Tuesday, December 05, 2017

David Brooks: Plutocracy's Most Beloved Hug Box


David Brooks vs. Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass, 1857:
Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress...

David Brooks, today:
How Not to Advance Gay Marriage

...At this point, Craig and Mullins had two possible courses of action, the neighborly and the legal.

The neighborly course would have been to use this situation as a community-building moment. That means understanding the concrete circumstance they were in.

First, it’s just a cake. It’s not like they were being denied a home or a job, or a wedding. A cake looks good in magazines, but it’s not an important thing in a marriage. Second, Phillips’s opinion is not a strange opinion... Third, the tide of opinion is quickly swinging in favor of gay marriage...

Given that context, the neighborly approach would be to say: “Fine, we won’t compel you to do something you believe violates your sacred principles. But we would like to hire you to bake other cakes for us. We would like to invite you into our home for dinner and bake with you, so you can see our marital love, and so we can understand your values. You still may not agree with us, after all this, but at least we’ll understand each other better and we can live more fully in our community.”

The legal course, by contrast, was to take the problem out of the neighborhood and throw it into the court system. The legal course has some advantages. You can use state power, ultimately the barrel of a gun, to compel people to do what you think is right...

But the legal course has some disadvantages. It is inherently adversarial. It takes what could be a conversation and turns it into a confrontation. It is dehumanizing. It ends persuasion and relies on the threat of state coercion. It is elitist...

This is modern America, so of course Craig and Mullins took the legal route. If you want to know why we have such a polarized, angry and bitter society, one reason is we take every disagreement that could be addressed in conversation and community and we turn it into a lawsuit. We take every morally supple situation and we hand it over to the legal priesthood, which by necessity is a system of technocratic rationalism, strained slippery-slope analogies and implied coercion.

...I don’t think the fabric of this country will be repaired through the angry confrontation of lawyers...
Spoken like a man whose ex took him to the cleaners during the divorce. 

Mr. Brooks believes what he believes so fervently because he is the personification of establishmentarian privilege.  He has made himself rich not by discovering anything, or creating anything or refining anything.  He puts his shoulder to nothing.  He militates for nothing.  He risks nothing to make the world a better place, because for men like Mr. David Brooks, the world could not possibly be any better than it already is. 

Instead, Mr. Brooks has made himself rich and wields wildly outsized political and cultural influence by methodically applying his very limited skill set to writing some variation of the same fucking plutocrat-comforting fairy tale over and over and over again.  His function in their system is the same as Temple Grandin's cattle hug box:  applying a constant, enveloping pressure to calm down the beeves on the slaughter line. 

Don't make a fuss.  Don't cause a ruckus.  Don't upset the good order of Mr. Brooks' world by using the tools the founders gave you to redress your grievances.  And for fuck's sake, don't protest.  

From Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times in January of this year writing incredibly condescending claptrap scolding Liberal protesters for being frivolous, self-involved narcissists who are completely missing history's moment (with emphasis added):
After the Women’s March

All the big things that were once taken for granted are now under assault: globalization, capitalism, adherence to the Constitution, the American-led global order. If you’re not engaging these issues first, you’re not going to be in the main arena of national life...

Without the discipline of party politics, social movements devolve into mere feeling, especially in our age of expressive individualism. People march and feel good and think they have accomplished something. They have a social experience with a lot of people and fool themselves into thinking they are members of a coherent and demanding community. Such movements descend to the language of mass therapy....

...identity politics is too small for this moment. On Friday, Trump offered a version of unabashed populist nationalism. On Saturday, the anti-Trump forces could have offered a red, white and blue alternative patriotism, a modern, forward-looking patriotism based on pluralism, dynamism, growth, racial and gender equality and global engagement.

Instead, the marches offered the pink hats, an anti-Trump movement built, oddly, around Planned Parenthood, and lots of signs with the word “pussy” in them...

...now progressives seem intent on doubling down on exactly what has doomed them so often. Lilla pointed out that identity politics isolates progressives from the wider country: “The fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life.”...

