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Ross Douthat has written one of the dumbest commentaries I've ever read at the NYT.  How can the Times allow stupid shit like this, from a dumbass like Douthat onto its pages?!

In a world of melting icecaps, rising seas, snowmagedons, super storms, record droughts, burning forests, dying crops... this dickhead calls for more of the same thing that has brought us to the brink of ending civilization, OVERPOPULATION!

IN the eternally recurring debates about whether some rival great power will knock the United States off its global perch, there has always been one excellent reason to bet on a second American century: We have more babies than the competition.
How fucking stupid can you get, than to call for even more people consuming even more resources, putting even more CO2 into the atmosphere..., when we are literally going to the ends of the earth to try and squeeze the last drops of oil out of the earth, to find the last deposits of lithium to power our toys, and to find a dozen other bandaid resources that hold this fragile civilization together?

But this idiot goes even further.  Not only does he want more consumers in a dying consumer society, he wants them to be blissfully ignorant and wasteful.

America’s demographic edge has a variety of sources: our famous religiosity, our vast interior and wide-open spaces (and the four-bedroom detached houses they make possible),
That's right, go out and build one of those huge McMansions and prairie palaces that burn more fossil fuels, create more CO2, and helped plunge us into one of the biggest financial crises the country has ever seen.  Maybe we can even build them 50 miles from where your job and the center of commerce is, so every 30 years we can spend a huge portion of our future resources rebuilding the massive infrastructure that's required to support these McMansions.

Maybe the NYT will start accepting columns about Chupacabras in Mexico, or the aliens from other planets that live among us, or how about weekly sightings of Bigfoot?  The NYT should know better than to promote the stupid, non science based fantasy bull shit that the Republican propaganda machine is constantly pushing.  From economics, to natural resources, to overpopulation, the Time's editors should know they have to be especially careful of what kind of total crap that's going to come out of some of these Republican columnists at any time.

Overpopulation is the source of many of the worlds major problems.  Would we be facing a global planetary crises from runaway climate change if the world had a more sustainable 1 billion population instead of the cancerous 7 billion+?

I'm sorry for the rant;  Aw hell, no I'm not!  You should be out their ranting too, whenever you see stupid shit like this in a respected newspaper or a respectable newscast on TV!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ross Douthtat is just doing the usual thing (18+ / 0-)

    of trying to pretend there's something halfway rational about Catholic doctrine. Because the Church, and by extension God, wouldn't have banned birth control if there wasn't a good reason, therefore having way too many babies is a good thing. QED.

    Visit Lacking All Conviction, your patch of grey on those too-sunny days.

    by eataTREE on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:56:45 AM PST

  •  This phrase alone makes me gag (15+ / 0-)
    our famous religiosity
    What about some good old spiritual humility?

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:03:13 AM PST

  •  There's a "conservative" seat on the op-ed page (19+ / 0-)

    Once upon a time it was William Safire's column Things have changed and as the intellectual level of conservatism has declined (although there was always a wink-wink-nudge-nudge quality with Safire) , now we have Douthat. For REAL (and rude to the point of obscenity) takedowns of him, see

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:05:24 AM PST

    •  Yes, fans of (6+ / 0-)

      Sadly, No are familiar with Douthat's routine, which rarely strays too far from this one theme (how awesome Catholic rules are and how much everyone else sucks for not thinking so).

      Visit Lacking All Conviction, your patch of grey on those too-sunny days.

      by eataTREE on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:17:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately, it's not just *one* conservative (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, Dave in Northridge, Shotput8

      seat any more. We also have David Brooks, wrapping regressive ideas in the kind of dulcet tones that make them palatable for NY Times' affluent liberal readership. Tom Friedman, for all intents and purposes, is a conservative, a plucky, idiotic apologist for neoliberal ideas who also weighs in on foreign policy in very unhelpful ways.

      Between the three of them, the NY Times has got the conservative bases covered: not so much in the sense that they are overtly ideological conservatives, but rather in the more pragmatic sense that there is rarely anything on the NY Times op-ed page that would make an affluent titan of industry worry that he might have to change any aspect of his life. For every Paul Krugman, Charles Blow, or Gail Collins column, there is a David Brooks or Ross Douthat column to help talk our intrepid One-Percenter down from the ledge.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 09:14:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It was lots more fun when William Krystol held (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anastasia p, Shotput8, sayitaintso, sfbob

      that seat for a  year.  His Monday columns shine forth as searing insights into the vapidity of the Conservative brain.  His column came out on Monday and the corrections and retractions almost always came out on Tuesday or Wednesday in order to correct the factual errors or defamatory statements that he made.  The Tuesday corrections were a regular feature for that year that I used to look forward to.

