Political Groups

What David Brooks Doesn't Know About Social Movements

Brooks thinks "most of the time change happens through political parties." He's wrong.

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You can call off the hunt; I think we've found the most tedious take on last weekend's anti-Trump marches. The perp is David Brooks, and the axe-grinding argument that looks set to win the prize begins in the fifth paragraph of his New York Times column today:

[T]here was too big a gap between Saturday's marches and the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Some of us were wondering whether the movement can avoid being coopted by party hacks. Brooks was wishing there were more hacks on the scene.

Sometimes social change happens through grass-roots movements—the civil rights movement. But most of the time change happens through political parties: The New Deal, the Great Society, the Reagan Revolution. Change happens when people run for office, amass coalitions of interest groups, engage in the messy practice of politics.

I shouldn't have to point this out, but there are countless cases of social changes that built up in civil society before they entered party politics in a serious way. Gays, to take an obvious example, were carving out space for themselves—even forging same-sex marriages—long before any established party politicians adopted their cause. The counterculture transformed social mores years before any ex-hippie got elected to anything; the Christian counter-counterculture certainly learned how to use party politics, but it was a grassroots social movement before it was a movement at the polls. And since the central theme of Saturday's marches was feminism, let's note that the nuclear family and other traditionally patriarchal institutions were being transformed well before they became sites of political agitation (Alan Petigny's terrific book The Permissive Society has more on this), and that this agitation in turn affected social spaces far larger than those touched by party politics.

Needless to say, independent social movements have also proven themselves useful even when conventional politicians are on their side, by applying the pressure necessary to keep those pols' priorities in line with the protesters' preferences. Other times activists decide to work within the system in ways that essentially ignore party politics, as the ACLU and the Institute for Justice do when they challenge laws in court. Or they win a victory in a referendum while the parties mostly keep their distance, as the marijuana movement has in several states. And of course, many epochal social transformations are driven by forces outside either movements or parties, as any historian of technology could tell you. It's absurd to treat these many means of change as though they're marginal sidebars in a story dominated by Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, and their loyal foot soldiers.

Without the discipline of party politics, social movements devolve into mere feeling, especially in our age of expressive individualism. People march and feel good and think they have accomplished something. They have a social experience with a lot of people and fool themselves into thinking they are members of a coherent and demanding community. Such movements descend to the language of mass therapy.

There's no denying that many movements have done exactly this. But it takes a rather blinkered view to think that only party politics can bring discipline to a movement. In any case, discipline is hardly the only factor that matters. What Democrats lacked on Election Day wasn't discipline; it was enthusiasm. Liberated from a terrible standard-bearer, they now have generated enthusiasm in spades. There just might be a lesson here.

Clearly there are big questions about whether and how Saturday's marchers will channel their energy into blocking Trump's agenda, let alone working toward a positive agenda of their own. But the fact that they were able to turn out so many people—and with so many homemade signs, as opposed to the mass-produced placards that dominate so many smaller protests—is a clear sign that the energy is out there. I really doubt that putting more elected officials onstage would have helped.

It's significant that as marching and movements have risen, the actual power of the parties has collapsed. Marching is a seductive substitute for action in an antipolitical era, and leaves the field open for a rogue like Trump.

The power of the parties started crumbling in the 1970s. I'd be very interested in Brooks' evidence that "marching and movements have risen" in tandem with their collapse. Extra credit if his explanation has room for, say, the strikes of the Depression era.

So there you have it: David Brooks on social movements. It's hard to imagine a more tedious reaction than—

Hold on, I've found a worse one. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the final two paragraphs of Brooks' column:

If the anti-Trump forces are to have a chance, they have to offer a better nationalism, with diversity cohering around a central mission, building a nation that balances the dynamism of capitalism with biblical morality.

The march didn't come close. Hint: The musical "Hamilton" is a lot closer.

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  1. More tedious – David Brooks or Thomas Friedman?

    1. I snarkily wanted to say yes, but I personally find Brooks repellent, while Friedman is just disgusting.

    2. David Brooks is to Thomas L. Friedman as SugarFree is to AgileCyborg.

      1. So Friedman is more likely to be tripping balls at any given moment, but Brooks has had to clean up more than one party where a hooker died?

