Much, Much Shorter Glenn Greenwald

Ross Douthat’s misunderstanding of the role of the state is only surpassed by his misunderstanding of the rule of law.

36 replies
  1. 1
    El Tiburon says:

    I was really hoping the State would legalize Man-on-Dog marriage. My neighbor’s Irish Setter is a real looker and I need the State’s validation to finally pop the question.

  2. 2
    beltane says:

    Ross Douthat is a Very Silly Man. Spread the word.

  3. 3
    General Stuck says:

    Man, I do so despise self righteous douchbags like Dootwat, gasbagging their morally bankrupt duplicitous values on the rest of us. They are just dandy having second and even third class citizens seemingly as entitlement to reign supreme.

  4. 4
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    I have to quote this from Greenwald, because it seems to be the part that the media and every other pearl-clutcher has forgotten:

    Douthat is quite confused about what Judge Walker actually ruled. He did not decree that there are no legitimate moral, theological or spiritual grounds for viewing heterosexual marriage as superior. That’s not what courts do. Courts don’t rule on moral, theological or spiritual questions. Such matters are the exclusive province of religious institutions, philosophers, communities, parents and individuals’ consciences, but not of the State. That’s the crux of this judicial decision.

  5. 5
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    I think they’re just so authoritarian-oriented that they believe that any ruling dictates what they have to think, rather than what it actually does which is to forbid legal discrimination.

    TBogg, by the way, has the funniest take on that Douthat column, noting Douthat’s schizoid style as I had when I first read it this morning.

  6. 6
    pharniel says:

    That’s what an Expression exceptoinal success looks like.

    If only it left physical wounds on the person who caused it.

  7. 7
    MikeJ says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    I think they’re just so authoritarian-oriented that they believe that any ruling dictates what they have to think, rather than what it actually does which is to forbid legal discrimination.

    This is it. It’s amazing how often people read anything that happens as government forcing one to do things.

    Back when the swine flu was worrying people, the French government suggested that people minimize casual contact, like maybe skipping the kiss hello. The BBC led with “France bans kissing.” I think it’s the authoritarian mindset. Everything is either forbidden or compulsory.

  8. 8
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @MikeJ: Totally agree, with the slight exception that kissing actually is compulsory in France.

    Okay I’m kidding.

    I mean it’s not enforced, anyway.

  9. 9
    jrg says:

    I love how Douthat uses a bunch of five dollar words to cleverly conceal his his true identity – that of a gibbering, drooling moron.

    As if the rest of us won’t figure out he’s using ‘tard logic if he throws in enough “microcosm”s, “indispensable”s, and “organic connection”s.

  10. 10
    Amir_Khalid says:

    There doesn’t seem to be anybody at the New York Times who can look Ross Douthat in the eye, refrain from giggling at the sight of stubble on those babyish jowls and tell him, “Your column doesn’t make sense.” There are people at the NYT who have been editing op-ed columns since before young Ross was born, and they’ve certainly had many opportunities to tell him that.

    I mean, this time around he starts by documenting the many reasons why gay marriage should be legal. Then out of the blue he brings in a purely emotional appeal to the rightness of straight marriage, which has no bearing on the social issue at hand: gay marriage. Major logic fail.

    They were similarly unable to keep Bill Kristol from putting nonsense on their op-ed page. Maybe columnists are on the NYT’s too-big-to-edit list.

  11. 11
    El Tiburon says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    TBogg, by the way, has the funniest take on that Douthat column,


    Also, Douthat is front-page news all over the Left-Blogosphere.

  12. 12
    superking says:

    Douthat’s column is nearly incomprehensible. This guy isn’t a legal expert, isn’t a social science expert, isn’t a hard science expert, isn’t an academic of any sort–he doesn’t do literature or philosophy or religion–he isn’t an experienced political operative, he isn’t an accomplished author, he isn’t a policy wonk.

    What is he doing in the New York Times?

  13. 13
    jrg says:


    What is he doing in the New York Times?

