I just read David Brooks’ editorial about the outcome in Iowa. First, I’m worried that he praises Obama. Why would he do this? I suspect something sinister, like he hopes to deflate his candidacy. But that’s paranoia. I’m more confused by his statement, outlining what Huckabee knows that all others in the field don’t: “A person’s lifetime prospects will be threatened more by single parenting than by outsourcing.” Really? What does this mean? I’m curious where he gets this from. I’ve emailed him for the data he’s used to make the claim. I don’t expect a response.
I understand that more people will be raised by single parents than lose their jobs to outsourcing. So in that sense, the likelihood of experiencing the former is greater than the latter. But in terms of the effects of one or the other, I’m guessing that losing your job is worse. Brooks follows, “Huckabee understands that economic well-being is fused with social and moral well-being, and he talks about the inter-relationship in a way no other candidate has.” What’s notable about Brooks is that he is perhaps the most prominent voice of cultural analysis in the US (which frustrates me). And given our recent discussions of privilege, I would note that he’s one of the few columnists I know of who has taken up the idea (particularly when it comes to social and cultural capital).
I am periodically surprised that there aren’t more conservatives in sociology. The Right has adopted Tocqueville; they have begun to make strong moves at doing the same with Weber; I would argue that the dominant readings of culture in the public consciousness actually come from conservatives, not sociologists. In reading Durkheim one could easily see him being picked up by the conservative movement. There was even an article in the NYTimes several years ago about how Capital was picked up by Wall Street for its particularly insightful understanding of how production worked. If you think of some of the central concepts we draw upon: norms, culture, agency, power, the family, etc., one could easily imagine conservatives picking them up and using them.
Our variable-based trinity of race/class/gender may be what puts them off (that, and sitting through classes probably feels like indoctrination to young conservatives). Obviously, there are more structural reasons. But it is something I wonder about.