      2. And what about Krugman?

        1. Tony/shriek and a little Joe (so to speak)

      3. Agile = tripping balls
        SugarFree = ripping balls

    3. What David Brooks doesn’t know about social movements: Everything.

      1. And if anyone would know ignorance, it’s you Big V.

        1. This seems…paradoxical.

    4. The Superbowl halftime show would be more entertaining if it featured Friedman with a net and trident vs. Brooks with a short sword and small shield.

      1. Without practice I think I could make use of a small shield. But a net? What am I going to do with a net?

        1. Drop it on the floor so you can two-hand the trident more effectively?

          *phrasing*

  2. Glad to see you’re following our advice from 2012, Jesse:

    https://reason.com/blog/2012/06…..nt_3078898

    1. You have a remarkable memory.

      1. It’s a memorable event when David Brooks is wrong about something.

    2. how the hell did you pull that?

      MattJ|6.13.12 @ 12:19PM|#

      What David Brooks Missed

      With a title like that, you need to write a multi-volume book to really be able to say you delivered on it. If you’re going to write blog posts, stick to something you can write in short form:

      What David Brooks Understands

      Mensan|6.13.12 @ 12:31PM|#

      Or just narrow the scope:

      What David Brooks missed between 7:14 AM and 10:37 AM today.

      1. I am MattJ. I remembered the prior criticism of going to easy on Brooks, but didn’t realize both articles were from Jesse until I looked up the old comment. Articles like that seem to be in Jesse’s wheelhouse, so no surprise, really.

        Or… awesomeness plus serendipity

        1. Orrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr you’re Tulpa! !!! !!! !!! !!! !!! !! !!! !! !! ! ! !! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

          1. That’s a given – everyone is Tulpa

            1. I thought everybody is Weigel?

              1. No, that’s what Weigel thinks.

                1. I think Weigel still has me blocked on twitter for calling out his hypocrisy.

                  ::looks up Weigel twitter profile::

                  Yep. Still blocked.

      2. Damn, I miss Mensan. Greatly.

  3. Politicians react to social change in order to court voters – so change in government policy is always going to lag social change.

  4. …couldn’t even fit in the NSA’s new data center?

  5. Breitbart was correct, the culture changes first, and politics struggles to keep up with it.

    building a nation that balances the dynamism of capitalism with biblical morality.

    So Brooks is Bannon now?

  6. Politicians are almost always the last on board. And change is usually resisted by people in power–because change generally means the old order losing power. Even when you look at people like Tea Party invading the Republican establishment, the establishment lost power because of a grass roots movement that started outside the party.

    It’s been since 2008 that the Tea Party first became a force outside of the Republican party in reaction to people like John Boehner–John Boehner didn’t lose his job until a few months ago.

    Segregation didn’t end because of politicians. Segregation ended because people in the streets, like Rosa Parks and MLK, made it impossible for politicians to continue perpetuating the way things had been.

    1. It’s actually rather revolting to see politicians and hangers-on like Brooks trying to take credit that belongs to people who took real risks of beatings, jail, lynching, etc.

      1. They always do, though. Government action usually lags way behind social change, and they always take credit for it.

  7. Nothing about retards having sex? Where my Reason gone?

    1. Where do you think David Brooks came from?

      1. You’ve heard the old joke about getting pregnant from anal sex, that’s where lawyers come from. David Brooks came from colostomy bag sex.

        1. +1 fucked stoma

          1. +1 fucked stoma

            Is that a thing? Asking for a friend.

            1. A doctor friend of mine did part of his residency at a prison clinic. Prisoners with colostomy bags routinely came in to get their stomas treated for genital warts. You do the math.

              1. Well, I am done eating.

                1. Well, I am done eating.

                  Wimp. Your squeamish nature is vaguely Soavatarian in nature and capacity.

            2. I mean, really, it is known that if a thing has a concavity, somebody somewhere will have put they dick in said thing.

