Should the triumphalist chatter of Mr. Ross Douthat’s latest essay titled More Perfect Unions on the question of the value of two parent households, extolled in a report from the Equality of Opportunity Project surprise the regular reader of his re-writing of history, from a Conservative perspective? These two paragraphs are paradigmatic of Mr. Douthat’s ersatz historiography :
‘Honesty from conservatives would begin by acknowledging that policies championed on the right — mass incarceration in response to the post-1960s crime wave, Bain Capital-style “creative destruction” in response to Carter-era stagnation — have often made it harder for low-income men to find steady work and stay out of prison, and made women understandably wary of marrying them.
Then this honesty would continue with a concession that certain kinds of redistribution — especially if tied to wage-earning — might help make men more marriageable, families more stable, and touch off a virtuous interaction between the financial and the personal.’
The obvious presents itself: Modern American Conservatism has done absolutely nothing for the Poor, except demonize and engage in self-serving public moralizing. Yet he quotes, not from the report itself, but this essay on the Slate web site titled Family Matters. In essence Mr. D.’s idea or construct is that ‘Liberals’ and ‘Conservatives’ strike a deal predicated on a more vigorous political advocacy on the part of those ‘Liberal’s’ for the virtue of duel parent household: politicized monogamy? as the predictor of a child’s success. (Who can question that a child needs both economic and emotional stability to thrive, in a loving, caring environment? Stability can come from many actors in the life of a child: grandparents,aunts,uncles etc. Mr. Doutat’s obsession with the Man-Woman-Child paradigm is a function of his nearly ultramontane Catholicism.) Because in the past ‘Liberals’ have failed to be proper moral scolds, on the question of the Family as advocated by ‘Conservatives’ like Mr. Douthat.
Unsurprisingly, again, Mr. Douthat carefully re-writes history in his monologue, not one mention of race. The notorious Welfare Queen just didn’t have a mere walk-on, in the national debate during the Reagan years, but played a major role in the debate on the undeserving poor. That very Welfare Queen had many illegitimate children each by a different father ( the chiseling black whore, a favorite stock character of Conservative folklore) and drove an expensive Cadillac, while on the dole.
The racism of the modern Republican Party started with the migration of the Dixiecrats from the Democratic Party, after the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. One can see a congruity between the Dixicrats of the Conservative past and the Tea Party of today. But none of that History obtrudes itself into Mr. Douthat’s triumphalist self-congratulatory chatter. He was right and is right. Vindication by Social Science and a careful re-write of American History.