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Ross Douthat’s Conservative Vision

The world according to conservative New York Times columnist, Ross Douthat.

Columnist and author Ross Douthat. (Josh Haner/The New York Times)

Columnist and author Ross Douthat. (Josh Haner/The New York Times)

Electric tension again last week among Congressional Republicans over how to set their sails.  Tension over the debt ceiling raise.  Over stifled immigration reform.  Over the House leadership of Speaker John Boehner and Tea Party politics.  Behind all that, says my guest today, conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, there is a new conservatism struggling to be born.  A “reform conservatism.”  Think Mike Lee, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio. And new thinking on foreign policy, drugs, taxes, poverty.  This hour On Point:  thinker, conservative Ross Douthat on a new “reform conservatism.”

– Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Ross Douthat, colmunist for the New York Times. Author of “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics” and
Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class” and co-author of ”  “Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.” Film critic for The National Review(@DouthatNYT)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Leaving Work Behind — “When economists look ahead to the possibilities awaiting our grandchildren, they often see this divide widening even further, as the digital economy delivers rich rewards to certain kinds of highly educated talent, while revolutions in robotics eliminate many of today’s low-skilled, low-wage jobs.”

The New Republic: Ross Douthat Is On Another Erroneous Rampage Against Secularism — “Utilitarianism may not be a perfect ethical system, but what, pray tell, is Douthat’s? If it’s Biblical, does he give away all his possessions and abandon his family to follow Jesus, as the Bible commands? Does he think that those who gather sticks on the Sabbath, curse their parents, or commit adultery should be killed? If not, why not?”

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  • Kevin117

    I don’t. Conservatism is dead. It died of Trickle down.

  • Duras

    Will he say anything outside of what Hobbs and Burke?
    It would be nice to hear something new.

  • 1Brett1

    I will only listen to him after he has traded his daughter for a goat.

    • Ray in VT

      I think that the going price for a daughter is two goats in the current market. Seriously, though, I’ll listen to what he has to say, although I likely won’t agree with much, if anything, that he puts forward.

      • Enuff_of_this

        Then why bother to listen. You’ve already your mind.

        • Ray in VT

          Not necessarily. I’m willing to listen to what he has to say, but I think that the chances that I will like or agree with what he says are slim.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Or say anything remotely intelligent or logical.

          • Ray in VT

            Maybe or maybe not. I don’t really know much about the guy or his views.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I have listen to him before just another pseudo-intellectual, gas bag.

          • Enuff_of_this

            Oh, i didn’t realize that your mind was merely ajar rather than just plain closed

          • Ray in VT

            It is mostly closed to the nonsense that the American right likes to spew. As far as I’m concerned a turd sandwich is still a turd sandwich, no matter how often one tries to tell me that it is filet mignon.
            If, however, one has something new to say, as opposed to just repeating the said tired lines, then I’m willing to listen.

      • 1Brett1

        I replied to you, Ray, but my comment (which had nothing controversial in its content, not even a word that might set off bells and whistles)
        but, of course, it has been thrown into the “awaiting moderation” waste bin…go figure.

        I have to say, DISQUS needs to straighten that crap out!

        • Ray in VT

          Weird. Maybe it will show up at some point.

  • Human2013

    Conservative Vision is an
    oxymoron.

  • Ed75

    Wonderful to read a Christian voice at the Times!

    • Prairie_W

      If only the self-styled Christians were real Christians. Seriously.
      Imagine! No wars of choice. No more hypocrisy along the lines of Douthat’s NYT pieces…

  • Ed75

    I should say Catholic voice.

    • Ray in VT

      The Times has at least one other self identified Catholic Op-Ed columnist.

  • Human2013

    Boths sides lack vision and foresight, but conservatives just can’t seem to make amends with a growing minority population, the importance of immigration, income inequality, a womens right to privacy, the decline of the many factions of Christianity, the necessity of regulation, the crumbling infrastructure, the need for education reform, the obesity crisis (thanks Mrs. Obama for trying to do something), the need for unions, the decline of their party (sericously, most of them won’t be with us much longer), an explanation as to why “red” districts are rural, overwhemingly white and elderly, and the fact that redistricting is never going to save their party.

    • William

      Conservatives don’t like to put people into separate little groups and would rather consider everyone an American. It was President Bush who tried to get immigration reform passed and President Obama ignored it. It is Conservatives that are saying amnesty will only make the income gap worse and continue to punish low skilled/educated workers and especially Black Americans. Unions have been rejected in their “motherland” Michigan with it’s recent right to work law into action. Obama repeatedly rejected the idea of gay marriage until he needed their support so you can’t really count on him.

      • Ray in VT

        Yeah, right. Conservatives don’t like to separate people out into groups. Just look at how welcoming they are towards groups like the LGBT community. You chastise the President for being late to the party, but how do you feel about Ted Cruz’s move to try to preserve the right of states to discriminate against same sex relationships? Very welcoming.

        How is that comprehensive immigration reform that passed the Senate with bipartisan support going over in the House? “Unions have been rejected in their “motherland””. The GOP governor said that he wouldn’t support right to work legislation, and then he turned around and stabbed workers in the back. Once again showing that workers can’t trust the GOP and their desire to ensure that people have the right to work for less.

      • Euphoriologist

        “Conservatives don’t like to put people into separate little groups and would rather consider everyone an American.”

        Of course this is utter nonsense. The proposed conservative bill in Kansas explicitly sets out to separate Americans into an acceptable heterosexual majority and a second-class homosexual minority with reduced rights. A society of separate little groups based on attributes chosen by them is EXACTLY what today’s conservatives are striving to achieve.

        • Ray in VT

          That bill did go down in flames in the Kansas Senate, but some proponents just seem to want to more narrowly tailor it and try again.

      • Human2013

        The legacy of your party is in Strom Thurmon’s 24 hr filibuster against the Civil rights act while secretly supporting his african american daughter. The remnants of his reprehensible act still linger in the conservative party; remnants of hate, superiorty, racism, hypocriscy and utter ignorance!

    • sickofthechit

      I disagree with one thing only. I think Boehner uses spray tan products.

  • wauch

    You mean David Brooks even more tone deaf redheaded stepchild Ross Douthat? The guy and his journalistic father seem to think that unrestricted markets are a must and the ovarian lottery is analogous to the Loch Ness monster.

    • TFRX

      Isn’t that an insult?

      I mean, to redheads?

      • Ray in VT

        I once knew a redheaded stepchild, and she hated that phrase.

        • hennorama

          Ray in VT — one of the best parties I ever threw had more than a dozen redheads in attendance, and they comprised more than 10 percent of the entire crowd.

          Whether their relative abundance was responsible for the party being one of the best ever is an open question.

          No doubt at least one of them was a stepchild, but that topic never came up to my knowledge.

  • Tom_in_Quinebaug

    You can no longer tie social order/morality to a defunct religious myth. Appeal must be made to (experiential) virtue. Think blue blood oblige – ala Chaffee, GHW Bush. Very serviceable marriage of service and ambition, the latter of which cannot be expunged from the human genome.

    • Fiscally_Responsible

      Aren’t we tolerant of religiously oriented people that we disagree with. The real myth is the supposed tolerance of the left toward viewpoints that don’t align with their viewpoint. If I made a derogatory slam about gays/etc., people like yourself would be screaming “hate speech”. I guess that liberal hate speech is acceptable.

      • Ray in VT

        Yes, how dare anyone suggest that the religious views of some people shouldn’t be dominating the lives and rights of non-believers? What haters.

        • Fiscally_Responsible

          I get it. Atheists have a completely objective and unbiased basis for their viewpoint. It’s people that believe in something else that are the problem.

          • J__o__h__n

            No, it is people who advocate policy and ground it in supernatural sources rather than facts that are the problem. Believe whatever you want, but you need more than claiming it is god’s will to justify it as public policy.

          • Fiscally_Responsible

            just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after [g]strange flesh, are exhibited as an [h]example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. Jude 7 says it all

          • J__o__h__n

            Citing myths doesn’t advance your claim.

          • Ray in VT

            Please provide actual evidence for the existence and fate of such cities. A religious text does not count.

          • Fiscally_Responsible

            ETERNAL FIRE

          • jefe68

            Oy vey.

          • Ray in VT

            So you have none. Thanks for clarifying.

            Tell me then, why should I take one religion’s holy beliefs over another. Maybe Zeus is the way to go, or Vishnu, or Allah, etc.

          • J__o__h__n

            I’d go with Zeus. Better art. Better myths.

          • Fiscally_Responsible

            You can believe whatever you want. Ten million years from now, you will still be living with the consequences of your false beliefs. But you will recognize that the evidence was obvious and will be gnashing your teeth at having rejected the obvious truth.

          • J__o__h__n

            No, I’ll just be dead.

          • Ray in VT

            Have any evidence for that?

          • hennorama

            I’ll still be living ten million years from now?

            Guess I’d better build up my retirement funds a wee bit more.

          • jefe68

            I don’t know, the Catholic Church has some of the greatest Western art.
            Think Rubens, and the music is pretty good as well. Bach and Monteverdi come to mind.

          • jefe68

            Yep, there it is. The ugly face of the religious extremist. We have seen this before through the centuries, it’s the face of the intolerant based on nothing more than their own ignorance.

            When all else fails start yelling and damming people to hell.

          • jefe68

            No one expects the Spanish Inquisition…

          • Bluejay2fly

            If people followed the bible instead of using it to beat others over the head they would not be so angry and hateful.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t know. There’s some pretty terrible stuff in the Bible, along with some of the nicer bits.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I agree.

          • Ray in VT

            Especially the Old Testament, where there seems to have been a whole lot more fear and a lot less love.

          • jefe68

            If people would mind their own business and heed the separation of Church and State maybe the nation would join the 20th century, let alone the 21st.

          • sickofthechit

            To jefe68 and his Spanish Inquistion reference, Once again you recieve my

            “Best Laugh of the Day Award”!

            Thanks, charles

          • Bluejay2fly

            Well, when you start a line of intellectualism such as “God is punishing us for accepting gays” then religion is not so useful.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m just not using a super old book to justify my bigoted views against gays and lesbians. I would rather be guided by facts than religious faith.

          • jefe68

            No, it’s clear you don’t get it.

      • Ms. Spider

        “Liberal tolerance” owes no special dispensations to positions it finds anachronistic or bad policy. Conservatives who appeal for that kind “tolerance” obviously don’t trust that their arguments will hold up in the marketplace of ideas. What you’re asking for, in essence, is intellectual “welfare”

  • skelly74

    Without regulations and legislation, civilian life would be chaotic correct?

    We have no problem worshipping political “sects” with all their dogmas and pageantry, because these are straight shooting standup deities who would never place the well-being of mankind before their own interests.

    Lets throw away thousands of years worth of human mythology and customs, based on transcendental empowerment and emotional balance, and focus solely on materialism and political power systems only.

    Lets train our children to value gold, sexual appeal, material accumulation, constant completion, twerking, knock out games, Facebook, expensive education, McMansions…ect.

    The sheeple are contagiously pathetic hypocrites who “need” spiritual awakening.
    .

    • geraldfnord

      Perhaps my eye were too jaundiced, but whenever I encounter someone using the term ‘sheeple’, I think, ‘Here is a would-be shepherd.’

      Perhaps unfair, but where there are some who believe themselves illuminated such that they truly understand the world—be it by their gnosis, by understanding the works of Marx or of Mises or of Rand or of Hubbard or of Hayek or of Mao—and the rest of humanity steadfastly refuse to agree with them, meaning that the overwhelming majority are ‘sheep’ (if they are not malign enemies to be destroyed), then it can seem the positive _responsibility_ of the Awake to gull, pressure, or even physically _force_ the sheep to behave and believe ‘better’.

      And there is also a problem in that those who believe that they have woken-up from a con-job often seem to miss the point that they have been conned at least once in the past, and don’t act as sceptically toward that to which they have awoken. I think the television series “The Prisoner” were a great metaphor for many people’s journeys: every escape attempt turns out to be set up by his gaolers as a way of getting him to do what they want. How many people go from callow atheism to callow Catholicism to callow Marxism…?

      (I, of course, believe myself to be somewhat awaker than normal but not subject to these problems…but at least I understand that I might well still be deluding myself, and in fact likely am in some ways given my many resemblances to everybody else.)

      • J__o__h__n

        I agree. Using someone else’s tired joke, isn’t evidence of being superior to the masses that using that term claims.

        • skelly74

          It’s not a joke but an anthropomorphic analogy.

      • skelly74

        I believe the sheep and the shepherd are partners in the same dance…equally needing each other for validation.

        It is fair to say anyone who posts comments on this forum would be a sheep or a shepherd. So we are all guilty there.

        I would assume their are quite a few lonely shepherds out there and many sheep.

  • Jasoturner

    Douthat can resort to some serious pretzel logic trying to force the real world to conform to his ideology. Should be highly entertaining, if not particularly convincing.

  • gemli

    I don’t know what I would do without Douthat and Brooks. Whoever makes my blood pressure medicine has profited immensely ever since I started reading them. Both promote the view that the downtrodden brought their misfortune on themselves. They attribute poverty, crime, low marriage rates and the decline of family bonds to character defects rather than dismal prospects created by extreme income disparity, an inadequate minimum wage, overpriced education and a privatized penal system that profits from lengthy incarceration of minor offenders.

    Mr. Douthat is a Catholic first and a conservative opinion writer second. I don’t care what the Catholic view of politics is any more than I care what Muslims or Baptists or Pentecostal snake handlers think. But it was fun to watch Douthat play rhetorical twister as he tried to square the pope’s take-down of predatory capitalism with his conservative views. You’d think he was angling for the pope’s job with his incessant harping on marriage, childbirth, contraception, abortion and in general all things referring to lady business.

    He’s more nuanced when he’s interviewed, so I doubt that he’ll be displaying his full battle plumage with Mr. Ashbrook. Still, it should be fun.

    • geraldfnord

      I’ve seen the claim that up to one-half the adult male unemployed during the Great Depression blamed themselves exclusively for their state.

      Taking due personal responsibility for one’s own condition is necessary to remain a free people—people will self-regulate or be regulated—but exaggerating it is inconsistent with reality and useful only to those really benefitting [sic] from or (especially) responsible for the system hurting the majority they’d prefer would blame thenmselves.

      • TFRX

        If we’re going to say “What about the Reagan message today”: I remember Reagan saying that the Great Depression brought families closer together.

        There’s just something weirdly odd about a guy like Reagan who grew up on the dole saying “do it yourself”.

