Friday, May 04, 2018

David Brooks: Liberal Droogies Want To Take My Stuff!

As America's Leading Brooksologist I can report to you that, as of this morning, Mr. David Brooks' track record of being spectacularly wrong about the nature and trajectory of both the Left and the Right remains unbroken.

Which, for anyone else, would be a helluva trick.  I mean, just the law of averages would suggest that once in great while, as he beats the mean streets of the Acela Corridor Quiet Car, Mr. Brooks would occasionally stumble across some fact about American politics which had some bearing on the real world.

But of course, Mr. Brooks is not just anyone else.  

Mr. Brooks is the pope of the high and holy Church of Both Siderism.  Pope Bias the First, Bishop of the Acela Corridor, Vicar of Both Sides, Successor of the Prince of the Kristols, Supreme Pontiff of the Washington Beltway, Primate of Fake Centrism, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Humility, Sovereign of True Conservatism's City State and Servant of the servants of the Church of Lyin'tology.  And as such, Mr. Brooks does not construct his weekly columns in The New York Times as you or I might -- from fact to fact to logical inference and onward to conclusion.

Because Mr. Brooks is a rigidly tribal ideologue whose personal wealth, professional standing and mental health are all staked on defending the Fake Center at any cost, Mr. Brooks invariably begins with his conclusion -- that the Extremes on Both Sides are always to blame for any damn thing you can think of -- and when reverse-engineers some imaginary Liberal existential threat to democracy which just so happens to perfectly counterbalance whatever actual conservative existential threat to democracy has crossed Mr. Brooks' path on any given day.

So put a pin in that and let's run down just a few of Mr. Brooks' many, many epic failures to predict the rise and fall of political fortunes in our American democracy.

There was his prediction that George W. Bush and John McCain were creating an entirely new Republican governing philosophy and a new era of Competent Conservatives [and] Reactionary Liberals was at hand

There was his insistence that the gargantuan tax-cuts of Bush Administration are no threat whatsoever to the hard-won Clinton Surplus and that only an idiot like Dick Gephardt from the "New Stupid Party" could possibly believe otherwise.

There were his  2003 Weekly Standard cover-page jeremiads against stupid Liberals like me who refused to acknowledge the Iraq War was over, that it had been an unqualified success and that George W. Bush was a military genius ("David Brooks: No Apologies 5 Years Later".)  And because stupid Liberals like me were so crippled by our irrational Bush hatred, it was inevitable that we would either start lying about the terrible, anti-Bush things we had written in the past in order to get right with the powers-that-be in the coming Golden Age of Dubya, or we would permanently marginalize ourselves by devolving into bitter, conspiracy-mongering obscurity.

There is his insistence that a Centrist Party #3 -- a McCain/Lieberman Party -- must rise up and save Western Civilization from Al Sharpton and Ned Lamont.  

Now jump ahead a decade or so and find Mr. Brooks still making a very handsome living promising his wealthy patrons that his Republican Party had definitely cleaned up its act this time and that good-time happy days are just around the corner!
The big Republican accomplishment is that they have detoxified their brand. Four years ago they seemed scary and extreme to a lot of people. They no longer seem that way. The wins in purple states like North Carolina, Iowa and Colorado are clear indications that the party can at least gain a hearing among swing voters. And if the G.O.P. presents a reasonable candidate (and this year’s crop was very good), then Republicans can win anywhere. I think we’ve left the Sarah Palin phase and entered the Tom Cotton phase. 
Except -- oops! -- the exact opposite of that that happened.  Scary!  But just jump ahead one more year and find Mr. Brooks still making a very handsome living reassuring his wealthy patrons that they have nothing to worry about because Marco Rubio was definitely going to save the Republican Party.

Except -- oops! -- that never actually happened, which is why, if we jump ahead less than one year, we find Mr. Brooks still making a very handsome living this time warning his wealthy patrons that all right-thinking people  definitely need to get behind the idea of a Centrist Third Party which would intervene to save us from the dire threat of Donald Trump from the Right and the dire threat of  Nancy Pelosi  Saul Alinski  Ned Lamont  Bernie Sanders  Thanos something something from the Left ("David Brooks Cannot Remember What David Brooks Wrote"):
Personally I’ve always disdained talk of a third party, mostly because the structural barriers against such parties are so high, no matter how scintillatingly attractive they seem in theory. But it’s becoming clear that the need for a third party outweighs even the very real barriers.
So that's one ingredient:  being completely fucking wrong all the time about the trajectory of every major element in American politics.

And the second ingredient?

Scolding Liberals!

Yes, the man who has made and entire career out of being completely fucking wrong all the time about the trajectory of every major element in American politics feels that it is his duty to hector those of us who have haven't been completely fucking wrong all the time about the trajectory of every major element in American politics because we're not doing Liberal right! From two months ago ("How Progressives Win the Culture War"):
The only thing I’d say to my progressive friends is, be careful how you win your victories. It is one thing to win by persuasion and another thing to win by elite cultural intimidation. Illiberalism breeds illiberalism. Using elite power, whether economic or cultural, to silence less educated foes usually produces a backlash.

