Douthat Takes on Fornication

by W.F. Price on May 4, 2012

Ross Douthat has entered the debate on the new HBO show “Girls,” which, in a hint of things to come in the Democratic Party’s rainbow coalition, has attracted some controversy because it portrays white girls’ lives. However, Douthat isn’t concerned with race so much as he is with the prevalent loose sexual mores.

Douthat is quite young; in fact, at just a couple years over 30, he is the youngest editorialist ever hired by the NY Times. He probably has a fairly good idea of how young women of his generation behave, but I’m not entirely sure he understands what’s behind it.

Douthat on “Girls:”

I’m not suggesting that Dunham is secretly channeling the show’s profits to the Family Research Council. But it’s still interesting to watch how effectively “Girls” weaves together elements from various recent critiques of modern sexual arrangements. The pseudo-relationship that Dunham’s character, Hannah Horvath, is pursuing with a shirtless hipster layabout is a case study in the unearned sexual advantages that a culture that assumes a certain amount of promiscuity affords to underachieving and unworthy men. Her best friend’s exhaustion with her nice-guy boyfriend suggests how easily long-term “starter marriage”-type relationships can become smothering traps for the people involved. The babbling “Sex and the City” acolyte who treats her own virginity as a dreadful stigma illustrates the point that the sociologists Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker make in their excellent book, “Premarital Sex in America” – that contemporary teens and twentysomethings consistently overestimate how much sex their peers are having, which in turn puts pressure on them to have more sexual partners than their own preferences would otherwise incline them toward.

Douthat seems to feel that promiscuity is a reward to be earned, which suggests that he has limited perspective. “Underachieving and unworthy” have always gone hand-in-hand with promiscuity, according to traditional morality. This goes all the way back to the ancient Romans, Greeks, Hebrews, Chinese, etc.

What Douthat is doing is making the mistake that too many social conservatives are prone to (and, incidentally, which repels many females): he assumes that access to females and sexual gratification are rewards for following the rules. Only someone who grew up in the eminently functional fraction of our society could come to such a far-off conclusion. Most of the rest of us know what promiscuity is really all about: broken families, unwanted pregnancies, wrecked childhoods, jealousy, betrayal, despair, etc. And, of course, despite all these things, it remains an extraordinarily common vice.

For morally-minded people, promiscuity should no more be seen as a reward to be “earned” than drunkenness, sloth or gluttony.

I’m starting to wonder whether a lot of the social conservatives’ angst about the sexual status quo isn’t a result of them feeling left out. All the hotsex these “shirtless hipster layabout” losers are getting from the naughty little skank in the next apartment must really gnaw at an eminently well-behaved young man like Douthat (magnacumlaudephibetakappa Harvard grad). However, I don’t want to beat up on Douthat, because I think he’s an earnest, bright young man. I like him quite a bit. But I think he’s got to take a walk out of the urban enclaves of the East and get a breath of fresh air around some ordinary people for a change. He ought to do this so he can see that there’s little difference no matter where you are on the scale — it’s a systemic problem that has nothing to do with what people deserve.

The hipster layabout in Manhattan is the ghetto thug in a black neighborhood, the badboy biker in the downrent suburbs, the narco cholo in SoCal, and the rogue cowboy in ranch country. Does society “afford” sex to these men? Nah, the women do. We aren’t giving these badboys a break — we’re giving females a break. Maybe Douthat understands that, and can’t put it in writing because he’d get canned. If that’s the case, all I can say is that a nation has really fallen very low when it can’t even chide its young women for their misbehavior, and has to resort to blaming every and anyone else for the problem.

If we’re going to deal with this problem, we have to recognize that young women prefer the status quo. Women who post on this site are very explicit about it. They want the shirtless hipsters to have sex with them and the Ross Douthats to support them, and that’s exactly what they’ve got. It’s female nirvana.

As men, we have only two adaptive responses at our disposal:

1) Just leave it, i.e. MGTOW

2) Take advantage of it, i.e. Game

As for the non-adaptive option, it’s one of sacrifice; standing up to the beast and speaking truth to its face. I wouldn’t recommend it for those who care about their personal well-being, but it’s the one slim hope we have to rectify the situation. It’s too bad we can’t count on our respectable molders of public opinion to take on the job, but that’s probably how it’s always been.

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