        • sickofthechit

          Don’t forget Paul Ryan has that same experience and attitude himself (Social Security benefits after his fathers death)

  • Ms. Spider

    I’m all for “reform conservatism”, but if Lee, Paul, Ryan and Rubio are what Douthat thinks are the standard-bearers, then I wouldn’t want any part of it.

  • James

    six words
    over the counter birth control pills

    • geraldfnord

      “Libert”arians: ‘Great! Everything should be O.t.C.!!, including hydrofluoric acid and enriched uranium!!!’
      Theocrats: ‘Blasphemy! Such will bring on hurricanoes!!! and make women think themselves fit to speak in church.’
      Tories: ‘Over-the-counter or Rx, as long as only married women who have already borne several children are allowed to purchase it, as otherwise our wonderful-in-every-way-in-1895 society will be impossible.’
      Babbittocrats: ‘O.K., if we can make more profit from them this way.’
      Know-Nothings (T.P.ers): ‘The Illuminati stole my ball of string pieces!’

  • Bluejay2fly

    “American conservatism committed intellectual suicide” WF Buckley jr

  • Spence Blakely

    I used to be an Independent, but am now compelled to be a Democrat. Even if I were to prefer particular Republican candidates, I would worry about their being trapped and made ineffective in a party with non-compromising extremist influences.

  • Yar

    Kentucky is in the center of two poles of the Republican party with Rand Paul representing a younger more libertarian view and Mitch McConnell representing the old guard of the party. My question for your guest is should the republican party win the Senate, would Mitch, should he survive this election cycle ever be elected majority leader?

  • Coastghost

    Is “reform Republicanism” anything more or other than the fresh avatar of “Rockefeller Republicanism”?

    • Ray in VT

      It might be somewhat similar. Some might seek a brand of Republicanism that is divorced from the sort of religious-right culture war mentality that has alienated a portion of the electorate.

      • Don_B1

        But without the religious-right’s enthusiastic partisanship, which the Republicans (and now the Tea/Republicans) have long played to, and until the last six years or so mostly ignored, the Tea/Republicans will not be able to defeat Democratic candidates and the party will have to further change.

        That is the current Republican dilemma: continue to radicalize and turn off the majority of American voters or stop appealing to the radical base and fail to win office against Democrats who are supported by the majority of voters.

        As long as the radical Republican base thinks it can get its theocratic and libertarian policies implemented by voting for radical candidates, there is no future, though it may take a few election cycles for enough people to see that.

  • adks12020

    It kind of sounds like Douthat thinks that poor means “unmarriageable”. I’m pretty glad my mom didn’t think so or else I wouldn’t be alive….as an aside my father did very well for himself after marriage, well enough to retire at 45 and open an antique shop part time because he didn’t need a job with real income anymore.

  • Michiganjf

    With conservatism moving so quickly to far-right fanaticism, does your guest really think anything like the moderation he proposes is within the realm of reality?

    • Bluejay2fly

      The GOP is only moving around the board positioning itself to get votes. They completely shifted it’s party base over the last 30 years to the old dixie democrat south. Regardless of wether they win elections or not they get their economic agenda pushed through. Our military budget is huge, we project power globally, wall street and the tax code benefits the rich, the war on drugs is going strong. In short the last 30 years has seen these policies flourish no matter what the composition of congress and the presidency.

      • hennorama

        Bluejay2fly — in addition to the GOP “moving around the board positioning itself to get votes,” they are instituting laws and policies that seem designed to restrict voting of parts of the electorate that favor their opponents.

        If they can’t increase the number of voters who would favor GOP candidates, they will try to win elections any other way they can think of.

        Regardless of political leanings, we should all promote greater voter registration and participation, and oppose anything that works to decrease them.

  • AlanThinks

    Mr Douthat is an excellent example of why the Republican party is bankrupt. He is espousing ideas the Democrats have attempted to enact only to be repeatedly thwarted by the rabid conservatives who have hi-jacked the GOP. The worst part is that we are heading over many cliffs due to their intransigence – in particular global heating. There is no rescue for this hardheaded willful and blind stubbornness.

    • J__o__h__n

      And they also object when Obama passed the Heritage Foundation/Romney health care plan.

      • Don_B1

        Which is also why they are objecting to the energy efficiency plan that President Obama announced this morning. Everyone should be for doing anything that helps the U.S. attain energy self-sufficiency and using less energy to accomplish the same increases in enjoyment of life is one of the easiest ways to do that and it has the advantage of saving money at the pump, etc.

        But Tea/Republicans are largely financed by the fossil fuel industry which wants to sell more fuel, not less, so they cannot endorse energy efficiency, and it also would be a feather in President Obama’s cap, which is totally unacceptable.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    No I don’t read him. How do you get past the philosophy of cave men: hunt, kill, drink, kill, steal, kill, pillage, kill?

    New conservatism? As Andy Capp would say: don’t make me larf.

  • J__o__h__n

    I’d worry more about the financial elite than the intellectual elite.

    • Bigtruck

      But the financial elite are the financial elite because they work harder than the rest of us. Just ask them

  • Bluejay2fly

    The WFB JR reference is the dumbest thing said thus far!!

  • Ms. Spider

    The problem with the Lee sound-bite you just played (“we can work towards the government we want”) is that conservatives are waiting for another few 2010′s too roll around, to a point and time where they’re in control of everything and they can implement every small government/wing-nut bit of fairy tale legislation they can dream up. Until then, they’re in a state of paralysis. Can’t pass their fever dream bills; can’t assuage their rank-and-file to compromise in the meantime. And they don’t yet realize that 2010 was an outlier.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Quick: how many “new conservatives” have served four years on active duty in uniform in America’s military?* That’s right: probably not many.

    Thanks much. Signed.. Old School Liberal & Vietnam-era Draftee/Veteran

    * Sorry, the Coast Guard isn’t the military. Neither is the Forest Service, NOAA, USPHS, or the Post Office. Or the TSA, thought police, capital police, the harbor master, or the rest of these uniformed waiters.

  • David Andrews

    How does a movement funded by the likes of the Koch brothers and Pete Peterson qualify as “populist”?

    • J__o__h__n

      They don’t like elitists (measured by educational achievement not wealth).

    • Bluejay2fly

      It is the veneer. Think of a milk dud which has sweet chocolate on the outside and poison on the inside.

    • MrWakiki

      I wonder how do the populist accept the marching orders from guys who are wealthy beyond belief and self-serving?

      • Ray in VT

        It is sort of amusing how so many of those who will rail against the intellectual elite have often gone to prep schools and Ivy League colleges.

        • MrWakiki

          I love beyond this… the teaparty members who are un-educated and work for the government (road crew, nursing homes) and complained about being over-taxed (ironically since taxes pay for their job and health insurance) in support of these ‘elite’ who pay a much smaller proportion of taxes

        • TFRX

          If I remember, Douthat went to that no account place called Upper Peninsula State Dartmouth.

          I guess that makes someone from Harvard, Princeton and Yale someone he can sneer at as “elite”.

  • jefe68

    In my opinion, the GOP seems to me to be the party of extremism and craziness. That said what we have is plutocracy and both parties are sucking up to corporate and wall street interest.

  • MrWakiki

    Conservatives, especially t-party, probably would be well served to stop telling people how to think and live their lives… ironically they should be doing the opposite.

    • TFRX

      But that’s their base. If they can fire up their base without hippie punching, voter scrubbing, and transvaginal ultrasounds, wouldn’t they have done it by now?

      • MrWakiki

        I understand that in one sense… the sense that the t-pot doesn’t live in reality.

        When I first heard of the tea-party, I though…”OKAY! I’m sick of non-functional government…and corrupt government” now I see conservatives are — my way, the way to make the rich richer — is the only way

        • WRB2

          I see just as many problems with the 99% movement as with the Tea-Party. The Conservatism that Ross is pushing lands us in the same deep hole as we are in now. The “My way or the highway”/”WitUs or AginsUs” mentality has to stop. Representative democracy only works with both sides compromise. It seems to me that the approach being preached by the conservatives leading the fight these days appear more Dictatorial than Constitutional.

          • MrWakiki

            yet they will all pull the Constitution out of their pocket as if proof they know what they are doing.

      • WRB2

        No they would not have. There are religions who push and those who pull. Pushing makes headlines and news and they see anything less than the front page is a loss. Talk radio/TV has to create followers and sounds like Preachers in that good old time religion.

        • MrWakiki

          Why is it:

          Conservative = Christian

          ?

          • TFRX

            Tangentially, why does our press corps treat Christians who aren’t conservatives with the wonder that they’d treat that water-skiing squirrel?

            Get a UU or one of those Episcopalian non-judgemental sorts in front of a TV camera and the newsreader almost does their best oblivious Kent Brockman surprise voice.

          • MrWakiki

            That is a great question. As an atheist, I look at the Christian faith and think: “Would Jesus be for or against health care”?

  • WRB2

    The problem is in how the Conservatives have pushed their
    agendas. They are taking a Biblical
    approach, hard line, fire and brimstone to fixing what is wrong. This has turned off middle of the road
    republicans and independents they need to win.
    Don’t change the ideas, change the way you implement your ideas. Conservatism is not bad or wrong, we need to
    change some aspects of our government, just not over night.

    I like to think of myself as a Rockefeller Republican and
    wish the GOP would move back to that alignment of ideas.

  • Floyd Blandston

    Still can’t understand how he got a NYT op-ed column. If nepotism, corruption, or time spent playing ‘alter-boy’ never come to light, my entire faith in the orderly operation of the universe will be turned askew.

  • geraldfnord

    I see a fundamental problem with Mr Douthat’s synthesis: ‘conservative’ means too many things and too contradictory. I see the movement as being classifiable into (to paint with a broad brush, and non-exclusively) theocrats, Tory traditionalists, “libert”arians (classical liberal propertarian minarchists), Business Republicans, and and Know-Nothings, with militarist and racialist fringes. Business Republicans actually have a soft spot for the abortion and contraception the theocrats hate, since these help to rationalise production, and don’t give a damn about same-sex marriage except as the occasion for more consumerism. Tories might actually like to have more family leave mandated, along with banning same-sex marriage, because they fear both the excess of the Enlightenment and the lauded ‘creative destruction’ of the marketplace. Theocrats, in their turn, may take some inspiration from the Bible in distrusting both Cæsar and Mammon—Huckabee tried to make this his stock-in-trade and didn’t get very far.

    Propertarian minarchists tend to agree in practice with Business Republicans except that the latter love the government when it pays to do so, and actually love regulation to the extent that it represents a higher bar for competitors.

  • TFRX

    “Abortion is a winning issue” per Douthat.

    If all a Catholic on the NYT’s op-ed can offer, focusing on the politics of it, there’s something funny afoot.

    Okay, Tom: Time for you to talk policy with your guest.

    • Ray in VT

      Perhaps it is in places like the Dakotas, Texas or Mississippi, but it isn’t in many parts of the country.

  • Bluejay2fly

    Tom call him on it!! The GOP is pushing unimportant social issues to religious idiots and the uneducated while they continue their real economic agenda.

    • art525

      You are absolutely right Bluejay.

  • Michiganjf

    Your guest is describing a Republican Party which simply doesn’t exist!

    It’s obvious he needs to move on to another Party altogether.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    So we’re going to deny earned benefits to veterans of Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars? Don’t bet on it, boy. You’ll lose.

    There’s a helluva lot more of us than there are of you Washington poofs.

    • Ms. Spider

      You’re talking about a COL adjustment. Get a grip on reality. There’s no “denial” in the terms you paint it.

  • J__o__h__n

    When did “hard-working” become an objective demographic?

  • TFRX

    Ooh, “hard working” is an adjective claimed for the GOP.

    Even with his polite hat on, there’s a slipup some times.

    • Floyd Blandston

      ‘Hard Working’ is the new ‘not black’- it’s a dog whistle thing the GOP has picked up as part of their attempt to lure ‘brown and tan’ people.

  • art525

    He doesn’t sound like a journalist to me. He sounds like a Republican strategist. And it strikes me that his suggestions are not motivated by his personal moral beliefs but by what he thinks will sell. Not impressed.

  • OnpointListener

    Reform Conservatism: Lipstick on a Pig

  • art525

    The bottom line is that Douthat like all Republicans wants to finesse things like imiigration reform and wants to pander to and whip up the anti abortion and anti gay crowd while covertly promoting the financial interests of fat cats like The Koch brothers. Yes for the GOP the bottom line is the bottom line.

    • Bluejay2fly

      This is why they cannot promote intelligent ideas. They sound stupid and inconsistent not because they are dumb but because they are tied to what they are doing and trying to square that with a facade which contradicts their actions.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Republican party: life begins at cocktails and ends at birth.

  • Jeff

    Hmmm, I think conservatism will simply move more towards libertarianism…it’s much more intellectually honest than either current political party.

    • Bluejay2fly

      I watched Ron Paul’s son slowly sell out and that is what happens in washington.

      • Jeff

        Would you mind being specific instead of making generic statements?

      • Charles

        I entirely agree. I was a big Ron Paul fan and I was hoping Rand would follow in his footsteps, but he’s quickly becoming a partisan shill like the rest of them.

        My question about this hour’s show is: why should anybody care if the GOP can turn itself around? So they can keep up with an equally useless Democrat party? The two party-system is (partially) what has gotten us into this mess.
        Neither party has the interest of the common man at heart, despite what Mr. Douthat wants us to think. The parties are bought and paid for by corporate interests.

      • James

        When I first read that, I read that as “Ron Paul slowly sell out” I was wondering if you had lost your mind.

        I think (or hope) that the idea is to package his father’s ideas in a way that they can actually be put into practice.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Just like LBJ defeating very civil rights bill during his career as a congressmen. Had he never become president he may have died people believing him to be a racist. However, unlike then I doubt reform is coming to save Rand Paul’s soul.

    • jefe68

      Which is based on what exactly? Libertarianism as I’ve seen defined in this country seems devoid of wanting to deal with societies problem other than saying it’s about the self and the individuals ability to earn a profit.

      David Simon sums it up well:
      I don’t need anything but my own ability to earn a profit. I’m not connected to society. I don’t care how the road got built, I don’t care where the firefighter comes from, I don’t care who educates the kids other than my kids. I am me. It’s the triumph of the self.

  • Jim

    I strongly advise that woman caller to go to the Democratic party. NO way will you see the GOP going 180 degrees on abortion. NO WAY.

  • J__o__h__n

    The ship has sailed on the GOP becoming pro-choice. If anything, they are moving even further to the right on the issue.

