June 26, 2017

Hey, Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times dines out on moldy pizza from the back of the fridge, so why shouldn't I?

Specifically. America's Most Ubiquitous Conservative Public Intellectual took time out from his many side gigs gassing on about "Whiter Conservatism?" for PBS, NPR, TED Talks, the college lecture circuit and Meet the Press to appear on Fareed Zakaria's GPS this Sunday to gas on about "Whither Conservatism?"

And here's a fun fact: it was all leftovers.

From Sunday:

There was a book that was really useful to read -- a short book -- called the Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn.

If this sounds mighty familiar, it should. This was the crutch on which Mr. Brooks was leaning hard over a year ago ( NYT, March 25, 2016, "The Post-Trump Era"):

According to Kuhn, intellectual progress is not steady and gradual. It’s marked by sudden paradigm shifts. There’s a period of normal science when everybody embraces a paradigm that seems to be working. Then there’s a period of model drift: As years go by, anomalies accumulate and the model begins to seem creaky and flawed.

Then there’s a model crisis, when the whole thing collapses. Attempts to patch up the model fail. Everybody is in anguish, but nobody knows what to do.

This was back when Mr. Brooks was doing what Mr. Brooks always does when faced nose-to-nose with the ugly reality that his Republican Party is every bit as monstrous as those terrible Liberals always said it was: skipping right over the Grim and Inconvenient Present and moving on to giddy predictions about the Glorious Future!

This is a wonderful moment to be a conservative. For decades now the Republican Party has been groaning under the Reagan orthodoxy, which was right for the 1980s but has become increasingly obsolete. The Reagan worldview was based on the idea that a rising economic tide would lift all boats. But that’s clearly no longer true.


That’s where the G.O.P. is heading. So this is a moment of anticipation. The great question is not, Should I vote for Hillary or sit out this campaign? The great question is, How do I prepare now for the post-Trump era?

The first step clearly is mental purging: casting aside many existing mental categories and presuppositions, to shift your identity from one with a fixed mind-set to one in which you are a seeker and open to anything. The second step is probably embedding: going out and seeing America again with fresh eyes and listening to American voices with fresh ears, paying special attention to that nexus where the struggles of Trump supporters overlap with the struggles of immigrants and African-Americans.


Of course a year ago Mr. Brooks was 99.7% certain that Hillary Clinton would win, which meant that after the election he could slip off to the Aspen Institute to facilitate Exciting Round-tables on the Exciting Future of Conservatism with his fellow Serious Conservatives, while dashing off the occasional, disappointed "Why Won't President Hillary Unite Us?" column to meet his New York Times contractual obligations.

Because for Mr. Brooks, it is literally true in a perverse, Opposite World way that "There's No Time Like the Present".

But Hillary did not win. And for has last 157 days and counting, President Stupid and Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and +60 million Republican voters have proven over and over again beyond any doubt whatsoever that the Left has been right about the Right all along.

Or, as I wrote on the occasion of Mr. Brooks first gavotte down this ridiculous goat path (David Brooks: The Great Project, Volume II -- The Panglossing):

You see, Mr. Brooks' relationship with the actual here-and-now here in America has always been a lot like Mr. Brooks' marriage: a disaster Mr. Brooks which has been trying to get as far away from as humanly possible, because it is the graveyard of all his ridiculous postulating and pontificating about Man and God and Culture. This is why Mr. Brooks has always reserved his biggest, gassiest lies for long paeans on the subject of Conservatism's amazing imaginary past -- which is always juuust out of sight in the Republican rear-view mirror -- and Conservatism's awesome imaginary future -- which is always juuust over the Republican horizon.

And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling Republican voters...

