Tuesday, October 04, 2016

David Brooks: O My Ducats! O My Dogma!



In which Mr. David Brooks once again deals with the Rise of Trump by chugging a gallon of tequila, passing out face-first in a bowl of off-brand fortune cookies, Necco Valentine Sweethearts and gummy Yodas and dreaming of the Lovely Society.
You can be a taxpayer or you can be a citizen...

A nation is a web of giving and getting...

If you orient everything around individual self-interest, you end up ripping the web of giving and receiving...

The older citizenship mentality is a different mentality. It starts with the warm glow of love of country...

The citizen enjoys a sweet reverence for all the gifts that have been handed down over time, and a generous piety about country that is the opposite of arrogance...

Out of this sweet parfait of emotions...

There’s a sense of how a lovely society is supposed to be...

In a lovely society we all pull our fair share...

In a lovely society everybody practices a kind of social hygiene...

In a lovely society people shun these corrupt and corrupting things...

In a lovely society everyone feels privilege, but the rich feel a special privilege...

Public citizenship is the path to personal growth...

That mentality ... may lead toward riches, but they lead away from happiness...
Actually, what Mr. Brooks is describing with such bleary longing is the ancient and venerable idea of The Commons (from Bill Moyers cited in Sierra Voices):
In his Pulitzer Prize–winning book The Radicalism of the American Revolution, historian Gordon Wood says that our nation discovered its greatness “by creating a prosperous free society belonging to obscure people with their workaday concerns and pecuniary pursuits of happiness.” This democracy, he said, changed the lives of “hitherto neglected and despised masses of common laboring people.”

Those words moved me when I read them. They moved me because Henry and Ruby Moyers were “common laboring people.” My father dropped out of the fourth grade and never returned to school because his family needed him to pick cotton to help make ends meet. Mother managed to finish the eighth grade before she followed him into the fields. They were tenant farmers when the Great Depression knocked them down and almost out. The year I was born my father was making $2 a day working on the highway to Oklahoma City. He never took home more than $100 a week in his working life, and he made that only when he joined the union in the last job he held. I was one of the poorest white kids in town, but in many respects I was the equal of my friend who was the daughter of the richest man in town. I went to good public schools, had the use of a good public library, played sandlot baseball in a good public park and traveled far on good public roads with good public facilities to a good public university. Because these public goods were there for us, I never thought of myself as poor. When I began to piece the story together years later, I came to realize that people like the Moyerses had been included in the American deal. “We, the People” included us.
How ironic that the single, unifying principle of Mr. Brooks' Republican Party and Conservative movement for the past 30 years has been a steady, aggressive and lavishly financed campaign to diminish, degrade, privatize, outsource and otherwise destroy The Commons and everything it stands for, by any means necessary.

No wonder Mr. Brooks spends so much time face-down-drunk dreaming of a Liberal Utopia over which he can preside as its True Conservative philosopher king.  

Because if he ever sobered up and took a good look at the madness and ruin his Conservatism has inflicted on real people here in the real world, he would weigh himself down with remaindered hardback copies of, oh, say, Ann Coulter's "Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America" and "In Trump We Trust" and walk into the sea.

Update:  This by Yastreblyansky is delicious.  Here's a little taste:
Sometimes bad writing becomes so extreme that it slips into another, sweeter universe:
In Order to Form a More Parfait Union 
a poem

by David Brooks 
The older citizenship mentality
is a different mentality.
It starts with the warm glow
of love of country.

It continues with a sense of sweet
gratitude that the founders of the country...


5 comments:

Neo Tuxedo said...

"Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move and that nobody should ever have left the oceans."

Fun fact (stop me if you've heard this one): at the beginning of episode two of the TV series, the chap who walks into the ocean in full dorsal nudity is Douglas Adams himself, Zarquon rest his gentlemanly soul.

Professor Chaos said...

Brooks dreams of a "lovely society" after cheerleading for Bush, Cheney, Gingrich, etc? What a waste of column-inches this guy is!

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good evening, Mr. Glass.

It's the Star Trek future versus the Babylon 5 future. Gene Roddenberry created Mr. Brooks' lovely society, but could only achieve it through a nuclear apocalypse that permanently wiped out all the a**holes.

Babylon 5 didn't have that apocalypse, and the result was that the future was just an extension of the present. All the worst elements of humanity were still around. They just had future-guns now.

Unless Mr. Brooks figures out some way to change human nature, he's stuck with the B5 future.

Be seeing you.

Kath320 said...

I'm starting to believe that Brooks is intentionally writing his columns to troll Driftglass.

Isaac Segal said...

I've long thought that the fundamental tension in America is between two different worldviews: the commons and the plantation. The idea of the commons was born in New England and expressed in the quote from Bill Moyers; the idea of the plantation was born in the antebellum South and espoused by just about any conservative from Bill Buckley on. You can see course of American history as a swing from one of these to the other. The commons was ascendant from Roosevelt until Reagan. Let's hope the pendulum is about to go the other way.