I’m not sure if Campus Progress dredged up Ross Douthat’s old Harvard articles as part of some misguided attempt to derail his move to the Times, but they’re fascinating reading nonetheless (via). Three quick thoughts:
1.) I shudder to think what I would have done with a newspaper column in college. My only contribution to Mary Washington’s abysmal Bullet was “Three Years of Living Dangerously,” an embarrassingly crude (if occasionally funny) satire of sharing a room with a lacrosse jock for several semesters.
2.) Douthat matured as a writer before he matured as a thinker. That said, many of his worst rhetorical excesses – “It goes without saying that [Saddam Hussein], too, is busy trying to acquire a nuclear bomb” – wouldn’t have felt out of place in any number of mainstream conservative publications circa 2002.
3.) I liked this passage:
“[A]bsent a remarkable change in human nature, it seems unlikely the American multitudes, more concerned with ‘Survivor’ and stock options than with the details of Al Gore’s prescription drug plan, will suddenly bestir themselves, flip on CNN, and catch up on all the politics they have missed during our comfortable, decade-long Gilded Age. More likely, a sudden and artificially induced increase in voter turnout would only mean an increase in the number of ill-informed, poorly thought out and just plain stupid votes. To be blunt, most of the people who don’t vote, shouldn’t vote.”