David Brooks Surveys Economic Wreckage, Redoubles Patriotic Battle Against the "surge in vehement libertarianism"

Just read this 11-sentence train of thought that opens the New York Times columnist's latest:

The United States is becoming a broken society. The public has contempt for the political class. Public debt is piling up at an astonishing and unrelenting pace. Middle-class wages have lagged. Unemployment will remain high. It will take years to fully recover from the financial crisis.

This confluence of crises has produced a surge in vehement libertarianism. People are disgusted with Washington. The Tea Party movement rallies against big government, big business and the ruling class in general. Even beyond their ranks, there is a corrosive cynicism about public action.

But there is another way to respond to these problems that is more communitarian and less libertarian.

Seriously, read it again. Maybe get it tattoed, with a certain vehemence, right above your tailbone, with an arrow and a festive editorial comment.

After a decade of distinctly David Brooksian big-government governance, during which he has seamlessly transferred his affections from John McCain to George W. Bush to Barack Obama, the Last Honest Man surveys the economic wasteland and lousy public policies he's been cheering on all these years, and blames the inevitably Washington-centric results on anti-authoritarians. No really, that's what he does:

The free-market revolution didn't create the pluralistic decentralized economy. It created a centralized financial monoculture, which requires a gigantic government to audit its activities. The effort to liberate individuals from repressive social constraints didn't produce a flowering of freedom; it weakened families, increased out-of-wedlock births and turned neighbors into strangers.

To combat our "devastating crisis of authority," Brooks wants to "take a political culture that has been oriented around individual choice and replace it with one oriented around relationships and associations," whatever the hell that means. "The only way to restore trust," he concludes, "is from the local community on up." Really? I thought you might also be able to move the needle if the authorities themselves weren't screwing up so bad, and had less power over our lives. But then again, I'm a "nihilist."

I think I've finally figured Brooks out. More than anything else, he's an anti-anti-authoritarian. And as in all double negatives, there's a much shorter way to express the exact same idea.

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  • ||

    The public has contempt for the political class.

    This is a bad thing? Oh. I will report to the re-education camp immediately.

  • ||

    It is not that the public has any particular feeling about or attitude toward the "ruling" class; it is that that class is contemptible.
    .

  • Chony from MNGville||

    Government is good! The private sector is bad! Yaaargh!

  • ev||

    Oh Matt, you filthy bitch!

  • Ratko||

    Just because Matt got a tramp stamp on his tail bone doesn't make him a filthy bitch.

  • ||

    See? I would just start stabbing my eyes with icepicks if I had to read this kind of shit with any regularity.

    Matt, your well-endowed stamina to repeatedly read this fetid, mind-bleaching bilge is truly amazing. You're the Peter North of libertarianism.

  • peachy||

    Man, when people said he was the Peter North of Libertarianism, I thought it was because... ahem. I've said too much.

  • Kyle Jordan Prime||

    He denies the gay porn he did in the beginning of his career?

    (Just kidding Fingers!)

  • bmp1701||

    Because he fired shot after shot after shot at David Brooks? Because he directed a veritable fountain of mockery at the authoritarian fool? Please, what were your thoughts?

  • Peter North ||

    Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah ahahahahahahahahahahah.

    There's still some in your hair.

  • ||

    You're comparing reading David Brooks to being a male porn star?

  • bmp1701||

    Sure, if the male porn star is doing BBW movies.

  • Butts Wanger||

    you say that like BBW movies are a bad thing.

  • dennis||

    Hey the second b is for beautiful.

  • ¢||

    More than anything else, he's an anti-anti-authoritarian

    Not more than he's a closet S/M bottom.

    ...Wait. You're right. Same thing.

  • ||

    Ever notice how it's generally left-liberals that have Nazi fetishes?

    Why do you think they always have the best uniforms in the movies?

    It's that whole "I desire someone to dominate me and make me obey!" thing.

  • CE||

    They didn't call themselves the National Socialist Party for nothing.

  • ||

    Our betters reserve the priviledge of individualism for themselves. There's them and there's us - the people or, rather, the huddled masses yearning for direction from the leisure/thinking class.

  • ||

    Perhaps they regard themselves as the nipple on the breast of the masses!

  • mark||

    David Brooks seems to be terrified of freedom. "Just think of the power vacuum! What ever will the knuckle-dragging tea baggers I've never met do with all that freedom? Save me Barack!"

  • T||

    I love how, in the same sentence, we get "passing zoning legislation" and "reducing barriers to entry" touted as the solution.

  • Matt Welch||

    Meant to include that, thanks.

  • mark||

    WTF:

    This would mean passing zoning legislation to give small shopkeepers a shot against the retail giants, reducing barriers to entry for new businesses, revitalizing local banks, encouraging employee share ownership, setting up local capital funds so community associations could invest in local enterprises, rewarding savings, cutting regulations that socialize risk and privatize profit, and reducing the subsidies that flow from big government and big business.

