The ideological extremism of David Brooks

posted at 4:31 pm on May 19, 2012 by Karl

The latest column from David Brooks attempts to diagnose the fiscal crisis in Europe and the growing fiscal threats in America:

[M]any voters have come to regard their desires as entitlements. They become incensed when their leaders are not responsive to their needs. Like any normal set of human beings, they command their politicians to give them benefits without asking them to pay.

The consequences of this shift are now obvious. In Europe and America, governments have made promises they can’t afford to fulfill. At the same time, the decision-making machinery is breaking down. American and European capitals still have the structures inherited from the past, but without the self-restraining ethos that made them function.

The American decentralized system of checks and balances has transmogrified into a fragmented system that scatters responsibility. Congress is capable of passing laws that give people benefits with borrowed money, but it gridlocks when it tries to impose self-restraint.

Of course, there are many Americans who still have an ethos of self-restraint. Those Americans have elected people to the House and Senate in an attempt to restrain and reform the entitlement state. And David Brooks has metaphorically compared them to Nazis, uninterested in governance.

How does Brooks square that circle? By assuming that the problem is gridlock, which he blames on the tougher position the right is now taking as the fiscal cliff draws ever closer. (I know; it’s just craaaaazy of the right to do this, amirite?)

Mind you, the big-taxing, so-called “balanced approach” to addressing sovereign debt problems is failing where it is being tried in Europe. The wingnutty wingnuts at the OECD and the IMF already knew it would fail, and that solutions which rely overwhelmingly on controlling spending work. Yet Brooks bitterly clings to the center-left establishment mindset that has led America to the situation he now despairs.

Jonah Goldberg addresses this ideology in The Tyranny of Clichés:

If I say we need one hundred feet of bridge to cross a one-hundred-foot chasm that makes me an extremist. Somebody else says we don’t need to build a bridge at all because we don’t need to cross the chasm in the first place. That makes him an extremist. The third guy is the centrist because he insists that we compromise by building a fifty-foot bridge that ends in the middle of thin air? As an extremist I’ll tell you that the other extremist has a much better grasp on reality than the centrist does. The extremists have a serious disagreement about what to do. The independent who splits the difference has no idea what to do and doesn’t want to bother with figuring it out.

Goldberg does not identify centrism ans an extreme ideology, but the quoted example (and others given in the book) graphically demonstrate it can be at least as impervious to logic or data as any other ideology. Anyone who finds those examples a straw man should consider the very real examples compiled by the NYT’s Ross Douthat:

It wasn’t the Tea Party that decided to create two new health care entitlements (Medicare Part D and Obamacare) just as America was about to go over a fiscal waterfall. It wasn’t kooks and reactionaries who got the European Union into its current mess. It wasn’t the radicals of the left and right who risked the global economy on a series of disastrous real estate bets, or locked our government into a permanently symbiotic relationship with the banking and financial sectors, or created a vast labyrinth of unaccountable bureaucracies in the hopeless quest for perfect security from terror attacks. And to bring things up the present day, it wasn’t the more “extreme” members of the Senate — be they Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn on the right, or Bernie Sanders on the left — who just voted for more short-term spending and tax cuts without any plan to pay for it.

***[W]hat Jesse Walker has dubbed the “the paranoid style in center-left politics” *** seems like a rather odd response to a political moment in which nearly all of our overlapping crises are the result of disastrous misgovernment at the center ***. The Tea Party’s politics are not my politics, but the movement has virtues as well as vices, and at the very least it represented a possible alternative force at a time when our politics desperately needs alternatives, whether right-wing or left-wing or something else entirely, to the policies that have led us to our present pass. Nothing good may come of it, but an awful lot more ill has come from politics-as-usual of late than from grassroots populism.

Brooks and his ilk are a particularly odious sort; they have urged and pursued a ruinous course of misgovernment, all the while deluding themselves that they are not extreme and demonizing the people who are not responsible for the West’s current malaise.

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Is this an acceptable denouncement of Moderationism here at Hot Air?

aryeung on May 19, 2012 at 4:37 PM

it wasn’t the more “extreme” members of the Senate — be they Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn on the right,

This may be O/T, but I early voted for the “extreme” Ted Cruz in the Texas primary today.

TxAnn56 on May 19, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Why do we even pay attention to Brooks. He pretends to be conservative. It is solely so he can be kept as a pet at the NY Times.

Mr. Joe on May 19, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Why do we even pay attention to Brooks. He pretends to be conservative. It is solely so he can be kept as a pet at the NY Times.