The central threat is not the patriarchy. The central challenge is to rebind a functioning polity and to modernize a binding American idea...

If the anti-Trump forces are to have a chance, they have to offer a better nationalism, with diversity cohering around a central mission, building a nation that balances the dynamism of capitalism with biblical morality...
And here is Mr. David Brooks scolding the same dirty hippies in very much the same way 14 years earlier for daring to oppose George W. Bush:
My third guess is that the Bush haters will grow more vociferous as their numbers shrink. Even progress in Iraq will not dampen their anger, because as many people have noted, hatred of Bush and his corporate cronies is all that is left of their leftism. And this hatred is tribal, not ideological. And so they will still have their rallies, their alternative weeklies, and their Gore Vidal polemics. They will still have a huge influence over the Democratic party, perhaps even determining its next presidential nominee. But they will seem increasingly unattractive to most moderate and even many normally Democratic voters who never really adopted outrage as their dominant public emotion.
Mr. Brooks has always written to aid and comfort a small cabal of wealthy, doddering shut-ins who have no fucking clue what is going on out here in the real world, and do not want to know.  They want the sidewalks rolled up at 9:00, that damned music turned off at 9:30 and those damn carpers and complainers to sit quietly, smile sweetly and wait patiently for their fundamental human rights to be generously bestowed on them by their betters.

Because Trump or no Trump, there is still a Club.

And that Club concedes nothing without a demand.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Professor Fate said...

"First, it’s just a cake. It’s not like they were being denied a home or a job, or a wedding."

It was just a seat on bus as well if memory serves. Yes?

Cirze said...

Front of the bus.

Andrew Johnston said...

"As a man with no problems, I don't understand why these other people have to be on about their 'grievances' all the time. Can't we all just throw up our hands, shrug, and agree that I'm right? It would fix everything."

-Basically every DFB column written in 2017

Thomas Ten Bears said...

A seat none-the-less.

Tanbark said...

"Because Trump or no Trump, there is still a club.
And that club concedes nothing without a demand."


I am sick of incrementalism in our democratic candidates. I want someone howling in outrage at these pigfuckers. It shouldn't be hard. I want to see about 100-odd-thousand deplorable votes switch back in a few states, just like they switched from Obama to Trump, in Wisky, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, last year. I think the best way to get that is to have candidates whom are not interested in "reaching out" to the republicans, but whom are persistently identifying them as the greed-and-malice-driven dinosaurs they are, while the meteor of human progress lands on their heads.

Tanbark said...

I think the upstate returns on the "progress in Iraq' vote are in:

George W. Bush and the people who supported his petrochemical Third-Reich propaganda coup (and they, and we, know who they are!) have turned the entire Middle East into an ongoing bloody-assed chaos-theory petrie dish. If it keeps devouring blood and money for another hundred years, there will, almost certainly, be no end in sight.

THE IRAQIS; the Syrians; the Yemenis; the Kurds, etc...are still bleeding like hemophiliacs…but that's OK, because, for the time being, OUR body-bag count is down.

Dave McCarthy said...

"A cake looks good in magazines, but it’s not an important thing in a marriage."

Yeah, it's not important, like a principle!

Oh, wait...

K.L. Onassis said...

David Brooks, would you like to know what's *really* dehumanising? Going to order a wedding cake and having the bigoted baker discriminate against you because he think that you aren't, really, fully human. That because you don't follow his traditions, that you deserve less.

You know what else is dehumanising, David Fucking Brooks? The fact that there are hundreds of men marching in front of a women's health clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina, because they don't think that women are truly fully human enough to be able to have autonomy over their own health care. The fact that Gilead is a real place that exists all over the US, and we have assholes like you perched high above chiding us for our anger as the bigoted multitudes in your party continue to deny us our humanity.

Fuck you David Brooks.

RUKidding said...

But the legal course has some disadvantages. It is inherently adversarial. It takes what could be a conversation and turns it into a confrontation.

DFB can eat that gay couple's shorts.

