Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Katha Pollitt puts Ross Douthat in perspective

Katha Pollitt writes:
Liberal blogger men are thrilled with the New York Times's appointment of 29-year-old Atlantic blogger Ross Douthat to replace William Kristol on the op-ed page.
"Smart move," says Matt Yglesias. Ezra Klein and George Packer agree he's "brilliant." At TheNation.com, Chris Hayes calls it a "fantastic choice," and Eyal Press looks forward to "thoughtful commentary."
.. even for a blogo-pundit, Douthat seems unusually averse to engaging with women intellectually, even on perennial topics like abortion and birth control, where you'd think we'd bring something missing to the table--like an interest in our health, well-being, happiness, longevity, pleasure and ability to have some control over our lives.

I was so happy to see Pollitt's piece (aside from calling George Packer a liberal -- an unfortunate buy-in to the idea of there having been "liberal hawks" who supported the 20023 Iraq invasion). There's something odd about the obsession by some folks to the left-of-center with finding the 'good conservative', the person who's an intellectual who's ready for real debate. The David Brooks, in their mind.

In this case, they're willing to overlook what Douthat stands for, which is radical conservatism, particularly on social issues. On top of everything Pollitt writes about Douthat, I'd add that he's been a global-warming denier and thinks Muslims are and have always been out to attack Christians.

Some folks probably praised Douthat for beat-sweetening purposes. And I imagine many of the DC bloggers on the left know him personally. None of this should make them tolerant of his views. Horrible beliefs are horrible beliefs.

There's a place for debate across ideological lines, but I don't see is as an end-goal. It's not something that, in and of itself, will benefit people's lives. If you're really excited about engaging with Douthat, because he's such an independent intellectual or whatever, go ahead. Do that on your own time. But your blog would be more useful to me if you were busy pushing for prosecution of Bush official for authorizing torture, or say for a solid public option in the healthcare legislation. Praising terrible people like Douthat hinders your credibility, anyway.


Post a Comment

<< Home