Mr. Joe on May 19, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Brooks AND Parker on the same page … come on …..

conservative tarheel on May 19, 2012 at 4:40 PM

…MOVE elsewhere… POS!

KOOLAID2 on May 19, 2012 at 4:44 PM

I *want* my half-bridge! MINE, MINE, MINE!

If we had called “entitlements” “charity” we would be in less of a mess, perhaps.

Some people believe they are entitled to the charity of the government, when that government extracts that “charity” from others.

Libs believe it…they don’t donate to charity in any significant way as an overall group.

ProfShadow on May 19, 2012 at 4:46 PM

I agreed with every word of that David Brooks column.

rushlimbang on May 19, 2012 at 4:52 PM

The third guy is the centrist because he insists that we compromise by building a fifty-foot bridge that ends in the middle of thin air?

Okay, that metaphor is definitely a keeper.

John the Libertarian on May 19, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Brooks and his ilk are a particularly odious sort; they have urged and pursued a ruinous course of misgovernment, all the while deluding themselves that they are not extreme and demonizing the people who are not responsible for the West’s current malaise.

That’s what I was gonna say. ;)

Cleombrotus on May 19, 2012 at 4:55 PM

David Brooks is a liberal-fellating hack.

AubieJon on May 19, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Brooks: The California of republicanism. You can’t fix him, give him away, or, get him to go away.

trigon on May 19, 2012 at 4:57 PM

The problem with David Brooks talking about past elites is that past elites were patriots… today’s elites hate their country and fellow countrymen so they want to import a new populous they can control.

ninjapirate on May 19, 2012 at 4:58 PM

So is anyone besides the NYT itself still calling David Brooks a “conservative”?

MidniteRambler on May 19, 2012 at 5:01 PM

So is anyone besides the NYT itself still calling David Brooks a “conservative”?

MidniteRambler on May 19, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Actually many liberals pull that trick. That way they can say ‘look even Brooks, a conservative, sees how stupid the right is.’

CW on May 19, 2012 at 5:04 PM

If I say we need one hundred feet of bridge to cross a one-hundred-foot chasm that makes me an extremist. Somebody else says we don’t need to build a bridge at all because we don’t need to cross the chasm in the first place. That makes him an extremist. The third guy is the centrist because he insists that we compromise by building a fifty-foot bridge that ends in the middle of thin air?

-
Not really the way to look at this…
-
If I say we need one hundred feet of 6 lane auto bridge to cross a one-hundred-foot chasm, complete with free condoms handed out at the toll plaza, and with free passage to illegal aliens… that makes me an extremist.
Somebody else says we don’t need to build a bridge at all because we don’t need to cross the chasm in the first place. That makes him an extremist.
The third guy is the centrist because he insists that we compromise by building a fifty-foot one hundred foot bridge that ends in the middle of thin air actually meets our need of one lane of auto traffic each way and some pedestrians and bicycles?

RalphyBoy on May 19, 2012 at 5:10 PM

This is madness, people!

There’s nothing going on right now that can’t be solved during a super special edition of the Fareed Zakaria show where a bunch of “reasonable” people sit around a table in front of a green screen full of pastel graphics and talk about how long they’ve been serving in government or the media and, you know, how reasonable they all are.

I’d also throw in a bunch of pictures of important looking hacks wearing expensive suits standing at podiums. Follow that with pictures of the same coiffed buffoons walking through a plethora of flashbulbs in order to enter a conference room.

Dack Thrombosis on May 19, 2012 at 5:11 PM

We should compromise . . .

Let’s just buy half the things that we can’t afford to buy.

blink on May 19, 2012 at 5:08 PM

I caught Rush for a few minutes this week and he was rightfully mocking the criticism towards the GOP regarding the debt limit.
Far too many act as if the debt limit is not a limit but it simply exists to be raised. Those darn rascally Repukes actually want the limit to mean something. Damn them./

CW on May 19, 2012 at 5:14 PM

“but it gridlocks when it tries to impose self-restraint”
But there are huge things to do that don’t require that much self-restraint, that don’t cause a lot of pain.
Before we cut benefits for the truly needy, let’s go after the low hanging fruit. No entitlements, including medicare, for those that don’t need it, and that includes the mid-level middle class.