Yeah, it's all the fault of ________________ (DFB's fills in the blank with the latest outrage over the disgustingness of whatever minority, female, LGBTQ, etc, has the temerity to be "upset" over by being overtly discriminated against bc: how DARE they question the "moral superiority" of old, white supremacist Republican men???).

All you Libtards should just learn to _______________ (fill in the blank with such sophisms as "be more neighborly," "just reach out to white supremacist azzholes and do your best to make them 'feel better' about your sorry Libtarded azz, just realize that they're "economically insecure" not racist effen pigs, etc) because that's way to be all bipartisany and sh*t and to stop all this divisiveness (which is all and solely the fault of you Libtards), etc.

No, DFB, this situation didn't suddenly turn adversarial when the gay couple took this to court. It started out adversarial when the bigoted baker refused to sell his idiotic cake to a gay couple bc it 'offended his Christiany values' or similar claptrap. But always - ALWAYS - blame on those who are oppressed, repressed, discriminated against - it's ALWAYS their fault. Not the fault of their racist, bigoted, nasty, sexist oppressors.

Typical deflection and blame shifting by the shameless hustler and grifter, bottom feeding, 1% suck up, kick down jerk, DFB.

Do us all a favor and STFU, you lousy excuse for a humanoid.

Loony Liberal said...

David Brooks knows that, when we take a page from the French and overthrow the rich, his ass is grass. Hence his begging that we "behave."

dinthebeast said...

Invite the baker into their home?
Sure, David. They'll do that the day that you invite me and all of my biker friends into your home for a friendly little chat.

-Doug in Oakland

Karen Crosby said...

One of your very best!

dave said...

mistuh brook's edmund burke is the perfect model for the progress that brooks espouses.

it is this, do what you need to in order to feel better about your self, less guilty about oppression. if you wish examine oppression you need to examine it from the prospective of the oppressed not the oppressor. that is not brooks' beat...

dave said...


the mental condition that slaves would prefer not to be slaves....

read it mistuh brooks:


rhwombat said...

I look forward to David Fucking Brooks' gently reproaching tone when he discusses Trump's fate .

ziply said...

Sing it, brother!

Robt said...

Nice concept.

When you're wrong somehow. me and my superior tribe of purists will go nuclear on the smallest infraction because you are not like me (and I hate myself so I know). We will release every Nuke we have on anything bigger than a bread box or in this case a cake in a box.

You must be not just shown your evil ways. It has to be something more punishing to make an example out of. For others who might dare.

But If I am caught (Roy Moore). Claim my innocence preach fire and brimstone from the Old Testament while waiving the Cross with Jesus from the New Testament.
Why then you need to be punished still.

Didn't anyone learn from the Wall Street bank collapse and the great recession?

Socialized welfare bail outs to corporate entities and everyone else gets individual rugged free market bankruptcies and the pride of losing everything (with no help) as conservatism commandment clearly states in the book of the GOP platform.

"Why I would rather go bankrupt and close and lose my bakery. Before baking a cake that will turn me gay"/

But "I don't mind voting for a pedophile for the senate even if it makes me a pedophile.

The confession and atoning for programmed hate. Long term despicable behaviors toward others while embracing N and softening views of NAZIS, KKK, Pedophiles, political created enemies. When Putin is favored over a Democratic presidential candidate in your tribal political party.

If you could only evaluate where you are with all this and develop a notion. That extreme hate will return to bite, burn engulf you and your existence no matter how much of a real true religious republican you think you are. Then I would gladly send you a map to direct you home to the normalcy of reality.

History shows me,
Extreme societies and civilizations ran by such. Run their course to a end.

Devastating all it can. Roman Empire, Hitlers Germany, japan, The USSR and so on.
I need a way to eliminate the extremes of our societal spraying a chemical on your lawn. That your grass is immune but the weeds are diminished.

All the effort to convince that these extremes are actually mild .

Pedophile over political opponent. The moral illusion of false pride I can only speculate.

So burn the declared and accused witch. And worship the actual one.