I lost in a landslide.
That didn't surprise me, because I'm known for breaking taboos - and breaking balls - and Mary Katharine Ham is known for being,...Mary Katharine Ham.
When I asked the others to defend their reasoning, the answers I got were revealing - and, in the case of the men, more than a little sad.
They all admitted Mary Katharine Ham doesn't bring anything new to the table.
But Mary Katharine Ham, you see, along with being a woman, is "FUNNY" and a "happy warrior".
That was enough to make me think conservatism has been infantilized.
Content doesn't matter.
Whether what you're saying is original, important, or correct, doesn't either.
Whether it rolls over liberalism, who cares?
Being seen as a cart wheeling clown is what matters.
I don't really think Althouse's readers considered how their words struck me.
Are they not aware the writer, Kay Hymowitz is currently marketing a book called Manning Up specifically about how men today won't grow up?
Are they suggesting I join that demoralizing phenomena in order to be acceptable?
And why must I - or anyone else - be anymore "happy" than I choose to be?
Especially when discussing serious topics?
Is conservatism an ideological movement or a popularity contest?
In Pascal Bruckner's new essay, Condemned To Joy, the French writer and philosopher has this to say about the parameters of contemporary American culture:
The Western cult of happiness is indeed a strange adventure, something like a collective intoxication. In the guise of emancipation, it transforms a high ideal into its opposite. Condemned to joy, we must be happy or lose all standing in society. It is not a question of knowing whether we are more or less happy than our ancestors; our conception of the thing itself has changed, and we are probably the first society in history to make people unhappy for not being happy.That ability to twist a good idea into something horrible is, of course, a defining component of my favorite subject - the NewAge.
The NewAge introduced me to the killers who speak of "peace", the "healers" who use water as medicine, the messengers with "The Secret" who perpetuate a fraud on all who listen, and the icons of morality caught being immoral at every turn.
No one who comments at Althouse would describe themselves as a NewAger.
That, too, is a facet of New Age.
No, what they'll keep doing is demanding - as society demands - we all conform to NewAge's tenets, while denying they exist at all.
And, if they do, it's someone else who's involved in it.
But not them, or Mary Katharine Ham, or any of the other grinning fools who perpetuate the same "conservative" nonsense over and over again, claiming it's new or expecting a different result.
This, like following the Maharishi's dogmatic dictates, will somehow lead to our freedom.
And make them "happy".
Personally, like the larger NewAge culture, I think they're badly mistaken about the concept of happiness.
But I have nothing against any of them for thinking this.
I don't even have anything against Mary Katharine Ham.
I just don't think any of them truly understand what NewAge has done to us.