...who showed all of the wealthy chumps who have underwritten Mr. Brooks' Great Project exactly what Conservatism's awesome future actually looks like:

But Mr. Brooks is a resourceful parasite who learned long ago that by using the right combination of lies he can keep a profitable scam going long after it is readily apparent to virtually everyone (except the chumps) that he is full of shit. This is because, however freaked out the wealthy chumps who have underwritten his claptrap for all these years may be by the utter collapse of everything David Brooks has ever promised them about the Bright Conservative Future That Is Just Around The Corner --

The big Republican accomplishment is that they have detoxified their brand. Four years ago they seemed scary and extreme to a lot of people. They no longer seem that way. The wins in purple states like North Carolina, Iowa and Colorado are clear indications that the party can at least gain a hearing among swing voters. And if the G.O.P. presents a reasonable candidate (and this year’s crop was very good), then Republicans can win anywhere. I think we’ve left the Sarah Palin phase and entered the Tom Cotton phase.

-- David Brooks, November 5, 2014.

-- they are so completely hostage to the Sunk Cost Fallacy that they have no choice but to go right on buying what David Brooks is selling:

And what gallon-jugs of high-end wingnut rotgut is David Brooks peddling to his desperate, Whig-drunk clientele today?

What else but another gargantuan time-jump in which we fly-fly-fly right over the inconveniently incriminating here-and-now and into that Bright Conservative Future which David Brooks swears, by God and Emile Durkheim, is still Just Around The Corner...

Well, that was over a year ago, and now that our country is sliding into the Saarlac Pit of the Stupid Administration while virtually the entire Republican Party cheers it on as progress, Mr. Brooks' evergreen "The Coming Conservative Renaissance" knuckle-ball is no longer getting the job done. Which is why he has to go to his most reliable backup junk: the split-finger Both Siderist pitch.

In this case, with a bit of ham-handed prestidigitation aided by the fawning Fareed Zakaria, Mr. Brooks magically turns the obvious, unhinged lunacy and scalding racism of his Republican Party...

...into an elite dismissal of "parties" plural.

According to Mr. Brooks (at the 4:13 mark of the video), "parties" are "not ideological anymore". which is going to come as a huge shock to the tens of millions Democrats who have squared off to fight -- however imperfectly -- for the principle of "Heath Care for All" (and public education as a civic necessity, and worker safety, and reproductive choice, and consumer protection, and mitigating climate change, and a living wage, and affordable college, and... and... and...) against the tens of millions Republicans who have sworn eternal fealty to the proposition that, if the Kenyan Usurper did it, it must be destroyed.

But Mr. Brooks sees none of this because Mr. Brooks lives in a sumptuously appointed, New York Times-funded Beltway cocoon from which he can can float high above the petty concerns of actual people in the real world, and make Laputan pronouncements like this:

What parties are these days are cultural signifiers. Social identity markers. And just (frown) teams.

People think "What team has people like me on it? What fits my social identity?"

And yet strangely, the only evidence Mr. Brooks can bring to the table of people stumbling blindly into a political marriage that no amount of treachery, fraud, batshit lies, racism and treason by President Stupid can put asunder are white Republican women from the white Republican suburbs of Missouri who fell hard for a crazy white Republican lady from Alaska who got famous for calling a black guy a terrorist.

A lot of suburban women in Missouri looked around and said, "Sarah Palin. She's kinda like me." And whether Sarah Palin believed in high tax rates or low tax rates or health insurance markets or, uh, some other health care policy. that's not what they were thinking about.

Because, really, who in America is more dialed-in to the deepest, innermost thoughts of suburban women in Missouri than David Brooks, amirite?

They were thinking about "Who's white like me?" And for a lot of people in the Republican Party which is older, whiter and less educated at the core. Trump was like that.

No moral here. other than the usual: The Sunday Shows are a wasteland of intellectually destitute relics of a bygone age who all know each other, are all bought into the same Beltway Both Siderist fairy tale about American culture and politics, and all keep their careers afloat by hanging onto each other like a roller rink full of flailing drunks trying to maintain their collective balance.

Crossposted from Driftglass

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