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NY Times Neocons and Socons move in our direction

18 Nov

I have had my disagreements with David Brooks, but he has popped out a few columns that reflect that, yes, he is a neoconservative, but also has a lot on the ball. He both appreciates the high life he lives as an educated member of the pundit class, and mocks that class in books like Bobos in Paradise. One column of his, in particular, caught my attention in the time before I knew Roissy, when he mentioned that perhaps undermining the morals of the lower castes was a bad idea; while upper-middle-class people could buy their way out of trouble, the lower and middle classes were seriously damaged. He went further on to say that it was nice that there was now a much better supply of available young women, but that this had not helped the young women from non-privileged backgrounds.

He has, otherwise, followed a Neocon line: pro immigration, social democrat, pro military, and anti-hard-right-wing Christian. But I think he was somewhat shocked by the election, and now sees WHERE the country is headed. His article, “The Age of Possibility,” shows he has now abandoned the squishy-soft on government moderate conservatism, and he is headed for something with more meat on it. Some excerpts:

“At some point over the past generation, people around the world … became intolerant of any arrangement that might close off their personal options. The transformation has been liberating, and it’s leading to some pretty astounding changes. For example, for centuries, most human societies forcefully guided people into two-parent families. Today that sort of family is increasingly seen as just one option among many.”

Note he is not condemning, here, or so it seems.

“In 1990, 65 percent of Americans said that children are very important to a successful marriage. Now, only 41 percent of Americans say they believe that. There are now more American houses with dogs than with children. … The number of marriages in Spain has declined from 270,000 in 1975 to 170,000 today, and the number of total Spanish births per year is now lower than it was in the 18th century.”

As Johnny Carson once said, “I did not know that.”

“Thirty percent of German women say they do not intend to have children. In a 2011 survey, a majority of Taiwanese women under 50 said they did not want children. Fertility rates in Brazil have dropped from 4.3 babies per woman 35 years ago to 1.9 babies today.”

All he needs to do now is utter: “The Future belongs to those who show up for it!”

“Why is this happening? The report offers many explanations. People are less religious. People in many parts of the world are more pessimistic and feeling greater economic stress. Global capitalism also seems to be playing a role, especially, it seems, in Asia.

Many people are committed to their professional development and fear that if they don’t put in many hours at work they will fall behind or close off lifestyle options.

Toru Suzuki, a researcher at the National Institute of Population and Society Security Research in Japan, gave Kotkin’s team this explanation in its baldest form: ‘Under the social and economic systems of developed countries, the cost of a child outweighs the child’s usefulness.'”

Looks like he read our article, The Cost of Children. Is he worried about the effects on his team, the Republicans?

“Politically, married people in America are more likely to vote Republican; Mitt Romney easily won among married voters, including married women. Democrats, meanwhile, have done a much better job relating to single people. President Obama crushed Romney among singles, 62 percent to 35 percent.

The 2012 election results illustrate the gradual transition we are making from one sort of demography (the current Republican coalition) toward another sort of demography (the Democratic coalition). The rise of post-familialism is a piece of that shift.”

Ruh-roh! What is the path forward?

“My view is that the age of possibility is based on a misconception. People are not better off when they are given maximum personal freedom to do what they want. They’re better off when they are enshrouded in commitments that transcend personal choice — commitments to family, God, craft and country.”

Exactly, David! You’ve got it! Now, how do we DO this? Roll back the vote for women? Re-establish labor unions that negotiate a “family wage” so one man can support a family? Allow discrimination in favor of married men? Disallow young women to pursue college on society’s dime?

“… the traditional family is an effective way to induce people to care about others, become active in their communities and devote themselves to the long-term future of their nation and their kind. Therefore, our laws and attitudes should be biased toward family formation and fertility, including child tax credits, generous family leave policies and the like.”