    • Jeff

      Many Republicans would rather see the abortion issue become a state-by-state issue.

      • TFRX

        I’ll bet they would.

        More Texas-lege crap, anyone?

      • J__o__h__n

        Most would as that would end rights in half the states.

  • MarkVII88

    As long as someone tries to justify and sell political viewpoints based on their religious views, I’m out. Doesn’t matter whether they’re Rep. or Dem., Conservative or Liberal.

  • hennorama

    Caller Karen — EVERYONE has noticed that you’ve dropped out of the Republican Party.

    As SC Sen. Lindsey Graham said about the [demographics of] GOP [voters], “We’re not generating enough angry white guys.”

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Read my new book: Everything You Need to Know About Life.
    –Ross Douthat {from the windmill of my mind}

  • TFRX

    “Fertility clinics are more popular than abortion.” per Douthat.

    Tyranny of the majority, anyone?

    Tom, ask your guest to own the harrassment and violence that has driven his wing’s abortion policy. Or even how they don’t like contraception.

    And his stuff about embryo is full of crap. Embryos are not human beings.

    Time to start talking policy with this guy. The NYT has given him a pass. Does NPR have to?

  • Kathy

    This doesn’t sound like any sort of reform, it just sounds like the same old party that’s totally out of touch with America and has a set of policies which are already proven objectively to be failures.

  • Michiganjf

    You TOTALLY missed the caller’s point!

    Conservatives ARE marching on fertility clinics!

    They are going overboard trying to make a point about the viability of all life, pushing their agenda into every nook and cranny, at every angle, to try and win the debate by rigging every aspect of American life, law, and opinion.

    Soon, they’ll push Elle Woods’ view that “masturbation, where every sperm doesn’t result in pregnancy, should be termed reckless abandonment!”

    • MrWakiki

      Are conservatives good husbands? It seems every time a woman speaks out about the direction of the republican party, their response is to change the subject?

      Woman says, focus on jobs and the economy, he says: I give up on you, you need to be against abortion… almost humorous

  • MrWakiki

    Kind of funny when this guy is told women might not like how the GOP is talking to them… and he doesn’t know what to say… He is all but saying, let’s forget women issues and say they should be republicans because we are pro-war…??!?!?!

  • Ray in VT

    The number of people who want there to be no restrictions on abortion is relatively pretty small. Most people think that there should be some forms of limitation and regulation. That line for many just isn’t what the GOP wants it to be.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Like Barack Obama, I neither toil nor spin. But I’m an expert on everything. Go ahead: ask me a question.
    –Douthat on Douthat on Douthat….

  • TFRX

    The fact that Douthat thinks compromising with the right is something doable makes me wonder if he’s been asleep in a cave for five years?

    And Tom, can you get him to stop saying “unborn human life”?

    The words are EMBRYO and FETUS.

    • notafeminista

      Which are synonyms for “unborn life”, no?

  • Bluejay2fly

    America in 1870 was wide open economical not like now stupid!!

  • David_from_Lowell

    As someone who’s under 35, the Republican Party seems like the party for old fogeys who are scared about losing their societal advantage, and rather than evolving and innovating, they fight against the tide. Some conservative issues (specifically economic) could be intriguing, if I didn’t feel like they were only being argued to advance the interests of the wealthy, or the culturally backward.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      GOP is old white rich men. Almost exclusively.

      • hennorama

        Neil Blanchard — that’s true of the power structure, in general, but not the GOP voters, the vast majority of whom are not “rich.”

        A 2012 Pew Research Center poll, “PROFILES OF THE PARTIES AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS,” found the following among respondents who identified themselves as Republicans:

        21 percent had INCOME of $100 K or more, vs. 17 percent for self-identified Democrats, and 18 percent of Independents.

        As to race, you are correct, as the same poll found that 89 percent of Republican RVs identified as “White, non-Hispanic,” vs. 58 percent for Democratic RVs, and 76 percent for Independents.

        And as a bit of a counterpoint — Phyllis Schlafly is still going strong at age 89, and is a significant GOP force.

        Sources:
        http://www.people-press.org/2012/08/23/a-closer-look-at-the-parties-in-2012/

        http://www.people-press.org/files/legacy-detailed_tables/Detailed%20tables%20for%20Party%20ID.pdf

        • Ray in VT

          Nah. They’re plenty diverse. Just ask them.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — at times it seems that the entire 2 percent of Republicans RVs (per the Pew poll) who self-identify as “Black, non-Hispanic” are [now] being put forward as GOP/conservative/TPM talking heads and pundits.

          • Ray in VT

            It seems like the few minorities that they do attract often get put out front and center. They did manage to find just about the only African American who would bravely take a stand in favor of gutting the Voting Rights Act.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — while the impetus to do so is understandable, the complete transparency of this phenomenon isn’t fooling anyone who’s paying attention.

            Of course, few actually pay attention.

      • notafeminista

        Well except for the ones who aren’t.

  • jefe68

    Tom you should have your stats in front of you, Mr. Douthat, is not being truthful on the abortion issue. According to this Gallup poll 51% are pro-choice and 35% are pro-choice.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/162548/americans-misjudge-abortion-views.aspx

  • Max Utrillo

    Basically what Ross is saying here is that the social agenda issues ARE the line in the sand. If you can’t get with their social agenda, you won’t be a Republican voter now or in the near future. That’s the entire division in the Republican party that is preventing them from getting ANYTHING accomplished. He says there are other issues, but ultimately, progress on other issues never occurs because the party as a whole can never pull together, because of the fiscal/social divide. But social issues do not represent the problems impacting the day to day lives of most Americans right now. The big issues are inequality, the economy, and good jobs.

  • J__o__h__n

    At least David Brooks is personable and sometimes has new ideas.

    • TFRX

      Bobo is not that personable.

      And actually, his idea of new ideas is pretty paltry, too.

      • J__o__h__n

        I’m grading on a curve.

        • TFRX

          Yeah, that’s an awfully small sample size.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Was Richard Nixon a conservative? Had it not been for Gerald Ford, another conservative, Nixon would have spent the rest of his life in jail. Is that social conservatism?

  • TFRX

    “All you have to do is have a clear message and [the right] will win” (paraphrase).

    The voter suppression jamboree that the right wing has been on for four years suggests that they’re looking at the numbers and decided that they’ve discovered pretty much all the voters they can sway.

    Tom, anything to ask your guest about voting rights?

  • injun2

    In France and most of Europe, abortion must be done in the first trimester. In this country, most recently in Texas, the pro choice people went nuts over dropping it from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. A poll of Texas women showed that a majority of them supported the 20 week rule. The most surprising part of the poll (Pew) was that college age women supported that restriction by a slim majority.

    • TFRX

      In Europe they don’t play “hide the contraception” and “Where’s Waldo the clinic?”

      Unlike Texas, it’s a public policy they actually have on paper that people can use.

      • injun2

        Contraception is available at every convenience store and drug store, not exactly hidden.
        In Texas it’s public policy as well, just less restrictive than Europe. That’s what the brouhaha was about

        • TFRX

          When a woman has to hope she doesn’t get a “Christian pharmacist” to overrule her doctor’s Rx, that’s what I call hidden.

          And if you’re meaning condoms, say condoms. If you’re going to say contraception, mean what the FDA has approved, not just one type.

    • Maureen Perry

      90% happen in the first trimester, it’s not a question of lowering the time as it is chipping away at the right all together a little at a time. The republicans like to talk about the slippery slope with gun control well what about the slippery slope of abortion reform. works both ways.

    • Maureen Perry

      BTW the highest rate for unwanted pregnancies is in Red states not blue.

  • Jeff

    The social issues are simply a losing battle, they need to be abandoned by any sort of federal politician of the conservatives…NOTHING is ever done on those issues at the federal level anyway…even bringing the social issues up on a national level is simply handing votes to the Democrats…DROP the social issues and start focusing on spending, debt and tax reform…people can get behind those issues on the federal level.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Those social issues are propping up their charade. You should read all the posts in this forum.

      • Jeff

        I have, it shows a bias viewpoint of liberals more than anything…many violations of Godwin’s law actually.

        • Bluejay2fly

          It’s not liberalism it is reality.

          • Jeff

            Name one thing you could cut in government besides the military? Now name one liberal who has suggested that as a serious proposal in government…yeah, there’s reality for you.

          • J__o__h__n

            farm subsidies, corporate welfare, faith based initiatives

          • Bluejay2fly

            And foreign aid, bring all the troops home, close Gitmo, start shuttering down all these prisons, etc Most importantly, reform the TAX SYSTEM..

          • Jeff

            Republicans cut the farm direct payments during the last month or so (remember it started in the house). Oh you mean alternative energy subsidies that Democrats defend? Name a specific “subsidy” that you would like to eliminate (not normal business tax deductions but actual direct payments). See this is the misinformation I see plaguing Democrats on every level…there is no OIL & GAS subsidy…but Democrats believe it is there…they use normal tax breaks used by many other companies. Give me the example not blindly repeating things you’ve heard!

          • J__o__h__n

            End ethanol. I’m not blindly repeating things.

          • Bluejay2fly

            You can get specific and it would not matter your wasting your time. He wants to believe what he likes and God Bless him that is his right, even though he is wrong.

        • J__o__h__n

          Unless I missed it, I didn’t see any such comparisons made today. And it isn’t a stretch for liberals to brand the right wing with that as it is the extreme end of many components of their ideology. Conversely, more liberals get smeared with comparisons to Communists than conservatives do. No one came up with a nifty law on that yet.

        • jefe68

          Oh you mean when someone uses the nazi meme. Or better yet the communist/fascist meme which is used by a lot of right wingers. Who for some reason seem unable make up their mind about the two totalitarian ideologies. Or is it just a lack of a decent education. Perhaps both.

          • Ray in VT

            I cannot understand the conflating of the two.

          • jefe68

            Maybe they think their covering all the bases.

          • Ray in VT

            I just think that they are lumping all of the totalitarian systems together (often calling them socialist), and glossing over the many real differences in ideology and actions that exist under those systems. Why? I don’t know. Like I said, I just cannot understand such a move.

  • David_from_Lowell

    what about the Comcast “cartel”?

    • Jeff

      We need some serious competition…hurry up Google!

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Rockefeller was liberalism? You mean the family that controlled the company that shipped South American oil to Nazi Germany during WWII was liberal? Is that what that was about? Free market liberalism?

  • Emily311

    Anyone who opposes raising the minimum wage does not have the right to call themselves ‘populist’.

    • Jeff

      Anyone who suggests raising the minimum wage as any sort of real solution is simply pandering and everyone who took Econ 101 knows that.

      • Maureen Perry

        ok Jeff try raising a family on the minimum wage.

        • Jeff

          What’s the percentage of people on minimum wage being the sole income for a family?

          • Maureen Perry

            plenty of single mothers, how is it that people will lose jobs if the minimum wage goes up but not when the management gives themselves obscene raises and bonuses

    • hennorama

      Emily311 — nor does it make them “conservative.”

      Per a recent op-ed from E.J. Dionne:

      “There is a magnificent public policy that achieves many of the goals conservative politicians regularly extol. These include promoting work over dependency, reducing the cost of social welfare programs, fostering economic growth and strengthening families.

      “The policy in question is raising the minimum wage. The only mystery is why so few conservative politicians see the issue this way. Rank-and-file conservatives know better. A December Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 53 percent of self-described conservatives supported a minimum wage increase. Republican politicians who are so solicitous of conservative opinion need to follow the moral and practical intuitions of those they say they represent.”

      AND

      “In an important article in the economic journal Challenge, “A Conservative Case for the Minimum Wage,” Oren Levin-Waldman, professor of public policy at Metropolitan College of New York, offered a similar view and made compelling moral points. Higher pay “increases the autonomy of low-wage workers,” he said, thus advancing “personal freedom” and “a core concept in conservative thought, which is personal responsibility.” This, in turn, means less dependence “on the largesse of others.”

      “And, as Annie Lowrey argued earlier this month in the New York Times, those who rightly worry about the breakdown of marriage need to remember that “creating good jobs with growing wages at the bottom of the income scale might be the best, if hardest, way to encourage young couples to wed.”

      “Conservative politicians really need to ask themselves: If they refuse to raise the minimum wage and at the same time insist on cutting health care and wage-support programs, are they not consigning millions more of their fellow citizens to lives of poverty? Most Americans reject this view, and that includes most conservatives who believe in work, family and personal responsibility.”

      See:
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ej-dionne-jr-raising-the-minimum-wage-is-the-right-idea-for-the-right/2014/02/16/b83cf4f0-95dc-11e3-8461-8a24c7bf0653_story.html

    • geraldfnord

      I disagree. They merely believe that a rise in the minimum wage will hurt people, either because they really believe that such will generally hurt people or (and much more insidiously) because some people will actually be hurt, and those are the only people about whom they care, be they employers in general (who are hurt by anything that makes their employees and potentials less desperate) or the Elected who have proved their worth by being wealthy (and whose _completely_justified_ superior economic power were hurt by having to pay the rest of us more).

      ‘Popularists’ have generally worked for the _right_ people—Kansas farmer popularists in 1894 didn’t care about urban dirty-white immigrants or black people anywhere, George Wallace was a popularist even before he was a public racist but never rejected the label, Reagan was a ‘popularist’ governor of California because he wanted ‘good people’ to run things—student protestors could join a blood-bath and poor people get botulism as far as he was concerned, and Lord help you if you were gay and not one of his friends—and many student protestors in the ’60s thought themselves ‘popularist’ because they stood up for everyone like themselves and thought most of the population deluded or ‘pigs’ or both. (They also sometimes dressed up as Minutemen and often shouted-down the opposition at public meetings…being oppressed by The Man doesn’t preclude your acting like a smaller version of Him, and in fact tends to encourage it.)

    • OnPointComments

      The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income
      http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44995

      Excerpt:
      “Increasing the minimum wage would have two principal effects on low-wage workers. Most of them would receive higher pay that would increase their family’s income, and some of those families would see their income rise above the federal poverty threshold. But some jobs for low-wage workers would probably be eliminated, the income of most workers who became jobless would fall substantially, and the share of low-wage workers who were employed would probably fall slightly.”

      Effects of the $10.10 Option on Employment and Income
      Once fully implemented in the second half of 2016, the $10.10 option would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, or 0.3 percent, CBO projects

      • hennorama

        OPC — reflecting the uncertainty of the CBO’s projections, this immediately followed where you left off:

        “As with any such estimates, however, the actual losses could be smaller or larger; in CBO’s assessment, there is about a two-thirds chance that the effect would be in the range between a very slight reduction in employment and a reduction in employment of 1.0 million workers.”

