Tuesday, January 16, 2018

David Brooks: John Stuart Mill -- A Land of Contrasts

As anyone who has read him over any length of time (and why would you?) knows, Mr. David Brooks is one of the most singularly lazy pundits in America, which is saying something.  He basically has one or two ideas, which are both shitty and which he has extruded into slightly different op-ed Jello molds, twice a week for the past 15 years.

In exchange for his mind-numbingly redundant trucklehood year after year, the Sulzberger family has made Mr. Brooks into a man of wealth and influence wildly out of proportion with his meager talents and mephitic message.  And yet, believe it or not, even this bare-minimum standard of performance -- delivering 800 words of tepid, Both Siderist mush twice a week, with a few months off now and then for paid vacations and book tours -- is sometimes too much of a lift for Mr. Brooks to manage.

This is when he drops off a half-assed book report and calls is a day.

Just like he did today!
John Stuart Mill Showed Democracy as a Way of Life

This year we’ve been so besieged by Donald Trump’s shriveled nature that we sometimes forget what full and courageous human life looks like. And so today I’d like to hold up John Stuart Mill, the second in our Heroes of Democracy series. Mill demonstrated that democratic citizenship is a way of life, a moral stance and a humanistic adventure.

Those who know anything about Mill know about his upbringing. His father separated him from other children and from loving relationships and tried to turn him into a perfect thinking machine. Mill learned Greek at age 3. Between 8 and 12, he read Herodotus, Homer, Xenophon, Plato, Virgil and Ovid (in Latin) while studying physics, chemistry, astronomy and mathematics...
It's an 800-word book report on a Great Man.  And if you go in for 800-word book reports on Great Men, you may well like this one.  Who am I to judge?

But if you are not one for 800-word book reports on Great Men, let me tell you how this one ends (emphasis added):
The demands of democracy are clear -- the elevation and transformation of your very self. If you are not transformed, you’re just skating by.
Because, for all his wealth and influence, Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times does not own a single god damn mirror.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Andrew Johnston said...

On occasion, opinion columnists are forced to fill space due to a lull in national and global news. Given that we're now in a period where every week sees a fresh new political controversy and/or a development in an existing one, and given that the pace of these controversies is only accelerating, I don't see how this is necessary. Seriously Dave, you couldn't think of anything to write about? Not immigration - you know, that thing that everyone is talking about right now? No? Oh, I understand. You simply had no choice to write about how John Stuart Mill was a mushball centrist just like you.

Perhaps he's testing material for his next book, The Road to Character II: I Hate Myself For This But Skipping the Country Isn't Cheap.

Neo Tuxedo said...

Why would he? He doesn't cast a reflection in them anyway.

trgahan said...

Actually, the parallels between England's Victorian gentry and the NYT's aristocratic owners, friends, and beltway lackeys like BFD are striking.

Mill used the inherited material security, social position, and free time afforded Victorian Straight White English Males to muse about liberty and freedom in governance while being as pro-empire colonial administrator who firmly believed in the inferiority of anyone Victorian England ruled.

So DFB's second Heroes of Democracy was another disingenuous asshole (yes, he did push women's suffrage late in life, but still) who knew damn well he could wax and wane about liberty and morality all he wanted as long as he NEVER fucked with the system fundamentals that were making his contemporaries rich.

dinthebeast said...

"...we sometimes forget what full and courageous human life looks like."

David? Please take that "we" and stick it in your eye. I'm not saying to light it on fire first, because why would I say that?

-Doug in Oakland

cvmbner said...

Well, that was a pleasant little onanistic diversion. Although I think his main point, as always, is that if we would only each be noble in some vague way only Bobo understands, we wouldn’t need gubmint at all, let alone civil-rights legislation!

jim said...

BoBo writing on John Stuart Mill: that s thing can happen is not a valid reason to make it happen.