    Collecting a wingnut welfare check. SATSQ.

  14. 14
    El Cid says:

    Douthat was apparently unsatisfied with the pseudo-sociological and pseudo-anthropological insights of the uninformed David Brooks and decided to turn it up to 11.

    Rather, it’s that lifelong heterosexual monogamy at its best can offer something distinctive and remarkable — a microcosm of civilization, and an organic connection between human generations…

    I’ve known a lot of people, some with good marriages and families, heterosexual even, and I don’t think I saw in any of them what a sane person would describe as “a microcosm of civilization.”

    Or else, I didn’t see anything resembling a microcosm of a modern civilization past the hunting and gathering phase.

  15. 15
    beltane says:

    @superking: Douthat is a confused, sexually insecure, conservative Catholic. In twenty years he will grow up to be Maureen Dowd. I don’t really know why either of them have columns.

  16. 16
    M31 says:

    He’s at the New York Times because he is the smartest and most intellectually coherent young conservative there is.

    Also, for those who claim that editors should have noticed that the column was incoherent, remember that their jobs include looking at the rough drafts of columns by David Brooks and Maureen Dowd. Those editors have no functioning brain cells at all, any more.

  17. 17
    Pangloss says:

    Ross Douthat obviously majored in Tautology in college.

  18. 18
    Pangloss says:

    @M31: Each Friedman unit they lose another 10 points off their IQ.

  19. 19
    Pangloss says:

    @El Cid: I’ve seen marriages that were a microcosm of The Lord of the Flies. Does that count?

  20. 20
    burnspbesq says:

    It’s hardly news that Douthat is a fool and an ignoramus. Greenwald was lucky to escape a 15-yard penalty for a late hit.

  21. 21
    Mark S. says:


    He’s at the New York Times because he is the smartest and most intellectually coherent young conservative there is.

    The bench is a little thin.

  22. 22
    mandarama says:


    Hahahaha! This comment just made my day. Thanks!

  23. 23
    JCT says:

    I read the NYT op-ed page religiously for 30 years, used to be something to look forward to in the AM.

    Now it is a minefield of drivel and mediocrity save for Krugman and Herbert. If idiot Brooks and Douhat the dingbat are the best that the young conservatives have to offer, the conservative movement is intellectually circling the drain.

    Oh and keep an eye on Wonkette, they usually do a nice job when Douhat dribbles on himself like this. Their takedown of his “Jews and Hobbits” piece was fucking epic.

    But the death of the NYT op-ed page is just sad.

  24. 24
    Mark S. says:

    Also, this part annoyed me:

    Again, this is not how many cultures approach marriage. It’s a particularly Western understanding, derived from Jewish and Christian beliefs about the order of creation

    I’m not a cultural anthropologist, but this strikes me as bullshit. It’s so Victor David Hansonish in its chauvinism.

  25. 25
    D.N. Nation says:

    Just when he’s so obviously content to play “even TEH LIBRUL GLENN GREENWALD,” Glenn drops a monster post like this and proves his worth once more. (Though, he could have basically just posted the last sentence and it would have been fine.)

    Now, back to raging against Anthony Weiner or whatever.

  26. 26
    superking says:

    Do you all think that Douthat goes home at night and sits in wonder of the microcosm of civilization that is his marriage? It seems more likely to me that he goes home and complains when his wife doesn’t have a hot meal ready for him.

  27. 27
    Silver says:

    You have to remember, when you are a closeted homosexual, gay marriage actually is a threat to heterosexual marriage.

    My marriage is fine. God and children have nothing to do with it. Two gay people getting married…lemme check…wife is still here.

    Ted Haggard on the other hand…

  28. 28
    Fanshawe says:

    @D.N. Nation:
    Though, he could have basically just posted the last sentence and it would have been fine.

    Really? You mean this sentence:

    The fact that they believe they will lose the debate without that legal coercion speaks volumes about how confident they actually are in the rightness and persuasiveness of their views.

