Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Comment on today's David Brooks column in the New York Times

Written in response to "The Populist Addiction"

Jason Crowson
January 26th, 2010
7:42 am

Wow. I am continually utterly amazed at Mr. Brooks. If there was ever a writer who spends more time hiding what he truly believes, I have never read him.

Somewhere in Mr. Brooks' past there is a fantastic writing professor, perhaps several, and Mr. Brooks himself no doubt brings his own stroke of genius to the keyboard.

Most writers spend an entire essay proving their point. Mr. Brooks seems to spend the majority of his lulling his readers into a false sense of affinity, as if they too could believe and think the way he believes and thinks.

After luring them in, he then gently sets the hook, nothing more than a flick of the wrist: yes now you can side with the most ultraconservative members of society and feel like you are a moderate. Congratulations.

And among it all, larger than life, looming like some great shadow because a huge unknown object is blocking light that would normally beam upon the subject matter are the topics Mr. Brooks precisely omits.

Make no mistake about it, my friends: if you are black, you would still be enslaved if others had not been willing to fight and die for your freedom; if you are a woman who votes, thank the women who fought and died to get that right to vote; if you're an American child who gets to go to school instead of working 16 hours a day for slave wages, thank the children of history who joined the fight and, yes, died so that you can go to school; if you enjoy weekends off, thank the workers who fought and died for your rights to have weekends off; if you have an over active bladder and urinate 12 times a day while at work, again, thank the workers who fought and died for your right to take bathroom breaks.

This is not some esoteric subject drifting in the ether. It boils down to bodily functions, political rights you are losing, and jobs that allow human beings to earn a living and maintain their dignity and integrity.

It's not a matter of feigning a maneuver into some non-existent middle ground where you can discredit people who are trying to make your life better while just as slyly buttressing the arguments of people who have worked not just for decades but for centuries to make America a country of slaves and wealthy.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Mr. Brooks we all know the history of President Lincoln and Mr. Hamilton. Thank you very much. This has nothing to do with either of them. It has everything to do with Theodore Roosevelt creating national parks while regulating the robber barons whom he berated verbosely and publicly. It has everything to do with the New Deal and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's regulations of the financial industry and establishing the social and economic safety nets that allowed the American middle class to thrive for much of the twentieth century. And it has everything to do with the rise of the robber barons once again, in a different guise, with different leaders, with different economic buzzwords, and how these neo-robber barons have worked incredibly hard to dismantle all of the Roosevelts' legacies and dreams.

The neo-robber barons have succeeded brilliantly. Now it's time for the pendulum to swing in the other direction.

Keep writing, Mr. Brooks. Your skill is astounding, your subtly profound, your subterfuge always astonishing and brilliant.