        A “two-thirds chance” is rather low, if that is the confidence level of these projections.

        This means that there is also “a two-thirds chance” per their methodology, of “a very slight reduction in employment.”

        As I’ve stated in another post, at best, the research on the effects of increasing the FMV on employment iis mixed, and the CBO’s “two-thirds chance” projections reflect this mixed research.

  • MarkVII88

    What I’m getting from most of the comments here is that there will always be a small minority that goes batshit crazy over each end of the spectrum on which an issue sits. The vast majority of people support a compromise, middle-ground position but they are not the ones making the waves and banging the gongs, the noise from which is all too-often used to frame the point of view of the whole block of people.

    • TFRX

      You’re a sensible sort, Mark, but I have to say: Countermanding the idea of Douthat as a “thinking person’s reform conservative” doesn’t make anyone batshit crazy.

      Just mildly informed, and able to touch-type.

      Note that this argument is not a bothsides thing.

    • Maureen Perry

      yes and who votes them into office and when 80% of the population said they wanted more gun regulation after Newtown what did the republicans do but say no the large majority and yes to the NRA.

      • MarkVII88

        As we all know, majority opinion only goes so far when it comes to political douche-baggery. Money talks. Actually, it screams! If it was perceived to be more painful for politicians to vote against their constituents’ majority opinion than to vote against the interests of their monied benefactors, things might be different.

  • MrWakiki

    I am willing to give you a helping hand, if you are willing to help yourself.

    Like: if you need heart surgery we will help you if you will make the incision and put in the sutures when we are done…..

    • warryer

      Yawn. Really?

      • MrWakiki

        Guess you don’t understand. Are you a republican?

        • warryer

          No. I’m somebody who looks for truth.

          You are somebody who tries to make your views right.

  • geraldfnord

    Ms Palin has repeatedly mocked Mr Obama for being a ‘Perfessor’. There’s a lot to mock in a lot of professors, but to treat the category as worthy of derision in itself speaks volumes.

    • Bluejay2fly

      We have an incredibly huge group of faux intellectuals that think that listening to Glen Beck or Fox News is the same as reading scholarly books and going to college. They are misguided and lazy.

      • Duras

        How many people get their history lessons from Fox News…?

        • Ray in VT

          Likely too many.

        • Bluejay2fly

          They don’t when I argue with them they go silent.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that far too many people spout off on topics historical without much of a solid background of knowledge. The same could likely be said of many topics.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Because many thing reading ends at 12th grade and for many much sooner than that!

          • hennorama

            Bluejay2fly — sad but so very true.

          • Bluejay2fly

            And when I loan them a good book to read it is often returned unread. Nobody has the attention span to read “Path Between the Seas” or “Himmler’s Crusade” or “Ota Benga”

          • hennorama

            Bluejay2fly — on the plus side, you at least get your books back.

          • notafeminista

            Oh my my. “Good” of course being relative.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I meant to say great and if your read them that would still be small praise.

          • notafeminista

            Which ones go silent again?

        • Maureen Perry

          I think it’;s interesting that every poll they do on the news fox viewers get the most wrong and NPR and PBS get the most right

      • notafeminista

        Oh most certainly…and an equally or larger group of said intellectuals who think the same thing about MSNBC and The Huffington Post.
        The ability to think critically is important, no?

        • Bluejay2fly

          The corporate news media entertainment complex exists simply to reinforce already existing constructs. This certainly does well to explain it’s lack of substance. often reference Walter Lippmen who said “People would rather believe the picture in their head than come to some logical conclusion through critical thinking”

          • notafeminista

            Good that we have you to remind us then.

  • Jim

    Respect, not compassion? You guys are confused and do not even know how to swindle your own voting base.

  • Max Utrillo

    Anytime Ross is actually asked about anything specific about the Republican party making people’s lives better, you can hear him hedging—eh…maybe in some way there’s a place for something “linked to work and family” that has the potential to maybe somehow possibly make people’s lives better but you know it’s ultimately up to them and government really can’t do everything for them you know. — This is the same old religiously infused conservative tripe that treats people on the outside of the power structure as ingrates who should kiss the feet of the “job creators” and “risk takers” even as they work themselves into the ground for a hand-to-mouth salary.

    • Bruce94

      Yes…and even as the so-called “job creators” and “risk takers” continue to privatize most of their profits and socialize many of their risks/losses (e.g. the big bank bailout)–a corporate elite that continues to benefit disproportionately from various forms of corporate welfare (e.g. subsidies and tax breaks) as well as record profits and worker productivity gains that have gone mostly to raise executive compensation to obscenely high levels relative to the stagnant wages of their employees.

      Back in the day, we used to call it “socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.”

  • Bigtruck

    Very telling that the party that claims Jesus, shuns compassion.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Also, since when did a Jew living in the Middle East have a white, blonde haired, blue eyed family? Nordic Jesus.

      • Ray in VT

        Christian Identity has an explanation for why Jesus was a white guy. It’s entertaining stuff.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Believed by the likes of Himmler and the Klan, no doubt.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, they probably didn’t want to think of Jesus as a brownish Jew.

          • Bluejay2fly

            If Jesus exits, I pray he comes back as a black man or a dark skinned Arab that would be awesome! He would probably be martyred again.

          • Ray in VT

            Some comedian did a routine about how Jesus wouldn’t make it through airport security. Middle aged Middle Eastern single man with strong religious beliefs with a beard and wearing some sort of robe and or sandals. Sounds like a guy who would get singled out for a closer look.

          • jefe68

            Hate to break this to you, but the historical Jesus was from the area around Judea.
            He most likely was dark in complexion and would have indeed looked very Semitic.

    • WRB2

      You are confusing the Catholic and Protestant approach to things, I did to till about three years ago. Catholics tell their followers to behave like Jesus, compassionate, kind and giving to all. Protestant do not require their followers to act like Jesus and help only those who follow their specific church followings, not everyone.

      • Bigtruck

        I’m not confusing the approach

  • sickofthechit

    Marco Rubio, who Ross seems to champion recently said that …”raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour is not the “American Dream””. Let me tell Mr. Rubio and Ross a very large truth. To a worker struggling on $7.25 an hour; $10.10 sure as heck looks like the “American Dream”!
    charles a. bowsher

    • Jeff

      Yet if the minimum wage was increased to $10.10 then many currently working at the minimum wage would lose their job. When they’re jobless how do you think they would look at the minimum wage increase then?

      I think we need to end the “special case” that Democrats always hold up as a problem with a low minimum wage…if someone is head of family or above the age of 25 we need a different minimum wage than for those under the age of 25 and is single. Very similar to how the UK implemented their minimum wage policies.

      • Maureen Perry

        That’s the trope the republicans use every time the minimum wage is increased and guess what it never happens. If people have more money to spend that actually creates jobs.

        • Jeff

          By that logic we should set the minimum wage to $100/hour…now use common sense to explain why we shouldn’t do that.

          • Bigtruck

            If CEO and management–to–worker compensation had not ballooned many hundreds of percent since the 1950s we could do that. Then as Maureen said more things would be bought and made, that would equal more jobs. Damn that greed, it can’t get out of its own way.

          • Ray in VT

            I guess that there isn’t much of a difference in raising the minimum wage by less than three dollars and raising it by 93 dollars.

          • Jeff

            You miss the point, it’s a logical argument…if you think “people have more money to spend that actually creates jobs” then we would continue that logic to show that more money equals more jobs…how do you not get that?

          • Ray in VT

            It isn’t really that logical. Would it be logical to argue that drinking some water is good, so drinking as much as possible is logically better?

            Evidence seems to show that phased in, moderate increases to the minimum wage have negligible effects upon employment, and some reports out there say that such increases will lead to higher buying power for many workers that will outpace likely negative effects of higher prices for some goods.

          • NonnerDoIt

            Your statement is only logical if we are assuming that the relationships between various economic effects scale linearly with minimum wage. For example if one were to plot, say, # of employed people on the Y axis and minimum wage on the X axis a linear relationship would show a nice straight line. Your straw man would, of course, give it a positive slope.

            But nobody is arguing that that is the true relationship. The true relationship is probably some kind of curve that rises at low wages, flattens out at some medium wage and decreases at higher wages. Furthermore, the curve would change shape based on other factors. The debate is partially about where the slope changes from positive to negative. The debate is also partially about the other factors that can change the shape of that curve. For example, does raising the minimum wage have the effect of increasing demand for goods? Probably. Does it also have the effect of decreasing the supply of goods? Tricky. More demand means employers can increase their revenue, but those with low-wage employees must also increase their production costs. What about inflation?

            Ouch, this is getting complicated. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than I could or should cover here. Point is you’re being simplistic – I suspect deliberately – not logical.

          • Jeff

            So you’re argument is that because the full equation is complex we should just raise the minimum wage and ignore any negative effects due to the complexity of such action? Don’t try to impress low-information voters by trying to find minor parts of minimum wage increase that may buck the trend…the overall trend is still there…higher minimum wage equals more jobs than would have happened otherwise. The beauty of your argument is that you brought up a ton of issues without claiming a position or even offering up a specific number…go ahead put your money where your mouth is, give us a specific number you want the minimum wage to be.

          • NonnerDoIt

            My argument was only that your argument against the minimum wage is meaningless. An illustration* of the complexty helps show why.

            I have no intention of fooling low information voters. If anything my purpose was to make a low information voter a not-so-low information voter by correctly framing the issue.

            Here’s some thoughts about what I think about minumum wages:

            - They’re necessary when economic conditions are such that the free market price for the lowest skilled labor is less than that required to live a simple, healthy life.

            - They can cause negative economic consequences when they are well above the free market price for labor.

            I could go on but this is a comment in a fast fading comment section. I’m not going to knock myself out. Given that I think there are good and bad things about minumum wages I’d like to see a flexible but predictable minimum wage. If done well it could be easily understood and go up when the price of basic necessities rise, down when demand for workers is low. When those two things are in tension, well, maybe it becomes static for now. But the more data we have about growth, jobs and the minimum wage the better job we can do setting it. A frequently changing – down as well as up – minimum wage provides us with a lot more information going forward.

            For what its worth (pretty much nothing) I’d guess right now it should be around $9, and gradually increase to about $11 over the next few year so long as its not a clear drag on the economy. Basically if you’re right I’d be enthusiastic about pulling it back.

            *admittedly my example was a poor one – I realized later the equation I described mixed a reasonable guess for a wage vs jobs equation with one for minimum wage vs jobs. I actually wish you’d picked up on that. It would suggest I didn’t waste my time here…

          • jefe68

            Well that’s what has happened in upper management. Since 1978, CEO pay at American firms has risen 725 percent, more …gains in productivity since the 1970s, worker pay has remained flat.

            Your argument just fell off it’s mule.

      • hennorama

        Jeff — at best, research on the idea that “many currently working at the minimum wage would lose their job” is mixed. It is more accurate to substitute the word “some” for “many.”

        Of course, this all depends on your definition of “many.”

        • anamaria23

          Ron Unz a Silicon Valley millionaire conservative is pushing for $12.00 min wage. He states that if Wal-Mart went to $12.00, it could be made up by a 1% increase in prices x1 time and would cost the average Wal Mart shopper an extra $12.00 per year. It would free most from food stamp need and increase demand for goods. His statements can be found on Google.

          • hennorama

            anamaria23 — thank you for your response.

            I’m familiar with Mr. Unz and his views on the minimum wage. E.J. Dionne quoted him in a recent WaPo opinion piece, which I cited in an earlier comment below.

            FTA:

            “[Mr.Unz] also pointed to the fact that government — through wage subsidies in the tax code, Medicaid and food stamps — is now conferring substantial benefits on employers of low-wage labor.

            “One of the strange things in our society right now is that we have all these low-wage workers who are getting $7.50, $8 or $9 an hour,” Unz said, “and because they earn such small wages, the government subsidizes them with billions or tens of billions of dollars of social welfare spending that comes from the taxpayer. It’s a classic example of businesses’ privatizing the benefits of their workers while socializing the costs.”

            See:
            http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ej-dionne-jr-raising-the-minimum-wage-is-the-right-idea-for-the-right/2014/02/16/b83cf4f0-95dc-11e3-8461-8a24c7bf0653_story.html

          • injun2

            I heard him on NPR. He also doesn’t believe in a Federal Minimum wage because, as he said, California is a very expensive state, and that minimum wage wouldn’t be appropriate for, say, Iowa

          • hennorama

            injun2 – thank you for your response.

            I’d be interested in the show transcript, as if it was as you described, it would differ from Mr. Unz’s earlier writings on the topic of the Federal Minimum Wage (FMV).

            See:
            http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/immigration-republicans-and-the-end-of-white-america-singlepage/ (from Sept. 2011; a discussion of the FMW is toward the end)

            http://www.salon.com/2014/01/30/6_reasons_why_conservative_billionaire_run_unz_wants_to_raise_minimum_wage_partner/

          • notafeminista

            Unless of course the cost of a gallon of milk goes up.

          • Ray in VT

            So, if one’s hourly wage goes up by 4 or 5 dollars per hour, and the priceof of a gallon of milk goes up by 25 or 50 cents, then that person is worse off? One would have to be drinking an awful lot of milk to come out behind on that one.

          • notafeminista

            I don’t know how it is people so badly miss the point.
            Raise the minimum wage to $400 an hour or $4000 an hour – it doesn’t matter – the cost of living will also go up. In part because some of the people producing goods and services make minimum wage. And then in turn their employers will need to recoup the cost of paying people more money.
            And of course, think of the longer term employees who would now make exactly the same as a new hire or heaven forbid less, they’ll need a raise too in order to be compsensated presumably for their skill and experience.
            Gawd, the gallon of milk analogy was a thumbnail example. Just because you pay people more money per hour, does not mean their expenses will either stay static or go down.

          • Ray in VT

            Perhaps it is just that your point is poorly made and of dubious quality, based upon the various factors at play. Certainly prices for some things will go up. The larger point seems to be that such raises will serve to lift many out of poverty, as increases in income will outpace rising prices.

          • notafeminista

            Fair point. The price of a calculator has diminished significantly since 1975 as has the price of a personal computer. I’m having serious doubts as to whether the local supermarket or my landlord will accept either of those items in exchange for the goods and services provided.

