“Any positive comment about Rittenhouse on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter led to an immediate suspension. GoFundMe refused to allow Rittenhouse’s friends to raise money for his defense. People who did contribute were hunted down, doxxed and fired. The same people who wanted to give Guantanamo war criminals civilian trials think an American who refused to acquiesce in his own murder didn’t deserve legal representation. Kyle Rittenhouse is on trial so that no one will dare stand in the way of the left’s shock troops ever again.”
—Conservative performance artist Ann Coulter, doing that voodoo that she do so well, or something.
Once again, let me emphasize that an “ethics quote” is not necessarily an ethical quote, but rather one that raises important ethics issues. Coulter’s last sentence is so coulterish that calling this an ethical quote would be madness.
Kyle Rittenhouse is on trial because two people were shot dead and one wounded at his hands, and such events usually get citizens put on trial for something. He’s also on trial because prosecutors seldom have the courage and principle to refuse to prosecute when large portions of the community are screaming for blood, have approved of a hysterical riot sparked by an ignorant protest over a justified police shooting, and the news media is egging the hysteria on.
But buried in her usual hyperbole and deliberate flame-throwing, Ann has a point.
I’m proud to say that this is the first time Coulter has been mentioned here since 2017. She literally will say anything that will help her get publicity, generate college speaking gigs, and sell books, so there is no reason to take her seriously. Who knows what she believes, or if she believes anything? The last thing I wrote about Coulter was when she was stumping for Roy Moore to be elected Senator in Alabama: “Ann Coulter tweeted yesterday that it doesn’t matter if Moore is a theocrat, it doesn’t matter if the man who calls gays sub-human perverts is, in fact, a pervert himself; it doesn’t matter that he was kicked off the bench twice as a judge for ignoring the law….what matters is that he’ll vote for Trump’s wall in the Senate. Get help, Ann.”
No, she hasn’t gotten help, but she’s never been stupid, and sometimes she is useful because she publishes facts that the mainstream media withholds (I did use one of Coulter’s screeds as a reference point for a Breonna Taylor fact-check last year.) For example, in the Townhall essay that contains the quote above, Ann reminds us…
- Joseph Rosenbaum, one of Rittenhouse’s victims, was out on bond for domestic battery and had been released from a mental institution the day he was shot. He was a convicted felon who had anally and orally raped five boys ranging in age from 9 to 11 years old. Yes, this information was too prejudicial to allow as evidence in the trial. Coulter’s point is, however, that the news media worked overtime to impugn Rittenhouse’s character, while pretending that those he encountered were just concerned, “mostly peaceful” protesters.
- Anthony Huber, the rioter who swung a skateboard at Rittenhouse’s head, was also convicted of two instances of domestic violence. One involved a knife to his brother’s stomach and threatening to “gut him like a pig.”
Gaige Grosskreutz, the prosecution witness who shocked everyone by admitting under oath that Rittenhouse didn’t shoot him until Grosskreutz pointed his Glock at the teen’s head, is a career criminal with a rap sheet containing domestic abuse, prowling, trespass, two DUIs, felony burglary and two charges of carrying a firearm while intoxicated. Again, this is all irrelevant to whether or not Rittenhouse committed a crime, but the facts do put in perspective the media-driven narrative that the kid was a white supremacist vigilante on a mission to kill good and concerned citizens exercising their constitutional rights to protest an episode of police brutality and racism.
The rest of Ann’s rant contains her usual excesses. For example, right at the top she writes that Rittenhouse is being tried for “shooting three psychopathic criminals who were attacking him at the BLM/antifa riots in Kenosha last year.” That’s a dishonest characterization and Ann knows it, so she evokes Ethics Alarms Rationalization #22, “It’s not the worse thing,” adding, “That, by the way, is a more accurate summary of the evidence than anything [DA] Binger said.”
In an essay this week, Glenn Greenwald nicely summed up the malady infecting both Coulter and those her quote of the week assails. He wrote in part,
If you say that — after having actually watched the trial — you believe the state failed to prove [Rittenhouse’s} guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in light of his defense of self-defense, many will disbelieve your sincerity, will insist that your view is based not in some apolitical assessment of the evidence or legal principles about what the state must do in order to imprison a citizen, but rather that you must be a “supporter” of Rittenhouse himself, his ideology (whatever it is assumed to be), and the political movement with which he, in their minds, is associated….[T]hose who are incapable of assessing political or legal conflicts through a prism of principles rather than personalities assume that everyone is plagued by the same deficiency….since they base their views on whether Rittenhouse should be convicted or acquitted based on how they personally feel about Rittenhouse and his perceived politics rather than the evidence presented at the trial (which most of them have not watched), they assume that anyone advocating for an acquittal can be doing so only because they like Rittenhouse’s politics and believe that his actions were heroic.
In sum, those who view the world through a prism bereft of principles — either due to lack of intellectual capacity or ethics or both — assume everyone’s world view is similarly craven. It is this same stunted mindset that saddles our discourse with so much illogic and so many twisted presumptions, such as the inability to distinguish between defending someone’s right to express a particular opinion and agreement with that opinion. In a world in which ideology, partisan loyalty, tribal affiliations, in-group identity and personality-driven assessments predominate, there is no room for principles, universally applicable rights, or basic reason.
I guess that is the real Ethical Quote of the Week.
Pointer: Bad Bob