TARP

David Brooks: Who Let the Dogmatists Out?

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Bobo the dog

Did the sun come up this morning? Then David Brooks has written a column about the "dangerous implications" of limited-government "dogmatism." Today's platitudinal effort:

If the current Republican Party regards every new bit of government action as a step on the road to serfdom, then the party will be taking this long, mainstream American tradition [of using government as a means for "making America virtuous, dynamic and great"] and exiling it from the G.O.P. […]

It would be a fiscal tragedy. Over the next decade there will have to be spending cuts and tax increases. If Republicans decide that even the smallest tax increases put us on the road to serfdom, then there will never be a deal, and the country will careen toward bankruptcy.

It would also be a policy tragedy. Republicans are right to oppose the current concentration of power in Washington. But once that is halted, America faces a series of problems that can't be addressed simply by getting government out of the way.

And LEON'S getting LARGER!

The social fabric is fraying. Human capital is being squandered. Society is segmenting. The labor markets are ill. Wages are lagging. Inequality is increasing. The nation is overconsuming and underinnovating. China and India are surging. Not all of these challenges can be addressed by the spontaneous healing powers of the market.

Most important, it would be an intellectual tragedy. Conservatism is supposed to be nonideological and context-driven. If all government action is automatically dismissed as quasi socialist, then there is no need to think. A pall of dogmatism will settle over the right.

Whole ball of non-sequiturial anxiety over the non-extinction of limited-government conservatism here.

Wanna talk dogmatism? Go re-read an anti-anti-TARP column from two years ago this month by a cat named David Brooks. The whole anti-"nihilist," pro-intervention screech is worth reading in full (you can see real-time critiques of it from me and Jesse Walker), but I'll just highlight here the content-less, do-something appeals to what can accurately be described as authoritarianism:

In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt inherited an economic crisis. He understood that his first job was to restore confidence, to give people a sense that somebody was in charge, that something was going to be done.

Cartman economics

This generation of political leaders is confronting a similar situation, and, so far, they have failed utterly and catastrophically to project any sense of authority, to give the world any reason to believe that this country is being governed. Instead, by rejecting the rescue package on Monday, they have made the psychological climate much worse. […]

[L]et 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. […]

If this economy slides, they will go down in history as the Smoot-Hawleys of the 21st century. […]

I've spoken with several House Republicans over the past few days and most admirably believe in free-market principles. What's sad is that they still think it's 1984. They still think the biggest threat comes from socialism and Walter Mondale liberalism. […]

What we need in this situation is authority.

What is more "dogmatic" than asserting that action–any action, specifics don't matter–must be taken to assert authority? I'll tell you what's more dogmatic: Insisting two years later, in the face of evidence that the economy did indeed slide "into a deep recession" after your policy preferences were adopted, that the real threat remains that same largely powerless but growing minority that believes 10 years of hysterical government intervention is the problem, not the solution. How many more years of Brooksian governance can we withstand before the great man shakes his ideological certainty that the biggest threat to "national cohesion" is the limited-government philosophy espoused by approximately nobody in power?

NEXT: Dept. of Unnecessary Apologies

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  1. The social fabric is fraying. Human capital is being squandered. Society is segmenting. The labor markets are ill. Wages are lagging. Inequality is increasing. The nation is overconsuming and underinnovating. China and India are surging.

    “I’m also running out of hyperbolic nonsense to spew.”

    1. No definitions are available for social fabric. Would someone *kindly* tell me what “social fabric” means?

      1. It means that people no longer act the way David Brooks wants them to act on their own, so they must be forced.

      2. I could more easily explain the space-time fabric than whatever the hell “social fabric” means.

      3. The social fabric is what you have when you weave the social contract into a pleasing paisley chenille.

        1. I thought it took two spider silk and a sewing kit.

      4. Choose Gingham:
        The Social Fabric

        .

      5. Well, whatever it is, due to the Hayek Axiom of “socialness”, you know it isn’t fabric.

      6. It’s the opposite of “antisocial fabric”.

    2. China and India are surging.

      “Do you see that? Millions and millions of people have been able to lift themselves out of abject poverty, because of your dogmatic faith in markets, and raise the their life expectancy above 30 years. I hope you’re happy.

      1. And millions of Americans have sunk into poverty. I’m sure each and everyone of them are wearing dollar signs, proud of the market that screwed them.

