Thursday, January 17, 2013

True Conservatism -- UPDATE


This exchange between Gail Collins and University of Chicago history baccalaureate David Brooks exemplifies the single, unifying characteristic that unites virtually every American Conservative from Rush Limbaugh to Andrew Sullivan more perfectly than anything I have read in a long time.

That characteristic?

Pathological deception about the past and present in order to lie themselves off the hook for their Movement's myriad atrocities --
Gail: The Republicans have certainly been getting a lot of bad press lately. Tell me, do you agree with Colin Powell that there’s a “dark vein of intolerance” in the party now?

David: Not really. I’ll let you in on a little secret. I go to a lot of all- Republican gatherings and a lot of all-Democratic gatherings. I hear more intolerance from the all-Democrats. They are more contemptuous of people unlike them. Or, to be more precise, they are more uncomprehending about the fact that somebody could actually disagree with them.
Just let that sink in for a second.

Then consider that is by no means the first time Mr. Brooks has fancy-danced himself way, way out on the most fragile wingnut denialist branch of them all:
History and Calumny

By DAVID BROOKS Published: November 9, 2007

Today, I’m going to write about a slur. It’s a distortion that’s been around for a while, but has spread like a weed over the past few months. It was concocted for partisan reasons: to flatter the prejudices of one side, to demonize the other and to simplify a complicated reality into a political nursery tale.

The distortion concerns a speech Ronald Reagan gave during the 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Miss., which is where three civil rights workers had been murdered 16 years earlier...
A flat-out lie for which Mr. Brooks was not only flogged all over the blogosphere, but for which he was soundly ass-kicked up one side of Broadway and down the other by not just one  (rare) but two (unprecedented) of his own New York Times colleagues:
Righting Reagan’s Wrongs?

By BOB HERBERT Published: November 13, 2007
The murders were among the most notorious in American history. They constituted Neshoba County’s primary claim to fame when Reagan won the Republican Party’s nomination for president in 1980. The case was still a festering sore at that time. Some of the conspirators were still being protected by the local community. And white supremacy was still the order of the day. 
That was the atmosphere and that was the place that Reagan chose as the first stop in his general election campaign. The campaign debuted at the Neshoba County Fair in front of a white and, at times, raucous crowd of perhaps 10,000, chanting: “We want Reagan! We want Reagan!”

Reagan was the first presidential candidate ever to appear at the fair, and he knew exactly what he was doing when he told that crowd, “I believe in states’ rights.”

Reagan apologists have every right to be ashamed of that appearance by their hero, but they have no right to change the meaning of it, which was unmistakable. Commentators have been trying of late to put this appearance by Reagan into a racially benign context.

That won’t wash. Reagan may have been blessed with a Hollywood smile and an avuncular delivery, but he was elbow deep in the same old race-baiting Southern strategy of Goldwater and Nixon.

Everybody watching the 1980 campaign knew what Reagan was signaling at the fair. Whites and blacks, Democrats and Republicans — they all knew. The news media knew. The race haters and the people appalled by racial hatred knew. And Reagan knew.

He was tapping out the code. It was understood that when politicians started chirping about “states’ rights” to white people in places like Neshoba County they were saying that when it comes down to you and the blacks, we’re with you.

And Reagan meant it. He was opposed to the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was the same year that Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney were slaughtered. As president, he actually tried to weaken the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He opposed a national holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He tried to get rid of the federal ban on tax exemptions for private schools that practiced racial discrimination. And in 1988, he vetoed a bill to expand the reach of federal civil rights legislation.

Congress overrode the veto.

Reagan also vetoed the imposition of sanctions on the apartheid regime in South Africa. Congress overrode that veto, too.

Throughout his career, Reagan was wrong, insensitive and mean-spirited on civil rights and other issues important to black people. There is no way for the scribes of today to clean up that dismal record. ...
And then...


...nothing whatsoever happened.  

No axe fell.  No thunderbolt.  Mr. Brooks knows the right people and has the right connections which means that no one is ever going to revoke his Beltway privileges no matter how much arrant revisionist claptrap he peddles in the New York Times.  