    Zoning legislation - theft
    Barriers to entry - corruption
    Revitalizing - dole
    Encouraging - taxing
    Community associations - the mob
    Rewarding - paternalism

    And I'm sure he means reducing the subsidies that flow from to big government and big business, but I'm not sure he even knows what he means. The whole column is gibberish.

  • ||

    You're clearly part of the problem if you cannot see how this is the obvious solution of having the correct number of laws and regulations. Please report to your nearest appointed BrooksBooth™ Rehabilitation Booth for the appropriate social adjustment, which has been tailored just for your specific needs.

  • Comrade Zero||

    Just grab your ankles and smile...

  • Jeffersonian||

    The whole column is gibberish.

    Brooks has lost his fucking mind due to the cratering of the object of his mancrush, Chocolate Jesus.

  • ||

    I think I've finally figured Brooks out. More than anything else, he's an anti-anti-authoritarian. And as in all double negatives, there's a much shorter way to express the exact same idea.

    That would be statist, no?

  • oncogenesis||

    anti-anti-authoritarian = authoritarian

    yfLogician

  • ||

    You flunk sublety.

  • ||

    "he's an anti-anti-authoritarian."

    I think he's an anti-anti-douchenozzle.

  • MWG||

    Similar to their "Nanny of the Month", I think Reason should establish a new monthly award... "Douche Bag of the Month", of which I would nominate David Brooks.

  • ||

    Why slander a perfectly useful implement like the douchebag?

  • ||

    Indeed. I doubt shoving David Brooks into a vagina is going to make it smell any better.

  • R Herring||

    Tulpa,you have an interesting case of Erotophobia

  • MWG||

    Touche!

  • ||

    Douche!

  • r3VOLutionist777||

    "Why slander a perfectly useful implement like the douchebag?"

    Heh. Now THAT is funny! Classic. :)

  • ||

    This country was founded on distrust and contempt for government and for "political classes." The fact that people like Brooks and the leaders of our current government don't understand why we have had such core values or why they remain relevant is their problem, not ours.

    What we need is more libertarian values, more civil society, and less corrupt, politically motivated, dishonest government bullshit.

  • Kyle Jordan Prime||

    "This country was founded on distrust and contempt for government and for "political classes."

    Tell that to ten people you either don't or only vaguely know. I'm willing to bet that the majority will either look at you like you're crazy or simply not believe you.

    It's pathetic.

  • ||

    Well, that's why they gave you the power ring, Kyle, to straighten things out.

    For most people, I think the idea that government shouldn't be trusted too much isn't some great leap. They just don't understand that such distrust is supposed to be dealt with through structural limits, not in picking some anointed fool to lead them to the promised land.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Well said on all counts, Pro Lib.

  • Kyle Jordan Prime||

    I hope you're right.

    Maybe once I move I'll be around some more like minded people. Feel like a damn island sometimes.

  • ||

    OK, I guess I have been out of comic book reading too long. I thought it was Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner who were entrusted with the Green Lantern power rings. Who is Kyle Jordan, prime or otherwise?

  • ||

    He's both. He's got a ring on each hand.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Bastard love child?

  • ||

    Congress has had a 30-40% approval rating almost constantly for the past what, 25 years or so? There's plenty of disdain for the political class out there -- it's just that the political class has figured out how to keep that from translating into electoral defeats through perpetually generating crises, gerrymandering, and dumping money into their own states and districts.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Nobody. It's just an amalgamation of the two names that commentor chose to use.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    What the fuck? That was supposed to be a reply to James Anderson Merritt.

  • ||

    And, yea, they cried unto the heavens: threaded comments suck.

  • ||

    I hope the Green Lantern will fix this blog when he can take a break fighting for justice.

  • ||

    To combat our "devastating crisis of authority," Brooks wants to "take a political culture that has been oriented around individual choice and replace it with one oriented around relationships and associations," whatever the hell that means.

    Well, it can't mean voluntary associations and relationships, since those all grow out of individual choice.

    So it must mean coerced associations and relationships. There's a name for that . . . .

  • ||

    I believe that reeducation is in order. In camps. I also think some calendar reform is needed. To avoid the debates over when decades, centuries, and millennia end, we should start with the Year Zero.

  • Marc||

    Exactly. I've never seen a coherent explanation of what communitarianism is supposed to look like. It can't simply consist of libertarianism in which everybody acts like a collectivist. Can it?

    I think it has something to do with town hall meetings, though.

  • ||

    IIRC, they had a similar setup in the Soviet Union. The theory was that political legitimacy, power, and mandate were to flow from, or at least be validated by the grass-roots -- local Soviets, where individuals got to vote and from which representation to higher, regional and national Soviets was selected. In practice, the Soviet system acted to push decisions made at a higher level down to the street, ignoring or contradicting locally expressed wishes outright.