        1. I know! That huge trend these last few years of all those Americans going back to the land and living off subsistence farming. Clearly, Americans in “poverty” is the same as the actual poverty that Chinese and Indians face every day!

        2. I have it on good authority that they were already wearing those.

        3. “THEY TUK ARE DOLLERS!”

    3. Poor old Brooksie, he’s too stupid to understand that nothing frays the social fabric more than big government does.

      He really ought to try reading Michael Lewis’ Vanity Fair article on the nightmare that modern Greece is; he might learn something.

  2. 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. […]

    Wow, that’s a gem. How wrong he was.

  3. David Brooks: Catatonic, dogmatic rat-fucker.

    1. Why do you hate rats?

      1. He doesn’t. That’s why he thinks Brooks should be stopped.

  4. The Airplane! pic is simply brilliant.

  5. Conservatism is supposed to be nonideological and context-driven

    Is it possible he hasn’t actually read The Road to Serfdom?

    1. Is it possible he has?

    2. Is it possible he read and…remained unconvinced?

      1. If Brooks did read it, and was unimpressed, then he is a damned fool.

    3. the Road to Serfdom was written by a liberal (in the classical sense), Hayek (read “Why I am Not a Conservative” for an explanation of why he is not a conservative).

      Conservatism, at least in the Burkean, sense, is basically non-ideological and context-driven.

      The problem is the confusion of terms in American politics: “small-government conservatives” in American parlance are basically classical liberals (for the most part) rather than true conservatives.

      1. anyway, it’s easily possible to think that the RtS is a great and insightful work but also that it is not applicable in present circumstances. As Hayek makes clear, RtS is an argument against full-bore central planning of the economy (something that was seriously advocated by more than a few people even in the US and the UK before and during WWII) — he was not arguing in RtS against a welfare state or social democratic reforms, even though he certainly opposed them.

      2. One of the (many, monotonously) recurring themes in RtS is that government interventions into the economy lead to and require arbitrary government. That is, nonideological and context-driven government unrestrained by the rule of law. “Conservative/Liberal” tags aside, that Brooks thinks that limited-government types are somehow misguided because they are abandoning their principle-less roots means that Brooks himself has a deep misunderstanding of both foundational and modern limited-government principles. Also, it means he’s the one conflating “conservativism” in the Burkean sense, with limited government-ism. Also, it means he’s a tool.

        1. “Conservative/Liberal” tags aside, that Brooks thinks that limited-government types are somehow misguided because they are abandoning their principle-less roots means that Brooks himself has a deep misunderstanding of both foundational and modern limited-government principles. Also, it means he’s the one conflating “conservativism” in the Burkean sense, with limited government-ism. Also, it means he’s a tool.
          Agree strongly.

  6. “If all government action is automatically dismissed as quasi socialist, then there is no need to think.”

    And no reason for “smart people” like David Brooks to run people’s lives. Fuck you David Brooks.

    “mainstream American tradition [of using government as a means for “making America virtuous, dynamic and great”]”

    What tradition is that? When has the government ever made people “virtuous”? I ask on this thread the same thing I seem to be asking on every thread, is everyone in any important position in America now stupid?

    “But once that is halted, America faces a series of problems that can’t be addressed simply by getting government out of the way.”

    Typical Brooks. When Democrats are in charge government explodes. When Republicans take over, they enforce a thought pause in the explosion. But government never recedes.

    1. I will agree with John on this viruous thing. How is the government supposed to do that? Perhaps he means by not undermining virtue (ex. some welfare policies)? But it’s hard to think of examples that don’t involve government stopping with its tinkering.

      Oh lord, you don’t suppose he means things like the WOD do you?

      1. Forcing people to be charitable via taxes I guess. I suppose he could also cite the civil rights laws. Fine, we can keep those. But that sure leaves a lot of government up for debate.

        1. …also leashing our uncontrolable urge for sodomy.

          1. And then unleashing our uncontrollable urge for sodomy.

  7. I suppose if anyone had ever actually rolled back government in any meaningful way, he might have a fraction of an argument, however untrue it may be. But since no-one has, he should just shut his yapper.

    1. No government in history has ever willingly relinquished power.

      1. No courtier in history has ever conceded that problem. Brooks is not going to be the first.

  8. this long, mainstream American tradition [of using government as a means for “making America virtuous, dynamic and great”]

    USA! USA! USA!

  9. The social fabric is fraying. Human capital is being squandered. Society is segmenting. The labor markets are ill. Wages are lagging. Inequality is increasing. The nation is overconsuming and underinnovating.

