• Courtesy of Charlie Rose
  • David Brooks

An idea has come when its skeptics are more interesting to read than its champions.

This week I’ve watched conservatives pundits—that is, the New York Times version of conservative pundits—grapple with gay marriage. “The conservative argument still has serious exponents,” Ross Douthat wrote, “but it’s now chuckled at in courtrooms, dismissed by intellectuals, mocked in the media and (in a sudden, recent rush) abandoned by politicians.”

All Douthat could say on behalf of the conservative argument was to assert that as “the cause of gay marriage has pressed forward, the social link between marriage and childbearing has indeed weakened faster than before”—not that the first is necessarily the cause of the second or that the second is necessarily a bad thing. Douthat’s not saying that. Even so, it requires a “certain willed naivete” to believe “that the advance of gay marriage is unrelated to any other marital trend.”