    Somebody at Reason should examine the old Soviet system and its parallels to what is happening in the USA today. The resulting article could be very informative.

  • SkepticalTexan||

    Somebody at Reason should examine the old Soviet system and its parallels to what is happening in the USA today. The resulting article could be very informative.

    Sorry, this cannot be done because to do so would subject the writer to accusations of sounding like a Bircher.

    The sad truth is that the Birchers were just a little premature.

  • SkepticalTexan||

    The theory was that political legitimacy, power, and mandate were to flow from, or at least be validated by the grass-roots

    Not really. Only Russian Social Democratic Workers Party members could serve in a soviet at any level. Consider Lenin's Bolshevik definition of a Party member: "A member of the party is one who accepts it programme, and supports it both materially and by personal participation in one of its organizations." To be a member of a soviet, one had to support the party programme, which was determined by the leadership of the party. The Party was the vanguard of the proletariat, not the other way around.

  • ||

    People are disgusted with Washington.

    Oh, HORROR.

  • virginia||

    Anyone who disagrees with our current level of government obviously hates poor children and wants to live in Somalia.

  • bmp1701||

    RACIST!

  • ||

    America, too, is suffering a devastating crisis of authority.

    So am I reading this right? This douche bag believes that we don't have enough authority?

  • ||

    I think the Brooks column is ghost written by Michael Moynihan. All of us intellectuals hate the conspiracy theorist the most. We can't let them destroyed our shared history!

    The racist populist are dangerous and no lies were told to get us into wars EVER!! And ok if there were lies..they were just accidents we swear.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I thought I told you your gimmick is played.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    Maybe the left wing establishment's explicit hatred of "libertarians", combined with the right wing establishment's explicit hatred of "libertarians", might be just what libertarianism needs to get over the popularity bump.

  • LibertyBill||

    Interesting take on it.

  • Marc||

    First they ignore you, then they snipe at you from all directions, then you win.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    ...Or it "might be just what libertarianism needs to get" rounded up and shot.

  • Seventh Son||

    How are martyrdom and a bump in popularity mutually exclusive?

  • ||

    Libertarians are the Jews of the 21st century. Except that we're disproportionately uncircumcised.

  • bmp1701||

    So Libertarians might be forced to wear badges shaped like little foreskins?

  • Comrade Zero||

    Wear little green dollar signs.

  • Comrade Zero||

    Wear little green dollar signs.

  • Corduroy Rocks||

    You must not have been born in the 70's.

  • ||

    Well I myself am proportionately circumcised, but judging from the mean streak that appears on these threads whenever the C-word is brought up, I get the impression that a lot of us aren't.

  • Spoonman.||

    I am, but I think it's a godawful thing to do and won't circumcise my sons.

  • ||

    Do you resent your folks for allowing this atrocity to befall you?

  • Smegma||

    Move along, nothing to smell here.

  • ||

    I think Brooks has been studying the Ascended One's "on the one hand/ on the other hand" rhetorical style.

    I got so dizzy I had to stop reading.

  • ||

    I've heard that Brooks hangs out at bars where guys wear sharply creased trowsers.

    Honest.

  • ||

    Then there was the market revolution from the right. In the age of deregulation, giant chains like Wal-Mart decimated local shop owners.

    I was on the front lines back then. I remember the WalMart stormtroopers descending on the prosperous middle class business districts with their flamethrowers, bazookas and howling mobs seeking lower prices and greater selection. I fought alongside the Moms and Pops but the battle was lost before it even began.

    First the poor customers deserted our side, bribed by the glitz of large selections of merchandise offered at lower prices. Then the middle class shoppers, our friends and peers, decided that paying a mere 20% extra for products was just too much too sacrifice for the cause. Summer customers and sunshine purchasers we called them.

    Simultaneously our workers were lured into deserting and actually enlisting with the rapacious corporate enemy by the promise that you could advance up the corporate ladder without even being a member of the family!

    It was a massacre.

  • Kolohe||

    It was a massacre.
    Actually, per Brooks, only one out of every ten bit the dust.

  • peachy||

    Ie, a decimation. (It's so nice to have a chance to use that word literally.)

  • ||

    Decimated!

  • ||

    *shakes fist at peachy for getting there first*

  • ||

    You know, centipedes and millipedes don't actually have 100 and 1000 legs, respectively. Sometimes the numeric prefix is just a figure of speech.

  • Marc||

    I don't agree, which is why I say "dodecipedes" and "sesquicentipedes".

  • Dangerman||

    Best post all day.

  • Alistair Young||

    You win the Internet.

  • He ||

    only wins in the ink stain,top right pocket division.

  • ||

    I have more numerical-prefix ripostes where that came from.

  • I hope||

    involves #2 cause math bores the shit out of me.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Arguably it is increased regulation requiring economies of scale that enables Wal-Mart and screws small business.

  • ||

    Certainly increased regulation is one factor that contributes to large businesses out competing smaller ones.

