The Circular Mind of Ross Douthat Keeps On Spinning

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Aug. 11 2010 9:30 PM

The Circular Mind of Ross Douthat Keeps On Spinning

On his supplemental opinion blog , New York Times Reasonable Young Conservative™ Ross Douthat keeps grinding away in defense of his notion that he should be allowed to be married and gay people should not , because his own marriage enacts the highest ideals of our civilization . And gays are depressing perverts, almost as bad as divorcees and unwed mothers, because gays fall in love with gays. Not that he's bigoted! His way of doing things is just objectively morally superior, is all.

Most recently, Douthat decided to try to make the discussion one about class . Rather than embracing equal rights for gay people, as wealthier and better educated people are more likely to do, the nation's elite class ought to acknowledge the moral decay brought on by the Sexual Revolution and try setting a better example for the promiscuous, broken-familied, pornography-enslaved trogs:


A kind of noblesse oblige on some issues related to sex, at least; on others, a moral reckoning with the cost of the new equilibrium they’ve achieved; and on still others, a willingness to translate some of the more conservative habits they’ve embraced (or partially embraced) in their personal lives into law and public policy.

For example?

[I]t seems pretty clear that the upper class’s successful adjustment to the new post-1960s realities depend to some extent on a relatively high abortion rate, which plays a significant role in their late marriages and later childbearing. Obviously, if you don’t think abortion is wrong, then this doesn’t constitute a problem. (Not coincidentally, the upper class is also the most pro-choice segment of American society.) But if you do think abortion is wrong (as I do, of course), then this dependence on the practice constitutes a deep corruption at the heart of elite life, which undercuts at least some of the happy news about the upper class’s post-sexual revolution stability. And an elite that was more morally serious about sexuality and its consequences would be willing to confront this problem directly, instead of ignoring the issue and/or sneering at the anti-abortion cause.

What do the words "obviously" and "of course" mean, in Ross Douthat's vocabulary? How does that passage even find the will to carry on after the second sentence? He ostensibly admits that there are people who do not believe that abortion is wrong (or: who do not believe that banning abortion is right). Then he goes on explain that his own view is that the acceptance of abortion is "a deep corruption," and he accuses people of not being "morally serious" because they are unwilling to "confront this problem directly."

This whole program for the moral improvement of the upper class, then, depends on the upper class accepting Ross Douthat's own premises about sexuality, even if they do not. Someone who believes that the availability of abortion is not a "problem" is evading—what, again? Oh, right: evading the responsibility to think (and presumably act) like Ross Douthat. If you were morally serious, you would change your entire moral system. Silly libertines!

So our obligation to ban gay marriage turns out to be part of a package deal, along with our obligation to outlaw abortion. Thanks for the clarification, Mr. Douthat. Now why don't you go try minding your own business?

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.


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