenberg School and a staff writer at P+P, decided to pose some basics directly (via the email) to Horowitz, who, we're happy to report, was eager to respond. Here's the transcript tidbits:
Chris Nelson: Why Coulter? What of value do you believe she adds to today's political and media climates?
David Horowitz: Ann Coulter is one of the sharpest satirical wits in our national culture and a courageous American. The goal of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is to begin discussion about the nature of the terrorist enemy and to raise awareness of the oppression of women in Islam, subjects which are either verboten at USC or swept under the rug. Ann Coulter is the solution to those two problems.
Why did the Freedom Foundation sponsor her event at USC? How much money did you contribute, if any, and is the foundation sponsoring any other of Ms. Coulter's engagements nationwide?
The Freedom Center asked Ann to appear at USC for the reasons above. Her speech is sponsored and underwritten by Young America's Foundation, as was her previous speech at Tulane.
What is your position on Ms. Coulter's recent remarks regarding the Jewish faith?
Those who have attacked Ann over her remarks about Christians being "perfected Jews" reflect the casual anti-Christian bigotry of contemporary liberalism. Jesus was very clear in saying that as a Jew he had come to correct, fulfill and, in effect, perfect the law of Moses. If you are a Christian that's what you believe. Why should anybody in America, whose democratic culture is based on the pluralism of ideas, be offended by a religious belief?
What is your definition of Islamo-Facism and why do you believe that Ms. Coulter is qualified to speak on it?
Islamo-fascism is a totalitarian ideology whose goal is a global lslamic state in which Islamic law will be imposed on every man, woman and child on penalty of death. As a warrior in the struggle to defend freedom against its enemies in Islam and on the political left, Ann is eminently qualified for this task.
Do you believe that Ms. Coulter makes "incendiary" remarks to the press for the purpose of promoting herself and in this case, her book?
If you read the interview which led to those remarks, you will see that this incident was entirely the creation of Donnie Deutsch, not Coulter, and as I have already said the reaction to her remarks is an expression of the religious bigotry of liberals.