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 10:22:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not as bad as the Cleveland Plain Dealer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      which lets Kevin O'Brien in the "conservative seat" get away with uninformed columns where he makes his "arguments" by lying and ad hominem attacks. I can hardly wait to read another of his terrific climate denial columns after the first blizzard where he essentially recycles, "Hey, look at all the snow! Where are those global warming freaks NOW?" They would never ever let a middle-of-the-road columnist (they have no real liberals) get away with this same sort of approach. One of my bottom line requirements for ever subscribing to this rag again is Kevin O'Brien being fired.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 11:58:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't tell us, tell them. Send a letter to the (6+ / 0-)

    editor.  It might get printed where many, many thousands of people (not already in the converted choir, like us) would see it.

  •  U.S. birth rates are in fact declining (10+ / 0-)

    This statement is divorced from reality:  

    We have more babies than the competition.
    While the birth rate in the United States is still higher than it is in most European nations, it has been dropping for 12 years.

    All time low US birth rate

    Continuing a 12-year decline, the U.S. birth rate has dropped to the lowest level since national data have been available, according to statistics just released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
    What keeps the U.S. population growing is immigration.  Anyone who sees an increasing population as positive for the U.S. has to be in favor of more immigration.  Of course in the long run, increasing population would be devastating.  

    "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

    by LookingUp on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:13:28 AM PST

    •  Population is all ready devastating, IE GW (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer

      How much more devastating can you get than to have Global Warming cause the dislocation of billions, and possibly the death of billions?  Global Warming would not be a problem if we had listened to geographer warnings from more than 50 years ago, that a finite planet can only support a finite number of people, and we're past that point.

    •  Douthat knows about the decline (3+ / 0-)

      After I read the entire editorial, I realized that he had the correct information.  U.S. birth rates are in decline and this is being led by declines in birth rates of immigrants.

      Given that he knows this, it's strange that Douthat can then claim:  

      there has always been one excellent reason to bet on a second American century: We have more babies than the competition.
      We can bet on "a second American century" because of something that isn't happening?  Very strange.

      Douthat wrote a wishing will make it so editorial.  He's another lost conservative living so much in the past that, even knowing that things have changed, he's writing as if they haven't.

      "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

      by LookingUp on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:29:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  While you are calling him a dumbass... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'll note that in the second sentence...

    "How can the times allow stupid shit like this, from a dumbass like Douthat onto it's pages?!"

    ... "times" should be capitalized and italicized and "it's" is a contraction for "it is", not a possessive form.

    I only scanned the rest but there's more like that.

  •  Wall Street is a massive tumor on the American (5+ / 0-)


    When I was framing those massive 4 bedroom houses back in the nineties and early aughts my co-workers and I were wondering where the people who were buying those houses were working.
    How could they afford those houses?

    Now we know. They couldn't.

    The Great Recession was not caused by a "housing bubble".
    It was caused by a "mortgage backed security swindle bubble".
    Wall Street was leveraging mortgages for up to 100x their worth and this fueled the ever increasingly fragile building boom.
    Then Wall Street oil speculation drove the price of gas out of the roof. This was the straw that broke the camel's back, the needle that burst the bubble.

    We are on the verge of a revolution in architecture and planning as well as a 21st century infrastructure and a revolution in green energy.
    If Congress acts.

    Ross Douthat's vision of America is a pile of stinking dog-poo in the middle of our path.
    Get out of the way, Republicans!

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:20:58 AM PST

    •  when your 25-yr old kid moves back in (0+ / 0-)

      with spouse in tow and a bun in the oven....
      Then you'll be glad for the 4 bedrooms.

      now,  burning the furniture in the strictly ornamental, outside-the-exterior-wall  fireplace may not work too well,

      but for the emerging 21st century 3 and 4 generation family, I think those McMansions will prove to  have their uses.

      It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

      by sayitaintso on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:53:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The NYT is taking one for the team. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, Glinda, sfbob

    They're putting conservatism on display so it can be mocked, even at the cost of damaging their own brand.  They're heroes.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:22:30 AM PST

    •  Hope you're right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rich in PA

      Just as people have a hard time understanding how Global Warming is a really big problem, I fear they may fall for the underpopulation arguments until it's too late.

    •  Well, it's mocked here. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eikyu Saha, metal prophet

      But sadly, the "liberal" NY Times has a readership that consist in no small part by credulous affluent members of the chattering classes, those urbanites who will swallow any argument so long as it's expressed in the polite, dulcet tones of the NY Times.

      For instance, a clown like Michael Ignatieff, a Canadian expat who my people have had the good sense to soundly repudiate as Canadian PM and leader of the Liberal party. (This has left us with a Conservative majority in Parliament, but that's a problem for another day.) Ignatieff, alongside frothier, wingnuttier hawks, was one of those "reluctant liberal hawks" who called for Bush to initiate the war in Iraq. In his NY Times Magazine article, "American Empire: Get Used to It," his tone was actually more in sorrow than in anger, patiently explaining to us how this or any other aggression against a sovereign nation could lead to democracy, a Marshall Plan, and a Scandanavian social democracy on the banks of the Tigris. Or something.

