I’ve been meaning to get around to Ross Douthat’s latest tantrum disguised as a column, and apologize that this is a bit late. But it still needs to be addressed, since it’s shockingly nasty and dishonest, even by his already low standards. Conservatives generally radiate a sense that they are the only true Americans and dance around a belief that the rest of us only get to participate at their mercy, but this election felt—and I hope was—a real moment where liberals really stood up and said, “Fuck that.” We are Americans. This is our country, too. And if they don’t like it, they can go fuck themselves.
Their response has been to run around insinuating that universal suffrage was a mistake. Douthat’s idiotic column is just more of the same, but with that coat of pretension that makes him so special.
This is an inescapable aspect of democratic culture: no matter what reason tells us about the vagaries of politics, something in the American subconscious assumes that the voice of the people really is the voice of God, and that being part of a winning coalition must be a sign that you’re His chosen one as well.
Since you know he’s going to take a swipe at non-believers in his column, I just want to single this out to point out that he’s so upset he’s incoherent. Obviously, he’s just trying to remind readers that you can tell who his god loves best by who the biggest woman-hating assholes are, but it’s worth pointing out that his hated liberal coalition has a bunch of members who literally cannot believe that we’re God’s chosen ones, because we don’t believe in God.
Douthat concedes that the liberal coalition does represent the future of this country, but then says this:
Liberals look at the Obama majority and see a coalition bound together by enlightened values — reason rather than superstition, tolerance rather than bigotry, equality rather than hierarchy. But it’s just as easy to see a coalition created by social disintegration and unified by economic fear.
Douthat is doomed forever to be one of those people who tries to make himself feel better about not being a cool kid by telling himself that the cool kids are a bunch of degenerates. But his image of liberal communities as hellholes devoid of love and stability is actually the opposite of reality. Red states have higher levels of instability in family life. They have a higher divorce rate. A higher teen birth rate. Higher crime rates. They’re poorer. They have higher rates of STDs, outside of HIV. If stable families, good schools, low STD and crime rates is what you want, you’re better off blue.
Consider the Hispanic vote. Are Democrats winning Hispanics because they put forward a more welcoming face than Republicans do — one more in keeping with America’s tradition of assimilating migrants yearning to breathe free? Yes, up to a point. But they’re also winning recent immigrants because those immigrants often aren’t assimilating successfully — or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates. The Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems.
In other words, he views Hispanics as a bunch of children who need to be scolded by morally superior white men into acting right, and sees Democrats as indulgent mommies who just let the naughty children get their way. Keep telling people you think they’re morally inferior children who need a good spanking, Ross. That’s sure to endear them to you.
Likewise with the growing number of unmarried Americans, especially unmarried women.
Needless to say, the existence of unmonitored vaginas is the greatest threat ever posed to civilization.
Yes, social issues like abortion help explain why these voters lean Democratic. But the more important explanation is that single life is generally more insecure and chaotic than married life, and single life with children — which is now commonplace for women under 30 — is almost impossible to navigate without the support the welfare state provides.
I do so love the wingnut idea of love, where a woman dutifully cleans up and produces heirs for a man, while he pays her what often amounts to less than minimum wage for her hourly services. So romantic! I also want one of these dudes bitching about “welfare” to come out and tell me what they think the average amount of support single mothers get from the government is. To hear them talk, you’d think as soon as you have a baby, you get an annual salary of at least $50,000 from Uncle Sam. I dare a single one of them to try living on welfare before they recommend cutting it in order to drive desperate women into dependency on men they usually have good reason not to be with.
It’s worth noting that half of pregnancies in this country are unintended. If Douthat finds that single mother voting bloc so scary, he should be the first in line demanding free contraception to all and a culture that treats abortion as a completely acceptable choice with absolutely no stigma attached to it. That would go a long way towards making sure women are with Mr. Right before they have babies.
Or consider the secular vote,
The people who presumably believe theirs is now the word of God.
Or consider the secular vote, which has been growing swiftly and tilts heavily toward Democrats. The liberal image of a non-churchgoing American is probably the “spiritual but not religious” seeker, or the bright young atheist reading Richard Dawkins. But the typical unchurched American is just as often an underemployed working-class man, whose secularism is less an intellectual choice than a symptom of his disconnection from community in general.
Man, Douthat really thinks non-white people, working class people, and women are all brainless idiots. Believe me, you don’t need a college degree to figure out that religion is horseshit. I had that figured out before I graduated high school.
What unites all of these stories is the growing failure of America’s local associations — civic, familial, religious — to foster stability, encourage solidarity and make mobility possible.
Actually, the real problem is the vicious form of capitalism we practice in this country, combined with a lack of any real social safety net. Thus, people moving to the left are actually taking charge of their own futures, and know exactly what they’re doing. Decades of Republican rule have created our problems, and let’s all hope that this election is a demonstration that people are beginning to figure that out. But Douthat just wants Republicans to keep winning, keep dismantling worker protections and the social safety net, create more social chaos, and then hand people a Bible and a wedding ring and tell them that will fix all their problems.
Christ, what an asshole.