He does that.
Here is this week's:
The Mental VirtuesOh goodie!
Another lecture on virtue!
From David Brooks!
Because who better?
Even if you are alone in your office, you are thinking. Thinking well under a barrage of information may be a different sort of moral challenge than fighting well under a hail of bullets, but it’s a character challenge nonetheless.Words fail me here, so let me illustrate what David Brooks alone in his office confronting a moral challenge looks like:
Mr. Brooks continues:
In their 2007 book, “Intellectual Virtues,” Robert C. Roberts of Baylor University and W. Jay Wood of Wheaton College list some of the cerebral virtues. We can all grade ourselves on how good we are at each of them.And here we go...
First, there is love of learning...So far, so good. What's next?
Second, there is courage.Sure. Who doesn't value courage? But of course, this being David Fucking Brooks, only a specific, Centrist-y kind of courage will do:
...The reckless thinker takes a few pieces of information and leaps to some faraway conspiracy theory. The perfectionist, on the other hand, is unwilling to put anything out there except under ideal conditions for fear that she could be wrong...
And for any new readers interested in a truly embarrassing abundance of examples of a shamelessly "reckless thinker" leaping to "some faraway conspiracy theory", just Google "David Brooks", Iraq and George Bush or click here. I guarantee that you will be shocked at how deep into the wingnut sewer Yale's favorite Professor of Humility used to happily dog-paddle for a dollar.
Third, there is firmness.Terrific! But, once again, the only real "firmness" is David Brooks brand-name "firmness" equidistant between two straw men will suffice:
Mr. Brooks continues --You don’t want to be a person who surrenders his beliefs at the slightest whiff of opposition. On the other hand, you don’t want to hold dogmatically to a belief against all evidence. The median point between flaccidity and rigidity is the virtue of firmness.
Fourth, there is humility, which is not letting your own desire for status get in the way of accuracy.-- and I struggle mightily to keep my lunch down.
Fifth, there is autonomy.But, once again...
You don’t want to be a person who slavishly adopts whatever opinion your teacher or some author gives you. On the other hand...And, finally.
Finally, there is generosity. This virtue starts with the willingness to share knowledge and give others credit. But it also means hearing others as they would like to be heard, looking for what each person has to teach and not looking to triumphantly pounce upon their errors.
Which ironically demonstrates the one virtue Mr, Brooks truly values above all others but never talks about -- the virtue of never having to listen to your critics or be held accountable for anything you say, do or write. It frees Mr. Brooks from the obligation of ever reconciling his former career as a paid slanderer of Liberals and triumphant pouncer upon Liberal errors (which, it turned out in the fullness of time, were not errors at all but 100% accurate) with his current career as ass-stick containment unit and truckling Centrist scold.
And or course, what half-assed book report would be complete without an extra-credit end-quote you hope will bump your lazy, forgettable trash into passing-grade range:
Montaigne once wrote...Finally, as
Like a lot of his columns, this one reeks strongly of Brooks obliquely writing about himself. Or about how he sees himself: a noble man who got caught up in an unsavory profession for the very best of reasons and now is trying to cut a different trail for himself (without actually changing or taking responsibility for anything.)Which is why Mr. Brooks finishes off this 800-words-of-nothing with what I'm sure he fervently hopes will be the first line of his obituary --
It’s possible to be heroic if you’re just sitting alone in your office.-- and will be positioned precisely in the middle of New York Times obit page.