And what about the failed drug war?
Some say overall the drug war costs are over 100 billion dollars a year. How can we do that, when it is clear to most that it’s a lost war, and most evidence (take Portugal) is that illegal drugs, while it turns society into a police state, doesn’t cut use by more than a few percentage points. A prohibitively costly lost immoral (letting violent offenders go while casual users suffer horrible prison sentences??) prison-guard (100k salaries) supported (legal pot lost in CA thanks fully to unionized prison guard opposition) drug war. Paulites are not “pot smokers who want to legalize drugs;” baloney, that’s dismissive and unwarranted. It is an authoritarian impulse that drives the desire to continue the pointless farcical drug war.
We can give our candidate a break on this now, but mark my word that soon if we don’t change on this, the whole 2 party system is going to break apart as a more moderate but Ron Paul-like candidate arises to get over 50% of the vote with a platform that includes legal drugs. And I don’t do drugs, I am a thinking advocate.
Go after the low hanging fruit, or we may face disaster like Greece. For each of us, examine our own positions. Can we do everything? Do we cut 100 billion out of the military, risking our very nation, or do we cut out the laughable failed drug war?
Do we not feed grandma, or cut the drug war? Which is it when we don’t have endless $. Something has to give. Do we cut out this runaway police state that authoritarians advocate, or do we risk everything?

anotherJoe on May 19, 2012 at 5:15 PM

This may be O/T, but I early voted for the “extreme” Ted Cruz in the Texas primary today.

TxAnn56 on May 19, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Good work!

kim roy on May 19, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Mind you, the big-taxing, so-called “balanced approach” to addressing sovereign debt problems is failing where it is being tried in Europe.

Exactly! Despite what you have been told by the Left…and even some on the Right…austerity in Europe does not mean draconian spending cuts. It means draconian taxes increases with proposed draconian spending increases. It is kind of hard to blame cuts that haven’t taken effect for Europe’s slowing growth while ignoring tax increases that have.

Austerity? As is often the case, things get lost in translation while crossing the Pond. Austerity in Europe does not mean the same thing as “austerity” in the United States. Over the last decade, EU member states have collectively increased government spending by 62%.

Average government spending by EU nations today stands at approximately 49.2% of GDP — v. 44.8% in 2000.

On its own website, the EU itself ridicules the notion of government austerity as a “myth.”

“National budgets are NOT decreasing their spending, they are increasing it,” the EU says, noting that in 2011, 23 of the 27 nations in the EU increased spending. This year, 24 of 27 will do so.

This Is The Dawning Of The Age Of “Austerity”?

The Debate over Austerity Continues

Europe, How Can You Have Any Pudding If You Don’t Eat Yer Meat?

Resist We Much on May 19, 2012 at 5:22 PM

David Brooks = slow learner

rik on May 19, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Is this site being bought by the NYT? Come on – we demand red meat not fish wrap!

Fuquay Steve on May 19, 2012 at 5:36 PM

speaking of Europe…..

Chelsea wins!

Renee on May 19, 2012 at 5:37 PM

David brooks : conservative :: Barack O : capitalist

Fuquay Steve on May 19, 2012 at 5:38 PM

It is cleaver how libs use the language. Working families= Union Hacks
Balance approached= Lots of tax increases, combined with mythical cuts. Bigot= someone who questions liberal assumptions. Pro- choice= someone who is for baby murder. racist= someone who disagrees with a black person about anything, except “gay” marriage.

Far right extremist= someone who wants the government to live within it’s means. Draconian Cuts to “benefits” = someone who wants to slow the growth of entitlements.

Kjeil on May 19, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Liberal ideology is NEVER at fault. If only you right wing extremists would let them tax more, everything would be fine.

Just ask Jerry Brown.

GarandFan on May 19, 2012 at 5:41 PM

When you hear the word “fair” grab your wallet and run.

Cindy Munford on May 19, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Brooks doesn’t even know what his actual philosophy of government is. He just knows what sort of people he wants running it, and assumes that the right people will always do the right thing. That isn’t extremism, it is elitism coupled with naivete.

rockmom on May 19, 2012 at 5:47 PM

This poser should simply be ignored. Like Kathleen Parker, he finds celebrity among liberals more comfortable than fiscal responsibily, State’s rights, and the Constitution.

pat on May 19, 2012 at 5:49 PM

This may be O/T, but I early voted for the “extreme” Ted Cruz in the Texas primary today.

TxAnn56 on May 19, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Wife and I plan on doing that tomorrow!

bluemarlin on May 19, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Democrats and republicans have a spectrum of ideological degrees in each party. Neither party is immune from being stupid, corrupt, ‘in it to win it’, or exert power over others using the public’s stupidity as a mandate.

That said, any third party acquiring a majority and any individual elected to any position at all is susceptible to the same thing too.