After all, which of his Beltway study group buddies would ever be crass enough to mention such things?
[Jeffrey] Goldberg’s Torah study group in Washington includes David Brooks, David ­Gregory, and former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk.
When would his Great Big Damn Civility Award co-recipient ever be uncivil enough to broach the subject?
Allegheny College Honors David Brooks and Mark Shields with Inaugural “Prize for Civility in Public Life”

Feb. 21, 2012 — President James H. Mullen Jr. of Allegheny College, one of the nation’s oldest liberal-arts colleges, today honored political journalists and commentators David Brooks of The New York Times and nationally syndicated columnist Mark Shields as the recipients of the first Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life at the National Press Club.
And his Yale Humility Clubhouse Kinder?  Certainly none of them are going to risk a "D" in Advanced Reticence by asking him embarrassing questions during the "How Hippies Ruined America" Q&A:
Week 2: The Cultural Shift (January 22) Why did America reject the values of the Protestant Establishment? What replaced it? We will explore the cultural shift that took place between 1950s and today against the character code of the old elite, including the thinking of Carl Rodgers and a more meritocratic system.

Reading: The Organization Kid, The Atlantic Monthly by David Brooks Passages From “Leading Lives That Matter” edited by Mark Schwen and Dorothy Bass

Week 3: The Effects (January 29) What have been the effects of this cultural shift? Has there been a rise in narcissism? Is the culture less effective at transmitting a character code? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this culture?

Reading: Passages From Leading Lives that Matter. Edited By Mark Schwen and Dorothy Bass

All of which liberates Mr. Brooks to simply shrug off his many public bed-shittings as mere Liberal nattering, and return unscathed again and again to his chosen profession: writing 1,600 words a week about the virtues of humility and how imaginary hippies destroyed American.

So nothing new here, except confirmation of a couple of points that longtime readers of this blog already know.

First, whenever Mr. Brooks tries to launch a truly epic turd into orbit, he invariably leans hard on special, undocumentable, secret, insider knowledge to bolster his bibble (from November, 2011):
"Off the record, Europe’s technocrats would say the most blatantly condescending things: History had taught them that Europe’s peoples were not to be trusted and government should be run from the top by people like themselves."
Second, it is now painfully clear that Mr. Brooks is engaged in a long-term project to completely rewrite the history of American Conservatism: to flense it of all of the Conservative social, political  economic and foreign policy debacles that make Mr. Brooks wince and repackage the whole era as a fairy tale of noble Whigs being led through treacherous hippie country by the humble David Brooks.

And odds are he'll get away with it too.

For the record, I am not personally "uncomprehending" about why anti-science Christopaths or climate change deniers or gun fetishists or Bush regime dead-enders or Limbaugh-loving meatsticks or garden-variety bigots or their craven Centrist enablers and I do not agree.





Dumbfounded that a craven huckster like Mr. Brooks -- whose lies are all there, frozen in digital amber for anyone to see -- has not had a a tin can tied to his tail and been run out of decent society by an angry mob? 


But let me assure you, I absolutely "comprehend" each and every one of the sad, sorry-ass, pig-ignorant, rage-drunk and terrified reasons for these things all too well.

UPDATE:  CounterPunch joins the "Wait just one fucking minute, Mr. Brooks" brigade.
This is not the first offense for David Brooks. A dozen years ago, Brooks’ 2001 article in the Atlantic Monthly, “One Nation, Slightly Divisible”  explored the cultural differences between Red State America and Blue State America.  Brooks’ article was widely praised. However, when journalist Sasha Issenberg  fact-checked it in a 2004 article in Philly Magazine, Issenberg found that many of Brooks’ generalizations were false, and much of his “research” was invented out of whole cloth.
(h/t doodahman)


doodahman said...

Hey bro! Somebody's stealing your schtick. Or, you have an accolyte.


Hamfast Ruddyneck said...

Aw, what did the dear frumpy Queen ever do to you, that you would photoshopically merge her with David Fornicating Brooks?

Bisham said...

.....and the rabble will resent the noble and intellectual aristocracy and demand for our heads and we shall toss out crumbs of appeasement and let them think we are listening to their pathetic whingings whilst we may continue with our cocktail parties in our lavish dining halls for they truly know not the realities of how things actually are. My god, do they really take themselves seriously? Do they not understand the sheer ridiculousness of taxing capitol gains as if it were regular income? Your medical bills caused you to lose your home? Pity that. Shall we all laugh at their tales of woe now? oh lets! This stemware is just too divine!

steeve said...

"they are more uncomprehending about the fact that somebody could actually disagree with them"

True. But of course the reason we think it's incomprehensible is because it's incomprehensible. Damn reality.

Similarly, the media is a few centuries away from realizing that while it's wrong to call an objectively smart person stupid, it's okay to call an objectively stupid person stupid.

chautauqua said...

I feel for Gail. I really do.

Potomacker said...

The truthiness, it sells and pays off big time.

Sophie said...

And this one: David Brooks is Pahtological by Jonathan Chait

When will the NYT dump this asshat? Oh right, when they stop covering for the insanity of the GOP.