Shall be paid by another drawn with the sword...
-- A. Lincoln
Having piddled out nearly all of his contractually-obligated 800 words -- a fair chunk of them copied and pasted from other people -- in a vain attempt to say anything insightful about war in general and the Battle of Gettysburg in particular which much better writers have not already said much better in the 150 years since the Wheatfield and the Peach Orchard and Little Round Top and Pickett's Charge, David Brooks ends his column Tuesday with the stupidest thing I have read in a long time (UPDATE: Mr. Brooks is expressing two different thoughts: one about a sense of mutuality and community and the other about the state of special interest politics. After reading Mike K,'s thoughtful comment, I want to be clear [since I was not] that I am arguing that the second, now-highlighted bit is the inane bit and the first bit -- with which I agree -- is the perfume which Mr. Brooks has sprinkled on the inane bit to cover the odor):
...These letter writers, and many of the men at Gettysburg, were not just different than most of us today because their language was more high flown and earnest. There was probably also a greater covenantal consciousness, a belief that they were born in a state of indebtedness to an ongoing project, and they would inevitably be called upon to pay these debts, to come square with the country, even at the cost of their lives.Makes today’s special interest politics look kind of pathetic.
However much Mr. Brooks dolls it up with the language of "covenantal consciousness", and however much the boys who died in the fields genuinely thought of their deeds as noble and chivalric, in all of American history there has never been a more brutal and obscene exercise in pure "special interest politics" than the institution of human slavery. nor a more terrible chapter in American history than the South's bloody and fanatical struggle to sanctify that grotesque institution and maintain it and all of its subsequent spin offs and subsidiaries by means of war, terror and the perversion of both the Bible and the rule of law.
Since it was not very along ago that Mr. Brooks was personally marshaling all the pretty words at his command to usher young American's off to fight and die in Mr. Brooks' own stupid war, and since Mr. Brooks has never seen fit to apologize for or even acknowledge his own, deep complicity in selling Operation Endless Clusterfuck to the American public, you would think that he would know better than open his pie hole on a day like this to wax yappily about the good old days of martial slaughter.
But, of course, if he "knew better" about almost anything he would not be David Brooks.