Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Monday, December 3, 2012

For God And Douthat

I am sorry about the lack of posting; all my spare time is taken up re-learning algebra, cleaning and getting organized for holiday parties, and holiday baking. It seems the Algebra Gods are cruel; if you don't learn it the first, second, or third time, you will end up having to re-learn algebra to teach it to your kids. I have not posted for weeks but I can now graph an equation three different ways.

Meanwhile, Ross Douthat is putting his big forehead to use by dreaming up fun ways to eliminate Social Security via the payroll tax.  His two recent posts on the matter reveal his fundamental, very un-Christian disregard for anyone without a six-figure income and extensive benefits. Douthat doesn't try very hard to convince others of his cute little idea; he didn't get where he is today by thinking and he obviously sees no reason why he should start now.

But before we dive into the dry matter of taxes and Douthat's continuing effort to give his masters a minimum of value for their inexplicably generous pay, let us detour to the Douthat corner of SexyTown, population of one. TBogg has already covered Douthat's musings on how to get Americans to take one for the team by bearing more children then foreigners because civilization demands it but such a fascinating subject demands more examination.

The retreat from child rearing is, at some level, a symptom of late-modern exhaustion — a decadence that first arose in the West but now haunts rich societies around the globe. It’s a spirit that privileges the present over the future, chooses stagnation over innovation, prefers what already exists over what might be. It embraces the comforts and pleasures of modernity, while shrugging off the basic sacrifices that built our civilization in the first place.

This charming passage is an excellent example of the incoherence of Douthat's supposed philosophy. He wants to cut the payroll tax to give people more money now while saying that people are supposed to sacrifice their current financial well-being for the sake of the needs of future populations. If we are not supposed to put aside money for our own use in the future via Social Security, why on earth would we choose to spend thousands of more money now by having more children? How selfish can Douthat be?

Three thousand for pre-natal care, another three thousand for delivery (in 1990s dollars), hundreds more on clothing, furniture, bedding, diapers, other medical bills. And that's just for the baby. Lost wages, school expenses, extracurricular activity expenses, more clothing, more food, a bigger house, a better neighborhood, a car, insurance, car repairs, gas, entertainment expenses. And God forbid there should be a problem and the parents would have to spend tens of thousands more on doctors, therapies, and drugs.

As we shall soon see, Douthat wants a consumption tax to make up for the trillions lost if the payroll tax is eliminated. That would make having a baby even more onerous. But most of all, as TBogg points out, Douthat himself is not willing to do what he demands of everyone else. Douthat's wife is (gasp!) a working woman and as far as we know she has not stopped working to raise little Salome Jezebel Douthat and pump out many more little Douthats. How decadent! How selfish! How un-Godly! Why do people refuse to embrace innovation by controlling fertility? Why do they insist on standing athwart history yelling Stop! when they could be embracing the future instead? Don't they know that past generations, who had no choice in the matter regarding fertility, sacrificed by having children to build our civilization?

Since we all know that Douthat is a conservative Catholic who would never interfere with God's Plan for his Sacred sperm by refusing to accept God's Gift of a dozen or so children, we are forced to conclude that either Douthat has had sex but once in his life, or that in his ultimate arrogance Douthat has decided that he, not God, should determine how and when his property wife should conceive his children. It's bad enough that Douthat does not have a Bible-based marriage, with multiple wives, concubines, servants and slave girls bearing his progeny. That is, alas, all too common in these decadent modern times. But to refuse to accept God's will! It is enough to make me weep with grief and the fear of God's wrath!

Just look at the cuteness of Mrs. Douthat! How could Ross not want to force her to overbear?

The next time you run into her on the street, you be sure to ask Mrs. Douthat why she's not obeying her husband and popping out more babies for God and Christendom. It's not like our sexuality is a personal matter between ourselves, our partners, and our gods and goddesses. It's a matter of public record and must be discussed at every opportunity, the better to shame and control our neighbors.


goodman.dl said...

Maybe this god you speak of just doesn't want ross to have childrens.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Ross, why don't you Douthat.

Anonymous said...

He would do anything for love, but he won't Douthat.

Susan of Texas said...

It's a pity we all can't meet with Ross personally to discuss our fertility plans.

Anonymous said...

How the hell did Rossford bag that blonde?

Or with how much offshore dinero?

Anonymous said...

I thought his whole schtick was the "Sam's Club" republican thing, in other words pro family, pro working class and not totally in the thrall of Ayn Rand and Herbert Spencer viz a viz destroying the safety net.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

That picture would fit right in to "Hot Chicks with Douchebags".

