Bobos in Limbo

In the aftermath of the bailout vote, David "National Greatness" Brooks throws a tantrum

let us recognize above all the 228 who voted no — the authors of this revolt of the nihilists. They showed the world how much they detest their own leaders and the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed. They did the momentarily popular thing, and if the country slides into a deep recession, they will have the time and leisure to watch public opinion shift against them.

House Republicans led the way and will get most of the blame....If this economy slides, they will go down in history as the Smoot-Hawleys of the 21st century.

So if you stand up for a principle, you're a nihilist; and if you refrain from passing an enormous new intervention after a Wall Street crash, you're reenacting Smoot-Hawley. Welcome to the worldview of a man who prefers "the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed" to the dispersed expertise of traders in the market, a wise crowd screaming to us that some inflated prices need to come down and some bloated companies need to fail.

Brooks did get one thing right:

What's sad is that they still think it's 1984. They still think the biggest threat comes from socialism and Walter Mondale liberalism.

Forget Marx and Mondale. At the moment, the biggest threat to economic liberty comes from people like Hank Paulson, George Bush, and David Brooks.

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  • robc||

    What we need in this situation is authority.

    Wow, what a shocker coming from Brooks.

  • ||

    Smoot-Hawley? Wouldn't that be a better example for someone arguing that a bailout could make things even worse? Or at least the wrong bailut could make things worse?

  • robc||

    the bankers don't trust each other.

    Trust isnt needed if there is a method of verifying the soundness of the other banks. Im guessing Brooks hasnt read the opening chapter of Cryptonomicon.

  • ||

    Love that picture. That's exactly why I hang out here.

  • ktc2||

    I just have to say I love the "Jump You Fuckers!" sign. I wish I had that kind of time on my hands.

  • robc||

    Ive now been called a nihilist enough times in my life that I guess I should verify that I know what that word means. Because I think Im not exact opposite of one, but this keeps happening.

  • ||

    Can we just call the neocons elitist socialists now? E-socs maybe?

  • PC||

    "They showed the world how much they detest their own leaders and the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed."

    The same "expertise" that got us into and "failed to predict" this mess. I figure the Fed, the Treasury, the Presidents', and the Congressional Leadership's level of leadership and foresight speaks for itself. If they think shaming the American people into accepting their worthless paper for above market price is going to work they are probably right, but I will not be fooled by these scumbags.

    The picture above is worth a thousand words and yes I do think it is 1984 again, "Go ahead and jump."

  • robc||

    Okay, just verified via wikipedia. As I thought, Im the exact opposite of a nihilist. So why do I keep getting called one?

  • robc||

    Epi,

    I never thought the leading e was necessary.

  • ||

    Yesterday, I hardly thought I could be happier after the bill crashed and burned.

    The "Jump" sign, has lifted my spirits even higher.

    Next up: Ron Paul accidentally wins Montana, holds Electoral College hostage.

  • Dagny T.||

    Anything that causes Brooks to wig is fine by me.

    So if you stand up for a principle, you're a nihilist

    You've been Nietzsche'd! Wildcard, bitches!

  • The Extispicator||

    I thought Nihilists were nothing to be afraid of. Then again, just about anything John Goodman says in a Cohen flick is pretty much gospel as far as I'm concerned.

  • robc||

    Next up: Ron Paul accidentally wins Montana, holds Electoral College hostage.

    If it goes to the House, not the top 3 electoral vote getters are eligible for votes. :)

  • robc||

    remove the not from previous post.

  • ||

    Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

  • Dagny T.||

    E-socs maybe?

    Depends on the pronunciation. Does it rhyme with Ewoks? Because that could be confusing.

    If it's pronouced as in "greasers and...", that's another story.

  • Mad Max||

    "If this economy slides . . ."

    This seems to imply that a bailout would prevent any economic slide. Or maybe he hopes to postpone one until after November.

  • ||

    You've been Nietzsche'd! Wildcard, bitches!

    I Kant take it any more!

  • ||

    Over at NRO, Li'l' Rich Lowry, the Bob Costas of "conservatism", has been throwing much the same tantrum. "Wah, wah, wah, they just don't get it!"