        2. I thought he was just a big pile of santorum that somehow achieved semi-sentience.

          1. My current theory is that Brooks is a Boltzmann brain.

  8. There’s a reason David Brooks is half of NPR’s itinerant liberal minstrels, Brooks & Dionne.

  9. Shorter David Brooks: “Those of us who get invited to the Washington D.C. cocktail parties are still important!”

  10. You’re all stupid assholes, and my shitty attitude and banal comments are not because I’m socially inept and a weak, superficial thinker.

    1. Enough about your FB profile, tell us what you think about Brooks.

      ;P

  11. The march didn’t come close. Hint: The musical “Hamilton” is a lot closer.

    Christ, what an asshole.

    1. I mean really, if Fist actually did his job, this should be the first comment for every article at Reason.

  12. Clearly there are big questions about whether and how Saturday’s marchers will channel their energy into blocking Trump’s agenda, let alone working toward a positive agenda of their own. But the fact that they were able to turn out so many people?and with so many homemade signs, as opposed to the mass-produced placards that dominate so many smaller protests?is a clear sign that the energy is out there. I really doubt that putting more elected officials onstage would have helped.

    You mean to tell me Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t have whipped that crowd up into an even bigger frenzy?

    I doubt the marchers will accomplish much, because it seems what they wanted is respect, which they have, and then a bunch of free stuff somehow related to their vaginas, which they have the ability to pay for.

    1. it seems what they wanted is respect, which they have

      They might have had it, but their behaviour cost them a lot of people’s respect.

      1. There were a lot of women marching in different places for different reasons, so grouping all women in with the SJW-types seems counter-productive.

        1. I blame the media – I’ve seen nothing about any “protest” not SJW-related.

        2. They did that to themselves by signing on.

        3. The march organizers, at least those in DC, specifically disinvited anti-abortion women. But I read complaints that the DC march was trans-exclusionary.

          1. Why, it’s almost as if intersectionality inevitably collapses into an eat-your-own free for all.

    2. This oppo movement is doomed, because it is inherently rooted in identity politics, and the fatal flaw of identity politics (subdividing into smaller and smaller identity groups that fight for internal dominance) has already set in.

      You can ignore them from now on, except for entertainment and mockery. They will accomplish nothing.

      1. News from November, 2020.

        “What happened? I mean, I was at the march in January 2017. The energy, the sisterhood. We had Madonna. Let that set in. Madonna. Musical Legend. Woman who got famous grabbing per pussy protesting a man who bragged about doing the same. And yet somehow, we lost by an even bigger margin than 4 years ago…”

    3. Channel their energies? No, I think they spent all their energies on that one event. I suspect that the planned April 15 march will be lucky to break 50K participants. And they will not manage to accomplish anything other than marches, being saddled with the twin problems of intersectionality and inability to organize (distaste for effective leadership, revolutionary stacks, etc).

      1. I think it depends a lot on Trump. If he ends up being as bad as feared it will keep people motivated and paying attention. If he doesn’t, then I think there will be a drop in enthusiasm.

  13. Man that guy is delusional. He’s so enthralled by leaders —

    To have good leaders you have to have good followers — able to recognize just authority, admire it, be grateful for it and emulate it.

    — he’s got his nose so far up their asses that he can’t see anything but shit.

    1. Q: What’s the difference between ass-kissing and brown-nosing?
      A: Depth perception.

    2. Jeebus, that is a frightening quote.

      1. Most proggies would recognize how bad it sounds and keep it to themselves, even as they believe it. This guy simply has no morals whatsoever. Sociopath? Psychopath? Yes.

  14. Some of us were wondering whether the movement can avoid being coopted by party hacks.

    What movement? The movement of fake wage-gap statistics and vaginal identity politics?

    1. What movement?

      The screaming afterbirth of the communist movement’s abortion.

      1. Good summary.

      2. Nice. Did you get into Agile’s stash, UCS?

        1. No, I was briefly inspired.

          Now I resume my droll existance.

      3. Stealing that quote.

  15. A modest proposal:

    We’ll give up ‘debt-free’ college and you give up nuking the middle east.
    We’ll give up universal healthcare and you give up rounding people up by the millions.