...If you exile 40 percent of the country from respectable society they will mount a political backlash that will make Donald Trump look like Adlai Stevenson.
So, given that Mr. Brooks is...
  • ...such a rigid, Both Siderist tribal ideologue that he routinely invents imaginary Liberal threats out of whole cloth just so he can blame Both Sides for the depravity of his Republican Party.

  • ...a myopic buffoon who has spent his career being very publicly wrong about the trajectory of every major element in American politics 

  • insufferable, finger-wagging yenta who believes God put him on this Earth to nag Liberals about how our Liberaling sucks...
...what do you suppose Mr. Brooks wrote about today?

If you guessed that he penned an 800-word cautionary tale predicting the Future of the American Left as Hugo Chavez dystopia (because you know how those fucking Liberals are), give yourself a great, big wet kiss:
The Future of the American Left
Sure, there may be (per Mr. Brooks) humane ways of solving the rampant, structural income-inequality problems that plague us without changing capitalism so radically that people like Mr. David Brooks would have to give up lying to senile plutocrats for a living and get real jobs.  And Mr. Brooks asserts -- on the basis of no evidence whatsoever -- that "those on the fair-minded left" would agree with him on that.

However [Insert Ominous Music Here]...
...I don’t think this is the leftism we will wind up with. Tribalism is in the air, on the left as well as on the right. It is based on a scarcity mentality, the idea that life is a zero-sum war between us and them. It emphasizes division and conflict, not solidarity and cohesion. It draws out the authoritarian tendencies in any movement. On the right, tribalism brings us the ethnic authoritarianism of Donald Trump. On the left, it seems likely to bring us the economic authoritarianism of a North American version of Hugo Chávez.

You can see authoritarianism entering the left through two avenues. The first is nationalism. Not long ago, most of the American left tended to think transnationally — partly because problems like climate change are global, partly because it’s hard to regulate a global economy nation by nation, partly because progressives used to be psychologically averse to nationalism.

But national sovereignty is not withering away. Left-wing hostility toward European Union-type multilateral organizations is at record highs. Now a lot of progressive economic thinking is nakedly nationalistic...

The second stream fueling economic authoritarianism is identity politics. It used to be that big political divides were defined by economic interests; now, the cultural dog wags the economic tail. Identity politics defines the core political divides. When many progressives talk about economics these days, they take the habits of mind they developed when talking about identity groups and apply them to economic groups.

It’s the same Manichaeism: oppressor versus oppressed, privileged versus underprivileged, hegemon versus victim. Conflict is inevitable. The apocalypse is near. Preserve the purity of the group. Shut down the other side. It’s sectarian politics to the nth degree...
And while this bit of shitty science fiction about a future where my droogies and I raid Mr. Brooks' demesne to raise his taxes and wreak a bit of the old ultraviolence on his Simpson-Bowles Commemorative Bidet --

-- is wildly entertaining in its own right, I would have to say that this, my friends, is the fucking money shot.
I’m sure many of my left-wing friends believe that that sort of tribal us/them mentality won’t hijack and corrupt their own movement. But as someone who lived through the last 30 years of conservatism, I’m here to tell you, it can. 
No, Mr. Brooks, you are not merely someone who lived through the last 30 years of Conservatism.  Hell, we have all lived through the last 30 years of Conservatism and we all hive the scars to show for it.

You, Mr. Brooks, are someone who has spent the last 30 years lying about Conservatism.

Lying about it every single God damn day and profiting hugely thereby.

And in doing so, Mr. Brooks, you...and a legion of Beltway Both Siderist frauds just like you,...and the billion-dollar media corporations who use their tremendous clout to give frauds like you enormously outsized influence over our public discourse have all played a critical role in the Rise of Trump.

Memory is the Liberal superpower, Mr. Brooks. 

And you have every reason in the world to fear it.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


steeve said...

"Personally I’ve always disdained talk of a third party"

How did i miss that when it happened? Hilarious. It's rare for a lie to be so free of encumbrances.

cvmbner said...

Wow, we really can't fucking win. Didn't BoBo tell us a few months back that we should drop racial and gender "identity politics" and instead embrace the economic woes of our Trump-fellatin' brethren on the right? Now, I guess we can't call anyone "rich" or "poor," and we certainly can't talk about WHY some are rich and some are poor, because goldangit-- that's identity politics too!

It works out pretty well for BoBo and his buds, who just want to be left alone to devour aged steaks and put up new gates around their condos while they tell the rest of us to get cozy with one another.

John said...

You know, my big question is why the Times waged a decades long propaganda war against Hugo Chavez. He actually did good for the poor of his country. If oil prices hadn't collapsed, things might still be going well. But in a world full of nasty dictators, for some reason, the Times really hated him--way beyond what seemed merited.

Poor Venezuela (or for that matter, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, and Russia). People think it's a blessing to be born over a sea of petroleum. But petroleum is really a poison, kinda like the matmos under Barbarella's city of Sogo.