Ever since he left Earth behind and began writing about the human condition from the near vacuum of interplanetary space, Mr. Brooks' communiques have gotten increasingly weird and despondent.
Also I assume there has been some really severe damage to his memory core, because it is impossible to reconcile the musing of the David Brooks who gleefully hopped on board the Iraq War bandwagon, the tax-cut bandwagon, the "Stimulus is a failure bandwagon", the "Bush is a Fucking Genius" bandwagon, the "Barack Obama isn't compromising enough" bandwagon, the "Hippies ruined everything" bandwagon and on and on and on...
...with the David Brooks who just wrote an entire column on "The Moral Power of Curiosity".
From out around the orbit of Jupiter, Mr. Brooks pings that a moral person should be curious about stuff and not just go along with the prevailing wisdom for the sake of money and prestige:
These people are content to possess information, but they don’t seek knowledge. Information is what you need to make money short term. Knowledge is the deeper understanding of how things work. It’s obtained only by long and inefficient study. It’s gained by those who set aside the profit motive and instead possess an intrinsic desire just to know.
Actually, I have heard tell that there once existed an entire tribe of people who "set aside the profit motive and instead possess an intrinsic desire just to know". I believe they were called journalists. But of course this was before my time so I cannot swear to it.
Mr. Brooks also wants us earthbound hominids to know that we should not not punish the people who nuked the global economy for money, but instead try to love-bomb them back into the drum circle of gated-suburban respectability that is Mr. Brooks' measure of all good things:
You can’t tame the desire for money with sermons. You can only counteract greed with some superior love, like the love of knowledge.Third, if market-rigging is defeated, it won’t be by government regulators. It will be through a market innovation.
From Dean Baker:
So there you have it. According to Brooks, if people are stealing on Wall Street we shouldn't look to try to have regulations and punishment, we should go after them with love. It will be interesting to see if Brooks shows the same attitude towards people's whose greed leads them to steal cars or burglarize houses.In space, no one can hear you scam.
UPDATE: Mr. Brooks' plodding, relentless ridiculousness and complete immunity from accountability has driven Moral Hazard to resign.
It should also be noted that, in fact, the Evil Federal Government proved quite capable of policing with worst excesses of the market and preventing the global economy even without a sophisticated armory of love weapons at it's command.
Then, one day, some Very Serious People who Mr. Brooks admires greatly thought it would be a real keen idea to do away with all of those pesky "regulations" which had kept the economy from going tits-up at the hands of marauders since the Great Depression.
The rest, as they say, is history.
History about which history-major David Brooks is scrupulously oblivious.