    From where I sit, every single one of these problems stems from the bloated Total State squatting on the chest of this country.

    But to the NYT’s house conservative(!), these are problems caused by not enough government.

    1. Well, since according to Brooksie conservativism is supposed to be “context-driven”, that means we should take the presence of the Total State as a given and try to devise some Rube Goldberg machine of quasi-market-looking superstructure to be added on top of that Total State.

      1. “NYT’s house conservative”

        Brooks is only a conservative in the Burkean/ Hobbsian meaning of the word. By the typical latter American 20th century definition that most people use, meaning the Goldwater/ Reagan context, he is not.

  10. Conservatism is supposed to be nonideological contain no ideas and context-driven be made up as we go along to serve the needs of powerful constituencies.

    Fixed it for ya Brooksie.

    1. Conservatism is supposed to be nonideological contain no ideas and context-driven be made up as we go along to serve the needs of powerful constituencies.

      Fixed it for ya Brooksie.

      You definitely fixed for the laymen, but his wording expressed the very same message.

      Conservatism/Republicanism, from my experience, is without a fundamental ideology, and is nothing more than a loose patchwork of contradictory ideas.

      “Freedom for me, but not for thee.”

    2. Ayi! Ow! Stop it! That hurts!

      Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

      You slay me!

      1. Despite the negative press associated with the term “ideological”, a political schema that is nonideological has no systematic ideas or overarching philosophy by definition. As a tautology. Anyone who says, ever, “I’m nonideological” is admitting up front that they have no ideas.

        And “context-driven” as Brooks is using it is indistinguishable in practice from “making it up as you go along”.

        So those two changes are merely one-for-one replacements.

        Granted, I added the bit about powerful constituencies editorially, but this is Brooks we’re talking about.

        1. I’ve seen this argument many many times.

          Someone like you will say “conservatives have no ideas!”.
          Then someone will point out some conservatives with ideas.
          The response is usually either “those aren’t real ideas!”, or “that’s not a real conservative!”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

          1. Show me a liberal statist and I’ll show you an emotional turd whose head is an echo chamber of cognitive dissonance.

            1. And a “conservative” statist would be different how…?

              1. Liberal statists want the government to control all economic affairs, and conservative statists want to legislate morality while allowing a certain amount of economic freedom.

          2. No, douche.

            I’m saying that people who state to you up front that they have no ideas have no ideas.

            One of two things is happening in Brooks’ column:

            1. He doesn’t know what the word “ideological” means, and as a result doesn’t realize that he’s stating that he has no ideas.

            2. He does know what it means, and thinks that having no ideas is a good thing.

            I’m going with #2 because the guy writes for the NY Times and presumably knows the definitions of simple words.

            1. No, tard.

              In practice the word ideological is used to describe someone who adheres to a defined set of ideas, or a groupthink.

              So when someone says “I’m not ideological” they’re saying that they do not fit easily into some easily defined box, not that they have no ideas.

              1. Look, just because assholes misuse a word doesn’t mean that I have to go along with it.

                Saying “I’m not ideological” does, in fact, mean that you’ve made absolutely no effort to structure your thinking into a coherent system, don’t care whether different elements of your thinking are internally contradictory, don’t want to be bound to applying principles to real-world situations, and can not be counted on to demonstrate any consistency. That’s pretty much as good as having “no ideas” in my book.

                If you think all of these are good things and good ways to be, hey – great. Knock yourself out. But in that case you’re not disputing the content of what I’m saying, you’re just patting yourself on the back that it’s “sensible pragmatism” or some such nonsense.

                1. Look, just because assholes misuse a word doesn’t mean that I have to go along with it.

                  You do have a point.
                  Then you would have to debate what they mean instead of knocking down a straw man that has a balloon over it’s head that says “I’m a conservative and that means I have no ideas! Duh, er! I’m doopid! Duh, er! Hee hee! Look! Squirrel!”

                  1. You still just don’t get it.

                    Claims to “pragmatism” of this kind are even more pronounced among liberals.

                    In fact, it’s a stock liberal response. When you find some way in which one of their proposed policies negatively impacts freedom or is simply unjust, they’ll squawk, “Hey, I just want to try something. We’ll try this, and if it doesn’t work, we’ll try something else. Why do you have to be so hidebound and reactionary? Why can’t you be pragmatic?”