    The econony of scale would have done that all by itself, regulation or no.

  • ||

    I don't think it would have happened so thoroughly without the regulatory advantages, coupled with the tax breaks and subsidies local governments offered to WM to build stores within their jurisdiction. You know, the stuff that calls into question whether Walmart's triumph was really a free-market phenomenon.

  • SkepticalTexan||

    If you ever met any of WalMart's senior or middle management, you'd know that the firm's success was mainly derived from superb management, marketing, and logistics.

    Mom and Pop didn't have a chance because they were incompetent.

  • SkepticalTexan||

    It's kinda funny how totalitarians of all stripes hate department stores.

  • ||

    The public has contempt for the political class.

    Does anyone here remember the movie "Eagle Eye"? The part where the Capitol Building was about to get blowed up and the main characters were hurrying to stop it? I remember being disappointed that they made it in time to stop the bomb from going off...

    Does that classify as contempt?

  • ||

    I ran across Independence Day on the tube the other day. I sat down specifically to watch the Capitol get blowed up.

    I smiled. A guy can dream.

  • Kyle Jordan Prime||

    The one in LA was always my favorite. I love seeing idiots suffer.

  • bleek obummer||

    When I saw Independence Day in the theater, people cheered that scene.

  • ed||

    I cheered when Harvey Fierstein was finally killed.

  • ||

    And we wonder why people hate libertarians.

    Some of us actually do have respect for the institutions of this, the freest country on earth, even though we despise and fight against the actions of the people currently in control of them.

  • ||

    Until recently, I would have said I had respect for our institutions.

    However, the circus of the last year has made it very hard, very hard.

  • pebbles||

    Some would say that cheering the destruction of the bureaucrat class is exhibiting a "respect for the institutions of this, the freest country on earth."

  • ||

    It was never implied that Congress was inside the Capitol when it got zapped; in fact I'm sure it would have been evacuated after the alien ship started hovering directly over it.

  • ||

    No wonder libertarianism is such dwindling inept group. If we can't all get behind a once-in-a-lifetime leader like Obama, A man who has bridged the gap between so many different kinds of people, then we are seriously out of touch. The Capitol building is a sacred temple to America and all the good we stand for. Everytime we kill a terrorist we should be thankful that people go to work in that capital building everyday and sacrifice for OUR freedom.

  • Marc||

    I forget, is CO a spoof or not?

  • Jeffersonian||

    He's self-spoofing.

  • ||

    That's a perfectly natural part of growing up.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I had a similar reaction to the grandma watching the aliens in "Mars Attacks" massacre our elected legislators: "Ha! They killed Congress!! Ahahahahaha!!!"

  • bmp1701||

    I recall reading the ending of Clancy's "Debt of Honor" with a big smile on my face.

  • MacGhil||

    ARIIA was a great patriot.

  • ||

    Sorry. You lost me at "remember the movie Eagle Eye".

  • robc||

    turned neighbors into strangers.

    Certain big government types have a horrible geographic fetish.

    It shows up in immigration policy, trade policy, military policy and shit like the quoted bit above.

    Im much more interested in h&r commenters than the random people who live on my street.

  • ||

    I don't have much to do with my neighbors (although yesterday, when the crazy cat lady who lives next door asked me to shoot a skunk off her back lawn, I was happy to oblige).

    Which is fine, because I generally find that my neighbors don't want much to do with me.

    Make of that what you will.

  • Spoonman.||

    Agreed. My neighbor is an astoundingly tall 20ish woman who listens to Taylor Swift and techno Lady Gaga remixes very loudly at random times during the day (according to my fiancee, I'm usually at work when this goes on). Why would I care to know her?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    listens to Taylor Swift and techno Lady Gaga remixes very loudly at random times during the day

    Ha ha ha, thanks for making my day.

  • Spoonman.||

    We call her "Taylor Swift Giant". Needless to say, we've never exchanged more than a few pleasantries.

  • ||

    (according to my fiancee, I'm usually at work when this goes on)

    So where are you really? Not next door, I hope.

  • ||

    It's a community fetish, RobC. They're so conditioned by groupthink that they are literally terrified of individualism at any level. Because individualists put themselves first, not the community.

  • robc||

    I disagree. H&R is a community. The GT sports board is a community (we even get together at games in person too). I could go on with other similar concepts. These communities arent geographically oriented though.

    The fetish is with geography. Communities based on non-geographic stuff doesnt count for them.

  • Random Dude||

    Mmm.... I dunno I think it might go even deeper than that for the authoritarians though.

    The geographic community organizations I've been a part of are very crucial to me. That being said, they're all voluntary. I think the statists like the ideas of "safety" or a "watchman" or "enforcer" even if the practical reality is far different.

    I think our knowledge-worker overlords are a little too stuck in their abstractions and tend to think that another abstraction in the form of a law or regulation is the answer. Sadly, the real consequences of more paranoia, fear, strife, and impoverishment follow.