It’s up to the public to police their representatives. If the public will not hold them accountable by either tossing them in jail or electing someone new, then you can expect EVERY elected official to become corrupt.

People need to ditch this laziness and entitlement utopian fantasies and RE-adopt what the founding fathers intended the tenets of the constitution to be;

Individual freedom and personal responsibility.

Learn it, live it, or get the hell out.

Wolfmoon on May 19, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Anyone see that bizarro article by Bill Kristol where he longs for Hilary Clinton to be Obama’s VP? Truly strange.

AmeriCuda on May 19, 2012 at 5:50 PM

A man, who chooses the person he wants to lead the free world by the crease in his pants, should be ridiculed or ignored. He should never be taken seriously.

Resist We Much on May 19, 2012 at 5:51 PM

-
Not really the way to look at this…
-
If I say we need one hundred feet of 6 lane auto bridge to cross a one-hundred-foot chasm, complete with free condoms handed out at the toll plaza, and with free passage to illegal aliens… that makes me an extremist.
Somebody else says we don’t need to build a bridge at all because we don’t need to cross the chasm in the first place. That makes him an extremist.
The third guy is the centrist because he insists that we compromise by building a fifty-foot one hundred foot bridge that ends in the middle of thin air actually meets our need of one lane of auto traffic each way and some pedestrians and bicycles?

RalphyBoy on May 19, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Except your version of the analogy is counter factual. In 2012 we had:

Receipts $2.469 trillion
Outlays $3.796 trillion
Outlays Minus receipts is $1.327 trillion

So let’s say, in the spirit of compromise, that centrists want to build the bridge 65% of the way.

Fenris on May 19, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Not really the way to look at this…

RalphyBoy on May 19, 2012 at 5:10 PM

You don’t get to move the goalposts.

John the Libertarian on May 19, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Our politicians don’t listen to us. If they did listen to us, the border would have been sealed, illegals deported, crime cut in half, cities would be safe to walk in again, and our fiscal woes would have all been solved.

Sadly, it’s just easier to go along with the Democrats and turn America into a combination of Detroit and California. :-(

Punchenko on May 19, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Nice, post, Karl.

A fresh, honest perspective that we can wrap our heads around.

I seriously do not know how Brooks made it as far as he did.

so-notbuyingit on May 19, 2012 at 6:08 PM

The ideological extremism of David Brooks

Dunno about “extremism”. I’d say he’s more herky jerky in his pendulum swings as he tries to have things “both all ways”…

Gohawgs on May 19, 2012 at 6:10 PM

You don’t get to move the goalposts.

John the Libertarian on May 19, 2012 at 5:55 PM

C’mon, it’s not fair to hold people accountable…

Gohawgs on May 19, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Part 12 in my new ground-breaking training seminars, How to analyze and deconstruct a Liberal Thought, deals with a Liberal’s tendency to dismiss a rational solution that will require courage and persistence as irrational, because it might fail.

Thus, for instance, illegal immigration. “What,” the Liberal exclaims, “do you propose mass deportations??!!!” Wait a beat. “Like the Nazis??!!”

Or drug enforcement. A Liberal will ridicule efforts to stop the drug trade…Only when it is legalized will the violence cease!

Thus, Brooks’ emasculated analysis, the ultimate act of passive-aggressive self-degradation: The people make “demands,” the structures are “inherited,” the system “gridlocks.” (I didn’t know that was a word but if the Times says it is a word then it must be so!)

Liberals are weak and terrified by the potential of failure (and the consequenec…..JUDGEMENT!!!!

Herald of Woe on May 19, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Like any normal set of human beings, they command their politicians to give them benefits without asking them to pay.

When did that become “normal?”

My grandpa told me he never appreciated anything he got for nothing.

pain train on May 19, 2012 at 6:18 PM

To a legend-in-his-own-mind clown like David Brooks, “compromise” is the only objective. It doesn’t matter that it’s an unworkable compromise between two totally incompatible and mutually exclusive sets of policy principles, compromise for it’s own sake is all that matters. People like that are the biggest liabilities going.

fitzfong on May 19, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Herald of Woe on May 19, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Lol

Are you going to post the first eleven parts?

Dack Thrombosis on May 19, 2012 at 6:22 PM

(I know; it’s just craaaaazy of the right to do this, amirite?)

LOL

Brooks and his ilk are a particularly odious sort; they have urged and pursued a ruinous course of misgovernment, all the while deluding themselves that they are not extreme and demonizing the people who are not responsible for the West’s current malaise.

And, Boom! Nice post.