FAIL! It hasn’t worked until now; let’s implement more of the feminist agenda, and see if total surrender gets us where we need to go. Still, he’s been reading Dalrock, and he knows the path forward; he just cannot articulate it yet:

“The problem is not necessarily a changing family structure. It’s people who go through adulthood perpetually trying to keep their options open.”

Note that “people” includes “women,” many of whom were mighty pissed about this mild toe-dip into the red-pill pool in the comments.

Socon Ross Douthat also seems to be drifting towards a Patriactionary viewpoint. In “The Liberal Gloat,” he chides:

“Liberals look at the Obama majority and see a coalition bound together by enlightened values — reason rather than superstition, tolerance rather than bigotry, equality rather than hierarchy. But it’s just as easy to see a coalition created by social disintegration and unified by economic fear. …

Democrats … (are) also winning recent immigrants because those immigrants often aren’t assimilating successfully — or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates. The Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems. …

(S)ingle life with children — which is now commonplace for women under 30 — is almost impossible to navigate without the support the welfare state provides.”

He didn’t say that the Hispanic immigrants use government to extract resources from men, but he’s getting there.

“(W)hatever role government plays in prosperity, transfer payments are not a sufficient foundation for middle-class success. It’s not a coincidence that the economic era that many liberals pine for — the great, egalitarian post-World War II boom — was an era that social conservatives remember fondly as well: a time of leaping church attendance, rising marriage rates and birthrates, and widespread civic renewal and engagement.

No such renewal seems to be on the horizon. That isn’t a judgment on the Obama White House, necessarily. But it is a judgment on a certain kind of blithe liberal optimism, and the confidence with which many Democrats assume their newly emerged majority is a sign of progress rather than decline.”

All in all, this is good. Brooks has, it seems, realized that mild center-rightism means being dragged along further and further to the left; paraphrasing Moldbug, anything not explicitly reactionary is progressive. Douthat reads like he’s read and knows Roissy; both men know that the time for pussy-footing is now, or soon will be, at an end. I expect the first reference to Dalrock or Roissy from one of these two some time in the next year.

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11 Comments

Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

11 responses to “NY Times Neocons and Socons move in our direction

  1. The Man Who Was . . .

    November 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I’ve been reading Douthat since he was blogging with Reihan Salam over at The American Scene and he has always had some paleocon sympathies. But there is only so much you can say when you’re the token conservative at the NY Times, so he’s had to hint at these things rather than state them outright.

     
  2. Will S.

    November 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    @ EA: An encouraging sign.

     
  3. The Man Who Was . . .

    November 18, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    He reads Kay Hymowitz and Steve Sailer, so he knows at least tangentially about Roissy. But he’s been reading Steve for years without referring to him directly, it’s unlikely he’ll reference either Dalrock or Roissy by name.

     
  4. The Man Who Was . . .

    November 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Brooks might mention Roissy though.

     
  5. electricangel

    November 18, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    @Thu

    Yeah, that last line from Brooks reads like he knows where he’s going next. He doesn’t have any other choice, of course: if he stays on neocon island, the next great liberal leap tide will overwash it and sweep him and his eternally out to sea.

    Douthat regularly gets more comments than anyone, mostly from annoyed liberals astounded that anyone would have the audacity not to share their world view.

    Do read the “Times Pick” comments on Brooks. I especially like the first one:

    “‘People are not better off when they are given maximum personal freedom to do what they want. They’re better off when they are enshrouded in commitments that transcend personal choice — commitments to family, God, craft and country.’

    ‘Enshrouded’ – as in a shroud, such as a burial shroud?

    So long as the cultural norms and resulting societal expectations are that women have full responsibility for child-rearing and housekeeping and are defined by their relationship to a man, we have no personal choice. This is what makes the right so fearful of equality for female persons. We may choose to limit the number of children we birth or even – Heaven forefend! – chose not to have any at all. Or, even scarier, we may choose to have them by ourselves -the boogeywoman Murphy Brown is so last century now!

    Get over it. Women in this country are not going back to the traditions that put a shroud on our lives long before we were dead.

