Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The 1001 Burkean Nights of David Brooks -- UPDATE


University of Chicago history baccalaureate David "Even David Brooks" Brooks has written a genuinely remarkable and revealing column about the rise and fall of American Conservatism.

What makes it remarkable and revealing it is not its scholarly depth or historical breadth or scathing, confessional honesty, but rather that it is a work of almost pure fiction being passed off as fact in America's Newspaper of Record

In his fairy tale, Mr. Brooks describes and eulogizes a fictional Conservatism built from a tense but harmonious fusion between what Mr. Brooks refers to as "economic conservatives" and "traditional conservatives" -- 
The economic conservatives were in charge of the daring ventures that produced economic growth. The traditionalists were in charge of establishing the secure base — a society in which families are intact, self-discipline is the rule, children are secure and government provides a subtle hand.
-- that never existed in the real world...

...whereas the real American Conservatism that has blighted this land for +30 years -- the Conservatism  of Jerry Falwell, Paul Weyrich, Phyllis Schlafly, Newt Gingrich, Lee Atwater and the Southern Strategy -- is to be found nowhere at all in Mr. Brooks' telling.


Remarkable that the Neoconservative and the fundamentalist Christian conservative and the bigot conservative have all been completely unpersoned from David Brooks' imaginary history of a movement to which he has devoted his life.  Instead...well...do you remember that political party which spent the last three years obsessively obstructing the Obama Administration?  And fetishizing Barack Obama's birth certificate, ACORN, Saul Ailinsky and the Kenyan Usurper's secret plans to turn the country over to an army of welfare cheats? And wrecking the nation's bond rating?  And passing more meaningless, brutal anti-woman , anti-choice legislation than any other nine Congresses in history?  And cooking up laws requiring plastic punishment probes be shoved up women's vaginae?  And loudly declaiming their medieval ideas about rape and birth control very loudly?

Remember them?

In Mr. Brooks' "1001 Burkean Nights" those people simply do not exist.  

(UPDATE:  Even as I struggle to maintain my secret identity as a reporter for a major metropolitan news magazine, sometimes I still just cannot stop myself from agreeing with me:
Up there on the left, that's Harry Dent, Sr. He was a conservative political strategist of the 1960's and 1970's. He worked for, among other people, the famous wandering and miscegenating penis, Strom Thurmond, and for Richard M. Nixon, who, back then, was not yet history's yard waste. While working for the latter, Dent devised what has become known as the "Southern strategy," by which he attached the Republican Party to the rising white counter-assault on the gains of the civil-rights movement, and to modern American conservatism, which already had done so, largely through the efforts of William F. Buckley and the National Review crowd. Dent begat Lee Atwater, who begat Karl Rove. In today's column in The New York Times, in which he traces the current paradox of modern American conservatism, David Brooks mysteriously overlooks all the hard work Harry Dent and his acolytes did in making sure that conservatism could count on the backing of the supporters of American apartheid.)

Instead, Mr. Brooks' fictional history describes a long, twilight struggle exclusively between  two and only two factions:  striving "economic conservatives" and genteel, communitarian "traditional conservatives".  According to Mr. Brooks, market conservatism carried the day and now completely dominating the conversation every time a group of Republicans gather together in Saint Reagan's name:
These days, speakers at Republican gatherings almost always use the language of market conservatism — getting government off our backs, enhancing economic freedom. Even Mitt Romney, who subscribes to a faith that knows a lot about social capital, relies exclusively on the language of market conservatism.
In other words, Mr. Brooks has spun another great, sprawling Technicolor lie.  A lie as glaring as Las Vegas at night and big enough to be visible from orbit.  A lie as easily debunked as any email from Crazy Uncle Liberty, which nonetheless is, even now, being celebrated as sensible and serious by all the right people and passing into the common lore of "Whither Conservatism?"

And it is in the very fact of this lie -- in the smug contempt for reality with which Mr. Brooks executes it -- that we find Mr. Brooks at his most genuinely Conservative.  Because when you strip people who call themselves Conservatives down to their basic wiring, you will find only three things that have been nearly universally true of all of them over the last +30 years:
  • They lie constantly about their own past.   They never supported Bush.  They never thought Clinton should be impeached.  There never was a budget surplus. And so on.  Or, conversely, there were WMD in Iraq.  Bush was a great president.  History began on January 20, 2009.  And so on.  They are junkie-dependent on massive doses of Strategic Forgettery to keep from facing the ugly reality of their real pasts:
There is absolutely nothing left sifting around inside their mushy, angry skulls except that sparkly aluminum sand that good people at Ohio Arts use to make the Etch-a-Sketch.  
Shake-shake-shake...and Ronald Reagan never sold weapons to terrorists, funded an illegal war, raised taxes four times, or left behind the largest deficit in American history up until that time.