      • Jasoturner

        Not sure about that first paragraph. Many minimum wage jobs are dirty, crappy jobs that need to be done whether the minimum wage is $5 or $10. What, is McDonald’s going to cut staff and provide slower service to save a franchise $30 or $40 bucks an hour in added labor costs when they’re raking in thousands in sales? I think not.

        The next argument is that the cost of my hamburger will go up. Maybe it will. Or maybe the McDonalds corporation will figure out operational or purchasing efficiencies that offset the cost of higher, potentially better motivated employees.

        And of course, the franchise owner could also survive with a slightly lower profit margin and leave everything else alone, though this would be anti-American and unimaginable behavior…

        • Jeff

          The next argument is that automation will take over the job, have you seen the new burger making machine?

          • Jasoturner

            I’ll have my android eat it for me and the circle will be complete…

    • WRB2

      The major problem is NOT a $7.25 minimum wage. While too low moving it up to $10+ will not move people out of poverty.

      The problem IS the complete lack of upward mobility. There are jobs that pay minimum wage and perhaps about $12 an hour. But beyond that, those middle class jobs, where you could build a family and give them a better life on at gone. Unless we make major changes that only Ike seems to have had the ba11s to do, they will not come back.

      Ike built the Interstate Highway System. This allowed us to build more cars and trucks, transported goods faster and less expensive than every before. Obama needs to rebuild the Electrical Grid nationwide. He needs to build an Uber-Fast Open Internet Back Bone along the same route to every city and town.

      Then he needs to give a tax holiday for say 15 years to every renewable energy farm (wind, solar, hydro, wave) and the workers who build and support it. No taxes for the companies for say seven years, then slowly increase to 75% at the end. Workers at these facilities do not pay federal income taxes as long as they work there. There is no need for incentives beyond that, No tax money funding companies that may fail, simple economic rebuilding.

      • LoganEcholls

        I think your heart is in the right place, but If a society is judged by how it treats the least of its citizens, then how can we not treat the minimum wage as a high priority issue? And why should we have to choose between having more rungs on the ladder and a less inhumane bottom rung?

        • WRB2

          I agree with you but my concern is that if we fix the ridiculously low minimum wage that our government will declare it fix and in a year we will see no improvement.

          I agree we need to increase the minimum wage. Frankly the vast majority of companies that employ minimum wage workers could adjust the prices on all items they sell $0.01 and they would be able to pay the increase in wages for the hourly workers and give a bonus to their management as they made it go so slowly.

          Service companies (e.g. law cutting) are the only segment that I see having a dramatic increase in their costs but most users of these services would be willing to absorb a slight increase as this is often a luxury.

          We have major issues in the way we provide ladders and hands to people in need. Not until you have survived a year of having your life fall apart (along with that of your family) before you qualify for many programs.

    • injun2

      How is a wage determined? By government fiat or by what someone offers of value to the employer? The private sector is not a charitble organization, it needs employees who will contribute to it’s success. If your skills and expertise warrant $10 or $100 an hour, they’ll pay it. If one lacks those skills, there are over 250 Federal training programs available

      • WRB2

        Sophomoric view of how wages are determined in the real world. You need to add in there there number of people who need work and have the skills (or can quickly learn them) for that role. The focus on quarterly profits by large corporations support by efficiency improvements and out sourcing to much lower cost centers of work have reduced the amount companies are willing to pay for local workers.

        • notafeminista

          All businesses, large or small, focus on profits. That’s why it’s called “business”. No profit, no business.

          • WRB2

            Well put, that is the first rule of business, make a profit. However all of our major corporations focus on increasing quarterly returns, every quarter must be bigger. If your profits are stagnant or decline too many quarters in a row the CEO gets booted out. Always increasing stock prices is how the senior management improve their bottom line (they have options and grants few workers ever have access to).

            Somewhere in the late 70′s through early 80′s we moved from having line (sales or manufacturing) management move up into THE corner office to having financial people that the helm. Companies changed the focus from delivering innovation and selling to delivering profits. We took some of the ideas that Japan developed about ever increasing efficiency, removing waste, and becoming lean and mean too far. We laid off thousands of workers and brought in people on a project by project basis, reduced overhead often beyond what was necessary to support operation if something went wrong.

            It is that focus on bigger is better, consolidation and reduction of back office workers at every level that has decimated the US job market. As Walmart moved into a town many small shops closed down. Yes some of the workers were found jobs there, but not the managers. Customer service with knowledge that was the norm become Live-Ware-Stockers who can help you find something but rarely provide informed guidance on product selection or alternative approaches.

            Is Walmart bad? Yes and No. They can become the US’s best hope for the future. Only time will tell.

            What is bad all the time is the focus on ever increasing profits. Talk about your balloons….

          • notafeminista

            Of course that is a generalized statement based on one’s perceptions of how greedy corporations may be. (Interesting that, I thought corporations weren’t people – hard to have human characteristics when one isn’t human)
            Corporations of every size must turn a profit or they will cease to exist.
            However I suspect you really do believe that Wal-Mart set out deliberately and with malice aforethought to destroy every Bob and Wilma Dimestore Emporium in Podunk, US just for fun and profit.

          • WRB2

            Corporations have many of the “rights” that people do (e.g. SCOUS Citizens United Ruling) yet do not poses the same capability of receiving all of the punishments that people do (e.g. incarceration).

            I did not use the word greedy, that is your word. I said they are single focused on ever increasing profits through multiple means. The issue is not profitability, it is the need to always earn more money than you did last quarter or the same quarter during the previous year. That is where decisions that often have multiple untended consequences occur.

            I do not believe Walmart has any malice (again, your word and an attribute assigned to people) in the way they have decimated the competition in towns where they are located. They are a corporation and used their size and capabilities to their advantage. Nothing wrong or illegal with that. You are half correct in your belief about how Walmart being deliberate on their approach. They did approach it their efforts to maximize profitability. That is what they are suppose to do.

          • jimino

            And exactly when is it that such profit goal is measured? Next month? Next year? In ten years? When it has the most beneficial impact on the CEO’s compensation?

            Just what do the rules of business say?

          • notafeminista

            Well, at the very least, when one can live off one’s efforts, no?
            And then, should one decide to employ other, they too can live off the efforts of the business.
            And of course, at a certain level, the IRS expects those in business to estimate ahead of time. Incidentally that level is almost certain lower than you think it is.

          • Duras

            Profit for the business, not just the CEOs. The business includes all the employees. Republicans think that a business is just the CEO or owner. No. A CEO buying a summer home is not a business expense.

        • injun2

          Supply and Demand is a sophomoric view of how wages work? Efficiency and profits are bad? I think you have boiled down the disagreement between left and right. It’s been a debate for 90 years, as described in the book Keynes v. Hayak

  • Duras

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    I don’t see conservatives fighting for equal opportunity: they think it is far more important for someone to keep more money than he or she needs in lifetime than to be responsible for equal opportunity. Conservatives defund our secondary schools and universities, which are the enablers of the pursuit of happiness. They raise tuition, they cut scholarship opportunity in order to give the rich a tax cut. It is creating an aristocracy. In fact, the only thing conservatives believe about our most famous American words is that Government should lay its foundation on such principles to effect the People’s Safety. That whole “and Happiness” is lost upon them.

    I wish the Reagan conservatives would throw themselves back into the jungle, instead of trying to throw everyone else. They always threaten that the rich will leave if we tax them. Well, we’ll keep our universities, our schools, our police departments, our fire departments, our roads, and our military–would you please go to Turkastan or whatever other country that has zero percept capital gains…? Go, if the rich and every serf who protects the rich think they can do better somewhere else, then leave.

    • OnPointComments

      “…it is far more important for someone to keep more money he or she needs…”

      I’m glad we don’t have to endure the Duras tax code where some government bureaucrat decides how much of the money a person earns is needed.

      • Duras

        Let us first establish equal opportunity, then let’s have our meritocracy. You can’t have a meritocracy without equal opportunity. What you are arguing for is an aristocracy.

    • notafeminista

      But see, it’s just not up to you to decide how much money I do or don’t need in a lifetime. Almost certainly you don’t care how much money I have in a lifetime. Your concern is the degree of power you have over my money. That’s the real rub.

      “And then there is the Tenth Commandment. ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.’ The Ten Commandments are God’s basic rules about how we should live — a brief list of sacred obligations and solemn moral precepts.
      The first nine Commandments concern theological principles and social law. But then, right at the end, is ‘Don’t envy your buddy’s cow.’ How did that make the top ten? What’s it doing there? Why would God, with just ten things to tell Moses, choose as one of those things jealousy about the starter mansion with in-ground pool next door?
      Yet think how important the Tenth Commandment is to a community, to a nation, indeed to a presidential election. If you want a mule, if you want a pot roast, if you want a cleaning lady, don’t be a jerk and whine about what the people across the street have — go get your own.
      The Tenth Commandment sends a message to all the jerks who want redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, more government programs, more government regulation, more government, less free enterprise, and less freedom. And the message is clear and concise: Go to hell.” ~ PJ O’Rourke

      • Duras

        The difference is that I care more about equal opportunity than someone keeping a large bank account. No body is against meritocracy, but how can we have a meritocracy without equal opportunity? How can you believe in hard work and not believe in equal opportunity? How can you say that people who grew up with more resources and can’t get rich without a society to get rich in don’t have a responsibility to equal opportunity.
        Jesus said, pay unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. All the rich are going to hell, love thy neighbor, etc.
        I don’t covet my neighbors goods, I don’t want a BMW or a mansion. I want kids to grow up in the middle class.

        • notafeminista

          Your overarching point is that you are more worried about that which does not belong to you. What someone else has in his bank account or in his garage is none of your business and is not there for you to take to justify what YOU determine to be a better life for someone else.
          How is it that you determine your motives are more pure, more noble than those with whom you disagree?
          I don’t know if the rich are going to hell or not, that’s God’s place to determine not mine and certainly not yours.

          • Duras

            It is my business that a rich kid has more opportunity than my kid. Resources matter, and kids who grow up with more resources don’t have to work as hard as kids with less resources. I don’t see how people can claim that they truly earned something when they were borne with advantage.
            Thus, as our founding fathers believed, and as Adam Smith believe, the rich have a responsibility to maintaining equal opportunity. Anything else is Social Darwinism.

            Moreover, I have yet to see someone who lived in the wilderness his entire life without any other human contact, yet still built a mansion and drives around in a BMW. Logically, wealth is not possible without other people. I’m all for meritocracy, but one that adheres to the fact that no one can get rich without living in a network of other people. We shouldn’t be dependent, and we are not independent–to live in a society means that you are an interdependent member.

            Thus, there are certain facts about wealth that ought to be addressed by republicans. All I see is “I got mine, worry about yourself.” Yeah, I am worrying about myself, my kid, and my community. If the rich just want to prosper on top of the community without being a part of the community, I wish they would just leave and try to prosper in another country.

          • Duras

            And if you want to leave God out of the picture, fine. Tell republicans to give up on abortion and gay marriage too.

  • sickofthechit

    Wake up republicans. You oppose abortion, yet you gut all available
    social programs, so now the young pregnant mother looks at her prospects
    and all of a sudden abortion looks like the only rational choice.
    Learn from progressive democracies around the world. My niece in
    Switzerland received a full range of benefits with each of her children. Their abortion rate is 12.1 per thousand births. 46% less than in the US.

    It appears to me that countries that have Universal Health Care have noticeably lower abortion rates. Wake up Republicans!

    The link to a whole range of abortion stats is
    http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/‎

    Greenland2010
    49.8

    Guadeloupe200942.3

    Russia201039.9

    Cuba200939.5

    Nagorno-Karabakh200738.1

    Romania201032.4

    Estonia201030.9

    Hungary201030.9

    Martinique200930.8

    Bulgaria201029.5

    Georgia201029.0

    Cocos Islands197828.6

    Belize199628.0

    Latvia201027.9

    Moldova201026.8

    Ukraine201026.2

    French Guiana200925.8

    Korea, South (ROK)199925.6

    New Caledonia200624.9

    China (PRC)200924.6

    Sweden201024.6

    Serbia201024.4

    Singapore201024.1

    Belarus201023.6

    Reunion200923.5

    Seychelles200923.0

    Kazakhstan201022.4

    Slovakia201022.2

    United States200822.2

    Armenia201021.5

    France200920.9

    Switzerland 2010 12.1

    • Bluejay2fly

      They are against abortion but hate gays. Who has less abortions than gays? G Carlin

      • Bruce94

        Not only that. They’re against abortion AND many of them also oppose contraception. Near impossible to reconcile those two positions, but it’s mildly amusing to watch them try.

        • notafeminista

          It’s really not impossible. I think you misspoke.

    • warryer

      Why shouldn’t the young mother have to face the consequences that sex leads to pregnancy?

  • Human898

    It’s a start, but it feels like Mr. Douthat is like some other republicans ( I was once a Republican myself, before the “neo” “take back” (to what?) “conservatives” seemed to dominate the party) and while he points to many of the problems that some former (and current Republicans) have been citing as keeping the republican party down (even though to hear some, you would think they haven’t lost an election yet), but still retains a portion of the disbelief (delusion or denial if you will) about why more people have not warmed up to the “conservative” vision of some, even while many people (including “liberals” would call themselves fiscally conservative (we all have to pay our bills and live somewhat within our means) would consider themselves conservative.

    The political and non-political meanings of the words “conservative” and “liberal” both in their complimentary and derogatory uses have diverged in some instances significantly from one another. Is there something “conservative” about putting money before human life itself? How does one “create” jobs, by firing Americans as a “savings” measure, then hire cheaper labor in some other nation? The question I often ask when people claim to be conservative, is “conservative of what?” Their own personal bank accounts and wealth? To what purpose? Lavish themselves with McMansions and vehicles that cost as much as homes did only 40 years ago? Is that conservative? Is it truly Christian? I think what is happening is the realization of hypocrisies when the do as I say, not as I do realizations come forth. We have a lot of sorting out to do and re-aligning when it comes to truly living according to what we say we believe in rather than deluding ourselves we come anywhere close to doing so and hoping someone doesn’t see all the hypocrisies. I don’t know whether this age of communication has uncovered what’s really behind the curtain of all the “Great and Powerful Ozs” or whether it would have happened without instant recall, but it seems to be a historical problem with humanity, the false perception of “goodness” based on clever or assertive promotional facades that no longer work in this new age of communication technology even for all those that attempt to use the same to purposefully deceive.