    The “hamster” is strong in this one!

     
  6. asdf

    November 19, 2012 at 12:06 am

    It has to be very hard to keep track of it all. I mean acceptable newspeak is constantly being updated and people like David and Ross are always one slip away from crossing the party. We only have to speak the truth, they have to constantly be aware of how much truth can be said and in what method it can be stated. All for what? Material comfort? Social status?

     
  7. a tiny little mouse

    November 19, 2012 at 9:58 am

    “Therefore, our laws and attitudes should be biased toward family formation and fertility, including child tax credits, generous family leave policies and the like…”

    So, in his opinion the solution to American problems is implementing the policies which are failing all throughout EU?

     
  8. electricangel

    November 19, 2012 at 11:18 am

    @Maus,

    Give him time. He needs to see that paying parents to have children doesn’t work, and will not work. Incentivize men to want a family, and incentivize women to want children: is that hard?

    Actually, it is. The bigger thing is to avoid DISincentivizing children and family. When he gets to that point and starts talking about removing unnatural female privileges, penalties on men from divorce, etc., he’ll arrive in Patriactionary land. We need to be welcoming when he does.

    BTW, German women seemed to have avoided most of the anti-family rhetoric. How is it that “Thirty percent of German women say they do not intend to have children” now?

     
  9. electricangel

    November 19, 2012 at 11:25 am

    @ASDF,

    They do veil their comments, but the fembots KNOW the subtext. There are some prize comments from women on the Brooks and Douthat articles, with a LOT of projection. Check out this masterpiece, by a woman called “Joan”:

    I was a Kennedy era Peace Corp volunteer and then served in Viet Nam with the Red Cross. After a stint in USA w Peace Corp staff and Girl Scouts of the USA national staff re reaching out to under served, I became the Deputy Director of an international NGO, based in London, on rights and roles of girls and women. I recently retired from USIA/Dept of State as a US Diplomat working in public diplomacy, exchanges, mutual understanding, usually in developing countries. I’m now retired and an active volunteer. Oh, by the way, I’m single.

    So Brook’s statements that “They’re better off when they are enshrouded in commitments that transcend personal choice — commitments to family, God, craft and country. The surest way people bind themselves is through the family.” hit me like a kick in the stomach and a bucket of water poured over my head. at the same time.

    Once standing again, I’m outraged. The idea that my life without a family, i.e., children and spouse, is a failure is a hurtful, provincial, ignorant insult. Beyond the personal, it is sad that a person with influence of Brooks would take this position. I never saw it coming from him!

    (emphasis added)

    Now, Brooks expressly did NOT say that people outside a traditional family are failures, only that it is a better foundation for functioning in society. “Joan” came up with “failure” all on her own. Clearly that’s what she thinks, now that her life, empty of husband and children, is approaching its end. We have real sympathy here for women who were lied to about the glories of work and cubicle-farming, but if they won’t admit the truth NOW and warn others, well, then their lives really WERE failures.

     
  10. electricangel

    November 19, 2012 at 11:34 am

    More projecting female comments, this time by “Lily K”:

    As the parent of three grown children who are not married and as someone who did not get married until my late 30s, I can assure you, Mr. Brooks, that staying single is not simply a matter of selfishly wanting to keep all your options open.

    Note what Brooks wrote: “The problem is not necessarily a changing family structure. It’s people who go through adulthood perpetually trying to keep their options open.” I don’t see that he accused those people of being selfish; like Joan, Lily projects her own beliefs.

    So Brooks and Douthat cannot get too explicit with their commentary, nor do they have to: the women will do it for them!

     
  11. a tiny little mouse

    November 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    “BTW, German women seemed to have avoided most of the anti-family rhetoric. How is it that “Thirty percent of German women say they do not intend to have children” now?”

    Because in Germany women who have children usually stay home with them, and a lot of modern women desire to have a career, or at least to work for some time before they settle down.

     

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