Friday links! Dogged determination edition

Every American schoolchild knows they should never give up on anything no matter what. Like confidence, honesty, or patriotism, persistence is one of those good qualities that can never go wrong. The trick is to ignore failure. If some setback tempts you to reevaluate what you’ve been doing, put it out of your mind and soldier on. That’s how you guarantee that you enjoy a long, happy life, like a soldier. Today is Friday, and when all else fails us, we will still have our determination to succeed. Won’t you push deeper into the fishbowl with me?

Continue reading

Close Readings: Ross Douthat’s “liberal eugenics”

New York magazine's graphic on Ross Douthat's positions circa 2008

Fellow Ross Douthat hater Miracle Mike Sebba sent me this link to a Sunday Times column in which the spoon-faced conservative explains eugenics. He devotes the first five paragraphs to the dim science of Spencer and Sanger,* but his real purpose is to get us to modern fetal genome mapping. We can do that now—the whole famn detal genome with saliva and blood samples from parents. Douthat compares the practice to amniocentesis screening for Down Syndrome, where 90% of positive results end in termination of the pregnancy. Then he hits us with his thesis:

Is this sort of “liberal eugenics,” in which the agents of reproductive selection are parents rather than the state, entirely different from the eugenics of Fisher’s era, which forced sterilization on unwilling men and women?

That’s some dirty rhetoric from Douthat. He’s got god on his side, but luckily for us we have close reading.

Continue reading