    To me the answer to many of our problems is fairly simple. Face up to the truth about ourselves, just as any good business person monitors the quality of their products to maintain and improve their business (denying defects in their products is the way to going out of business) , come clean with ourselves and put ourselves to work actually living many of the things we say we believe in or modifying those “beliefs” to something more realistic in a real world that is also looking (or at least has some who are) to improve the state of humanity, not just selfishly and greedily for themselves, but for all and with that, a fallout which is a benefit to all, the same as nourishing all parts of one’s body, not just some. No, not everyone can or wants to be a Doctor, Lawyer, or Indian chiefs, but there are no leaders without those to be led and it is usually the greater masses that do the bulk of the work they choose a leader to organize them to get done. Like all parts of our body, there are some with higher functions and perhaps “importance”, but all parts “feed” the other parts and their functionality. If we begin to see all humans as a part of the whole work to find ways to have all contribute, then societies as a whole will be healthier and perhaps even less corrupt. That too will be reflected in their leadership, especially that which is democratically chosen as well as in the lessening of a demand for safety nets for those who are cut loose as a “savings” to those who use the difference to enrich themselves and their “stockholders”. (American (and other workers) are not just expenses, but consumers too. I think some business, economic and political philosophies have forgotten that, dismiss it or know full well how it hurts their nation, even as it lines the pockets of far fewer than it takes from.

    • peterpun

      I agree, back to what? If now isn’t good enough, stop being.

      • Human898

        There’s the Age of Enlightenment or the Dark Ages, take your pick…I prefer enlightenment. I’m not sure some self proclaimed “conservatives” of the “neo” genre in America have studied the roots of the founding of this nation when it comes to liberalism (not what they think of in their political derogatory way) and the writings of Montesquieu. “Conservatives” in the age of the founding of this nation were those loyal to the Kingdom of Great Britain, a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy dominated by the monarchy and an aristocracy. The Boston Tea Party was protesting the imposition of that rule, unlike today’s Tea Party that seems to somehow whine about it not being represented in a republic with three branches of government designed to be checks and balances to one another. A democratically elected bicameral national legislation, (Congress), a democratically elected and chosen delegate President (popular and electoral college) and a judicial branch nominated, then approved by the other branches it becomes a check and balance to.

        As you may be, I’m truly interested to see what it is exactly so many that call for “taking back” the country, truly want to take it back to. There’s been a lot of anger, a lot of frustration, a lot of blocking, but not what I would call a consolidated plan to move the nation forward even if that includes taking it back (again, to where?) as some nostalgic fantasy that never really existed.
        What exactly would the nation and government of the “new conservative” (isn’t that somewhat of an oxymoron?) look like? Would it be freer and more secure or would it simply be shifting control and power to some who complain they don’t have it now and those who would do what they did in the past that led to the loss of freedom because they were irresponsible with the freedom they had. The give them an inch and they take a mile self-interested crowd, Crooks and greedy people generally are all in favor of fewer rules and regulations that get in the way of their applying their self-serving interests, even if they harm their society in general.

        We all want more freedom, but to get it we can’t just say we want it or try to vote it in. As a society we have to be more responsible to our whole society and more respectful to each other, working out and coming to compromises on our differences, not simply asserting our “rights” over others that would deny their own and respect all humanity, not those that work to our special interest group’s advantageous profit. We all profit when all parts of the whole body are healthy. That goes for our individual physical bodies, businesses and societies.

        Like kids who don’t like their parents rules and regulations, we need to prove ourselves responsible enough to handle situations without intervention by government (and society that elects it). If we don’t like to be “grounded”, then it makes sense to not do things that would cause us to be grounded. Unfortunately inconsiderate (of other people in the world besides them) people, don’t think a lot about how their actions affect others negatively. That does not mean there are not rules and regulations that need to be revisited or archaic or arbitrary that need revision or removal from the books, but society and the government they elect has that choice to do so or not.

        I find it interesting to hear some speak about cutting government spending, its size and programs, how it is not government’s place to stimulate the economy and create jobs and generally how there should be less government, all the while they blame government for not doing enough to create jobs and solve the nation’s problems.

        I’m neither for government or against it as some seem to be, I think we could manage government better in terms of review and updating and letting the “size” and need of government wax and wane as the need arises. I believe more of those who seem to have close to what could described as a hatred of government, perhaps hyped and driven by those running for government offices to get themselves elected to positions of power and control, might do more study of the role of government in this nation with regard to things like the Louisiana Purchase, the Homestead Act and the acquisition of the geography that is now Alaska and ask themselves when they speak of “I did this” whether Americans ever got any help from their government to set down the roots of what is “done” now or even “a start” in life, that would not have been possible now or ever in some other parts of the world and also to think about some who got screwed in the process of the settlement and “development” of this land.

        One day soon we’ll all learn what we’ve all already known. That to move forward and progress for improvement of any sort of plights, humans have to work together. Compromise can begin at the outset or can come after the huge expense of asserting one’s self-righteousness before realizing all have the same potential for self-righteousness and grid-lock is called grid-lock for a reason.

  • Bruce94

    I thought this show was about “The Next Great Extinction: How the Conservative Movement Was Corrupted by the Tea Party Right.” Oops! I guess that’s discussed in the second hour when the GOP elephant and other defunct species are examined along with right-wing, populist snake oil salesmen like Cruz et al.

  • notafeminista

    Isn’t pledge week over?

    • nj_v2

      ^ Troll

      • notafeminista

        nj- whenever I see you I think of Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. “….and for the vegetable?” “They’ll have the same.”
        Tsk. Do your pajamas come with or without footies in them?

        • jefe68

          Ah yes, the belligerent right winger.

      • jefe68

        Yep.

  • notafeminista

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/17/pharmacy-missouri-execution-drug-suit/5565471/

    “The second item in the liberal creed, after self-righteousness, is unaccountability. Liberals have invented whole college majors–psychology, sociology, women’s studies–to prove that nothing is anybody’s fault. No one is fond of taking responsibility for his actions, but consider how much you’d have to hate free will to come up with a political platform that advocates killing unborn babies but not convicted murderers. A callous pragmatist might favor abortion and capital punishment. A devout Christian would sanction neither. But it takes years of therapy to arrive at the liberal view.” ~ PJ O’Rourke

    • 65noname

      don’t forget the wholely invented majors created by conservatives such as “religious studies”, business majors and “criminal justice”

    • peterpun

      Yawn!

    • Ray in VT

      It seems to me that little in American society can compare to the sort self-righteousness that comes from the proponents of modern American conservatism, where many of its adherents cling to the literal interpretation and supposed infallibility of a religious text, or to economic theories and positions that have been consistently been shown to not line up with facts and reality, or who will rail against the published scientific community’s findings. The really fun ones are the ones who manage to roll them all up into one hot mess in order to somehow attempt to maintain a worldview that is inconsistent with how the world actually exists and functions.

      • notafeminista

        Thank you for being the example.

        • jefe68

          More yawning.

        • Ray in VT

          Of the sort of thinking person who does not fall into the anti-intellectual morass that is much of modern American conservatism, where statements like “Liberals have invented whole college majors–psychology, sociology, women’s studies–to prove that nothing is anybody’s fault” pass as deep thoughts to be revered? Thanks. Any day. Thank you for often being an example of just the sort that I have described.

          • notafeminista

            You didn’t read the link did you.

          • Ray in VT

            Nope. I read the quote that you provided. My time is somewhat limited, and, based upon what you cut and pasted, I determined that further investigation was not worth my time.

          • notafeminista

            “Deep thoughts to be revered” — I don’t know what you’re on about, but maybe you ought to read the corresponding link and get back to me.

          • Ray in VT

            Not really interested in how an Oklahoma pharmacy doesn’t want to sell an execution drug to Missouri.

  • marygrav

    The T-Party/GOP Agenda is anti woman, poor, i.e., the former middle-class, and anti-Mexican, as well as Blacks. They talk about Immigration, but the only immigrants they are against is Mexican.

    The United States is locked into Class Warfare and all the BS that Ross Douthat presents won’t change this fact. He speaks wants to confuse income inequality with class advancement, when it is money that allows people to rise on a stratified scale.

    The 47% has always supported the 1% by giving their sons and daughters to the military that protects their wealth, while the 1% feels no obligation to the 47% other than to tell the to “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” which we have had made for you in China or some other low wage outpost in the Third World.

    Listen to Mr. Douthat and you hear the voice of FASCISM. He is so stupid that he does not even know that he is a fascist. We the People are in the Second Great Depression and he talks about how the government must be adjusted so that Slavery can return in a post-modern form so that the so-called Safety Nets can be refashioned into a funnel.

    Ronald Reagan was helped into office by the Working Class Catholic Vote because they thought Negroes were getting too much from Liberal Democratic Governance. As a result, what little gains were made for labor under the New Deal eroded and continues to do so. Wages for the Working/Middle class remain at 1980s levels, without the benefits of Union protection.

    Reagan can only be Reformed, and you will notice how he is using Reformed, if all the delusions about the past are done away with. Yes the T-Party/GOP can take you back to the “good ole” utopia of Reganomics, but as yourself, can this be done in the Era of Globalization?

    And finally, I have been bored all weekend about reports of how prisoners are being mistreated in North Korean prisons, but what I want to Know is why they is not a hue and cry about the Million or so American workers Unemployment Benefits have not been extended in the Republican/T-Party dominated US House of Representatives?

    • georgepotts

      Nothing like a Kennedy or Bill Clinton or the Mayor of San Diego to fight against the fake “War on Women” while they corner women in their offices to rape them.

      • Barringer Yates

        George, you do like paper tiger arguments that are of no relevance, don’t you.

        This is why most rational people think the entire conservative movement has now evolved into the full-fledged fraud that it always really was.

        The rich, duping the rubes into voting them riches, while cutting their own throats economically, and pimping Jesus and scripture to justify hate and loathsome economic policy to harm the poor.

        • notafeminista

          My goodness, you could set that to music.

          • Floyd Blandston

            You two are the same person, aren’t you?

          • notafeminista

            We’re not telling. ;-)

          • pete18

            We’re not telling. :-)

          • jefe68

            It’s the right wing meme side show.

        • pete18

          In what world does a caricatured strawman beat a paper tiger?

    • JONBOSTON

      To quote Tom Perkins, “I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent……a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant “progressive radicalism” unthinkable now?”

  • tbphkm33

    As the Nopublican party devolves further into the irrelevancy of a dying political “movement,” ever more radical lunatics are paraded about as the messiah of the conservatives. The problem for conservatives is that the mythology they have exposed to explain the world and society has little or nothing to do with reality. Much like the communists of the USSR, the Nopublican’s rely upon propaganda and brainwashing to shore up their political idealism. Like any such system, the masses ultimately look around and realize they are following a false deity.

    Nopublican’s have nothing of relevance to offer the Union or The People. Their intransigence in not participating in effective governance only serve to highlight that the “not-so-Granad-Old-Party” is committing treason and only have the interests of the 1% in mind. The Nopublicans are the foot soldiers of the cancerous corporate/super-rich oligarchy that infects the halls of government and commerce in the United States. Crony capitalism that is transforming the USA into the richest 2nd world nation.

    • notafeminista

      I stand in awe of your post – an absolutely brilliant example of marginalizing “the other”. Bravo!

      • Floyd Blandston

        “We shall eat the ones who kill us, and kill the ones we eat.”

        …what you three need is some serious psychoanalysis- I’d recommend Lacanian.

    • JONBOSTON

      To quote Tom Perkins, “I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent……a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant progressive radicalism unthinkable now?”

      • Human898

        Then there is the French Revolution and all the other revolutions in history wrought by the “let them eat cake” attitudes of those that use their wealth in unscrupulous ways to continue to stay wealthy from the labors of those they intentionally keep ignorant and in dire straights for the purposes of subservience.

        With all due respect to a misattribution to Marie Antoinette and to the spectacular wealthy folks of today and in history who have used their wealth to raise up the standard of those less fortunate than themselves instead of to greedily and selfishly distort the modest American dream into an aristocratic nightmare, lavishing themselves with material possessions. Amazing to see some of the same profess to be doing their god’s work by building empires, McKingdoms and McMansions unto themselves.

        Amazing also to see those that claim they deserve every penny of their 6,7 and 8 figure compensation packages work so hard to deny those at the bottom, modest increases in their compensation. Once again, there are others who balance their own compensations with those at the lowest levels so everyone wins, even if their incomes are not all at the same levels.

        I’d much prefer a change in attitude by peer pressure to bloody revolutions of the type found in history where “the people” (as in “we the people”) rise up to become free from those who keep them down because to raise them up would hurt profit margins and their personal net worth. Instead of an emerging divergent have, have not society, and growing social tensions based on such ages old divides, I would prefer those in the position to do so, voluntarily shift the balance toward an equation that ties the top to the bottom meaning if an entity does well, so do all within that entity, not just a few who for all their wealth, will not support the entire economy, simply because their needs do not match the needs of the masses. While they might purchase, as consumers, multiples of things, they simply do not need the same multiples needed to match the massive numbers of purchases by the greater part of their society. In addition, firing Americans and hiring foreigners or cutting wages of Americans as a “savings” measure, also cuts the consumer base for goods and services. The unemployed, underemployed and those with cut wages purchase less, in the longer term, negating the short term “savings” from using labor as a means to “save” and increase profit margins.

        • JONBOSTON

          Your principal complaint is with capitalism which happens to have created more wealth and freed more people from poverty than any other economic system ever created. Yes it has its faults , but no system is perfect. If you don’t don’t believe that , then it’s hopeless to even have a conversation with you. Sorry but socialism , communism or some other utopian marxist or totalitarian system has never succeeded. If you disagree, than tell me where? The Soviet Union, Red China during Mao’s regime? Cuba? Venezuela? Eastern Europe under the Soviet Union?

          PS–common throughout your thread is the notion that wealthy people succeed at the expense of the poor. That’s nothing but Marxist bull crap.

          • Human898

            Well JonBoston, can you tell me the names of the heads of most multi-million dollar corporations that in reality (not fantasy) actually perform each and every task in their corporation that amounts to the net income of their corporations?
            I have no problems with capitalism, I have problems with some people’s delusion that Ray Kroc single-handedly made and served 50 billion hamburgers and that capitalism is not defined by various types of capitalism, not all of which are beneficial to humanity, even if they are highly profitable to a few ruthless and greedy people at the expense of a nation’s economy or the greater number of people.

            I capitalize from capitalism myself and am a capitalist in many ways, but I am not naive, narcissistic, foolish or delusional enough to believe that because I founded a company, I am solely responsible for its ongoing success, especially
            at the point it moved from a small one person operation to where other people needed to be hired, making it a mutual effort with mutual rewards. If you have investments they are increasing in value because of the labors of
            others who are making use of your funds to increase that value, but you yourself are not literally laboring as they are.