    I thought that was the least compelling argument of the article, by far. First, by any reasonable measure the intolerant are winning the debate. Prop 8 passed, remember, and only a small number of states perform or even recognize same-sex and opposite-sex marriages equally. That is unlikely to continue forever, of course, but there’s no indication in the article that Greenwald means Douthat and company are afraid of “losing” some hypothetical argument in 2050.

    Next, and more problematically, the entire point of the prop 8 case is that the actual moral/religious rightness or persuasiveness of an argument is completely irrelevant when determining whether a particular group can be denied equal protection or due process under the laws of the United States. Greenwald ably and convincingly describes why America works that way for most of the article. I have no idea why chose to close with some strange appeal to popular sympathy towards marriage equality, which, unfortunately, most available evidence suggests does not actually exist.

  29. 29
    gex says:

    @superking: Silver hit it. This is such a big issue for Dumbhat because he keeps thinking about it over and over and over again. All I know is that straight men don’t spend so many waking hours thinking about gay sex.

  30. 30
    Persia says:

    @Mark S.: It’s simply because so many people have been knocking holes in the ‘this is how marriage has always been done’ argument. Now they’ve backpedaled to ‘this is how Westerners have finally realized marriage should be done!’

  31. 31
    Uloborus says:

    I must disagree on one very important point. The intolerant are not winning the debate. As you just pointed out, they are losing the debate. They haven’t lost it yet, but the debate has gone from homosexuality being punishable by burning at the stake to same-sex marriage being a narrowly contested issue that is slowly creeping into legality. Like you said, same-sex marriage will be legal sooner or later. If they were winning the debate, we wouldn’t even be debating this! The tide is creeping against them.

  32. 32
    eemom says:

    “much much shorter Glenn Greenwald.”


    I think yer onto something there, Mr. Cole. If you could patent that concept you would rule the innertoobz.

  33. 33
    Fanshawe says:


    I don’t disagree with any of that. A more precise way of saying what I meant might be that there are currently more people who oppose marriage equality than who favor it. As you said, that is certainly not going to be true forever.

    Nevertheless, I still think what Greenwald said is a strange rejoinder given that he’s writing about the prop 8 case. The only reason there even is a prop 8 case is literally that a majority of voters voted against marriage equality. It seems strange to pretend that wasn’t the case, especially when the rest of the article describes, accurately and compellingly in my opinion, exactly why popular opinion alone is not a good enough reason to deny groups of citizens equal protection and due process.

  34. 34
    TomG says:

    One of my great heroes, Benjamin Tucker, edited one of the first libertarian magazines, “Liberty”, from 1881 to 1908. In one issue, there appeared an article (not sure if he wrote it) arguing that the only way to find out what the best family arrangement was for raising children, would be to end the legally enforced requirement of only “one man, one woman” marriages; we have very little information about children raised by any other marriage arrangement, and how healthy they might turn out to be.

  35. 35
    John Arbuthnot Fisher says:

    Can someone please explain to me why there are so many people obsessed with perpetuating marriage as a particular institution of “Western civilization?” As far as I’m concerned, we should probably be perpetuating as little of “Western civilization” as possible. I knew some kids at Boston College who were the same way about this whole deal as Douthat. I’m guessing that when these people are not repressing their own homosexuality, they get hard ons from pretending like they are the Last True Advocates of Civilization.

  36. 36
    ThresherK says:

    The only reason there even is a prop 8 case is literally that a majority of voters voted against marriage equality.

    How about “The only reason is that California has direct referendums?” (The other shoe dropping in one’s head (?) is the sentence fragment “and is now ungovernable”.)

    Voters voting on referenda is one thing, scientific polls when tons of out-of-state AstroTurfed money isn’t there to Drudgify the news and scare the ignorants is another.

    That Fox News was touting the flash photo of the Prop 8 vote as Set In Stone For All Time, and nobody there mentioned people who didn’t know if voting yes meant “no gay marriage”, and changes in polls since are not on their radar says all one needs to know.

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