Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Greatness Of Ross Douthat

Bonus Ross Douthat, from Privilege:
I thought for a time that the spirit of 1990s Harvard--the spirit of the overstuffed resume, of privilege without sacrifice, of ambition without ideals--might have been dealt a mortal wound, and that my generation's future would be sterner and brighter, like steel in winter's light. My classmates and I had always been successful, at least as our world defined success, but it seemed fleetingly that we might be offered a chance to be great.

Disillusionment came rapidly enough. It seeped in first with the realization, gained as graduation gave way to the beginning of real life, that we Harvardians would not be going to war. There was no call from Washington, no draft, not even an appeal for volunteers; we were told to resume our normal lives, not asked to take up arms. And so we did. In spite of the long nights spent researching the CIA and the chatter about the draft, there was no rush to join the military or the intelligence services, or even the government.... There simply weren't enough cadets to fill a Harvard brigade, both before September 11 and after.

A few of my friends did volunteer.... For the rest of us, though, joining the military or the CIA or the foreign service involved risking too much--not only our lives but our private ambitions, our dreams of fame or wealth or power. Throughout our youth, we had been encouraged to look out for ourselves, to compete ferociously for the prizes and honors and scores that marked success in the meritocratic world. We had been bred into a striving selfishness, and after such an education, I wonder if even a presidential call to arms would have convinced us to subordinate our own ends to those of the platoon or the embassy, Langley or Paris Island....
Douthat spent his life waiting for greatness to be thrust upon him but was far too selfish to do anything to achieve that greatness. Douthat is a peculiar mixture of self-delusion and self-awareness; he knew that his position was due to money, that all his fellow students were not the best and brightest, that many of them were little more than well-born social climbers. But he decried the overstuffed resume while overstuffing his own resume, he lamented others' lack of sacrifice while refusing to sacrifice anything himself, he bitterly criticized his classmates' lack of ideals while never living up to any of his own. Douthat will always expect others to do what he will not, hoping that somehow the world will thrust greatness onto him without actually requiring him to do anything to achieve it.

Others must suffer and die to make Ross Douthat great; others must live up to his ideals while he enjoys his civilized, self-indulgent life. Poor men must die for Ross' patriotism, women must sacrifice and suffer so Ross can weep for the holy fetus, families must sink into poverty so Ross can smugly lecture on conservative economic principles.

Ross Douthat is rich and powerful and elite. And one day, God willing, Ross Douthat will have climbed over enough bodies and economic destruction to become Great.

13 comments:

KWillow said...

Doughthigh is an aristocrat enabler, and a wannabe aristo, helping the .1% rob the "lower classes" of every penny they create & earn, all the while calling the 99.9% "Lazy"

Ben Wolf said...

I suspect Douthut has his own reproduction of the Pope's mitre, and wears it while looking into a mirror and shouting, "It's me! It's me!".

RubyTea said...

So here he has straight-up admitted that he wanted the glory of being a soldier, but didn't actually do anything that might have brought that about like...oh, say, enlist, because he was too chickenshit and also he wanted money.

A military life is not for everybody. Hell, it's not for most people, but to openly admit that these are his reasons... Wow.

Lurking Canadian said...

What is he going on about here? Because the president didn't call for volunteers, he...what...couldn't just volunteer? He's afraid they would have turned him away at the recruiting centre because he went to Harvard? He's afraid his Harvard buddies would look down on him and it would hurt his chances to score with Harvard women?

This man's complete lack of being able to imagine how other people react to what he writes is perhaps the worst indictment of the poor quality of the education he got.

Anonymous said...

Doubthat's not exactly wrong though: when he talks about Harvard going to war, he may very well mean that the Kennedy School types hadn't dreamed up a great noble invasion. In fairness, that's what they're good at. If we dissolved the Kennedy school America might buy two generations of peacetime.

Heck, if we dissolved Harvard entirely the CIA might cease to exist. Imagine!

professor fate said...

so Bush said go shopping (which at the time struck the few remaining sane people as being a deeply weird thing to say) and you decided not to volunteer? The hell? I also note that while he says his friends (I question the use of the word but let's leave that) didn't enlist becuase it would upset their plans for financial success. Well what about YOU Ross? Why didn't YOU sign up? At least own that you're as much of a shallow self serving money grubber as the rest of your friends - public piety notwithstanding. At least be honest with your self - but he can't even be that. A waste of exploded star remnants this one.

Anonymous said...

He's afraid his Harvard buddies would look down on him and it would hurt his chances to score with Harvard women?

Well we know (from the Chunky Reese incident) that he probably wasn't worried about the latter ...

- spencer

Anonymous said...

The main problem with this version of Ross's life is that its all passive tense--passive agressive tense--he didn't take any individual decisions at all, in this version. It was all generational. He only did what his "Harvard Cohort" did. Agency, we don't haz it? I'm too meritocratic for my shirt, too meritocratic for my socks, too meritocratic for my war and my morality? I don't understand how he thinks he can smear his entire class at Harvard and not, somehow, escape contumely. But this is a perennial right wing shtick. Ross imagines that by calling out everyone else's cowardice he gets some kind of imaginary cred, just like thumbsucking about other people's imaginary morality and lust he can pose as some kind of moral authority.

There's a not insignificant gap between being a moral scold and being a moral authority, just as there is a huge gap between being a chickenhawk and being a soldier. But the gap is rather easy to cross--you just have to fucking do something instead of whingeing about it.

aimai

Ben said...

Maybe the worst thing about the "my generation didn't have an opportunity for its grand moment" bit is that America got fucking attacked. Civilians were targeted. It was the most catastrohpic attack on American society since the British burned DC to the fucking ground.

But that wasn't enough to "inspire" Ross and his buddies. The President had to give a good enough speech, and he didn't.

For Christ's sake. Stop this generation, I want to get off.

Substance McGravitas said...

Judas had the good sense to hang himself.

Joseph Cotton said...

...I wonder if even a presidential call to arms would have convinced us to subordinate our own ends to those of the platoon or the embassy, Langley or Paris Island....

It's petty, I know, but as a graduate of Parris Island, it grates on me that he can't even be bothered to spell it correctly. As far as the rest of his drivel goes, others have already said anything I could think to say, and usually better than I would have.

Susan of Texas said...

I am ashamed to admit that the fault must be mine--I copied the passage from the book.

Douthat is still full of drivel, however.

Downpuppy said...

Meanwhile, Reese Witherspoon is chunkier & off the pill.

The world awaits Ross's verdict with (nightcrawler) baited breath.

http://egotastic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/02/reese-witherspoon-maroon-dress-pregnant-brentwood-05-400x470.jpg