      Elsewhere, Ignatieff has used the same sad, infinitely patient liberal tone to explain the necessity of torture. And because he writes the way he does, and pulls that sober, mournful face when he does it (indeed, his face is stuck in that position), a certain kind of credulous reader -- the same kind that mysteriously keeps Tom Friedman on the Times' masthead year after year -- will nod vigorously to themselves and say, "yes, this fellow Ignatieff is absolutely onto the right thing. I know this because it was written in the NY Times."

      Let's not forget, too, that when the financial crisis happened, the Times saved its biggest crocodile tears for the investment banker and the hedge fund manager, who were now going to have to move to more modest digs, or cut back on their biweekly jaunts to the Hamptons. Indeed, when they did address the poor, it was to dust off that old chestnut, the "culture of poverty" thesis: despite the precarious derivative trading, and the banks leveraged up the wazoo, and the McMansions being proffered to people with no down payment (and a big balloon payment three years away in 2007), the Times would remind us that some people think this is all poor people's fault.

      No, I would be a bit more pessimistic about the likelihood that the Times' vaunted liberal readership is going to even recognize the idiocy of a Douthat column when they see it.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 09:33:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, it's true that the NY Times (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        appeals to an audience whose biggest concerns are the problems of managing weekend-long weddings for 300 and comparing the value of services that help your child prepare his Ivy League application. Some of their articles are so oriented to "problems" of the upper-middle class and upper class, which they try to paint as major trends, that it's actually amusing.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 12:03:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Actually there is a way (4+ / 0-)

    for Douthat's formula to become reality without further impacting the planet. It's called immigration.

    This is still the country that lots and lots of skilled workers want to move to. Maybe Douthat's solution should be more green cards instead of more babies.

    Of course, that won't go over well on the right unless the new immigrants come from places like Ireland and Sweden instead of Mexico and Pakistan.

  •  Yep, never can have too many people. (6+ / 0-)

    With the unlimited resources available, the super-high quality of life that abounds in this country; where everyone has quality health-care, a great job with excellent benefits and wages, an educational system that's the envy of every developing country and a desert SW with an eternally abundant water supply there's absolutely no reason we can't add another 100 billion or so to our dwindling population.

    I can't help but wonder if he'd feel the same way if he could get pregnant?

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:25:02 AM PST

  •  seems to be a common theme (4+ / 0-)

    China is relaxing its policy on birth control.
    The problem in China (as well as the US perhaps) is that the population gets grayer. So you have more people on Social Security and less people to generate income and take care of them.
    Solution is to have more younger people.

    It does conflict with the idea of limited population growth though.

    Obama 2012...going to win it with our support!!!

    by mattinjersey on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:31:11 AM PST

    •  Which is why China has mandatory retirement at 60 (0+ / 0-)

      Their solution is to have more younger people working. While this has its problems such as brain drain, it could be a better solution than raising retirement age as the Republicans are hellbent on doing.

      We all stand submissively before the global ATM machine network like trained chickens pecking the correct colored buttons to release our grains of corn. Joe Bageant

      by Zwoof on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 09:08:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interior wide open spaces? (5+ / 0-)

    Years ago, another eastern columnist, James Reston, announced that the US doesn't have to worry about overpopulation because he had flown coast to coast, and most of the country was uninhabited.
       People like Douthat have no idea how much timberland, mining land, and agricultural land it takes to support the urban/suburban lifestyle. And in the whole world the is only a little over five acres of land left per person...including Antarctica and Greenland.

  •  If diarist is pledging not to reproduce (0+ / 0-)

    to end his line and dry up the personal gene-pool, who am I to argue with him/her?

    Stand your ground, diarist! Your choice sounds well-founded. I salute you.

    Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

    by Clem Yeobright on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:20:28 AM PST

  •  Our entire social safety net pretty much assumes (0+ / 0-)

    a steady supply of younger workers keeping pace with the aging population.  Less children = fewer workers down the road = less taxpayers supporting a growing population of retirees.

    Without replacement workers coming into the workforce, the whole thing eventually becomes unsustainable.  Unless you simply print more money or borrow more money.  And if you borrow it, it will be the next generation who services the debt.

    Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:22:20 AM PST

    •  I'm afraid you are limiting the consequences (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LookingUp, Zack from the SFV

      of overpopulation.  Social Security will be nonexistent in a world who's resources have been depleted, where wars have broken out to obtain the last remaining resources, and where the climate can no longer sustain food production for 7+ billion people.

    •  Sure, same argument the anti-choicers use (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "We're killing the people who will pay for our retirement."