    What say you?

    He’s a Libertarian! Burn him at the stake!!!

    1. Sorry to break your bubble — but socialism killed 200M people last centurywhile capitalism lifted billions out of poverty.

      1. Don’t respond to it, Scarecrow Repair.

        1. I know AM is beyond education, but others who come along might like to save the reference for future use.

          I know of no better way to gobsmack a socialist than with that statement. Even if they try to claim that National Socialism is not socialism, they still have the problem of explaining away Mao and Stalin, and if they make the mistake of disowning them for not being real socialism, they have opened the door wide for my counterclaim that even though capitalism so far has been more of the crony type than true free enterprise, it still managed to lift billions out of poverty, while no variety of socialism has done anything better than murder people. All they can do is splutter and sneer and try to divert attention away, and the reaction in their friends’ faces is priceless.

          So I will continue to throw out that educational link, even in response to trolls like AM.

          1. while no variety of socialism has done anything better than murder people.

            I dunno about that. It’s also done a great job of forcing people into subsistence level poverty. To environmental-primitivists, this is a feature, not a bug.

          2. they still have the problem of explaining away Mao and Stalin

            I recently encountered a no-shit commie who said that all the communist atrocities were because of the embargoes and hostility of capitalist countries. If we had only left them alone.

            There is really no arguing with that.

            1. Um, isn’t an Embargo the embodiment of leaving a country alone?

            2. Yes there is. If capitalism, even flawed crony capitalism, can lift billions out of poverty in a world contaminated with socialism, why cannot socialism accomplish anything better than murdering 200 million people?

            3. I mean — keep beating on those two records. Keep going back to that. Do not let them change the subject. Beat on 200M dead vs billions lifted out of poverty, over and over again until they get so flustered they stomp off in a rage. Then not only have you won the argument, their followers will see their impotence and inability to answer such a simple comparison.

            4. The embargo argument is always funny, for it must take a great measure of superficiality to believe that socialism is the superior system even though it must trade with capitalism to thrive.

      2. but socialism killed 200M people last century

        Eggs for the omelet.

        1. The omelet’s sitting in the fridge. Went bad years ago.

    2. Who nuked the Middle East?

  16. balances the dynamism of capitalism

    Not to be inordinately provocative, but I have my suspicions. Capitalism appears to have demand destruction and stagnant new capital formation built in when it operates without free markets.

    1. Robust capitalism requires robust price discovery. The most robust price discovery is from free markets.

      1. Exactly. Capitalism itself doesn’t want anything to do with robust price discovery. We need those free markets to keep everything flowing.

        1. Capitalism itself requires robust price discovery. Individual crony capitalists may not, but don’t confuse their rent-seeking with a free market.

          1. Capitalism itself requires robust price discovery

            That’s kind of where I’m going with this, RC. I suspect this is not the case. Oh, sure, I know what I’ve been taught and what the books are fond of saying about capitalism. Been a big fan of what the books say about capitalism since I knew what those big long-tailed words meant. After a couple of decades watching markets, it just doesn’t appear that what the books say about capitalism lines up with the reality of how capitalism works.

            I’m starting to demand the books cite their sources.

            For example, I notice this demarcation line you seem to be building between capitalist and crony capitalism. I’ve done the same. Many times I’ve chided de Rugy for implying that “crony capitalism” is even a realistic phrase, since the means of production and distribution residing solely with the people doesn’t have a damned thing about AT&T lobbyists writing communications laws and a small business owner going to his old pal, the mayor, to talk abut all these new competitors ruining solid established local business. That’s not capitalism. Right?

            Remember this?

            Capital isn’t just bank accounts and property. Having a personal relationship with the mayor is capital. Capital is any resource which can be brought to bear to affect your situation favorably. In which case, yes. This is capitalism.

            1. Gee, it’s almost like intangible assets, such as relationships and ideas, can have concrete, demonstrable value. Even function as means of exchange without hard currency. It’s like tangible property, only of the intellectual and interpersonal variety.