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

In the face of stagnating wages and lowered expectations for kids going to school NOW, a declining birthrate is entirely rational.

Ross, if we could somehow increase demand through stimus and deficit spending, opportunities increase, people become happier and upwardly mobile, and birthrates will go back up.

more babies will not improve the economy.

But then, Ross is all about restricting access to birth control, ever since Chunky Reese Witherspoon.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

It's a pity we all can't meet with Ross personally to discuss our fertility plans.

I recommend you Kickstarter that concept.

Kathy said...

Ross and his wive have NOT been pumping out a baby-a-year as all good catholics should! Is she using birth control, or does she just have a constant headache?

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I imagine both, KWillow. Belt and suspenders approach.

davidly said...

I think this is just him spewing his domestic matter all over the paper of record.

CMike said...

Susan of Texas writes:

>>>>>...all my spare time is taken up re-learning algebra...<<<<<<

Ever hear of Lancelot Hogben? According to Wikipedia, "[h]e is best known for developing Xenopus laevis as a model organism for biological reserch in his early career, attacking the eugneics movement in the middle of his career, and popularising books on science, mathematics, and language in his later career."

Now why the study of the African clawed frog is so useful to biologists I couldn't say but, in the matter of Hogben, I do know enough to recommend one particular math book of his to any non-academic with an interest in the subject. (I assume S of T, you're catching up on your algebra in order to teach it in secondary school but, nonetheless, you would not describe yourself as an academic in the field of mathematics.)

Hogben's Mathematics for the Million (1937, 1940, 1943, 1951, 1967, 1968, 1983, reissued 1993) provides an alternative approach for learning introductory algebra and other branches of mathematics. My favorite part of the book is where he I remember he illustrates the quadratic equation geometrically, which, for me, transformed it from something weird looking and difficult to memorize into a concept I could visualize ever after. Here's Hogben:

>>>>>Instructions for Readers of this Book

The customary way of writing a book about mathematics is to show how each step follows logically from the one before without telling you what use there will be in taking it. This book is written to show you how each step follows historically from the step before and what use it will be to you or someone else if it is taken, The first method repels many people who are intelligent and socially alive, because intelligent people are suspicious of mere logic, and people who are socially alive regard the human brain as an instrument for social activity.<<<<<

Alas, unless you have a rare aptitude, even with this approach, if the math under discussion is new to you you'll have to work at learning it. However, for those who have managed to complete an introductory course in a particular area, this book will provide the thoughtful reader insight beyond the one they were looking for when they first encountered the subject, i.e. how were they going to be able to come up with the right answers on any tests they had to pass.

>>>>>Although care has been taken to see that all the logical, or, as we ought to say, the grammatical, rules are put in a continuous sequence, you must not expect that you will necessarily follow every step in the argument the first time you read it. An eminent Scottish mathematician gave a sound piece of advice for lack of which lack of which many people have been discouraged unnecessarily. "Every mathematical book worth anything," said Chrystal, "must be read backwards and forwards... the advice a French mathematician, allez en avant et la foi vous viendra [push on and faith will catch up with you]."<<<<<

My own suggestion for reading the book is to, perhaps, read through the Prologue: The Parable of Achilles and the Tortoise and Chapter 1: Mathematics in Remote Antiquity, skip Chapter 2, and move on the subsequent chapters which do not have to be read in order. I'll also mention that, if I remember correctly, most first year algebra courses include an introduction to Napier's logarithms which Hogben takes up in Chapter 9: Logarithms and the Search for Series. IMO, these chapters are worth a read for anyone who teaches introductory algebra.

CMike said...

Susan of Texas writes:

>>>>>... you will end up having to re-learn algebra to teach it to your kids.<<<<<

If you mean you're re-learning it to teach it to your own child and not a class, nevermind. (But wouldn't it be easier in that case just to enforce a stricter curfew on your son or daughter and make 'em spend more time on their homework.)

Downpuppy said...

Douthat is somehow so pathetic that I can't get into mocking him. Myabe once he has a follower...

Anyhow, I went in a different direction on a dy off today -

Fatal bike accidents.

Downpuppy said...

Susan where are you?

Ohlemacher is still cranking it out, but I'm keeping up -

Downpuppy said...

Megan's Christmas Kitchen Guide!

If the Oxo Hand Chopper (and the constant repetition of "southern boy") doesn't get Susan writing, it's all over.

Anonymous said...

Susan of Texas said...

The homework pressures have eased but I was sick at exactly the wrong time and now I have to do everything for Christmas in, let's see, NO TIME AT ALL.

But who could resist a McMeltdown?