Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fuck Off, Ross Douthat

Ross Douthat [right] advises the Republican Party.

In the end, the only thing conservatives have to sell is racism.

Conservatives tried to pretend they were selling firm morals, but since they were lying the truth was eventually revealed. The right stopped believing their leaders would restore their imaginary Elysium of white picket fences, White Houses, and white faces. Conservative followers tried to enforce increasingly restrictive moral boundaries but eventually they went too far, or perhaps not far enough. When it became clear that the laws would not change and public opinion was against them, they pulled back.

When conservatives tried to rig the voting system in their favor by suppressing Democratic votes and opening up the system to new sources of cash, they ended up electing increasingly radical conservatives who were helpless when an outsider used their too-lenient rules against them and admitted the followers were being conned.

The Republican party chose Donald Trump because he promised to punish and expel minorities and bring back White greatness. The fig leaf of governance and morality is gone and nobody can get it back. Once you reveal the con you can't get back the illusion of trust. True, you can run a new con and that is just what Trump is doing, but that doesn't help the people running the old con. They are no longer of use to anyone.

Which brings us to Ross "Fucking" Douthat, theocrat and suck-up to authority.
THE rise of Donald Trump, and with him a white-identity politics more explicit than anything America has seen in decades, has created an interesting division on the political left — over the question of what, if anything, liberal politics ought to offer to people who seem bigoted.
Actually, no. Douthat is trying to switch the dialogue away from conservative racism by trolling liberals. Liberals owe bigots nothing and should offer bigots nothing. That is painfully obvious but that would be the end of Douthat's career, which is based on religious, racial, and class bigotry. But mostly racism. So Douthat must find a way to convince liberals to give racists respect and a place at the table of public opinion, instead of telling them to fuck off as they should.

The simple truth is that if everyone, both in print and person, told Ross "Fucking" Douthat to fuck off we wouldn't have to listen to him trolling us, trying to persuade us to let him continue to be a bigot. Nobody is forcing us to say anything but "fuck off" to Douthat.

I realize I am guilty of saying anything but "fuck off" to Ross Douthat as well but my mission has three parts:

1. Mock Ross Douthat.
2. Tell Ross Douthat to fuck off.
3. Suggest that everyone else tell Ross Douthat to fuck off as well.
On the one hand there are liberals determined to regard Trumpism as almost exclusively motivated by racial and cultural resentments, with few legitimate economic grievances complicating the morality play. From this perspective, the fact that Trump’s G.O.P. has finally consolidated, say, a once-Democratic area like Appalachia is almost a welcome relief: At last all the white racists are safely in the other party, and we don’t have to cater to them anymore.
Democrats catered to racists and bigots by pushing for civil rights for all minorities and refraining from the worst of racist, sexist, and authoritarian excesses?

Fuck off, Douthat.
On the other hand, there are left-wingers who regard Trump’s support among erstwhile Democrats as a sign that liberalism has badly failed some of its natural constituents, and who fear that a Democratic coalition that easily crushes Trump without much white working-class support will simply write off their struggles as no more than the backward and bigoted deserve.
No, Douthat. The "left-wingers" support Sanders. Few Democrats support Trump. The white working class stopped being the left's natural constituents a long time ago because of racism (among other reasons). Labor unions have relatively little power. The Democratic power base loathes Trump. Douthat must lie to convince people to side with racists and bigots.
I like how the left-wing gadfly Fredrik deBoer framed this issue:
That's just sad. Even when deBoer is right he manages to be wrong; no wonder Douthat quotes him. DeBoer's work is perfect for trolling liberals, so here he is.
“What do you owe to people who are guilty of being wrong?” It’s a question for liberals all across the Western world to ponder, given the widening gulf between their increasingly cosmopolitan parties and an increasingly right-leaning native working class.
Nothing. We owe them nothing except a great big, "Fuck off."
But as a conservative, I would add another question: What happens if the bigoted sometimes get things right.
Who cares? Why listen to bigots when you can easily find someone who is right and not a bigot? So Ross "Fucking" Douthat can continue to make a small fortune begging and insulting and hectoring us all to be racist bigots like him?
Don’t worry, this isn’t a setup for my slow reconciliation with the candidacy of Donald Trump. Rather, it’s a warning against organizing your politics around antibigotry alone, and assuming that just because there are racists or nativists or xenophobes on the other side of a policy argument your side must be right.
We have lots of reasons to reject conservatism but bigotry is a very good place to draw the line. Fuck off, Douthat.
Here are a few pertinent examples, from the recent past to the present day.
For decades following the 1960s, liberals insisted that the Republican Party’s tough-on-crime rhetoric wasn’t really about crime at all; it was a barely coded appeal to racists, a transference of white supremacist politics from “segregation now, segregation forever” to paranoia about Willie Horton.
Tough-on-crime rhetoric did indeed play on racial fears; lots of white bigots did vote for law-and-order Republicans. But the rhetoric also played on fears of the actual immense crime wave sweeping the United States, a wave that liberal governance failed miserably to arrest or roll back. And for a long time, elite opinion was so determined not to give white bigots any aid and comfort, so determined not to take racists’ side in any way, that it ignored or minimized the actual policy problem, the actual crisis at its door.
Yastreblyansky covers this little snarl of misdirection and outright lying so I don't have to, although he inexplicably leaves out the "Fuck off, Ross Douthat" so essential to the Ross Douthat critical oeuvre.
A second example: Both Clintonite neoliberals and free-market conservatives have long dismissed American anxieties about trade deals as the province of rubes and xenophobes, Ross Perot’s nationalists and Pat Buchanan’s nativist brigades. Which was somewhat understandable, since many people who thrilled to Mexico-bashing and, later, China-bashing — and who thrill to it today from Trump — really were bigoted or tribal, eager to find a sinister Latin or Asian scapegoat for their woes.
But that tribal sentiment doesn’t ultimately tell us anything one way or another about the merits of the trade policies themselves. And today there’s increasing evidence that the tribalists were, well, right to be suspicious — that the creative destruction set in motion over their objections cost more jobs, with fewer compensating benefits, than many liberal and conservative free-traders once expected.
Democratic elite priorities have nothing to do with whether or not Democratic followers must accept conservative racism and bigotry. They do not and will not.