      No, we're not. We're preventing the birth of UNWANTED children born to parents without financial or emotional resources to take care of them. Those children are statistically more likely to end up undereducated, unemployed or even in prison. Although there are exceptions, it usually takes a family support system to produce a doctor or research scientist.

      Thinking of people as "replacement workers" when we currently don't have enough jobs for the people now of working age is weird.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 12:07:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This diarist has about 6 billion (0+ / 0-)

        unwanted living people, let alone prospective ones.

        Proportionately s/he would seem to prefer a US population of around 14 million (roughly the 1840 level). Interesting to contemplate.

    •  But you are ignoring productivity growth (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sayitaintso, sfbob
      Our entire social safety net pretty much assumes a steady supply of younger workers keeping pace with the aging population.
      I think it would be more accurate to say that it assumes a steady supply wages, which results in a steady supply of Social Security contributions.

      The productivity (real output per worker-hour) of the US economy has more than tripled since 1950.

      Angry Bear - Growing Productivity, Stagnating Compensation

      Output per hour of work in 2010 was 87% higher than in 1980, while real hourly compensation was only 38% higher.
      If wage growth were to keep pace with productivity growth, Social Security could remain solvent even with a work force which is shrinking in relation to the retiring population.

      "But all in all, it's been a fabulous year for Laura and me." - bush, summing up his first year in office, 3 months after 9/11, Washington, D.C., Dec. 20, 2001

      by rmx2630 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:52:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thomas Malthus was Scorned (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, sfbob

    and Ridiculed by the Church of His day when He wrote
    "An Essay on the Principle of Population" in 1798.

    The Science-Based world Knows that Malthus was Right.

    That won't stop Village Idiots like Ross Douthat and
    the New York SLIMES from publishing Nonsense.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 09:01:00 AM PST

  •  Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses (0+ / 0-)


    A compilation video to inspire patriotism and tolerance of all races and ethnicities
    "The New Colossus" is a sonnet by Emma Lazarus (1849–87), written in 1883 and, in 1903, engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
    "The New Colossus"
     Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

    Brand new favorite RSS feed of Daily Kos Radio Podcasts
    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    by We Won on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 10:13:32 AM PST

  •  Now, Now, Now... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...he did manage to call for "more babies" without including the w-word qualifier....

    On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

    by stevemb on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 12:57:46 PM PST

  •  Reading the comments for the column itself (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It seems pretty obvious that Douthat's latest is FAIL on an epic scale...I read about 50 of the comments, 48 of those commenters essentially called Douthat an idiot (or worse).

    It's sad that the Times would continue to publish Douthat's crap, but it's also rather clear that few people are buying that crap any more.

  •  I never read This idiot. (0+ / 0-)

    And Maureen Dowd isn't far behind with her screeds on the President. I quit the Times long ago. I read the headlines and then go elsewhere for the meat.

    “The quality of owning freezes you forever in "I," and cuts you off forever from the "we.” ― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

    by Miss Pip on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:14:34 PM PST

  •  Excuse me, "second" American century? (0+ / 0-)

    Counting from the traditional July 4,1776 date, the U.S.A. is over 236 years old.  I cannot even give Douthat the benefit of the doubt of a different counting method, since we also completed the 1800's and 1900's centuries.  Either way, we are already well into the third American century.  The man cannot do simple arithmetic.  Is this inability a requirement for GOP talking heads?  

    Or am I missing a Republican dogwhistle?  Is he implying that we are in our second century of something else?  An American global dominance or imperialism that it is unfashionable to mention but is always assumed by the GOP's ancient and decrepit fraternity still celebrating the end of the Cold War?  No, I don't think so.  We are one industrialized nation among many, no matter how often the word "exceptionalism" is misused by the fake patriots.  I think Douthat is really so dumb as to be unable to count past his fingers and toes.

    Also, as another commenter said, what "famous religiosity"? Trying to base our laws on 2 millenia old tribal revenge rules and trying to base teaching on creation myths instead of science is making us a laughing stock, i.e. infamous, not famous.  Here's a tip, Douthat: they're not the same word.  Can't count, can't use a dictionary.  The N.Y. Times should hire people who went to N.Y.C. public schools instead of using a voucher.

  •  Douthat's concerns are 12 YEARS TOO LATE. (0+ / 0-)

    Stephanie Mencimer (now with Mother Jones magazine) spelled out this phenomenon back in June 2001, when she was a contributing editor with The Washington Monthly:

    Bear in mind, also, she was commenting on this phenomenon based on data collected in the 1990's.

    IMO, the opening statement says it all, and illustrates the attitude problem Douthat and other GOoPers have:

    Conservatives thought that if they only made it harder for mothers to work, women would stay home.
    Instead, women stopped having kids.

    Republicans Suck Like A Hoover

    by BaritoneWoman on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 10:40:57 AM PST

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