Good Grief, Charlie Brown! For farts and giggles I read Bobo’s column today and immediately had a flashback to Poli-sci 101 (which we used to call “nap time”) and burst into a cold sweat; could there be a quiz coming?
Anyway, for reasons unexplained, Bobo decides to compare and contrast the French and the British versions of the Age of Enlightenment. Yes, that magical period following The Age of Reasoning and preceding Modernity; do you see why I was having cold sweats?
Now, because it is a Bobo column, you can rest assured that after 700 words or so of mental masturbation and pedantry, he comes to his point. Professional journalists call this burying your lead, but in Bobo’s world it is essential to prove to everyone he is the smartest person reading his column. Plus he needed 700 words of foreplay first.
Today, if you look around American politics you see self-described conservative radicals who seek to sweep away 100 years of history and return government to its preindustrial role. You see self-confident Democratic technocrats who have tremendous faith in the power of government officials to use reason to control and reorganize complex systems. You see polemicists of the left and right practicing a highly abstract and ideological Jacobin style of politics.
This is just his round-about way of saying that isn’t it a shame that we’re so politicized.
And yes, Bobo, it is. And you have a lot to do with it.
It is amazing to me how week after week, David Brooks writes basically the same column, ever since Saint Ronnie’s Big Lie started to fall apart. The rising tide lifted all the yachts, but the little guys in the life rafts were cut loose and allowed to drift off to sea, the infrastructure was burned down like some sort of Roman warfare strategy to avoid retreats, and the Wall Street jackals were let loose to feast on whatever they wanted. Thirty years later, we are sitting jobless on the edge of a world-wide depression, we’re in Peak Oil and there’s a gushing, giant oil blob floating off the coast threatening a different kind of calamity that no one knows what to do about, and our government is having a commission that is discussing how to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits because we can no longer afford the social safety net; meanwhile across the globe we are fighting two wars that some would say are baseless, and others would say are religious, and we don’t have a clear understanding of why we are there or how to get out.
And David Brooks wants to know how we got to be so polarized? As the kneepad-wearing head cheerleader for the Visigoths, he can look in the mirror for answers.
UPDATE 1:Doughy Pantload, pontificating poltroon that he is, has had it with Brooks’ column, too –
What’s David Brooks Trying To Say? [Jonah Goldberg]
I liked Brook’s column, even if I have some objections (Jacobin, moi?) and despite the fact that it’s a fairly familiar Brooksian lament. But I have to wonder is this a continuation of the Obama must be a Burkean stuff? I have to assume that’s the case, but Brooks just doesn’t make it clear.