  • ||

    It's a fear of communities in which you are not coercively forced to be involved.

    Cause if you are allowed to *choose*, then you can't be used as a milch cow to show your community spirit.

    On another level, it's about a quasi-Christian belief that people have to be made to suffer for others. They are saving your soul by forcing you to participate in church-like group rituals with people you otherwise wouldn't even engage.

  • bmp1701||

    My nearest neighbor is an overweight ex-stripper who has committed several half-hearted suicide attempts, has unleashed a horde of adopted cats into the woods, and who routinely has ex-felon boyfriends skulking about. I would be very happy if she became even more of a stranger than she is now.

  • J_L_B||

    Once again, another NY Times article lamenting that all that is wrong with the US (at least in the eyes of the NY Times) is the fault of [insert cause here: usually Republican, right-wing, or liberatarian in nature] and responsibility of the Federal government to fix. I lament the idea that government should engineer society at all.

  • Zeb||

    And this is from the Times's "conservative" columnist.

  • J_L_B||

    Exactly, as Chris Matthews said, the media (he was referring to MSDNC, but it can apply to the NY Times as well) provides fair debate between the left and center-left.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    It is truly astounding that anyone can claim Brooks to be a conservative with a straight face.

  • Groucho||

    Is that better or worse than a conservative with a gay face?

  • ||

    Certain big government types have a horrible geographic fetish.

    Probably because the world we actually live in, that is the most difficult to disrupt by evildoers in govt and elsewhere, is geographical in nature.

    The existence of non-geographic communities is a luxury produced by our (relatively) prosperous and free society. If and when the shit hits the fan, and the government shuts down the net and takes control of radio, TV, and newspapers, you're not going to be able to form a resistance with fellow H&R commenters. You're going to need to get together with people nearby who you know you can trust.

    I'm certain this isn't why David Brooks uttered that line, but it is the truth.

  • Chinny Chin Chin||

    This is why I always leave a bowl of cat food on the back porch.

  • Sam Grove||

    Political boundaries enclose geographic areas. It's the territorial instinct.

    Also, they appear to misuse the word "community". I think they are trying to avoid describing subjects of government as a "herd".

  • ||

    Honestly, I am very good friends with my neighbors. Sure I make fun of them for voting for Obama, but our kids are best friends we cut wood together, have campfires, play poker, drink beer, wrestle, play wiffleball, go to the beach. If the power goes out or I am out of town we'd the dad next door would do anything for us and likewise with us.

    If the economy collapses we'll have a bi-partisian neighborhood army for self defense from roving thugs.

  • ||

    People in Rawanda and Iraq thought the same thing, but then one day their different tribe/religion neighbors rose up and began trying to kill them.

  • Mike Laursen||

    How is a huge, centralized government Washington communitarian in any way?

  • LibertyBill||

    So hatting the collectivism of the left and right is a bad thing now? Fine Ill embrace my evil.

  • ||

    Im much more interested in h&r commenters than the random people who live on my street.

    A DHS mole, eh?

  • ||

    How is a huge, centralized government Washington communitarian in any way?

    You'd know, if you were one of the Chosen.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    The houses on either side of me, and across the street, are lease houses. My neighbors change regularly. I've gotten to know the hostages in my basement pretty well though, is that 'authoritarian' enough for Mr. Brooks?

  • T||

    Lucky. I don't have a basement, so no hostages for me. If I had a basement, family members of my POA board would definitely be stashed there.

  • Apostate Jew||

    It would be nice to think he meant "devastating crisis of [legitimate] authority" but he did not.

    Red and Blue elites know that they have abused their authority, thrown away much of their legitimacy and royally fucked up just about every aspect of government. So, in casting around for excuses, they have found what appears to be a convenient scapegoat.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    At what point does a govt's ability to get what it wants regardless of the voters (enough sheer financial size to buy off our 'representatives', buy votes, buy compliance to desires they don't have the authority to order, etc) bring its legitimacy into question?

  • ||

    He continues the myth that capitalism rather than dumb ass government regulation and intervention that caused the credit collapse. Brooks has really gone insane.

    He seems to be the poster child for our failed intellectual classes. If we just give them one more chance, they will fix thing. No, David you don't deserve one more chance.

  • FutureSerf||

    This is precisely why nobody reads the NY Times. It's a progressive advocacy pamphlet. To our demise, some people are easily swayed to this drivel, to their demise more people (now at least, not enough, sadly) see it for what it actually is

  • ed||

    That would be fine, were it not that all other media take their cues from the Times and The Washington Post. What they write is reported as fact. Why do your own reporting when they do it for you? It's a comfy relationship.

  • ||

    I have to say that is the most absurd and incoherent column I have ever read. And that is saying a lot.

  • Paul Krugman||

    This is precisely why nobody reads the NY Times. It's a progressive advocacy pamphlet.

