Thursday, December 09, 2004

What's Wrong with David Brooks

Lots is wrong with Mr. Brooks, the conservative columnist of New York Times. But most importantly, he is either a very lazy researcher or a very sinister manipulator. Consider his recent column about the new natalist movement in the United States. There is such a movement, according to Mr. Brooks. Never mind if he doesn't give any evidence for it. Evidence is for the reality-based worldview and he belongs to the faith-based world.

In the faith-based world large numbers of voters move away from cities and settle in the exurbia to bring up children, lots of children. These people are religious and believe in traditional gender roles. They also voted for George Bush:

You can see surprising political correlations. As Steve Sailer pointed out in The American Conservative, George Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility rates, and 25 of the top 26. John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest rates.

Clearly, the future belongs to the fertile Republicans in the exurbia of the Red states.

Or so writes David Brooks. Too bad that the evidence he used comes from a man who is a white natalist, a believer in the need for the white race to have more children. Too bad that he's quite explicitly racist in his writings, and that his evidence is not about all Americans but only white Americans. Too bad that Brooks didn't bother to check this out or that he did so, yet consciously chose to phraze the arguments as something different.

And it's really too, too bad that his basic assumption is incorrect: birth rates are not higher in the Red states when we remove the assumption that only white births matter:

Brooks and Sailer asserted that Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility rates, and Kerry the 16 states with the lowest. But, according to data from a National Center for Health Statistics report, when the birth rates of all women are considered, regardless of race, "blue" states such as California, Illinois, and Hawaii are among the top 19 states, while other "blue" states such as Minnesota, Delaware, and Maryland make it into the top 26. Among the bottom 16 were "red" states such as Iowa, North Dakota, Florida, Montana, and West Virginia.

I'm not sure why the New York Times is always looking for more conservative voices when absolutely wonderful liberal writers end up being published on the very fringes if at all. But it makes me terribly sad to think that David Brooks might be the reason why Barbara Ehrenreich is not a regular columnist in the paper.
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