Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, February 13, 2009

Breaking! Sex Scandal at the Atlantic!

The three-way discussion between Ta-Neisi Coates, Rod Dreher and Ross Douthat, in which Rod and Ross chastise Coates for not marrying his girlfriend and mother of his child, has made me aware of another issue. While I heartily applaud Dreher and Douthat's attempts to get Coates to act like a moral person, I am worried, nay, heart-sick, at another instance of an Atlantic blogger breaking the rules of Judeo-Christian law: fornicating while unmarried.

Yes, Megan McArdle is living in sin with a man, without marrying him. And we all know what that leads to--illegitimate motherhood. Even if McArdle marries before she has a child, she is providing a very bad example, one that will harm all of society. Just ask Dreher:

Like I said, I don't know, and cannot know, how Ta-Nehisi grew up. From his
own testimony, it sounds like he and his siblings turned out okay. But look: he
sees no particular reason to marry. It is likely that the children he and his
partner have will see marriage as unimportant too. The idea that marriage is
unimportant has real world consequences when it becomes normative -- look at the
high crime, poverty and social dysfunction rates in the black community in this
country, where the overwhelming majority of children are born out of wedlock,
and have been for a generation. The causal connection between unwed
parenthood/broken families and social dysfunction cannot be disputed. That
Ta-Nehisi and his family appear to have defied the odds is a great thing -- but
they do not refute the statistics.

What you applaud, you encourage. Wisdom, let us attend. Having
children outside of marriage should be stigmatized, for the common good. To do
otherwise is false compassion

Let's repost Douthat's reaction to Coates' immorality:

There's serious truth here - but again, it's not the only truth. Yes, the
best relationships shouldn't need institutional hedges against infidelity and/or
abandonment. But an awful lot of relationships worth fighting for do end up
benefiting from being hedged around with institutional supports - because life
is long, people are complicated, and you don't always know when you're starting
out what you'll need to reach the end of the road together. Yes, relationships
are about the two people involved far more than they're about anybody else. But
that doesn't mean that they aren't also about the community, particularly when
kids are involved. The private is central and essential, but it still spills
over into the public; your relationship is about you and your partner, but it's
also, inevitably, about your friends and neighbors as well.

And these two points go hand in hand. When people don't do the right thing,
whether by their partner or more importantly by their kids, it's by definition a
problem for the community, because it's the community that's left to pick up the
pieces. Which is why it makes sense for your community to ask you for a public
commitment when you set out to rear a family, whether you think that you and the
mother/father of your child needs such a thing or not. You may be sure that
you're in the kind of relationship that won't benefit from an institutional
commitment, but the community doesn't know that: It just knows that in the
aggregate, public commitments tend to be stronger than private ones - and thus
better for parents, for children, and for society writ large. So a community
that asks for public commitments isn't disrespecting your potential
exceptionalism; it's just asking you to respect the aggregate, and to set an
example for the people who might not be as exceptional as you.

I'm sure that any moment now Dreher and Douthat will take to their pulpits to denounce McArdle as a brazen, immoral hussy who is damaging society with her brazen, immoral hussiness. Fornicating! Without benefit of marriage! Since Dreher and Douthat spent so many words worrying about Coates' example, I'm sure they'll do the same for McArdle. After all, race and class have nothing to do with it. It's for the children.


Anonymous said...

Coates...has "conservative values" such as fear of teh gay.

Lunch break discussions at The Atlantic must be seven kinds of fun, especially at the table with Coates (a black man afraid of gays), Sullivan (a gay misogynist) and McArdle (a woman who thinks black people are lazy ).

If that's not interesting enough, add Douthat to the mix. Douthat can explain how Coates (but not McArdle)is immoral for being unmarried, whereas Sullivan is immoral for wanting to get married.

Susan of Texas said...

Personally, I'd rather mind ny own business, but that seems to be unknown amoung the devout.

Anonymous said...

O great, Douthat on the needs and delicate requirements of "the community." See, when it's time to assert abstract standards ("morality"), the community has its needs. When it comes time to serve the community's more basic needs--those of survival, growth, etc.--it's "socialism."

God, PLEASE make these people go fuck themselves. You will, won't You?