    Wait, what?

    That's a FEATURE, dammit.

  • Patriot Henry||

    Brooks wants to "take a political culture that has been oriented around individual choice and replace it with one oriented around relationships and associations," whatever the hell that means.

    Serfdom and feudalism is what that means. 'Tis what Ayn Rand called the "aristocracy of pull".

  • ||

    F---ing right on, comrade.

    She was a smart lady. Every time I start to think I'm overestimating her, I get hit with a quote that reminds me that I'm underestimating her.

  • ||

    Or, in this case, a phrase.

  • Mike M.||

    Mr. Brooks, with all due respect, if you ever actually bucked up enough courage one of these days to venture out into that vast, terrifying, troglodyte portion of America that exists between Interstate 5 and Interstate 95, you would be absolutely shocked at what you would discover: a place where real communities with real associations of neighbors and real people that talk to each other already exists!

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    I think he pictures everyone living in "flyover country" as scruffy folk sitting on their porches, holding shotguns, spittin' tobaccy, and glaring at each other suspiciously.

  • robc||

    You left out "watchin basketball" but other than that, seems about right.

  • Mad Elf||

    Except for the glaring at each other suspiciously part, that sounds like my community. Oh, and Jesco White is a legend around these parts. I love Appalachia.

  • ||

    We don't spit our tabaccy, thank you verra much.

  • alan||

    He once claimed to have ventured out to a ruralburb town in Pennsylvania, and reported his findings. However, a journalist familiar with that town called him on it for getting too many details wrong to have actually stopped for more than a few minutes, if at that.

    He writes like an agoraphobe wishing that he could meet other people and that he could have a social life but who is too afraid to so he events an excuse that the communities that he wishes to be a part of no longer exist due to the overwhelming influence of libertarians* in society.

    *Aside from the fact socialism in a misnamed anti-social creed that doesn't respect the boundaries of other people nor the need for cooperation that is necessary for a functional social order to exist.

  • alan||

    And that dude with the Mothers of Evention was one Hell of a guitarist.

  • mick travis||

    I never get why belt way boot lickers even bother to get defined with the placards 'liberal' or in Brooks case 'conservative' - what exactly is conservative or liberal about him? - he appears to be rather bendy bus like warping his views to suit the fancies of the moment.

  • Random Dude||

    You are right. Brooks is an elitist.

    Whether they're "right" or "left"--the core thing about this new class is how unbelievably detached they are from any sane, normal world including either authentic human contact or physical cause and effect.

  • Brett L||

    To summarize Brooks: There's a reason why people always refer to the proletariat in the 3rd person. The proles (not us wise intellectuals) must be led by us wise intellectuals. Western political thought as been pretty much shot through with this whether people be socialists or not. You have to be pretty far towards the radical edges to NOT believe that. And you'd be dangerous to the new aristocracy.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    The free-market revolution didn’t create the pluralistic decentralized economy.

    Hell, it didn't even create free markets.

    "The project of radical transformative conservatism is nothing less than the restoration and creation of human association, and the elevation of society and the people who form it to their proper central and sovereign station."

    Well that shouldn't be hard. After all, you can centrally plan the restoration and creation of voluntary associations and civil society, right?

    To create a civil state, Blond would reduce the power of senior government officials and widen the discretion of front-line civil servants, the people actually working in neighborhoods.

    Great, local bureaucratic tyrants with no oversight. No one could possibly foresee a problem there.

    He would decentralize power, giving more budget authority to the smallest units of government.

    Translation: more palms to grease.

    He would increase investments in infrastructure, so that more places could be vibrant economic hubs.

    Oh good, more interstates, freeways, and expressways. How exactly do you plan to revive small businesses if everyone can drive a 10-lane highway to Wal-Mart, exactly?

    This dude is so stupid I wouldn't be surprised if his fingers were webbed.

  • Almanian||

    My labrador retriever's toes are webbed. I think he's smarter than Brooks - but webbing is a feature in dogs, not a bug like it is in people.

  • Russ 2000||

    The public has contempt for the political class.

    As if it isn't a two-way street.

    Oh, I see. David Brooks likes to pretend HE'S in the political class:

    "What is this world coming to when slaves are pissed at their masters? Don't they know they'd starve to death without our help??"

    Jesus H, how fuckin' stupid can you get??

  • MWG||

    I just checked out the comments section of Brook's column. One word: Frightening.

  • ||

    Indeed. It's amazing how much left-wing authoritarians and right-wing authoritarians have in common.

  • ||

    Pop quiz: Who's the bigger idiot?

    (a) David Brooks.

    (b) Ezra Klein.

    (c) Paul Krugman.

  • ||

    No fair, R C. If I were a 60s robot, there would already be smoke coming out of my ears.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    +LOL

  • ||

    Who's the bigger idiot?

    By weight, or by volume?