Shake-shake-shake...and Bush the Elder never hired Lee Atwater.

Shake-shake-shake...and what Southern Strategy? 
Shake-shake-shake...and George W. Bush is the Greatest President Ever, you filthy, Liberal traitors!

Shake-shake-shake...and where did you ever get the idea that anyone in the Conservative Movement supported that "Progressive" George W. Bush?

Shake-shake-shake...George Bush who?

Shake-shake-shake...Sarah Palin never supported the bailout!

Shake-shake-shake...Deficits don't matter.

Shake-shake-shake...Deficits are worse than six Hitlers!

Shake-shake-shake...the Kenyan Usurper's deficits are destroying America.

Shake-shake-shake...why do you keep calling me a "Republican"? I'm a Conservative!

Shake-shake-shake...why do you keep calling me a "Conservative"? I'm an Independent!

Shake-shake-shake...why do you keep calling me a "Independent"? I'm a Independent/Conservo/Libertarian!
  • They lie constantly about Liberals.  To prop up their bullshit fantasies, the need an internal enemy to blame for their every ache and bunion.  Since they cannot admit that is their own ideology and their own trusted leaders who have played them for chumps and sold them out (see Rule 1), every one of them -- from David Brooks to the lowliest shoutycracker drunk in the dingiest bar in Sisterfuck, Arkansas -- make up as many imaginary Liberal monsters as needed, and then dresses them Mr. Potatohead-fashion in whatever imaginary crimes and opinions are needed to suit the occasion (From "Hating Goldstein"):
Of course, outside of the Beltway Bell Jar there still exists a group called "Liberals": a group that has repeatedly tried to warn that this day was coming. 
Tried and failed. Again and again. For years and years. 
Which is why the entire system depends on Hating Goldstein. Because the whole filthy enterprise would fall apart if these God Fearing Patriots of the Right were ever forced to stop for even a moment and submit to an honest accounting of who has been right and who as has been wrong for the last generation or two. 
Neither the Right nor the Center could not survive such a Moment of Clarity, which is why so much of propaganda from both quarters is singularly devoted to Hating Liberals; why, especially in Conservative media outlets, such an enormous amount of energy is spent every single day ruthlessly and continuously marginalizing and demonizing opponents, using every name in the book from Commie to Terrorist-lover to Fifth Columnist. 
Hating Goldstein has also proven to be an extraordinarily profitable business: a bottomless ATM machine for everyone from Andrew Sullivan and David Frum, to Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, to a thousand other, lesser-lights who could never have made a living pulling an honest plow, but have managed to build very fine careers on punching hippies, pandering to swine and worshiping Reagan on cue.

  • They are always the heroes of their own Reagan Fan Fiction.  From David Brooks to Andrew Sullivan to Rush Limbaugh to the aforementioned lowliest shoutycracker drunk in the dingiest bar in Sisterfuck, Arkansas, each believes that they and they alone have navigated the labyrinth of the Liberal Media Minotaur (Tip for travelers: the secret is, just follow your GOP Onstar and no matter what happens, keep turning right -- 
GOP OnStar: May I help you? 
Citizen: Oh thank God. This car just came...came...plunging out of the sky right in front of me. It’s on fire and I think there are people trapped inside. 
GOP OnStar: Turn right immediately.  
Citizen: But...but, I said that I think there are people trapped inside. 
GOP OnStar: Yes, sir. I heard you. Are you a doctor? 
Citizen: No.

GOP OnStar: Well then don’t worry; someone will be along shortly to take care of it. We suspect...terrorists...are behind it, so you need to leave. Immediately.

Citizen: Terrorists? Really?

GOP OnStar: Yes sir.

Citizen: Ok, well I was trying to find a my way to a rational position on Iraq, and...

GOP OnStar: Turn right immediately.

Citizen (continuing): ...I got lost.

GOP OnStar: Turn right immediately.

Citizen: I’m also running a little low on gas, so I’ll need a good energy polic...

GOP OnStar: Turn right immediately.

Citizen: ...y.

GOP OnStar: Turn right immediately.

Citizen: It’s also getting pretty hot in here, so if you could tell me where I could find a scientifically sound environmental plan too.

GOP OnStar: Turn right immediately.

Citizen: Are you sure?