                    It’s the same old song and dance whether it comes from FDR or from Brooks. In practice, it’s objectively statist, as it were.

                    And I am arguing with what he’s actually saying. He wants to claim that having an ideology is somehow evidence of a lack of thinking, and wants to argue that it’s somehow a superior method to examine every proposed policy or every new circumstance without reference to any pre-existing set of principles at all. He’s making it a matter of pride that he does no systematic thinking. And we’re entitled to call that what it is – it’s the way a dumb animal approaches the world.

                    Although maybe that insults dumb animals. Even coyotes make plans.

                    1. I can agree with that.

          3. I’ve seen this argument many many times.

            Someone like you will say “conservatives have no ideas!”.
            Then someone will point out some conservatives with ideas.
            The response is usually either “those aren’t real ideas!”, or “that’s not a real conservative!”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

            You mischaracterize “ideology” with expressing ideas. The two are not equivalent.

            Stating that one is for “free markets and limited government” while also advocating government intervention and the growth of the state are “ideas”, but they are contradictory.

  11. IF ONLY THE RIGHT PEOPLE WERE IN CHARGE!

  12. Republicans are right to oppose the current concentration of power in Washington. But once that is halted, America faces a series of problems that can’t be addressed simply by getting government out of the way.

    Ummm, what?

    1. He’s really saying “Republicans aren’t right.”

  13. Shorter Brooks:

    MY personal policy preferences are OBJECTIVE TRUTH because I say so!

    1. lol – didn’t your sometimes-heroine Rand say something similar?

  14. Brooks is a character act at this point, right? He’s BRILLIANT.

    1. People who know Brooks personally say most of his thinking is driven by his aversion to the culture war. He is a dyed in the wool elitist who hates idea that there are not smart people who should be running things. This idea is at odds with freedom and small government. Everything he writes makes sense if you read it as some asinine attempt to reconcile these conflicting values.

      1. Good luck finding smart people truly uninterested culture war, Brooksie.

        People like him know that Spock was a fictional character, right?

        1. Nope. They know that smart people who have “sharp creases in their pants” and went to the right schools are out there and should be ordering society.

          What is so pathetic about people like Brooks is that unlike elites of past ages who actually were really civic minded in the case of the old British aristocracy or incredibly educated and cool in the case of the old French one, our elites are douchebags. If ever there was a time for egalitarian populism, it is now.

          1. If ever there was a time for egalitarian populism, it is now.

            I couldn’t agree more, though I’m sure we don’t mean the same thing.

            1. That is actually pretty funny Tony. I have to credit to you there. No we don’t mean the same thing. But I look at the world as involving things beyond money.

          2. I think our elites are civic minded.

            They really do have good intentions.

            Just like the Road to Hell.

  15. For yea, do I say unto thee: The State must needs grow, lest it wither on the vine, and it must be constantly watered with the flow of cash, which is like unto its very blood.

    Believe ye not the blasphemers, for they will tempt you with the devil’s words in the Tenth Amendment. The Austerians must needs be crucified in order for the virtuous to thrive.

    1. An accelerating flow of cash to keep up with inflation. And remember, if you don’t spend as much as some people want you to spend, that counts as a cut and poor, old people and children will die.

  16. What we need in this situation is authority.

    Indeed. And an excellent way to demonstrate your authority is to start scapegoating and rounding up some easily identifiable segment of society and putting them in internment camps.

    1. Brooksie would have made an excellent Hutu.

      1. and yet I am certain that somebody, somewhere has called him tootsie.

        1. Joshua wins the internets today.

  17. China and India are surging

    China owes its surge to massive currency intervention, i.e. printing Yuan to buy dollars. Their central bank rivals our Fed.

    1. Also, he put that on a list of bad things. Relativism does have some importance where wealth is concerned but it takes a back seat to objective wealth. He seems to think that as China and India successfully industrialize, we get poorer. If every poor country gained freedom and started producing in surplus, we might be one of the poorer countries comparatively, but objectively wealthier than we are now.

  18. Lack of gubermint rules is our problem.
    Look at our problems

    Than look at our quasi private/public Freddie and Fannie.
    Look at the Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Agencies (Moodys, S&P, and Fitch)
    Bernanke: Subprime is contained
    It would take all the letters in a grocery store’s inventory of alphabet soup to list all the agencies that deal with housing – and yet, our current problems come from the gubermint “policy” of increasing home ownership…uh, I mean lifelong home mortgage payment penury.
    90% of our problems were caused by gubermint trying to make something happen – 10% caused by people who listened to the gubermint and bought a house that was overpriced, or bought securites rated “AAA” by those paradigns of fiscal prudence, the bond rating agencies.

