David Brooks columns used to be thoughtful and elegant. Now they are weirdly shallow and ignorant.
About 40 years ago, a social movement arose to destroy the establishment. The people we loosely call the New Left wanted to take on The Man, return power to the people, upend the elites and lead a revolution.
Today, another social movement has arisen. The people we loosely call the Tea Partiers also want to destroy the establishment. They also want to take on The Man, return power to the people, upend the elites and lead a revolution.
It’s king of funny how they can’t get their minds around the Tea Parties. Because they can’t get their mind around it, they started out calling them Nazis and racists. When that didn’t work, they tried ridicule, as reflected in the name of Today’s column “Wal Mart Hippies”
For those that shop at Brooks Brothers, I suppose this is supposed to be a devastating blow to the movement. “Oh, look, they called us Wal Mart hippies. I am so ashamed. Now, I am going to shut up and support Obama.”
But David Brooks is not even close in his assessment of the Tea Parties. They do not want to detroy the establishment; they want the establishment to stop destroying them. That’s a big difference. They want the establishment to STOP taking over car companies, and the health care system, and get out of their lives. This is America, and we are supposed to be free. Not subjects of a collective. They want the government to survive, not go away. They know if Obama has his way the rising debt will kill this nation off, and our government may not survive.
They are a reaction against Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of the country. Obama seems to want to kill this country off; they are reacting to that. As soon as Obama stops bankrupting the country, stops insisting that all power flow to the central government, stops diminishing America and apologizing for her, then the Tea Parties go away.
The rest of Brooks rather inane argument goes something like this: The Far Left of the 60’s and the Tea Parties are the same thing. They both use Alinsky type tactics. And Brooks thinks they are both fueled by conspiracy theories:
Because of this assumption, members of both movements go in big for conspiracy theories. The ’60s left developed elaborate theories of how world history was being manipulated by shadowy corporatist/imperialist networks — theories that live on in the works of Noam Chomsky. In its short life, the Tea Party movement has developed a dizzying array of conspiracy theories involving the Fed, the F.B.I., the big banks and corporations and black helicopters.
Brooks is wrong if he thinks the Tea Parties are fueled by conspiracy theories about “the Fed, the F.B.I., the big banks and corporations and black helicopters.” It is rather sad that a top columnist at the Times thinks such things. Here is the truth: The Tea Parties are composed of fairly bland, fairly normal citizens. Mostly, they are determined not to let America slip into a socialist, third rate state simply because the New York Times and David Brooks say it is perfectly logic and intelligent to do so. They are standing up for a free America, a competent, strong, free market America, one that still has freedom rather than thumb-sucking safety as its central value. It’s not much more than that – the central value of the Tea Party is this: Stop the Destruction.
When a movement gets large, it attracts some nuts on the fringe, and Brooks seems to think that the fringe element of the freedom movement – which has always been there – the Ron Pauls, the anti Fed people and so on – is the central element of the Tea Parties.
He is wrong. and he is so wrong that it seems he has completely lost his touch. It’s like he has stopped registering the simple truth and now “clings” to the New York Times narrative. But the New York Times narrative has never been all that closely connected with reality, and in recent years it has born no relationship at all to reality.
This column reads like something from a weak post on the Daily Kos.