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.