  19. “the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed.”

    Seriously? That’s like saying the FBI and CIA did a great job on 9/11.

  20. making America virtuous, dynamic and great

    Ugh, “American Greatness” conservatism. Want to know what makes America great? Read the Bill James piece linked yesterday.

  21. I’m gobsmacked about how far deep the liberal rot has taken hold in America’s psyche. The total size of all levels of US government spending is almost $5,000,000,000,000 (trillion). Only in a libtard fantasy laland where that figure is somehow too small and can not be reduced reasonably.

    1. And just like that I have to update the figure. That was in 2006. Now the total amount of US government spending is $6.4 trillion.

  22. Show me an average “conservative”, and I’ll show you someone who will support anyone who claims to oppose abortion and/or support gun rights.

  23. China and India are surging.

    Other countries are becoming prosperous! Oh Noes!

  24. Brooks and Krugman are on some sort of Thelma & Lousie like quixoticly suicidal journey to be the last guy off the bigger government meme. They’re going off the cliff, but they couldn’t be happier. At least their abusive small-government loving spouses won’t hurt them anymore.

    1. The thought of Krugman almost being raped by rednecks in a parking lot pleases me.

      1. Why almost?

        1. Unlike Krugman, I respect consent.

          1. Sometimes, ‘whoops, my bad’ is just as good.

  25. “Over the next decade there will have to be spending cuts and tax increases. If Republicans decide that even the smallest tax increases put us on the road to serfdom, then there will never be a deal, and the country will careen toward bankruptcy.”

    I like how he mentions cutting spending, then he quickly forgets about it. As if raising taxes is the only option in the face of deficit.

  26. The social fabric is fraying. Human capital is being squandered. Society is segmenting. The labor markets are ill. Wages are lagging. Inequality is increasing.

    Does Brooks work part time for the AFL-CIO? Those evil running dog Capitalists are shipping all our jerbs to China and India!

    Does he equate the “middle class” with unionized wage apes, too?

  27. God, what a heretic Brooks is. If only we could burn him at the stake. Maybe we can serve him a burned steak and he will choke on it.

    1. Hush, Max. The grownups are talking.

    2. Heretic? Whenever did he betray you? It is all on you, cuz. Brooks was never one of us, but if you gonna fire up that grill, I call dibs on the flank stake.

      1. steak. fargin’ homophones.

        1. That just gave me an idea. A cell phone company that sells discount plans to gay couples. The Homo Phone!

    3. I never really thought about it before, but you and Brooks seem to have a lot in common, Max…

      Wait.

      David Brooks? Is that you?

      Max, are you really David Brooks!

      I knew it!

  28. If Republicans decide that even the smallest tax increases put us on the road to serfdom, then there will never be a deal, and the country will careen toward bankruptcy.

    Couldn’t the reverse be said of the Democrats? If Democrats see even the smallest spending cuts as a step on the road to social collapse…

    1. What is this “toward” stuff?

      The United States has been, by its own legal definition, bankrupt since what, 1943?

  29. “How many more years of Brooksian governance can we withstand before the great man shakes his ideological certainty that the biggest threat to “national cohesion” is the limited-government philosophy espoused by approximately nobody in power?”

    For most people who think this way–it’s about Ronald Reagan.

    They’re afraid of Ronald Reagan all over again–they were afraid of him when he was in office, and they’re afraid of him now.

    Ronald Reagan now, Ronald Reagan tomorrow, Ronald Reagan forever!

    Seriously, when they look at us, that’s what half of them see.

    Even the Republicans. And it scares the stuffing out of them.

  30. Do you suppose that David Brooks has ever done an honest day’s work in his life? And no, I don’t mean sitting in his little office writing that insipid tripe for his boss’s unprofitable little rag.

    I’ve never met the man, but he comes off as someone who has never had any connection with producing actual, tangible products. The kind of person who thinks that “government creates jobs.” Hell, the kind of person who thinks that the market exists to create jobs, rather than goods and services. Much like Obama, actually.

    Problem is, he’d probably hurt himself if he ever tried to work with power tools or such.

    1. I’ve never met the man, but he comes off as someone who has never had any connection with producing actual, tangible products.

      An unprofitable rag is still a tangible rag.