            Business (capitalism) is not a one way street, it is a mutual
            arrangememnt. You may have the most brilliant idea in the world, but
            without someone to buy it, it is worthless, thus consumers are just one part of the capitalist equation. You also don’t have much capitalism without the labors of many human beings, often many more human beings than a single capitalist who may believe themselves to be God’s gift to this earth, not stopping to think of all the help they truly have, not just to produce their products, but to purchase them. Slaves don’t buy things because they’re not making disposable incomes. It’s time to put away the old saw of capitalism vs. socialism. Both in their extreme forms are self destructive as we have seen in history and as we also know there is always a
            transition line in the middle of two extremes. Intelligent people
            look for the best balances and work on monitoring and adjusting them to sustain the best balance of free societies.

            To immediately believe or
            suggest that someone who does not kowtow and promote unmitigated capitalism is
            all for the worst forms of and extreme socialism is not intelligence, but blind partisanship and divisive.

            The solution to our problems does not appear to lie in calling one another communists or capitalists, but finding the best and most intelligent solutions to our problems and one will find that innovation most often comes from open, rather than closed minds
            and that the best businesses are not run as management vs. labor, but as a team that operates like a highly efficient machine where all parts great and small play a vital role and believe they are
            well maintained and kept in balance.

            If you will read what I actually said, instead of trying to read something between the lines (that was not there) you might discover that there are solutions out there that some are already engaging in and being successful. Many of them involving elements and a balance of what some others believe should remain like oil and vinegar, instead of the successful mixes they are.
            There is no utopian world, through capitalism or socialism or any other “ism”, but there seems a means to formulate a mix of intelligent thought and innovation, constant review and constant updating in order to sustain into the future. At times, with regard to capitalism and socialism there may be a need for a balance of more or less of one as a means to remain a sustainable economy in an every changing world with ever changing affects to those economies.

            To get there, we’re going to have to put away our “us vs. them” attitudes and think of ourselves as human beings with mostly the same basic needs that will become more challenging to meet as world population grows, just as they already have with world population growth to this current point.

            Have a good day and take care.

    • pete18

      If this example of dull bromides posing as intellectual insight is what the “relevant party” has to offer then there won’t be any embalming fluid available to pour on the GOP for quite a long time.

    • twenty_niner

      “radical lunatics”?

      In 2008, the national debt stood at $9.4 Trillion, and now it’s about $17.3 Trillion for an increase of nearly $8 Trillion (that’s eight thousand billion), At the same time, the Fed’s balance sheet grew by $4.0 Trillion, not to mention the unprecedented printing by the other central banks in the world. This was all to re-inflate a bubble that shouldn’t have been there in the first place, which was caused by a Fed policy that by today’s standards would be considered radically hawkish.

      Along the way, anyone who even intimated at reducing just the rate of increase of spending and money printing was monkey hammered like mole at an arcade, so the word radical is appropriate, but I’m not sure at applies to conservatives.

      What you have is the most radical fiscal and monetary experiment in the history of mankind, architected by Keynesian liberals, almost entirely unchallenged, and if it only blows up in our face, it will be a miracle.

      • Human898

        And the “Great Recession” that hit the fan in 2008, 13 months after it began was a boon to the nation’s economy in your mind? Perhaps the sorts of “brilliant” economic leadership and policies that lead to that they type you and some others would like to “take America back” to?

  • Barringer Yates

    Let all the deeply intractable social and economic conservatives migrate to the south and Texas. Throw in Oklahoma and Kansas if necessary. Let them secede and allow the rest of rational America to move forward into the twenty first century and evolve with a well-crafted economy, infrastructure and education, and social policy that keeps it’s nose out of the private lives of others.

    They can live in a utopia of their warped and demented worldview, letting the scripture pimps, bigots and anti-intellectuals bring back the 13th century society with a 19th century economy. In a decade, the rest of America will be a world leader again, and they will into a form of South Africa with a new from of social and economic Apartheid, combined with (I’m certain would be forms of ‘ethnic and religious cleanings) via mass murders.

    When social conservatives cheer the killing of abortion docs and gay people, and the 1pc mock the very people keeping the economy going, it’s time to start culling the herd and isolate their worst elements. Thirty years of this sick experiment in conservative governance is what is really killing American society.

    We don’t need them!

    • notafeminista

      Hum. Are you familiar with Dr. Francis Collins?

      • Barringer Yates

        I am, but irrelevant to my point.

        The few intellectuals within the evangelical movement are a minority, and are overwhelmed and highly subservient to a mostly low-information, proselytizing and deeply conservative majority whose worldview they want to force on an unwilling populace they think needs to be ‘saved’. Their arrogance of faith, coupled with their co-opting of a political party apparatus has made them insufferable.

        Most of middle, rational America, and especially the more cosmopolitan areas find them laughably stupid and a detriment to society, especially with the silly ideas of abstinence education, hatred of gay rights and people, and their insufferable need to inject themselves into decisions within people’s personal sexual and reproductive rights and issues where they are not wanted. Many of them would be bodily thrown out of public forums were it not a crime for being so earnestly loathsome.

        Even worse, now they’ve hitched their wagons to a Darwinistic libertarian economic message, so removed from the teachings of Jesus, they make themselves into a horrible yet hypocritical subset of the electorate that really needs to be neutralized by the more rational parties and majorities.

        • notafeminista

          It’s not irrelevant. You think people who believe in God are irrational and stupid. Unfortunately there are too many people who believe in God who have also worshiped at your altar of science and come out still believing in God. Dang.

          • twntrs

            The belief not only in a god but a particular brand of personal god whom they’ve often had terrorized into them as children is an irrational and stupid belief. That does not necessarily make those people stupid however, just deluded.

            The number of people compelled by a delusion is not proportional to its legitimacy. Moreover, the world’s leading scientist i.e. not those who worship at the altar of science but those who have helped and are helping build it i.e. members of the Royal Academy and the NAS overwhelmingly reject godsbothering as a useful exercise.

          • notafeminista

            Might well be. Let’s see some numbers to substantiate your assertion.
            Otherwise we’re back to you just think people who believe in God are irrational and stupid. You know..bitterly clinging to their guns and Bibles.

          • twntrs
          • notafeminista

            That is interesting. I wonder what caused the absolute disbelief in God to increase so dramatically over 84 years and yet doubt/agnosticism to remain almost constant. A new discovery? Or group-think?

          • twntrs

            A possible explanation is offered in the piece:

            “Our method surely generated a more elite sample…., which… may explain the extremely low level of belief among our respondents.”

            I.e. more scientists of the category of Einstein who viewed ALL religions as “an incarnation of the most primitive superstitions” and the word God as “nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses.”

          • notafeminista

            “Our method surely generated a more elite sample…..” ……….meaning what exactly. It smells like they don’t know.
            On a side note, we know not all scientists are of Einstein’s caliber (paging Michael Mann) which sort of pokes a hole in “peer-reviewed”. Maybe “colleague-reviewed” would be more accurate. If that were the case, I wonder if scientists are picking and choosing who should do a “peer review.” Hardly impartial.

          • Human898

            Perhaps the discovery that the most vocal “defenders” of their beliefs end up displaying their own “disbelief” in God through their hypocrisies and the “do as I say, not as I do” lifestyles they lead that when compared to the “religion” and the entities they claim to believe in, are often found to be contradictory, even defiant.

            Perhaps a lot of a lot less vocal people simply see divorced people, pork and shellfish eaters speaking of the “abomination” and “sin” of homosexuality or read passages in the books of the Bible about the acts of Christ, about public displays of worship and giving, as well as what Christ recommends for those of great wealth to do (as opposed to ostentatious wealth lavished upon one’s self) and wonder if many of those who claim to believe see themselves or actually believe in what they claim some other people are wanting to take away from them.

            In this rapid world of communication, it may be that hypocrisies are easier to spot or less easy to hide and people are turn off by being preached to by those who don’t follow their own preaching. I don’t believe any “grouping” escapes hypocrisies, but hypocrisies don’t seem to stand out as strongly when there are no or a lot fewer claims of a “connection to” or “guided by” God or god(s). The non-religious may also be hypocritical in their actions and what they claim to stand for, but what they claim to stand for varies and has no specific tenets or “”books” from which anyone can compare a person’s actions to.

            Young children are quick to note and at times point out, the hypocrisies of their parents or elders who are their teachers when those teachers are caught doing something that goes against their teaching, like teaching their children not to smoke, then being caught smoking or teaching their children not to lie, then being caught in a lie. Yes, we’re all imperfect and religion for some people is a means to find reinforcement for their efforts to become better people, not a means to feel superior to or admonish those who don’t “follow” the “right” religion in the “right” way or don’t follow a religion at all.

            The hypocrisies of the “followers” (and most especially the leadership of those followers) of any religion are perhaps the largest turn-offs of new and existing adherents.

          • Human898

            It is interesting to see what some people in America have been doing since Mr. Obama’s “faux-pas”.

            Some here might find this an interesting read. Some thoughtful people will apply their own thoughtfulness to the thoughtfulness of the author, some others may disagree and dismiss it because it does not fit a certain cast mindset.

            http://millennialpastor.net/2014/01/09/why-christians-have-lost-the-argument-for-faith-before-it-started/

            Introspection is an interesting thing. Since a new Pope has voiced his thoughtfulness on some things he has come under criticism for not going along with what he has suggested has become the corruptions of belief, much of it centering on what appears to have been the ancient gravitational force pulling some toward the worship of Mammon and material wealth amongst other things. There is also the interesting topic in a place like Israel of the somewhat “sudden” support of Evangelicals for the state of Israel and the suspicion of some Israelis that it had to do with pending Armageddon and some trying to buy a ticket to the better side of the aftermath of that event, not so much a genuine interest in the survival of Israel for Israelis sake.

            I suppose some questions might be, whether human beings can truly and honestly have the interests of humanity as a whole in mind or are interests in that regard really more self-centered than humanity centered. Do we help and respect one another because we should help and respect one another or because it makes us feel good or returns some greater benefit or profit to us. Is religion between people and their gods or people and people? For Christians it is interesting what the books of the Bible say about idol worship, public displays of giving and of worship itself, yet what do some Christians do promote or defend? Knowledge of the belief in the existence of god(s) is important for the perpetuation of those beliefs as long as those taught about the belief in the existence of those gods believe in them. Are people taught to embrace their own beliefs after much contemplation or are people (children) taught to take up the religion of their parents even if they may have little or no real belief themselves in “god(s)” they were told to believe in, instead of experienced for themselves?
            What’s the take away from being taught to read what seems fairly clear suggestions or dictates on how to live (even with contradictions within the books read) and then witnessing those who taught live in ways that contradict what they’re teaching? Perhaps the greatest destroyer of religions and religious beliefs are the hypocrisies of “followers”.

          • jefe68

            That an interesting hypothesis you have there.
            Some people who believe in science also believe in God. Wow. What brilliance. What a mind.

            By the way, science does not have an alter and is not a religion.

    • georgepotts

      According to Keynes, if the government spends money, it is good. Open the printing presses, full speed ahead.

      • Barringer Yates

        Of course. Trot out some invented boogieman of ‘deficit spending’ as a weak argument. Investing in infrastructure, education and the environment has proven multiplier economic benefits. However, the conservative lie of tax cuts only leads to big piles of money for the likes of the Kochs and Paris Hilton, and only buys elections from rubes, and a few harassed workers at Gucci and Prada stores.

        Pray to Jesus for brains.

        • pete18

          “Trot out some invented boogieman..”

          “However, the conservative lie of tax cuts only leads to big piles of money for the likes of the Kochs and Paris Hilton.”

          Priceless.

        • twenty_niner

          Like the “investments” made by Chinese central planners: the ghost malls, the ghost towns, entire ghost cities? Or all of the darling green tech companies that burned through piles of tax-payer printed money, only to have their assets auctioned off to Chinese companies at pennies on the dollar?

          Build it, and they won’t come. I guess digging a ditch, while another guy fills it, does artificially boost GDP for a minute, but in the end, you have a hole that know one needs that just got filled for the 1000th time. Mal-investment is a concept Keynesians refuse to wrap their heads around.

          History has yet to show an example where central planning works, yet the left hopelessly clings to this crap like a an octopus with a magic 8 ball.

          • Richard Hussong

            Cool pix, bro. However, those are not investments in “infrastructure, education, and the environment”, are they? China has very different problems from ours, including corruption on a monumental scale. The kind of central economic planning you describe is just a strawman; nobody really advocates it for the US.

          • pete18

            Obamacare already has a large degree of central planning as part of its structure and “single payer,” which is the far left’s proposal to “improve” it, is central planning on four cylinders.

  • Floyd Blandston

    Not to mention his greatest work; “How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink”. A Republican family values classic….

    • hennorama

      Floyd Blandston — Thank you for the reminder that, indeed, Mr. O’Rourke is also a gonzo journalist.

      • pete18

        A guess if one tries to demonize or categorize the messenger then one can avoid responding to the actual message.

        • Floyd Blandston

          Weak. The message itself becomes irrelevant as a means of political discourse because of its status as ‘Art’, standing outside of reasonable disagreement- a purely emotional argument. For instance, you can’t ‘argue’ “Guernica”; it’s purely subjective…

          • pete18

            So does that mean you are equally dismissive of Jon Stewart’s parodies and points as being without insight, truth or merit in the arena of political discussion?

          • Floyd Blandston

            I wouldn’t use them to make an argument, no. Try hard to separate the clowns from the ringmaster, even if it’s only the clowns you understand.

            I’m actually a fan of P.J.’s work going all the way back to National Lampoon, and just like Hobbes ‘Leviathan’ there are allusions to significant political theory in his writing. Only one is meant as comedic art primarily.

          • pete18

            Satire has a long history of making important points about political thought and influencing public opinion on some of the most serious moral and political issues of the day. People like Dickens, Twain, Huxley, Orwell, Chaplin, Lenny Bruce and Gary Trudeau have created works that have helped shape and move public policy and political movements, often where more “serious” thinkers and political figures have failed. This is in part because humor has a way of disarming an audience or re-framing ideas in an understandable way.

            There are also a number of theories about humor and its role in evolutionary adaptation. One of those theories involves humor’s function in helping the brain solve cognitive incongruities (incongruity-resolution theory) by applying alternative formulations to discrepancies. Humor’s role in this instance is to induce laughter as a way of releasing psychic or cognitive energy that has been stored or mobilized by incorrect or false expectations.