Likewise with European anxieties about mass immigration, which for decades the major political parties of Europe labored to confine to the political fringe. After all, their thinking went, since the ranks of immigration skeptics included many racists and Islamophobes and crypto-fascists, the fringe is where those ideas belonged.

 First Ooga, likewise, Booga! The problem is dealing with global disruptions due to war, global warming, and mis-governance.   Adding racism and other bigotries will not help.
Unfortunately, some of the anxieties of the nativists proved more prescient than the blithe assumptions of the elite. Mass immigration is now destabilizing Europe’s liberal order, forging Islamist fifth columns and empowering the very nationalism that open-door cosmopolitanism thought it could safely marginalize and ignore.
This racist fear-mongering should get Douthat fired. It is just as utterly reprehensible when he does it as when Trump does it.
A final, forward-looking example: In our latest culture war battlefield, the debate over transgender rights, the left is so determined to rout bigotry that it’s locking in a contested understanding of what gender dysphoria is and how to handle it in children, backing it with federal regulatory power, and punishing with academic witch hunts experts who differ even modestly.
Because bigots bully transgender teenagers, liberalism has decided that everyone who differs with transgender activists must be complicit in that bigotry. But we don’t have anywhere near enough data or experience to confirm the activist perspective — and by embracing it as the only alternative to “transphobia,” we risk sweeping a broad range of childhood fantasy and teenage confusion onto a set path of hormonal and surgical transformation.
If bigots are for it, we’re against it. It’s a powerful credo. But there’s always a danger that by following it too far, you end up being against reality itself.
Douthat is going to get my loved ones killed, just like Trump is inspiring attacks against Muslims.

Fuck off, Ross Douthat. And take your hatred with you.


Ellis Weiner said...

"On the other hand, there are left-wingers who regard Trump’s support among erstwhile Democrats as a sign that liberalism has badly failed some of its natural constituents."

This is, as the physicists say, not even wrong. First, he pulls a 3-card-monty switcheroo, using "liberalism" when he means "the Democratic Party." Second, "Left-wingers" believe, not that liberalism has failed its constituents, but that the Democratic Party has failed liberalism. Third, those "erstwhile Democrats" are, by his definition, lumpen "Appalachia" and white racists in the South. Who does Douthat imagine feels that those people have been "failed"?

Stupid conservatives, writing for The Federalist or The American Thinker, believe (correctly) that they've done their job when they've made some utterly false and/or trivial point suggesting that some act or comment by a liberal "could be seen to mean" X when, in fact, everyone else on earth knows that it doesn't mean X at all.

Douthat is the thinking man's stupid conservative.

Susan of Texas said...

Heh. They are happy with so little.

Bob M said...

"This racist fear-mongering should get Douthat fired."
in a sane world yes, but this alas is not a sane world.
Still I await his follow up column "Why are the Left right so often about things and what does that say about Conservatives?' I'm foolish and naïve that way.

gromet said...

"If bigots are for it, we’re against it. It’s a powerful credo. But there’s always a danger that by following it too far, you end up being against reality itself."

I wonder how critically Douthat wrote about Bush's analogous "You are either with us or you are with the terrorists" credo. He must have been extremely critical of that, and written thousands of words warning us not to take it too far. Of course, the Bush credo had the benefit of being instantaneously against reality, so maybe three or four words covered it.

Kathy said...

f bigots are for it, we’re against it. It’s a powerful credo.

Except it isn't! Liberals and Leftists DON'T base our philosophy on such mock-platitudes .... I mean Straw-men.

cynic said...

And in other (related) news, David Brooks has an inspiration:
"Why can't every city in America be like Lost Hills Ca?"

Yeah, that's the ticket: Lost Hills CA, pop: 2096; unemployment rate 11.5% owned by a billionaire who monopolizes pistachio, almonds and water - is the model town for America.

Susan of Texas said...

I see that we are to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps by finding a wealth patron that controls all the jobs and everything else in our town and hope he will build us facilities out of the kindness of his heart.

Was it yastreblyansky who said Brooks had no intention of going anywhere? Here's proof that he's going to sit on his ass and tell us all about Bill Gates' attempt to "improve" schools with his own products or the owners of Lost Hills' attempts to smarten up their company town.