      He does produce something and i think this whole line of reasoning is pointless. It is not hard to find a statist who produces tangible goods in the real world. Look at cotton growers, wheat growers, steal producers sugar producers or American tire manufacturers. Furthermore i have my doubts that Matt Welch has dug much ditch.

      Producing tangible goods in the real world is no magic bullet to liberty.

      Why can’t David Brooks simply be a statist piece of shit for being a statist piece of shit?

      1. You’re missing my point. I don’t get the impression that Brooks has ever worked outside the white collar world or run his own business. He seems to have a general cluelessness about what it takes to make his nice little world keep running.

        His comments in this article make it clear that he has no understanding about the entrepreneurial spirit. There isn’t some magical government lever that can make people take the risk of starting business or hiring workers. I expect a leftist to be that clueless, but Brooks holds himself as some sort of “conservative,” so I’d like to think he understands the market a little.

  31. It is kinda funny being the boogie-man, though.

    Thanks God there are people like David Brooks in this country to keep libertarians types from takin’ over!

    Sheesh.

    “…the limited-government philosophy espoused by approximately nobody in power?”

    But we’re so scary!

    1. Over the last 22 years, we have had

      Bush I – moderate big government country club Republican
      Clinton – big government triangulator
      Bush II – the most big government Republican since Nixon
      Obama – the most big government Democrat since Johnson.

      But somehow to people like Brooks it is small government dogmatism that is the root of all our problems.

      1. That’s because it’s a giant con.

        You people believe in a political philosophy that was never meant to be implemented.

    2. But we’re so scary!

      They waffle between “deregulation is the cause of everything” and “you people and your stupid ideas are irrelevant”.

      I wish they’d make up their minds.

      1. Whoops! Did I say mind?

        I mean “I wish they’d make up what they feel”.

        Sorry about that.

  32. “If the current Republican Party regards every new bit of government action as a step on the road to serfdom, then the party will be taking this long, mainstream American tradition [of using government as a means for “making America virtuous, dynamic and great”] and exiling it from the G.O.P. […]”

    What “long mainstream tradition” is that again?

    Here is the REAL traidtion, Mr Brooks:

    “The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens
    free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.”
    –Thomas Jefferson to M. L’Hommande, 1787.

    1. “Unless they are black–then we own their asses”

      1. You forget yourself, Mr. Jefferson. Slaves are not considered citizens.

        1. Or they want to ride in the same train cars with us.

          Segregation was a GOVERNMENT event.

  33. Actually the real Edmund Burke (the man who lived from 1729 to 1797) had strongly libertarian economic opinions – and had libertarian opinions on a lot of other things as well (such as the legal position of drugs).

    If the people who cite him do not bother to read his works (apart from a few bits of the “Reflections….” that is not his fault.

    Edmund Burke would have thought. that David Brooks (who thinks the way out of any situation is yet more government spending, taxes and regualtions) was a tosspot – and Edmund Burke would have been right.

    Higher taxes (on top of the vast taxes that already exist) are no way to “reduce the deficit” and the vast government schemes (such as the entitlement programs and the absurd fiat money credit system) are unsustainable.

    If the only conservative books that David Brooks ever read was Edmund Burke’s “Reflections on the Revolution in France” (not his most libertarian work – and containing some harsh language about economists and others) he would at least know that much.

    After all for every word in the Reflections defending the Queen of France (the bits of the Reflections David Brooks has most likely read) there are about a hundred words attacking fiat money and crackpot credit schemes.

    Sorry Davy boy – but Edmund Burke (indeed no great conservative thinker) would have been a fan of the Federal Reserve – or all the rest of the crazy stuff.

  34. By the way – neither Jefferson, nor any of the Founders, tried to defend slavery.

    Some of the Founders (such as Jefferson) owned slaves – but they accepted that it was wrong. Their error (more than error) was to hold that slavery would go away in time – without any great personal sacrifice on their part.

    Liberty is never easy and the people who benefit for state intervention (and slavery was a system that totally depended on various government interventions) do not like to give up the material benefits of the statism.

    However, the Founders would have agreed with the later legal thinker Salmon P. Chase, the “slaves lawyer”, that “slavery” is in fact a series of common law crimes, (false imprisonment and assault – to name just two) its status as being “legal” dependended on various STATE STATUTES and the active enforcement of these interventions by government.

    Perhaps this is what Mr Brooks means by “authority” – it is not what Burke meant (although he rarely used the word).

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