            So you may disagree with PJ O’Rourke’s
            points, or find them without merit but if so it certainly wouldn’t be because they were delivered on a plate of satire or humor.

          • Floyd Blandston

            Read more, type less. Nice thesis btw, your comp lit M.A. is really paying off (that’s satire). This isn’t the comments section of Fox News; if you have a point to make, make it, if you want to share opinion, share it- but try not to mix ‘em up.

            (…and if you get caught with your pants down, don’t call it ‘performance art’.)

          • pete18

            And then there’s always the trusty ad hominem non-response.

          • Floyd Blandston

            (Yawn…) op. cit.

          • pete18

            Seems to be your only play.

        • hennorama

          pete18 — thank you for your response.

          I have not demonized Mr. O’Rourke in any way, shape, or form. He is a talented satirist and humorist who has had quite a long and successful career, as there clearly is a market for his work.

          However, his opinions are his opinions, and nothing more. If you care to believe his words are a “message,” so be it.

          • pete18

            Sure you did, you said that because he is a satirist, as opposed to some other type of editorial columnist, one should have trepidations about how “seriously” one takes his observations. Then you went on to list all the titles of his books as if those saterical titles further proved the your point.

          • notafeminista

            Not all the books were listed. Not half the books were listed. Titles that were listed however were only those with titillating words in their titles. Chosen, I suspect, deliberately.
            Titles worth reading IMO: “Holidays in Hell” and “All the Trouble in the World.” Mind you though, that’s just my opinion.

  • twenty_niner

    It’s often hard to determine who’s denser, liberals or conservatives. Both can be sycophantic buffalo, completely eager to run off cliff as long it’s what the herd decides, but of course, the herd isn’t deciding anything. The herd is just a giant negative feedback loop of bad ideas that re-enforce bad ideas as long they come from the herd.

    Case in point, the cosmic central-bank crony-capitalist head fake. The Fed (and other central banks), which are blindly supported by the left and the right, fueled the tech bubble and essentially created the housing bubble. And now the pièce de résistance: print $85 $75 billion a month and hand it to Wall Street, all the while lowering interest rates below the under-reported rate of inflation, so all of these .1% with freshly printed money overturn every stone looking for beta to get some sort of return on “investment”.

    And meanwhile, some poor guy in Brooklyn looking for a place to rent, has to spend 70% of his meager flat-lined income on a mouse-infested room with single light hanging from a cord with exposed copper from having been chewed on by mice; because all of the real estate has been bid up to astronomical levels by hedge funds looking for beta on their “investment”.

    From the NYT:

    “In just two years, the investment fund he oversees for Australian investors and retirees has purchased more than 538 homes, townhouses and brownstones from Jersey City to Queens and Brooklyn.”

    “The goal for these Wall Street investors is not to buy and flip the properties for a quick profit à la real estate bubble of the early 2000s. Instead, they are hunting for steady, dividend-like returns they believe can be earned by renting out the homes.”

    “Executives at the big firms defend the purchases, saying they prefer to buy dozens or even hundreds of homes in a single swoop at bank auctions where few first-time homeowners can participate because often payment must be in cash.”

    “Prices for highly desirable one-family brownstones in Brooklyn have leapt almost 40 percent in the last year to a median price of $1.6 million.”

    “I’d say by the spring, maybe 70 percent of the sales we were seeing were to hedge funds, investors and others taking advantage of what was happening in Brooklyn”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/20/realestate/commercial/brooklyn-homes-draw-australian-investors.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1392761612-r%20Su9FohbLG1igcnJrfTcg

  • notafeminista

    What a wonderful statement of the completely obvious.

    • hennorama

      notafeminist — TY for your response, and for noting my error.

      As your post consisted solely of a link and a quote FTA, your own views about Mr. O’Rourke’s work, completely obvious or otherwise, were less than transparent, wouldn’t you agree?

      • notafeminista

        I would not not agree.

  • OnPointComments

    Mr. O’Rourke may be a satarist (sic), but he makes a valid point about responsibility. For example, many commenters on yesterday’s show don’t believe that people bear responsibility for their own obesity.

    • hennorama

      OPC — TY for your response, and for pointing to my error, which I will correct.

      Whether Mr. O’Rourke’s points are valid or not (and I have not read the linked article), one must always take his words with a rather large dosage of NaCl.

      [PS] despite my asterisk, my corrected comment has now reverted to “awaiting moderation” status.

      • OnPointComments

        I am anxiously awaiting the correction, and am hoping that you don’t think Mr. O’Rourke is a satyrist, hoofs and all.

    • Floyd Blandston

      Here is the real problem with Teabaggers- you can’t tell the clowns from the Ringmaster. Rush or Glenn give you the marching orders, and you’re all too dull to see the Koch bros. arms stuck up their puppet butts. P.J. O’Rourke is a very funny man whoever he is skewering, he is not Immanuel Kant, Schopenhauer, or Jesus.

    • nj_v2

      In Neocon Fantasy World—a bizarre parallel universe of ignorance and/or willful denial of basic fact—in which junk-food conveyers actually receive public subsidies to peddle their wares (1,2); in which regressive, corporate-beholden politicians oppose extension of minimal unemployment benefits (3) and even modest increases in minimum wage (4); in which lack of financial support for education increasingly tempts educational institutions to accept money from whatever source it can, including propaganda from corporate agriculture (5)…

      It’s always and everywhere the fault of the individual for all aspects of their own life and health.

      As if a fish living in a polluted lake could be blamed for developing health problems.

      As if a child living in a depressed environment could be blamed for not reaching their full potential.

      1. http://www.ips-dc.org/reports/fast-food_ceos_rake_in_taxpayer-subsidized_pay

      2. http://www.uspirg.org/issues/usp/stop-subsidizing-obesity

      3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/23/unemployment-benefits-poll_n_4491203.html

      4. http://www.politicususa.com/2013/12/30/minute-bernie-sanders-destroys-gop-opposition-raising-minimum-wage.html

      5. http://www.placer.ca.gov/~/media/cdr/Planning/documents/DesignGuides/Landscape%20Design%20Guidelines.pdf

    • pete18

      Satire is one of the great revealers of truth and one of the best tools
      to attack foolish and self-righteous ideas ideas with. It bears much
      more weight than attacking the messenger does.

  • orwelllutz

    Did I hear you say that Douthat got his gig at 29? Of course he must have absorbed all of human history by that point making his credentials unquestionable.
    Did you notice he described the Republican conversion in terms of handouts to the “underclass” and the “working class”. I would bet he feels as Bobby Jindal of Louisiana does – that he can fast talk and bamboozle with confidence all of the people all of the time.
    The republican party and the fiscal conservatives claim to have done good by the working man – that they are the ones who can bring prosperity – but now Ross is talking of welfare for the middle class.
    Republicans and their Democratic allies have presided over the dismantling of jobs and tax base over 40 years; and state that they are good for workers.
    It is Orwell who noted these kind of people who through massive propaganda invite people to believe in mutually exclusive realities; and these conservative commentators demonstrate that if you say it all day every day and louder and louder, it must be true. The clearest indication that the purchasing of American media has succeeded in bringing Oceana to the US is the recent rejection of the UAW in Tennessee.
    The victory of the strategy seems all but complete!
    With AGI primed to replace 200 million Americans in the next 10 years,
    (Time Magazine/McKinsey?) and Corporate America sitting off shore sucking the blood from this country, the only worthwhile discussion is how we Americans will stop the multinationals from selling back into our market so we can rebuild our industries. How will we effectively warn the American People about the deception they are experiencing and the danger they face?
    It is indeed unjust to host these propagandists on talk radio and in syndicated columns — as if they had anything truthful to say.

    • Cacimo

      You must be really disgusted by Ezra Klein who has been at his gig for years and is just now 29.

      • TFRX

        Ezra Klein has earned his stripes. Douthat has not, and shows it every month.

        • pete18

          Exactly how are you measuring those stripes, outside of whose opinion you agree with?

    • notafeminista

      …and the shirt rending shall commence.

  • LoganEcholls

    I tried to stay tuned into this episode and give the guy a fair shake, but I simply can’t listen to the same old conservative bile that just doesn’t square with any functioning version of reality in a town with a population greater than 1,500. It seems that to be an expert conservative politico you just need to be able to appeal to self absorbed sentiments of simpletons who want everything in the world to fit into their prescribed box of homespun one-liner solutions.

  • georgepotts

    If there is a problem, there is a government hack job to complain that they don’t have enough money to solve it the next time it happens.

  • georgepotts

    We have cut spending by increasing taxes. This is the doublespeak that government radio hacks accept like their $300K salaries.

    • Human898

      Who are the “government radio hacks” and what are you?

      • jefe68

        This chap is a troll.

  • georgepotts

    A real conservative could never get a job at the New York Times. They embrace the talking points of “global warming” and “higher minimum wages” but the policies are either non-existent or anti-job.

    Good job New York Dumbs.

    • Human898

      Was the “Great Recession” which hit the fan in September of 2008, thirteen months after it began, pro-job?
      Are those that believe in all humans can do, except at 7 billion in population and their activities, have an effect on the global climate, have any talking points of their own?
      How many of the same listen to the weather report to begin their day? How many people’s activities in any given day are affected directly by the weather forecasts…..events, jobs, safety…..? Yet the weather is only accurate 80% of the time. How many medicines do people ingest based on commercial “taking points”. Why is global climate change and a human population on earth (with all their activity) never before recorded, NOT able to have a measurable effect on the global climate of the planet they inhabit and what’s behind the disbelief?

  • responseTwo

    He said something about a business that deals on stem cells. Then he says they should be regulated? Huh? How bout’ self regulation? They have no problem with self- regulated chemical companies leveling whole neighborhoods from explosion,or, 300,000 people with bad water for a month and counting
    Since when does a Republican want to regulate a business?
    Why do they always give unlimited money to military no questions asked, then talk about big government is bad. Why don’t they take a look at the military budget. It’s a racket, just drive around Bethesda Maryland.
    This why the last time I voted republican was Regan.

  • twntrs

    Also telling – Ashbrook’s sycophantic confession at the outset that he reads Douthat religiously. Accordingly he gives him a largely uninterrupted platform to spout warmed over David Brooks another waffling equivocator handy to have on hand to trot out in NPR’s unceasing charade of “balanced” reporting.

    When Ashbrook had Noam Chomsky on ( perhaps the 3d time, if that, that Chomsky appeared on NPR in its entire history) you could tell Ashbrook hadn’t read a word of Chomsky (the most -if not only- respected US intellectual in the world) and it sounded like he was talking down AT him through a HAZMAT suit.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Tom can pander that is for certain!

  • http://7thpillar.wordpress.com/ 7th Pillar

    As one who has been supporting Libertarian issues and candidates for 30 years, I’m done.

    I’m moving to South America. Liberty is dead in the States.

    The Boot-Strap Expat
    http://thebootstrapexpat.com/

    • Bluejay2fly

      In 7 years Greece!!!

    • Human898

      Who are the “Libertarians” in South America?

      • http://7thpillar.wordpress.com/ 7th Pillar

        There is Sovereign Valley in Chile and a planned Libertarian community known as Galt’s Gulch.

        There is also a community in Argentina, but I don’t recall the name.

  • pennyroyal

    just what the nation needs, closer Rethuglican ties to evangelical religion.

  • Bigtruck

    I was reacting directly to his comment, when he shunned compassion.

  • ExcellentNews

    “Reform Conservatism” is just what America needs – a marriage of deregulated mega-corporate cronyism with religious fundamentalism. When those two philosophies blend, a new DARK AGE will begin, that will last for 1000 years. And this time, thanks to mass media, scientific methods for propaganda and crowd control, there will be NO enlightenment or overthrow of our new HEREDITARY “private capital” overlords… All hail!

    • notafeminista

      You can always hope.

  • TFRX

    He’s not that talented any longer. He’s become an oldies act who can’t get over the fact that the kids are no longer buying his records.

    • notafeminista

      And yet still relevant.

      • jefe68

        I think irrelevant is the word you’re searching for.

  • warryer

    So it is better to kill the child than give them a chance to better themselves through whatever hardship that means?

    Isn’t it better to have that chance than not?

  • notafeminista

    From Duras (earlier in the day): “Let us first establish equal opportunity, then let’s have our meritocracy. You can’t have a meritocracy without equal opportunity. What you are arguing for is an aristocracy.”
    What an excellent point you bring up – an education provides more opportunity in both the short and longterm for those who choose to seek it. What is your opinion of standardized tests administered in education?

    • Duras

      W.B. Yeats: “Educations is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a flame.” Education is the end and the beginning; it is not a means to an end.

      Practice for standardized tests puts our kids to sleep. The tests are part of the bureaucracy that limits academic freedom. Kids are becoming dispirited and uninterested in education. A good counter-policy to standardize tests is for philosophy to be part of general education. That means philosophy would be required every year in high school and required at university. Nothing directs kids towards fruitful pursuits like philosophical questions that force us to examine ourselves as individuals and people.

      Also, Jefferson established public schools and the first public university. The University of Virginia in Jefferson’s words was to be free and with no degrees–people were to come and learn as they may. He wanted it to be free in order to create a “natural aristocracy.”

      California is the closest to having equal opportunity. A family in California could potentially get their kid into Berkeley or UCLA, which are on par with Princeton, Yale, Columbia, etc. I think every state should have a flagship school on par with the best private institution and it should be free. Then we will have equal opportunity.

  • TJPhoto40

    Can reformist social conservatives speak with any specificity and without using “sort of” in virtually every sentence, as happens here for about the first 25 minutes (bear with us) before he hits his stride and says a few things with more substance? My impression is that Douthat has very little clue about either how to solve issues or govern when confronting income inequality or income mobility, a fragile economy with new challenges in the 21st century, education, global warming or almost anything we now face.

    • degsme

      Well I think conservativism has very little tangible to offer in addressing these issues because really they are offering “more of the same”. Its not just that conservativism ran out of intellectual steam during the GWB administration – rather its that the economic policies of conservatives finally came home to roost.

      And the answer is that they did not work

  • Regular_Listener

    Conservative vision? I dout that (pun intended). Moderate vision is more like it.

    • degsme

      You seem to forget what “moderate” means. Obama is currently governing from slightly to the right of Eisenhower. And Douthat is more than a touch to the right of that.

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Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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Jul 25, 2014
Guest Renee McLeod of Somerville, MA's Petsi pies shows off her wares. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

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Jul 25, 2014
Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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