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'New York Neck-Beard' Douthat Writes Column About Abortion And Gays!

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In the words ofBrian Lamb, the best human being on Earth, "Hey Ross Douthat, you seen this Wonkette thing here?" It's a post about your New York Times "young lightning rod conservative" opinion column! It is not his debut -- maybe second, or third, or fourth -- but it's the first one we've read so deal with it okay? It's not bad! And because he is, again, a "youth," he throws in many Internet hyperlinks to his sources. Clicky clicky hooray! So this post will be, unfortunately, a Civilized response to one of his points -- that the grain of history favors the pro-life movement -- which is less fun than just spitting blood at the computer screen, as we did for Bill Kristol.


Douthat writes about how "Barack Obama’s admirers nurse a persistent hope that he might be able to end the culture wars." For most cranky old columnists (all of the others) this would spiral into a fact-less rant about what college was like for them in the mid-1960s and how liberals today are terrible. But Douthat writes... you know, something that isn't that!

Public-opinion trends aren’t set in stone. But as Peter Berkowitz noted in a prescient essay for Policy Review in 2005, the gay marriage movement is working with the grain of American political history, in which the expansion of rights “steadily erodes the limits on individual choice established by law and custom.” Our legal and political debates, Berkowitz suggested, are won by whichever side can argue for the expansion of freedom, and combatants who can’t argue in these terms will “almost certainly see their cause go down to defeat.”

Thus gay marriage opponents’ persistent disadvantage. They can argue from tradition, custom and Christianity — as Obama himself does, albeit with dubious sincerity, to explain why he backs civil unions but not full-fledged marriage. They can note the perils of formally severing the link between marriage and childbearing in a society where far too many children are born outside of wedlock as it is. But supporters of gay marriage are the only ones making an argument from personal liberty — the freedom to marry, the right to marry — and that has made all the difference.

On abortion, though, the picture is very different. The pro-life movement is arguably more comfortable with the language of rights and liberties than its opponents. Abortion foes are defending a right to life grounded in the Declaration of Independence, after all, whereas pro-choicers are defending more nebulous rights (privacy, autonomy, etc.) supposedly grounded in “penumbras” and “emanations” from the Constitution.

Don't know how "privacy, autonomy, etc." are "nebulous." (UPDATE: Oh, it's "inside baseball.") Is it really a fluffy argument to say that ladies have the "freedom to make choices" about their own bodies? We think wacky Thomas Jefferson was kind of thinking with this Declaration of Independence that you have to be born for these rights to kick in; if the little monster sitting in that sack of goo craves individualism so much, then it should stop whining, cut that umbilical cord, pop out of the lady's tummy, and get a damn job already.

If the grain of American political history "steadily erodes the limits on individual choice established by law and custom," then w/r/t abortion, how could that favor the people who want more limits imposed on individual choice? It's not like in Victorian England everyone was killin' fetuses left and right all willy-nilly, for Jesus, and only over the course of time -- after massive civil rights rallies held by fetuses, in the streets -- will we become so enlightened as to prevent this thing, by law, from ever happening again. The "opposite" seems truer. Anyway.

Faking Left [NYT]

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I'd mentioned this week that there's definitely probably a tape out there of Donald Trump referring to a black person as a "nigger," because Trump is a racist and that's sort of what they do. Sarah Huckabee Sanders won't even affirmatively deny such a tape exists, and she's from the "two plus two equals five" school of communications management. I also speculated that once the tape was released, Republican supporters of the president would flock to defend his vile words: "Hey, if you rearrange the letters in "nigger," you get "ginger" and who doesn't like redheads and the occasional Dark 'n' Stormy?"

The shameful display has already started and the supposed recording isn't even available for pre-order on iTunes. George State Senator Michael Williams stated in appearance on CNN's "New Day Saturday" that if Trump -- who's the president, by the way -- did say "nigger," it would certainly concern him as an "individual" but "not necessarily as a person that is running our country." So, uh, what the hell is that? This has been a standard argument from Republicans ever since Trump crawled his way out of the sewers of birtherism and onto a major political stage: "We think Trump is a terrible human being -- seriously, we have to shower immediately after meeting with him -- but we still think he's a suitable steward of the most powerful nation on the planet."

Normally, you'd think this would work the other way. You know, your brother-in-law is a nice enough guy. Your sister certainly could've done worse. You don't mind the slightly rambling sports-ball discussions with him at family gatherings. He's good for looking after the kids (as long as your sister is present or reachable by cell), but you'd never invest your hard-earned money into whatever half-assed business venture he's trying to get off the ground nor would you back his run for any serious political office.

I've long had issues with the "brilliant asshole" archetype in TV and movies. It's almost always a white male (because women and minorities must be perfect) whose emotional immaturity and overall jerkass behavior we're told to overlook because they're so goshdarned awesome. Do you want some PC "cuck" or do you want Dr. House to figure out that the MS symptoms you're suffering are really just because you ate a stale doughnut? Sherlock Holmes doesn't have time for your feelings or social niceties -- not while he's solving mysteries and being dreamy.

Trump, however, isn't "brilliant." He's just a guy who says "nigger." They're hardly a scarcity in the market. You don't even have to venture out to a klan rally to find one. You can order online -- same day social media delivery.

Williams argues that Trump didn't use the word "nigger" when he was in the "office of the president." It was just some youthful indiscretion when he was almost 60. I don't even know where he's going with this. Does he think Trump has changed? He routinely insults and belittles black people. He also calls black NFL players who peacefully protest "sons of bitches." Was that his way of weaning off calling us "niggers"? Has he been wearing a "nigger" patch on his arm to control his cravings for the racial epithet?

"He used the word in his personal life," Williams said. (It was actually in a workplace context -- SER) "Now if he were president and were to go on TV and use the n-word, I'd have a major problem with that."

media.giphy.com

It's heartening repulsive to see that Williams draws the line at Trump holding an official "nigger" press conference. I think once we reach that point, Trump will probably also reveal that his buddies on the Supreme Court discovered a typo in the Thirteenth Amendment and black folks' work-life balance will start to really suffer.

"I will always say using the n-word is wrong, and it's bad, and should never be accepted in our society. But just because (Trump) might have done it years ago, not as our president, doesn't mean we need to continue to berate him because he used it," GOP state Sen. Michael Williams, who is white, told CNN's Victor Blackwell on "New Day Saturday."

Blackwell, who is black, had to sit there and listen to this crap from a white elected official who is just 45 years old. You know, the word "nigger" doesn't even appear in the Dred Scott decision, for example, but that's not necessary for reasonable people to understand that it was racist as hell. We all know Trump is racist, but now Republicans can't even repudiate the worst demonstrations of his racial animus. The first black president hasn't even been out of office for two full years and already "nigger" is being redefined. What would once end a campaign in its tracks when Blackwell and I were growing up is now just an "oops, my bad."

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Conservatives want to be oppressed. Or, rather, for everyone to think they are being oppressed and to then give them what they see as the impunity and moral upper hand that comes along with being an oppressed group of people. They want it very, very badly and think it is very unfair that all the people they have oppressed have this privilege and they do not. This morning, Trump took to Twitter to vow to protect them from the worst kind of oppression of all -- imaginary social media censorship!

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