GOP OnStar: Keep turning right.   
Each is certain that and they alone have pulled the mighty Sword of St. Ronald from the Stone of History.   
Each is certain that they had they alone have been commissioned by God (or the New York Times) to defend of the One, True Conservative Faith.   
And each wishes LOUDLY that all those other schismatic pretenders and posers and frauds and anti-popes would quit fucking their real Conservatism all up.
When combined, these three simple elements -- lying about themselves, lying about Liberals and impregnable narcissism -- interact to create virtually all of American Conservatism.

But what about Liberals, you ask?

Well, we, too have our own traditions (from five years ago):

Here, in our little village of Left Blogistan,
you might say
every one of us is a blogger on the cuff.

Trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple post
without going broke.

It isn't easy.

You may ask,
why do we keep doing it
if it's so non-remuneratalicious?

Well, we stay because
Blogging is our passion.

And how do we keep our balance?

That I can tell you in one word!


(Click to play, and to sing along. Loud. Because you know you want to :-)
Because of our traditions,
we've kept our balance for many, many years.

Here in Left Blogistan,
we have traditions for everything.

How to do a round-up.

Cat blogging.


"What Digby Said."

For instance, we always keep the the shit they sling in the MSM covered, and always display a little blogroll.

This shows our constant devotion to Kos.

You may ask, how did this tradition get started?

I'll tell you.

I don't know.

But it's a tradition.

And because of our traditions, every one of us knows who he is and what Kos expects him to do.

Who, day and night, must scramble for a living
Feed a wife and children
on six words per post?

And who has the right as master of the A-List
To let the least yield the most?
The papa
The papa

The papa
The papa

Who must know the way to run a proper blog
A quiet blog
A kosher blog?

Who must wham down trolls and run the blog
So Papa's free to read the Holy Book?
The mama
The mama

The mama
The mama

At three I started commenting
At ten I launched a blog

I hear they picked a niche for me
I hope
it's chatty.

And who does Mama have
To help her RSS?
Preparing her to link-love
Or post up as Guest?

The daughters
The daughters


The papa...



The daughters

And in the circle of our little village,
we've always had our special types.

For instance,

Blue Gal, the matchmaker,

NTodd, the beggar.

And, most important of all, our beloved Digby.
Digby, may I ask you a question?

Certainly, little blogger.

Is there a proper blessing... for Dick Cheney?

A blessing for Dick Cheney?
Of course.
May God bless and keep Dick Cheney
The fuck away from us!
Then there are the others in our village.
They make a much bigger circle.

We don't bother (some of) them
and so far, they don't bother (most of) us.

And among ourselves,
we always get along perfectly well.

Of course, there was the time when he de-listed him
And told him it was just business
When it was really just snobbery.
But now it's all over.
And we all live in simple peace and harmony.
(It really was snobbery.)
(No it wasn't. Blogrolls don't drive traffic!)
(It's not about traffic. It’s about respect!!)
It was...


Dai dai
Dai dai dai
Dai dai dai dum

Traditions, traditions.
Without our traditions,

our lives would be as shaky as


As Rudy at the Apollo!


El Cid said...

Then there is Traditional Conservatism, which was created by a panel of George Washington and General George S. Patton and Winston Churchill and of course, God, who appeared as 900 foot tall spirits in a conference in 1912 (time mattered not to the Lord) to declare that whatever positions were taken, Traditional Conservatism would be correct, and when something went wrong, it was only because it wasn't Traditionally Conservative enough.

Anonymous said...

Oh God--Could Drift get any more brilliant? I always stagger around afterwards.....

Scratch a David Brooks.....find the face he hides: Glen Beck.

thedottinator said...

I love this tradition. It makes me smile when I want to cry.

You the best!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant. Simply, utterly spectacularly, brilliant.

Phil said...

Two things Drifty, one, a couple of your links are fucked up.
This one,
"They make a much bigger circle".
and this one,
"We don't bother (some of) them "

Two, damn I have been reading your stuff a long time.

That was five years ago and I left a comment on that thread.
The fact that I am still reading your stuff says good things dude.

You are the man.
I love the way you can sift through the bullshit,every time.
I have also expanded my vocabulary since I started reading you.

I can also remember the very first Driftglass post I ever read, right after Katrina.
"Us and Them".
So powerful I will remember it until the day I die, you should repost that sometime.

Pure fucking genius, that one.

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good morning, Mr. Glass.

"The Conservative Mind"

Am I the only person who read that and imagined Bilbo Baggins penning "Concerning Hobbits" while violin music accompanied frolicking children?

Anonymous said...

It would appear that Driftglass is Tesla to Pierce's Edison. Quite a shame, that...

redoubt said...

"May the Republicans be like onions with their heads in the ground!"

"AMEN!" (all spit)

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