  17. If the anti-Trump forces are to have a chance, they have to offer a better nationalism, with diversity cohering around a central mission, building a nation that balances the dynamism of capitalism with biblical morality.

    The march didn’t come close. Hint: The musical “Hamilton” is a lot closer.

    Here’s a hint for you Mr. Brooks. Check to see that the opinion you are proffering doesn’t already exist as a parody.

    1. The big lesson to take away from this election and the backlash against Trump: the primacy of biblical morality.

    2. The Onion’s still got it, sometimes.

  18. The march didn’t come close. Hint: The musical “Hamilton” is a lot closer.

    The musical “Hamilton” is ahistorical and only serves to fellate 1) proggies 2)New York & 3) America’s founding statist, Alexander Hamilton.

    leaves the field open for a rogue like Trump.

    Trump was successful because of failure and corruption of the parties, among other things.

    1. Hamilton is a vehicle for proggy virtue-signalling, and little more.

      1. The sound track has sold over a million copies. Has there ever been a CD that has sold more copies that are displayed and never actually played?

      2. Well somebody didn’t listen to the latest Fifth Column .

        1. Was it a Hamilton lovefest?

      3. There are some good songs in Hamilton.

        Yes it’s hagiographic, yes some people like it for dumb reasons (ooh, no white people!), and yes Lin-Manuel Miranda has terrible rap flow (fast rapping is supposed to sound effortless, not dense-hurried). But a lot of people legitimately like the music — I’m fond of “You’ll Be Back”, the breakup song sung by King George.

        1. I’ve actually seen Hamilton (the ticket was free and initially I thought, “Eh, I might as well go— it will give me something new to bitch about”) but it was really, really good, definitely not what I expected. There are many things in it that a libertarian can like.

          I was anticipating some really-preachy, really bad rap, but found most of the songs (at least) hummable, with clever lyrics. If you go on Youtube you can see almost all of them being performed.

  19. This is like the old argument we have with Tony.

    Reality is not politics and the law. When politics and the law are in conflict with reality, it’s the politics and laws that are forced to change. Politics and law are the fantasy–it’s our rights, agency, and the grass roots that are the reality.

    The fantasy was that black people couldn’t sit in the front of a public bus because of their race.

    When people stopped believing in that fantasy, the fantasy disappeared.

    The fantasy is that they can control marijuana use through the criminal justice system. It doesn’t matter how many politicians believe that or how much money or how many lives they squander to support that fantasy–it’s just a fantasy.

    ObamaCare was a fantasy. Real people making real choices in markets or avoiding them, that’s reality.

    1. +1000

  20. Oh, two questions:

    1 – Who the Fuck is “David Brooks”?

    2 – Why should I care about his ignorance?

    1. Don’t worry your pretty little head, you wouldn’t like him anyway.

    2. A veteran reporter with a flip-phone.

  21. What David Brooks Doesn’t Know…

    …Could fill a fucking encyclopedia.

  22. Maybe I use this meme too much around here, but Christ, what an asshole.

    1. Nope, that is always relevant around here.

  23. Liberated from a terrible standard-bearer, they now have generated enthusiasm in spades. There just might be a lesson here.

    This is a really good way of putting it, even if those who were liberated don’t see it or recognize it.

    1. Liberated from a terrible standard-bearer, they now have generated enthusiasm in spades.

      I’m not sure that pure oppositional activity, driven by anger, hate, and insecurity, really counts as “enthusiasm”.

      To me, enthusiasm is being for something positive. There was none of that, that I noticed, at the march.

      1. Nonsense, RC. They are positive that you are to pay for their X == Wave + 1, (X) Feminism. In toto. Period.

  24. …even forging same-sex marriages?long before any established party politicians adopted their cause.

    Brushing right up against the notion that they didn’t even need politicians involved in the first place.

  25. Brooks is such an asshole. He is also a moron. To be a movement, you have to have something you want. And the marchers on Saturday had no idea. None of them could tell you why they were there or what they wanted beyond a few vague platitudes about justice and equality. They had no idea what their goals were much less had any goals they could agree upon. It was a giant exercise in moral narcissism.

