The main challengers of the Albizzi family were the Medicis, first under Giovanni de' Medici, later under his son Cosimo di Giovanni de' Medici and grandson, Lorenzo de' Medici. The Medici controlled the Medici bank—then Europe's largest bank—and an array of other enterprises in Florence and elsewhere. In 1433, the Albizzi managed to have Cosimo exiled. The next year, however, a pro-Medici Signoria was elected and Cosimo returned. The Medici became the city's leading family, a position they would hold for the next three centuries. Florence remained a republic until 1537, traditionally marking the end of the High Renaissance in Florence, but the instruments of republican government were firmly under the control of the Medici and their allies, save during intervals after 1494 and 1527. Cosimo and Lorenzo rarely held official posts, but were the unquestioned leaders.
As you might remember, having humiliated himself for the last 20 years making a series of very public social and political pronouncements which have all blown up in his face, America's Greatest Conservative Public Intellectual renounced the comforts of making up fairy tales based on the mating and musing habits of his privileged and insulated Acela corridor neighbors and pledged instead to walk the Earth Cain-in-Kung-Fu style --
-- until he stumbled across Real Murricans, learned their native language, and reported back on their charming, native folkways.
The first leg of his dangerous hoi polloi hegira as reported in today's New York Times ("One Neighborhood at a Time") takes him to the West, following the advice of Horace Greeley. Past the Valley of the Gods and Boot Hill, Mr, Brooks treks, and past the Grand Canyon and Donner Pass. Past the the mighty Hoover Dam, smoking ruins of Kansas and the wreckage of Kochlahoma. Right past all of the west's many monuments to the patient majesty of Nature and the contradictory ambitions of Man, to the home of Mr. Brooks friends, Lynda and Stewart Reskin --
You should know that I’m friends with Lynda and Stewart and am biased in their direction.Who are the very best kinds of friend for David Brooks to have, since they also happen to be #358 on Forbes' 2016 list of Americas Top 400 Billionaires --
#358 Stewart and Lynda Resnick-- having made some considerable fraction of their vast fortune by gaming the loophole-riddled agricultural water rules in the drought-stricken state of California.
Real Time Net Worth As of 5/17/16: $4.2 Billion
Source Of Wealth: agriculture, water, Self Made
So not exactly the Joads.
Or the Jukes.
Or the Kallikaks
Or even the Clampitts.
Just good, old-fashioned American Medicis whose social mission happens to align perfectly with David Brooks' vision of an American where the government has faded quietly into nonexistence and we are ruled by benevolent, ambitious plutocrats who really only want what is best for us.
The Resnick's, you see, have a shit-ton of money and they want to spend a chunk of it on the sorts of things that good government used to do before the Starve The Beast And Gut The Middle Class Party took the whole concept of good government for a walk in the woods and shot it in the head.
First, they are flooding the zone. They’re not trying to find one way to serve this population. The problems are so intertwined, they are trying to change this community from all directions at once. In Lost Hills there are new health centers, new pre-K facilities, new housing projects, new gardens, new sidewalks and lights, a new community center and a new soccer field. Through the day, people have more places to meet, play and cooperate with their neighbors...
Second, they’ve created a practical culture of self-improvement. You can talk about social reform in ways that seem preachy. But the emphasis here is on better health and less diabetes, a nonmoralistic way to change behavior.They are improving the lives of some of our fellow citizens, and jolly good for them, I say.
At the nut plant I met men and women who’d lost over 100 pounds. One of the workers gets up at 2:45 every morning, so he can hit the gym by 4 and be at work by 6...
The new institutions here are intensely social. When you go to the health center, you don’t sit silently in the waiting room before going into a small room for your 15-minute visit. Many of the patients have group visits (sort of like Al Anon groups) to meet communally with doctors and encourage one another’s healthier behavior...
However I am just old enough not toe find much comfort in the idea of a
Cradle to grave, you might say.
And I do have to wonder how Mr. Brooks proposes that we replicate the vast outlays of cash that are clearly required to start to rebuild our shattered working-class in the tens of thousands of communities throughout America where their wealth and future have been strip-mined to make a handful of people very wealthy? Where the local and state governments are collapsing under the burden of providing even the most minimal services to the Left Behind? Where local benevolent billionaires are in very short supply?
And I also have to wonder what happens to people in Mr. Brooks' Brave New World who would rather not have to sing a company song for their supper?