The Last Temptation of Ross Douthat

The Last Temptation of Ross Douthat
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File
>Five years ago I diagnosed the New York Times conservative columnist Ross Douthat's affliction by what I playfully dubbed “Ideological Displacement Syndrome” (IDS) –  in his case, a seemingly irrepressible drive to accuse liberals and the left of carrying dictatorial impulses that he somehow couldn't find in his own supposedly beleaguered, underdog conservative movement and Republican Party. 
Now, like some other longtime Republican loyalists, Douthat has acknowledged that Trump is feckless and reckless and that some rightists get out of hand, too -- but not as dangerously, he still insists, as liberals and progressives, who he claims are even more powerful and dangerous than Trump. 
He said so on October 19, writing under the headline, “Where Liberal Power Lies." But this kind of “blame the liberals” thinking --  ‘IDS’ to the max -- is worth contextualizing, because not only Douthat but also many others have been its carriers, on the left as much as on the right. At this moment, in a column portentously (pretentiously?) headlined, "The Last Temptation of Never Trump," Douthat is trying to wiggle out of the grip of what he calls his "right-wing id." But he still exemplifies how people who think ideologically succumb to delusions and twist hard realities, all the more so when they’re straining for trans-ideological omniscience.
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