  • ||

    "I think I've finally figured Brooks out. More than anything else, he's an anti-anti-authoritarian. And as in all double negatives, there's a much shorter way to express the exact same idea."

    I think I've got it: DICK.

    As Carlin once said: "How often the simple solution will elude us."

  • Fluffy||

    I'll leave to one side Brooks' authoritarianism, since everyone else has covered it.

    I just want to point that this motherfucker sees a landscape where people don't trust the political class, and he blames the people.

    Have you noticed that the one option this motherfucker doesn't consider as a way to renew trust in the political class is...to turn over personnel?

    It doesn't even fucking enter his miniscule piece of shit mind that perhaps EXCISING ALL THE LIARS IN OFFICE and replacing them with people who tell the truth might restore trust.

    It doesn't enter his mind that perhaps getting rid of every pundit who supported a policy they didn't actually believe in or a politician who didn't deserve it "for the good of the party" or "to stand behind the President", or whatever, is a way to restore trust.

    This is because he wants trust without a trustworthy political class. He wants trust without truth.

    How's this? When every single last Republican officeholder who lied about supporting limited government is removed from office, I will try to advance their replacements some trust. When every single last Democrat officeholder who lied about supporting civil liberties is removed from office, I will try to advance their replacements some trust. Until then, GO FUCK YOURSELF DAVID BROOKS.

  • Paul||

    It's not the product, it's the explanation... it's the sales pitch. The product works. Just get the right pitch, and everyone'll be on board.

    or something.

  • dennis||

    One of the millions of problems with democracy, especially the American model, is that voting is defensive. You vote for the guy who scares you less. Really except for a few naive college students and people affiliated with the campaign, who but a complete moron would be excited about casting a vote for John McCain or Barack Obama, or John Kerry, or Al Gore, or GWB? People who do get really excited about some guy trying to assume a position of authority over them are so completely oblivious that we shouldn't bother wasting time on them. The majority, however, could maybe be convinced that politics inevitably fucks everyone over in the long run (even the politicians and their well connected friends.)

  • Greg Ransom||

    This is recycled John Gray.

  • Mu||

    The delusion that Brooks and others have fallen for -- that economic recovery is inevitable yet distant -- reminds me of TV show episodes where the protagonist is held captive, apparently infirm and dependent on "medicine," whereas the medicine itself is incapacitating him.

    "Unemployment will remain high. It will take years to fully recover." Bull. Not if wealth-producers had clear incentives, like low taxes (flat, even) and non-aggressive regulators, for risking capital to grow. Unemployment would drop like a brick.

    But after Obama's anathema against insurance companies, who in their right mind would make themselves a target via success?

  • ||

    I LOVE Reason. I freakin' love you guys. Keep writing stuff like this.

  • ||

    I think I've finally figured Brooks out.

    He's a fucking moron.

    You should have just asked me.

  • ||

    That's no way to talk about kin.

  • ||

    I believe I've cracked the code...David Brooks' column formula: 1) Develop thesis divorced from reality. 2) Massage government teat with baby finger. 3) Dip pen in resulting lactation. 4) Inscribe #1 on used pair of Carlos Slim's underwear.

  • Orion||

    What the...Is this guy an old-guard Communist? "Political Class", "Ruling Class", "Middle Class"...I hadn't realized we were in such a class-stratified society!

    Well, let's see, our "Political Class" and our "Ruling Class" surely seem to have done a fine job screwing everything up. Sounds like it's time to kick them out. Let's give the "Liberterian Class" a chance.

    Orion

    "...Gotta watch them Liberterians! They want to take over the government and leave everyone alone!"

  • Hucbald||

    Brooks is a 21st Century Schizoid Omega Male. Why anybody listens to this closeted totalitarian in democratic drag is a mystery to me. There is no more conflicted political commentator extant. The guy's nucking futs.

  • Anthony||

    Watch out for those libertarians. They are plotting to take over the government . . . then leave you alone.

  • Randall||

    David Brooks: "This country would be great if it wasn't for the fucking citizens."

  • ||

    To paraphrase The Art,

    +lulz

  • ||

    If Brooks is the best example of a "conservative" willing to work at the "Gray Lady" (and thus what comes to mind when subscribers conjure up mental images of Conservatives), then it's no wonder Leftlings have a deep contempt for us.

    It's just sad that a big corporation like TNYTCo has such an obvious disdain for truth or accuracy, given the trees they kill and the carbon they pump out...

    Meanwhile, WTF are you folks doing paying attention to the Times or any of it's perfidious spawn anyway?

  • ||

    You have caught Brooks well. But I have a little different take. This is a guy, like other so-called conservative guys (and galls), who never understood who he (or she) was as an individual. He rails against individuals who proclaim liberty or other attributes of being autonomous entities endowed by their creator, because they do not adhere to the lobotomized rituals that are reflected in his NYT writings and utterances with Mark Shields. He is shrunken too far into looking for his definable nook, which even greatly diminished, still evades his grasp. He claims to be part of the educated class. I have a dog that struts among the rest of the pack because she can make a whoopie cushion go whoopie and they can't. But I don't think any of my dogs would raise an eyebrow toward a Brooks thought.