    1. They want more, and they want it now.

      1. They want more cake Paul. They always want more cake.

    2. I think one woman wanted her tampons to be covered by taxpayers.

    3. I tried my best to find out why people were marching, and I still don’t know. Potential for defunding Planned Parenthood was high on the list of things people say, but that seems like ex post facto reasoning.

      Best summary I’ve heard is that this was a good cry after the presidency broke up with them.

      1. Heh. Trump should have come out and given a big “There there sweetheart” with his arms held wide.

  26. He’s wrong.

    Again? gee, that’s a surprise.

  27. Brooks is a retard who worships at the altar of communitarianism. He is terrified by individualism.

  28. People have totally forgotten the point of demonstrations. Demonstrations are mortal threats to true authoritarian or totalitarian regimes. The reason is that totalitarian regimes stay in power despite their populations’ loathing them because they convince everyone they are alone and prevent people from acting in concert with one another. They are the person with the gun and you are one of hundreds whom if you all rushed him could kill him but if any one of you do, you get shot. Demonstrations destroy the illusion that you are alone in loathing the regime and that it is pointless to resist. They cause people to realize that they are not alone and if they get large enough the whole thing falls like a house of cards.

    In a free society where everyone can communicate and freely speak their mind, demonstrations can’t serve that purpose because it doesn’t need to be served. Everyone knows that a lot of people don’t like Trump and object to his agenda. No one turned on the TV Saturday and saw the crowds and thought “my God I thought I was the only one”. So what purpose did it serve? Unless it persuaded anyone that didn’t already object to Trump, which I doubt it did, it served no purpose except provide an opportunity for those involved to virtue signal.

    1. it served no purpose except provide an opportunity for those involved to virtue signal

      I’m pretty sure that was the whole point all along. It was just a bunch of people getting together to smell each others farts and complement one another on the aroma.

      1. That is all it was. And that is fine. It is a free country and they should be free to do that. But no one should pretend it is anything more than that or will make any difference.

    2. In a free society where everyone can communicate and freely speak their mind, demonstrations can’t serve that purpose because it doesn’t need to be served.

      Indeed. They are social disruptions without a real point. Their true purpose is to intimidate, much like picket lines and the like. Its a mob, going down the street, forcing others to join or get out of the way.

    3. To be honest the demonstrations made me think maybe this Trump guy isn’t so bad. Well, he is kind of awful, but not for the reasons people were marching.

  29. God Jesse, you’re such an anti-Trump cuck.

  30. they have to offer a better nationalism, with diversity cohering around a central mission, building a nation that balances the dynamism of capitalism with biblical morality.

    The march didn’t come close. Hint: The musical “Hamilton” is a lot closer.

    1776-meets-shitty rap-for-white-people will rescue our country from cultural decline

    1. I am amused by the thought of David Brooks pretending to enjoy any hip-hop, let alone musical theater hip-hop.

      1. Is there any better evidence that Hamilton is the least cool thing on earth than the fact that David Brooks is a big fan?

      2. i am amused by the thought of David Brooks wearing a wife-beater and drinking mescal from the bottle

        1. True story, one of Brooks’ favorite pastimes is cruising the less fashionable areas of Brooklyn in a 1978 Buick Regal that he has customized with air ride suspension and a booming 10,000 watt sound system.

  31. Grassroots movements are messy and chaotic. They need professional politicians to jump in front of the parade and steer them into Brooks’ preferred blind alley.

  32. What happened in DC last week wasn’t a movement, it was a temper tantrum. They’ll cry themselves out eventually.

  33. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017…..ities.html

    Amy Looney, who lost her husband Navy SEAL Lt. Brendan Looney in 2010, and Ryan Manion, whose brother Marine First Lt. Travis Manion died in 2007, said they were attacked as they tried to enter the American Legion’s tribute to Medal of Honor recipients at the Veterans Inaugural Ball.

    “Unfortunately, as we got there we found ourselves separated from the rest of the group walking to the galas that night and were caught in between the entrance to the event and about 75 protesters that got very angry with us and really converged on us,” Manion said on “Fox & Friends.”