    When the revolution comes, it will time to liquidate these Trotskyite stooges!

  • JP||

    David Brooks, always good for a laugh. Wotta weenie.

  • Fluffy||

    Here's the only real argument I can think of for the bailout. I'm offering this as a devil's advocate kind of thing:

    "Yes, our statist tinkering with the economy has created certain problems. But, now that the problems exist, we don't really have a choice but to use additional tinkering to try to paper over our earlier mistakes. The economy as a whole is too warped away from a true free market to just let the chips fall where they may."

  • travis||

    "If it's pronouced as in "greasers and...", that's another story."

    Greasers will always be greasers & e-socs will always be e-socs.

  • Guy Montag||

    So, can we enact some meaningful legeslation now? Like lowering corporate taxes in general and taxes on fuel in specific?

  • Russ 2000||

    If this economy slides,

    IF?

    Brooks wants to call other people out of step with the times, but he's still stuck in 2005.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Fluffy - Just like the argument for sticking it out in Iraq.

  • ||

    Does it rhyme with Ewoks? Because that could be confusing.

    Fine. Forget the suggestion and just call them cocksuckers. Or even better, the Fluffy-revived "queefs".

  • Guy Montag||

    "They showed the world how much they detest their own leaders and the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed."

    Didn't Radley use similar wording to pick on President Bush for not worshiping academics enough?

  • Ravac||

    I bet Brooks likes to be spanked.

  • Mike M.||

    Oh, by the way, it looks like the Dow Jones gained almost five hundred points back today.

    I guess Financial Armageddon and The End of the World as We Know It has been postponed for at least one more day.

  • Guy Montag||

    Mike M.,

    You misunderstand. That is exactly what "Financial Armageddon and The End of the World as We Know It" looks like if you just sit back and don't try to stop it!

  • ||

    High praise for whomever made that sign!

  • ||

    They showed the world how much they detest their own leaders and the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed.

    He says that like its a bad thing.

  • SmokeyJoe||

    robc,

    Maybe they think you were in the band Nihilist and that is why you keep getting called one...

  • fyodor||

    Fluffy,

    Unless one has reason to think the government will get it right this time after getting it wrong enough previously to get us into this, then that logic would amount to a classic case of throwing good money after bad.

  • cunnivore||

    If your leaders are George Bush, Dick Cheney, Mitch McConnell, and John Boehner, and you DON'T detest them, there's something seriously wrong with you.

  • Cool Cal||

    There's a guy on my street in LA who has a pristine Mondale bumper sticker. That kinda scares me.

  • Nihilist||

    We believe in nothing, Brooks. Nothing! And tomorrow we come back and we cut off your johnson.

  • ||

    And tomorrow we come back and we cut off your johnson.

    "Apparently, Carl, when you bought that medium drink, you entered a binding contract that enables them to rip off your dick."

  • Not an expert||

    "they detest their own leaders and the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed."
    the same one's who said the sub prime crisis was "contained", that the economy was strong, and that rate cuts presented no danger when it came to inflation...
    stupid me!

  • Paul||

    They showed the world how much they detest their own leaders and the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed.



    This is so funny, I don't even know where to begin. Up yours, Brooks, might be a good place. I wave my genitals in your general direction, might be another.

  • Paul||

    Fluffy,

    Try again, not feeling it.

  • ||

    The only time conservatives use the term "free market" is when they are using it in the formulation: "the free market works, except in this case where the government has to step in.."

  • ||

    I hate everybody.

    But especially people like David Brooks.

  • ||

    Episiarch | September 30, 2008, 3:23pm | #

    You've been Nietzsche'd! Wildcard, bitches!

    I Kant take it any more!


    Quit fucking with my screen-name, bitches. Else I'll teabag you with my Balzac.;-}

  • ||

    The temper tantrums being thrown by everyone regardless of political stripe (Brooks, Frank, Paulson, etc.) because for once somebody finally said 'no' to them has been very informative.

  • ||

    I'm reading a book on modern Republicanic economics. It's called E-Socs Foibles.