  • tractah||

    I thought that Brooks writings was mostly gobbly gook until I read Primmers.....then it was like WTF ever happened to concise commentary

  • Paul||

    The United States is becoming a broken society. The public has contempt for the political class.

    Oh fuck me silly.

    Do I really have to read past these two sentences? I know if I read on there'll be so much suck in the next nine sentences that the universe will surely assplode.

    The reason, Brooks, you dumbass that we have such contempt for the political class is because there hasn't been enough libertarianism in this country. We've sent leader after leader to Washington with the expressed task of solving our most picayune problems-- something the political class was never supposed to do. Especially the political class at the federal level. Needless to say this political class has not only failed, but failed spectatularly, and merely multiplied the problems we have, using that very failure as evidence that we need them more than ever. They're like ideological pushers.

  • ||

    Brooks has dug himself in so deep, he can't figure a way out of his own muck.

  • ||

    "communitarian"? Crap, time to look at wikipedia.

    "Central to the communitarian philosophy is the concept of positive rights, which are rights or guarantees to certain things. These may include state subsidized education, state subsidized housing, a safe and clean environment, universal health care, and even the right to a job with the concomitant obligation of the government or individuals to provide one."

    Oh, the government owns and (by it's decision) gives out all food, care, clothing, housing and jobs... you're a Communist.

    Why didn't you just say that instead of making up a new term?

  • ||

    The government is not the community. The strength of the community is in its voluntary associations. You can't build that by government fiat. (Though you can certainly destroy it.)

  • ||

    "...vehement libertarianism..."

    Monty Python, right?

    ...'cause if it isn't farce and self-parody, we're living in an Ayn Rand novel...

  • ||

    The Free market did not create a gigantic Federal bureaucracy.

    The giant Federal bureaucracy and our elected officials created it.

    Gubbmint in this country has grown at many times the population increase and most of it in the last several decades.

    And one would think they would be regulating Fannie Mae and preaching sane lending and generally doing a BETTER job at monitoring and regulating with all that apparatus.
    What we get for our money is such things as empty SS trust funds, giant housing bubbles, too big to fail GSEs,
    and MORE spending.

    I don't have a clue what Brooks is talking about.
    The monster we have created is CAUSING these meltdowns, not fixing or heading them off.

  • CE||

    I found Brooks' column hysterically funny. He claims a left-libertarian movement to allow greater cultural freedom and support for the poor, followed by a right-libertarian movement to allow greater corporate freedom and support for the rich, to have created the current mess, one which only the sainted government can come in and put right.

    What really happened was runaway social engineering, spending and taxing by leftists in control of the government, followed by runaway spending, borrowing, and bailouts by rightists in control of the government, followed by more spending, borrowing and bailouts by another leftist in control of the government.

    The problem is too much government, and the answer is less government. Yes, let people be free to make their own decisions about their lives. No, don't tax and borrow to bail them out from their bad decisions. Yes, let the free market sort out the winners and losers in the corporate world. No, don't bail out those who failed, encouraging them to take foolish risks yet again.

  • ||

    I guess if I cared what Brooks thought I'd be upset. Brooks is only around so the NY Slimes can claim they have a "conservative" on staff. What a joke. The Slimes can call somebody like Brooks a "conservative" if they want to, but I certainly don't have to buy it. Those of us with a brain know a "progressive" when we see one.

  • ||

    Uncle Dave, always wanting to reassure "liberal" overseers that he's no threat to the Plantation. "Don't beat me, Massa 'Bama--you know your faithful ol' Uncle Dave likes being a serf!"

  • SkepticalTexan||

    "People are disgusted with Washington. The Tea Party movement rallies against big government, big business and the ruling class in general. Even beyond their ranks, there is a corrosive cynicism about public action."

    He neglected to say that we are also really, really disgusted with pukes like David Brooks.

  • ||

    Brooks has dug himself in so deep, he can't figure a way out of his own muck bet365

  • dunk||

    Massa 'Bama--you know your faithful ol' Uncle Dave likes being a serf!"

  • ||

    There is only a split society, but a society without morals. We all should work in the same direction, did not do everything in our power to disrupt. But this is especially true because those who lead us.autovit

  • Pehari||

    I guess if I cared what Brooks thought I'd be upset. Brooks is only around so the NY Slimes can claim they have a "conservative" on staff. What a joke. The Slimes can call somebody like Brooks a "conservative" if they want to, but I certainly don't have to buy it. Those of us with a brain know a "progressive" when we see one.
    Pehari

  • sathi2000||

    if we face a “devastating crisis of authority,” it’s because the many authority figures Brooks has been sucking up to haven’t been up to the job.
    http://destinationsoftwareinc.com

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