Friday, July 08, 2016

David Brooks and The Ministry of Love

Having fled the monstrous Republican political and policy catastrophes he helped to midwife, we once again join Mr. David Brooks far from the scene of his crimes.  Today he is spending his priceless New York Times column inches safely behind the Beltway's Wailing Wall, scribbling a desperate prayer that someone with vast resources and magic superpowers will sweep in and undo pretty much everything his Conservative movement has done for the past 50 years.

Of course he doesn't quite say that because saying that would swiftly transform Mr. Brooks from America's Most Ubiquitous Conservative Public Intellectual to just another unemployed middle-aged white guy, but judge for yourself:
Since then [1776?] the institutions that arouse the moral lens have withered while the institutions that manipulate incentives — the market and the state — have expanded. Now economic, utilitarian thinking has become the normal way we do social analysis and see the world. We’ve wound up with a society that is less cooperative, less trusting, less effective and less lovely.

By assuming that people are selfish, by prioritizing arrangements based on selfishness, we have encouraged selfish frames of mind. Maybe it’s time to upend classical economics and political science. Maybe it’s time to build institutions that harness people’s natural longing to do good.


OK, David, I'll tell you what.  While I continue working on getting your political party and your ideological movement to, y'know, stop destroying my country, I'll get half of my staff going on "upending classical economics and political science" and the other half busy planning "institutions that harness people’s natural longing to do good".

Meanwhile why don't you focus on doing what you do best: reposing your lazy ass in the nearest hammock and drawing a princely salary for opining gassily about how other people can best go about cleaning up your disasters.  


RUKidding said...

By assuming that people are selfish, by prioritizing arrangements based on selfishness, we have encouraged selfish frames of mind.

I thought the selfish narcissism of the GOP, their 1% Overlords, the Acela corridor bubbleheads like DFB, was/is the founding principle of the GOP. Isn't the GOP all about throwing the dirty poorz under the bus because they're lousy lazy freeloaders who don't want to work and just want a hand out and can't be bothered to look for jobs?? Isn't this extreme version of selfishness what's been broadcast 24/7/365 for the past almost 40 years by the GOP media organ, Fox, by all of Hate Radio and by all "Christian" broadcast networks? I thought Prosperity Jesus hated the freeloading poorz/minorities and rewarded the selfish rich whites with lotsa grift, filthy lucre and other trappings of immense wealth that only they deserve?? Isn't that pretty much what DFB has been scribbling about for so long... in so many words that DFB tries to infuse with philosophical-y $10 words?

Maybe it’s time to build institutions that harness people’s natural longing to do good.

Eh wot? Sounds pretty Commie to me Comrade Brooks. Are you ready, as a very effete intellectual lazy slob, to be shipped off to the hinterlands to do some hard labor or work on a farm??

One can almost hear that loser rushing to the fainting couch clutching his pearls and shrieking in The Horror! The Horror!

WTF? NOW DFB suddenly sees the usefulness of the "community" and people helping each other out? Is DFB ready to pony up more in taxes to pay for the commons, such as roads, bridges, clean water, PD, Fire Depts, libraries, etc? NO??? Quelle surprise... not.

Put your money where your mouth is, and then we'll talk.

dinthebeast said...

Wait, haven't we been trying our asses off to build those "institutions" for, oh, forever, in the face of nonstop obstruction from your goddamn gop, and haven't you been right there in the chorus calling us traitors and surrender monkeys for our troubles?

I think DFB freaks out a little when he wanders too close to reality, and his fingers get all fidgety and don't know what to type any more until he gets some piles of bullshit in between him and the truth so he can relax again and get back to his job of soothing the nerves of the worst people in the world...

-Doug in Oakland

Habitat Vic said...

"... the institutions that manipulate incentives — the market and the state — have expanded. Now economic, utilitarian thinking has become the normal way we do social analysis and see the world."

OK, pointing out yet another DFB hypocrisy is like throwing gasoline on hot coals, but I can't help myself. Now, what would be an institution famous for promoting free market economic thinking as the end-all be-all for government policy? Maybe one that Bobo (and I) graduated from in the early 80's - the University of Chicago! God Almighty, back then they used to sell t-shirts with Milton Friedman on them, along with Libertarian/Randite shirts as well. Hell, early in his career Bobo even worked at the Hoover Institute while Friedman was there. Yep, a think tank named after the greed-driven Republican president who ushered in the Great Depression.

But as to what institutions (or University, or which political party) lead the way to unfettered greed in politics. Eh, who knows? Certainly not David Fucking Brooks.

Karen Rea said...

Someone get the net. David, your fucking party is built upon the "philosophy" of a raving lunatic of infantile moral development, Ayn Rand. She's practically worshiped by the Speaker of the Fucking House. Every speech, every budget, every "economic plan" proposed by the GOP since Teddy Roosevelt has been based upon greed; "I got mine, fuck you and your 90 year-old grandmother and your 5 year-old child". The very idea of a "community organizer" was treated with derision and scorn. Hell, still is.
The nominee of DFB's heartless party can't shut up about all the money he has because to him that is the only measurement of worth as a human being. And now our Mr. Brooks sees that perhaps the underpinnings of his "thoughts" for the last 30 years or so just might be a tad flawed. God.

Green Eagle said...

"assuming that people are selfish" is just about the entire philosophical foundation of Conservatism. Assuming the opposite is what liberals are about, which gets us an unending tide of abuse from the "realists" on the other side of the aisle, who just know that everyone on earth is as greedy and filled with hatred as they are themselves.

bowtiejack said...

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

John Kenneth Galbraith

keith gargus said...

Without the perpetually unconscious David Brooks, I would not know Driftglass. Thanks Bobo.

Jeff Ryan said...

I don't mean to be churlish, because I really like this blog.

But frankly? I don't really give a shit about David Brooks. And, more importantly, neither does anyone else in this country. Brooks is execrable, unforgivable, and any number of other obnoxious things. But no one cares. Really. So all of this starts to seem like wasted energy.

It's great that this blog, and Yastreblyansky, eviscerate Books on a near-continuous basis, but so what? I like both bloggers, I laugh at the pieces they post. I also realize that, if you're going to be a warrior in this cause, you are targeting the guys in the kitchen.

Brooks doesn't matter. To anyone. Move on, because we have an actual war to wage. Pissing on the enemy's quartermaster may make you feel righteous, but it won't stop that ICBM that's heading our way.

trgahan said...

These lazy bullshit morality columns make me suspicious that DFB honestly thinks he is a modern day Thoreau....if the cabin on Walden Pond has been 6,000 sq ft, 7 bed, 8 bath, with detached boat house located in a gated community that has a waiting list for potential buyers.

Belvoir said...

Jeff Ryan: Pretty churlish, yeah. "No one cares"- speak for yourself. There's thousands of other blogs you could peruse, being critical of Drifty for his enjoyable DFB-punching and analysis is more than churlish, it's dickish.

Timothy Hosler said...

What Belvor said !

dahlgren said...

Let me take the opposite point on Brooks, which is sadly, that people DO care what he says. It should be obvious I suppose given his position in Very Important Institutions (the NY Times, PBS, Yale), but recently I was surprised to find people defending Brooks as a Deep and Important thinker after I had made a reasonable comment (David F'ing Brooks. Why does he still have a job?) Brooks writing is lazy and stupid and dishonest and that still needs to be said frequently.