    Yeah David, these people are the future. Asshole.

  34. I know I’m repeating a comment here, but QFT –

    Christ, what an asshole.

    1. Brooks is such an asshole that everyone from the Progs like Hugh to the Trump supporters and everyone in between all agree that he is an asshole. You have to be a pretty epic asshole to get that many people across such a wide spectrum of views to agree on what an asshole you are. And Brooks is just such an epic asshole.

      1. Maybe politicians could use that as a unifying tactic – ‘one thing we can all agree on – David Brooks is an asshole.’ Then he could write a column on how great it was.

        1. I am the Asshole We’ve been Waiting For
          – D Brooks

  35. The question no one is answering:

    Is David Brooks an asshole?

    /sarc

  36. Semi-related:

    Saturday’s Womxn’s March

    After Women’s March, it’s time to really get moving

    Women’s Marchers: Tell us what you plan to do next

    Is it a Womxn’s March, or is it a Women’s march? Why do they keep changing it?

  37. David Brooks is to journalism what Meatspin is to videography.

    1. David Brooks is to journalism what Mike M. is to nicknames.

      1. Fuck you, Cuckizen X. /Mikey’s likely response

        1. He’d either call me a fag or a retard, because his grasp of communication peaked when they kicked him out after the ninth time he repeated fifth grade.

          1. “Fuck you, Cuckizen X, you retard faggit”

            Better?

  38. I hope Reason sticks to this theme a little more in the future — far too much of libertarian discussion/thought is built on the same themes as statism, e.g. the individual and the state and their interaction. It’s an essentially nihilistic libertarianism, since crushing the state and leaving a bunch of disorganized individuals would just lead to chaos and misery, possibly worse than under the state itself.

    Any sort of useful libertarian thought needs to place a great deal of emphasis on the creation and maintenance of the many non-coercive variants of the organs required for a healthy society. It should recognize the difference between collectivism and the understanding that society is more like an advanced multi-cellular organism than a simple colony of interchangeable microbes (e.g., creating a pencil is about a lot more than a bunch of random individuals doing things). It shouldn’t just be a call to political action (or a call to impotently bitch) but a call to productive apolitical activism.

    1. Libertarianism does not mean radical individualism. Calling Libertarianism radical individualism is a slander. Just because the state leaves you free to pursue happiness doesn’t mean you can’t do that as part of some voluntary community of like minded people. Rejecting state coercion is not the same as embracing radical individualism.

  39. And what rough Brooks, his durr come ripe at last,
    Slouches towards the New York Times to derp?

  40. See what happens when Brooks doesn’t iron his pants?

  41. As John said above, the successful protest has to convince people that “my God, I’m not alone.” The Tea Party did that circa 2009. Yet it pretty quickly crashed back to the 10% who turn out to be active in any organization. While the TP went on to successes in some parts of the country, it was ineffective in others and seems to have been absorbed into the GOP. The original TP has yet to achieve its stated initial objectives to cut spending, have a smaller government, and repeal Obamacare. It quickly got distracted, in my neck of the woods, by Muslim terrorism, gay marriage, and drug warfare.

  42. It’s an essentially nihilistic libertarianism, since crushing the state and leaving a bunch of disorganized individuals would just lead to chaos and misery, possibly worse than under the state itself.

    Don’t leave that nice mask lying in the mud to be stepped on.

    1. What mask? Healthy libertarian societies are based on non-coercive institutions. Statist societies are based on coercive institutions. Societies without institutions aren’t even really societies, and they’ll rapidly be displaced by something that is; depending on how that happens, it might be very good or very bad for the people in the chaotic non-society.

      I’d just like to see more writing at Reason about the construction of libertarian societies, either at the theoretical level, or about efforts to create them at the practical level. Even the occasional article about Liberland or seasteading isn’t really talking about what the society is or how it will work, only how it gets the state out of the equation. It’s like if the vegan movement was all about how to avoid eating meat, and no one ever talked about what sort of diet you should actually have to survive without meat.

  43. That Genghis Khan Party was one hell of a changer.

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