When I read stilted piffle like this from an Expatriate Conservative
It almost makes one believe that John McCain and Bill Kristol actually hold their base in contempt, believing them to be "poor, undereducated and easily led." And now they have to steer their flock in another direction. In some ways, I have more sympathy with the Palinites and Palin than the cynics and hollow men of Washington's GOP establishment.I honestly can't help but laugh.
Because those "poor, undereducated and easily led" mooks Mr. Sullivan is talking about here -- those infinitely reprogrammable mouthbreathing killbots who we the Left all know as the Republican Base -- have been the electoral Ring of Power for the Right since before I could shave.
And Mr. Sullivan damn well knows it.
Knows this has been so ever since Nixon mined the raw, racist "Southern Strategy" ore out of the red clay of Georgia. Knows this has been so ever since since Saint Ronald Wilson Reagan refined it into a howling, focused, electoral weapon in the purifying fires of white privilege, class resentment, gun fetishism, homophobia, Christian fundamentalism and pure, proud pig-ignorance.
This is the very ugly truth that Conservative Public Intellectuals like Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Brooks, Mr. Frum and a handful of other absolutely will not acknowledge or debate, ever, for any reason. Because if they did, they would immediately be confronted with some very uncomfortable questions about their own complicity in the creation of the monster they now write about with such horror every fucking day. They would need to have good answers as to why -- for sordid wages and the promise of access to the same dark power they now despise Rush Limbaugh for exercising -- they spent decades lending their labors to the task of destroying everything about the American body politic that made it possible to keep the virulent disaster that is Palinism in check.
Because if they did, the answers they would have to face would end their careers, and the careers of hundreds of other who have risen to great and influential positions even though they have spent much of their lives as public intellectuals getting the Big, Important Issues wrong, wrong, wrong.
And so that is never going to happen.
Instead, we will continue to be treated to ponderous and hilariously contorted studies in verbal gymnastics as our Conservative Public Intellectuals are faced over and over again with Big, Important Issues whose presence they cannot very well ignore, but whose paternity they dare not acknowledge.
Big, ol' slabs of dumb, like this sloppy, maundering, pseudo-intellectual mess by the Conservative David Brooks, who clearly aches to talk about the obligations of citizenship, the toxic narcissism of greed, and the disaster that Limbaughism, Gingrichism and Palinism has unleashed on the American political system --
If Americans do, indeed, have a different and larger conception of the self than they did a few decades ago, I wonder if this is connected to some of the social and political problems we have observed over the past few years.
I wonder if the rise of consumption and debt is in part influenced by people’s desire to adorn their lives with the things they feel befit their station. I wonder if the rise in partisanship is influenced in part by a narcissistic sense that, “I know how the country should be run and anybody who disagrees with me is just in the way.”
Most pervasively, I wonder if there is a link between a possible magnification of self and a declining saliency of the virtues associated with citizenship.
Citizenship, after all, is built on an awareness that we are not all that special but are, instead, enmeshed in a common enterprise. Our lives are given meaning by the service we supply to the nation. I wonder if Americans are unwilling to support the sacrifices that will be required to avert fiscal catastrophe in part because they are less conscious of themselves as components of a national project.
-- but cannot form his mouth to say the words "Bush", "Tax Cuts", "Iraq", "Neoconservatism", "Repubublican", Conservative", "Fox" or any other signifier that these problems are overwhelming the fault of the his own fucking political movement.
Because if he did, some bright lad might rudely ask why in the wide, wide world -- having failed so miserably and having lied so incompetently to cover their miserable failures -- are Conservative Public Intellectuals like David Brooks still enjoying extremely successful careers at the highest echelons of American culture.
And that is a question for which Conservative Public Intellectuals have no answer.