Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ross Douthat Jumps the Shark (Again)

In his latest blog post, Ross Douthat, the 30-year old political columnist at the New York Times, seems determined to show why his alma matter, Harvard University - and indeed, most Ivy League schools* - are a net liability on our society. The Ivies have attracted many of America's most gifted students, but when those students attend an Ivy League school, they will be indoctrinated with so much junk science, political correctness, and moral relativism, their raw brainpower morphs from an asset into a liability. Why? Because their mind becomes cluttered with dangerous nonsense – nonsense that is rarely questioned or expunged due to the student's sense of entitlement and superiority.

Take young Mr. Douthat, for instance. Even though he wear his Catholic faith on his sleeve, on October 4, he applied for lifetime membership in the Kumbaya Club by writing a long, dull, mealy-mouthed piece in which he basically blamed Christianity for the rise of the New Atheists. Now, that might be acceptable fare from an anti-Christian hack like Richard Dawkins or P.Z. Myers. But Mr. Douthat is supposed to be a defender of Christianity. If Douthat is being groomed by the nation's elite to become one of the leading Christian conservatives of the future, shouldn’t Douthat show a better understanding of his faith?

I’m not the only person who's noticed Douthat’s descent into the abyss…

On Monday, First Things editor David Goldman wrote…

Sad that the dumbest thing I’ve read in the New York Times for years came from the blog of Ross Douthat, the Catholic conservative voice at the Gray Lady:

"Maybe the encounter with a post-Christian Europe will supply the Islam of recent immigrants with the cultural vigor that’s been missing, for centuries now, in Baghdad and Cairo and Damascus. Maybe a kind of 'Euro-Islam' is being forged that’s capable of contending with secular liberalism for converts. Maybe a Tariq Ramadan-esque figure will emerge to play the Muslim Saint Paul to the E.U.’s Roman Empire."

Goldman explains why Douthat's prediction is absurd…

Europe’s Christians not only have declined to evangelize the Muslims in their midst: they have backed away from helping Muslims who came to Christianity quite on their own, as Magdi Allam protested. Paul Berman is a secular liberal, but a consistent one, and came to the conclusion that Tariq Ramadan is a menace. Ross Douthat is a Catholic conservative, but an inconsistent one, and flirts with the idea that Tariq Ramadan might be part of Europe’s spiritual re-awakening.

If this was the first dumb thing Ross Douthat ever said, I might let it slide. But, unfortunately, it’s part of a larger pattern in which he totally misunderstands religion, and specifically, the proper role of religion within society. In October, he criticized constructive efforts by Christianity to modernize itself; now he’s encouraging the growth of a parasitic form of Islam to validate his delusional hope that it might facilitate a continent-wide spiritual re-awakening.

Douthat should make Gates of Vienna his homepage and read a few of their articles. Then he might realize that the growth of Islam is not an "opportunity for spiritual awakening;" it is a grave, perhaps mortal, threat to European Civilization (including Christianity).

Douthat is not only jumping sharks; he’s jumping logic itself.

Note: *Of the 8 schools who formally constitute the Ivy League, Harvard is definitely the worst; Yale and Princeton are probably in the next tier of horror. And then Brown, Penn, Columbia are in the tier below that. Dartmouth and Cornell seem OK. Personally, I think the best university in the country is Stanford.

Note: Douthat's position on the Darwin/I.D. debate is equally troubling (see here).

**UPDATE, DEC. 13, 2009**

Goldman continues his criticism of Douthat in a new post here.


Justin said...

Todd, your writing is good, very good.

But your use of pictures: sublime!

Love it, absolutely love it

Todd White said...

Ha! Thanks, Justin! Would it be alright if I use you as a reference for my Google Image searching skills? ;)