  • ||

    Fluffy,

    Excellent point to raise. I would call that the Hair Of The Dog theory.

    Let us stipulate that federal action is somehow needed. Then...
    1) Why the rush?
    2) Why these people?
    3) What exactly IS the problem?

    #1: Imagine Apollo 13 saying "Houston, we have a problem" and Houston responding by saying "hey guys, while we try and figure this out, why don't you just start flipping switches and shit and see if you can make it better, because, ya know, this IS an emergency".

    The fact that this is presented as something that must be done "yesterday, at the latest", reveals they have no good argument, and therefore would like to avoid one, or that their analysis of the situation is that the New Stone Age is but days away if we don't act now. Since we're already past their "drop dead" date, their analysis isn't worth a bundle of sub-prime mortgages in DC.

    As to the no-good-argument, this one worked so well with the Patriot Act ("nothing to fear if you're not doing anything wrong"), and the Iraq War ("smoking gun = mushroom cloud"), I think the administration had the people's... trust? or, unquestioning obedience. That's not factoring in the being suckered twice already and the president's single-digit approval ratings.

    If we are truly headed toward catastrophe and only the right course of action can save us, shouldn't that be done with a lot of deliberation -- thinking through the side effects, comparing what we want to try with past history, etc.?

    So, even if Something (Federal) Must Be Done, not in the time frame they're asking for.

    #2: We posited that this is a problem BECAUSE of past government action, so clearly maintaining the previous course won't lead to a better outcome. In that case, the people at the levers of government power that should have been able to mitigate this, but didn't, seem uniquely UNQUALIFIED for implementing the solution (perhaps unqualified to do anything but teach junior college, but I digress...).

    In fact on the grid of Old People + New Strategy, New People + New Strategy, and New People + Old Strategy, it seems like the best first thing to try is the last: before we start trying something new, let's just assume that the current staff, having displayed a lack of competence, are, well, incompetent. Maybe competent people can fix the problem with existing tools.

    That LAST thing you want to do is take people who have FAILED on a well-documented course, and give them the chance to experiment wildly.

    So, this "rescue attempt" might have some credibility if started out saying that a team of bankruptcy judges, or Nobel prize winners, or... anyone not associated with Wall Street or the White House would be the "deciders" in the case.

    #3: If you can't explain what's wrong and how your solution is going to fix it, what are the chances of your being able to fix it? Perhaps I'm inordinately dense, having "faith" in the free market and all, but I HAVE been paying attention and I haven't heard a credible explanation yet.

    What I've heard is that credit markets are "clogged" and "frozen". I don't know what this means. My credit card still works. Stupid re-finance banners bounce around in Yahoo. I know that this isn't the same market, but what is it and how does it effect me and how are the proposed actions supposed to fix things?

    I read one business section article saying how this would effect major companies, for instance, McDonald's is now putting in specialty coffee sections and how would they get the money to renovate their stores?

    McDonald's? Coffee? Really?

    And I'm sorry to skewer straw men here, but I haven't seen any arguments BETTER than this!

    So, Fluffy, good hypothetical, but: not now, not them, and not this.

  • ||

    "They showed the world how much they detest their own leaders and the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed."
    Jeez - ya think so? To paraphrase Christopher Hitchens, if you gave these people enemas, you could fit them in matchboxes, on the basis of their past demonstrations of "expertise" and leadership abilities.

  • ||

    i work in downtown manhattan (though not in finance) and, together with a friend of mine, went to this little anti-bailout protest by the bull statue last thursday.

    maybe i was too early, but it was a pretty sad affair - two, maybe three dozen very quiet people gathered by the bull. one of the biggest signs held aloft was from a homeless advocate. there was a man walking around chanting "lethal injection for the wall street terrorists!" i stood there for a couple of minutes, and then spotted a sign saying "Capitalism - what do you expect?" or something to that effect. I then decided that I couldn't be associated with these people, and went back to work. My friend left like thirty seconds later.

    Still, I'm glad it didn't pass on Monday. I'm sure something more watered down will pass next week or so. I'm not sure what to think about that.

    "Trotskyist stooges" LOL

    -sv

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