David Brooks was the subject of a two part series on Fareed Zakaria, GPS. Last week, Brooks heaped effusive praise on some of the front-runners.
I think Marco Rubio is the best. Just the best stuff. Creative, on top of his game, very intellectually smart and going after interesting policies.
Of course he praises Rubio as much as Uncle Sheldon! Brooks' own son serves in the Israeli Army. The younger Brooks is trying to help stave off Palestinians reacting to the occupation of their territory by Israeli settlements. Brooks believes the conflict is not based on the denial of basic human needs, but in order to force others to see the world as they do. Because who needs clean water, shelter and food?
Lest anyone forget, Brooks was one of the loudest and proudest proponents of the Iraq War. He also somehow blames ISIS-sponsored terrorism on President Obama's lack of hawkishness, not the illegal invasion of a country that did nothing to the U.S. on 9/11/2001. Brooks laments,
" The Sunni-Shiite split worsens as Syria and Iraq slide into chaos."
Brooks told the wavering to “Get a grip” and stop being “Chicken Littles like Ted Kennedy,” who, Brooks said, were “ranting that Iraq is another Vietnam.”
Somehow, the Bush Administration never endured the same scrutiny nor did Brooks EVER apologize for getting things so unbelievably WRONG.
And what's more, he doesn't have to.
He doesn't have to because we now live in a country where there is no penalty whatsoever for Conservatives who are grotesquely and serially wrong about matters of life and death. And so well-paid buffoons like Brooks have no incentive to learn the lessons of Iraq that other, less-privileged citizens have paid for with their lives. Instead, he and his ilk are left with their lives, fortunes and positions of power in American politics and media blissfully untouched, free to whitewash their failures over and over again, unmolested by the inconvenient realities of the pain and ruin they left in their wake.
This week, Zakaria allowed Brooks to entertain the idea that HE is an expert on what he's labeled 'eulogy virtues' and 'résumé virtues.' Résumé virtues are the ones you can claim now (like served in the Peace Corps). Eulogy virtues are more important, these are the character virtues you will be remembered for having after you die. Here's a few of Brooks' observations:
All of my characters (i.e. Dwight Eisenhower) started out as basket cases but then they built themselves. And the lesson is, no matter how old you are or how young you are, there's still a lot to do 'inside.' Moral education is something you have to do, every day... What is my core sin? What is my deepest problem? How does that problem lead to behavior? They regarded the inner confrontation with themselves as the central drama of their lives... What you get when you see people when they've conquered themselves, is they end up with this tranquility, an inner light. A self-respect, which is different from self-esteem meaning you are better than you used to be.
Brooks thinks today's positive self-esteem builders are just commencement-address clichés. Zakaria infers that there's a degree of audacious narcissism that is necessary to be successful in the cutthroat world of business. Brooks agrees to an extent, but he stresses the need for that narcissism to balance out with a bit of introspection.
Don't forget that Brooks defends the right of those who wish to lead us to maintain secrecy and deception. Somehow, he still thinks he's an expert on virtuous character traits.
New York Times employee and wealthy white male David Brooks strongly believes that the idea that our most powerful and barely-accountable leaders should have to tell we, the people, a bare minimum of facts about themselves and their lifestyle, is a "destructive ideology." David Brooks, a columnist whose work is based largely on news reported by journalists dedicated to exposing facts that powerful officials would prefer to keep private, favors allowing powerful officials to keep everything private. David Brooks, who purports to know something about politics, genuinely believes that the fear of too much honesty with the public is the reason that "decent people" don't run for elected office.
In Brooks' virtuous world, sin and salvation are defined largely by those who got everything wrong in the Bush Administration. In the virtuous world of David Brooks, errors and fabrication have no consequence,
smearing and slandering people in print in order to build your career, and then lying about it when asked simple, direct questions would definitely be considered a sin.
Not so, apparently, in the First Church of David Brooks, where ouchless absolution for Bush Regime dead-enders and their Elite Media enablers comes free with every copy of “The Road to Character”.
I'm still trying to figure out if the book is meant to be a serious literary work or just a big troll, like Brooks himself. Hopefully, Mr. Zakaria doesn't have a Part 3 scheduled with the master of 'both sides' mendacity.