Fallon on May 19, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Brooks has made a very lucrative career out of talking out of both sides of his mouth. Follow his column in the NYT and you’ll see he staggers his columns in a predictable pattern:(lib…lib…mod…lib…con…lib…lib…mod…lib…con…)Nothing new here. He’s a run’o'the mill BS hustler- and the Times readers just swoon over his integrity and intelligence.

mxt on May 19, 2012 at 6:38 PM

Blah blah blah blah blah. Anything you do or not do can be defined as extreme nowadays. Spending ourselves into oblivion, however, is the centrist solution to all our problems apparently. I guess you have to become educated like Mr Brooks to understand what the hell he’s talking about. He may look and sound smart but we the people don’t need his goobledygook.

racquetballer on May 19, 2012 at 7:05 PM

The notion that Mark Shields can waylay David Brooks with a baseball bat and Brooks responds with: how bout we have some smores?

That’s extreme..numbness. Who is Brooks playing too?

Insipid may become the polite moderate (which we all know only applies to Republicans) but its crap to anyone demanding the least bit of competence or personal honesty from someone who is a public figure and plays that they represent a movement of Conservatism.

Speakup on May 19, 2012 at 7:05 PM

In other related news: “Half of Florida high school students fail reading test…” Perfect future congressional candidates since you don’t need to read what’s in a bill to pass it.

racquetballer on May 19, 2012 at 7:13 PM

In other related news: “Half of Florida high school students fail reading test…” Perfect future congressional candidates since you don’t need to read what’s in a bill to pass it.

racquetballer on May 19, 2012 at 7:13 PM

Well, Brooks should love that. They “compromised” and agreed that only 50% of the children would be taught to read. /

Resist We Much on May 19, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Who is this David Brooks?

jukin3 on May 19, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Can we quit giving these hacks our time….

crosshugger on May 19, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Brooks and his ilk are a particularly odious sort; they have urged and pursued a ruinous course of misgovernment, all the while deluding themselves that they are not extreme and demonizing the people who are not responsible for the West’s current malaise.

I read that Karl, and the word neurotic popped into my head.

Dr Evil on May 19, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Who is this David Brooks?

jukin3 on May 19, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Obama’s tailor, he keeps track of his inseam ;)

Dr Evil on May 19, 2012 at 7:57 PM

It brings back to mind, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” If you look at what’s accumulated the majority of our debt, I’d bet there’s a good intention attached to it somewhere.

bflat879 on May 19, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Brooks and his ilk are a particularly odious sort; they have urged and pursued a ruinous course of misgovernment, all the while deluding themselves that they are not extreme and demonizing the people who are not responsible for the West’s current malaise.

Brooks and his ilk (aside from being retards who couldn’t pass a 10th grade math test) are what we call “cowards”, and they lash out at anyone who is not a coward, trying to shame them into being cowards, too. Cowardice needs a full complement of other cowards to hide within. But that just doesn’t work. Some people are either too obstinate or too tied to actual principles to be cowards. So the retarded cowards like Brooks get even more ticked off in spastic attempts to defend and hide their limitless cowardice and start spewing all sorts of nonsense and idiocy and venom.

We see this in the eligibility issue as the cowards are scared to death to have the issue resolved – even though they stomp their feet and claim that any court in the land would easily resolve it in their favor. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

Brooks and his ilk have never had an original thought in their entire, pathetic lives.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 19, 2012 at 8:05 PM

speaking of Europe…..
Chelsea wins!
Renee on May 19, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Gut gemacht – warte mal bis zum nächsten Jahr….
;-)

affenhauer on May 19, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Libs believe it…they don’t donate to charity in any significant way as an overall group.

ProfShadow on May 19, 2012 at 4:46 PM

The problem is that waaaay too many “conservatives” consider themselves entitled to government largesse as well because they “paid into the system.” They don’t care what it will do the younger generations. And by “younger generations”, I mean people that are 50 or less.

They are smack-dab in the middle of the plantation but since they perceive themselves as “benefitting”, they don’t want to mess with their own bennies.

iwasbornwithit on May 19, 2012 at 9:43 PM

[M]any voters have come to regard their desires as entitlements. They become incensed when their leaders are not responsive to their needs. Like any normal set of human beings, they command their politicians to give them benefits without asking them to pay perfectly-creased pant legs and ESPN masculinity.

FIFY, David.

The Schaef on May 19, 2012 at 11:48 PM

A bunch of you guus have NOT read the Brooks article in question.

And Karl’s complaint doesn’t seem to be based on what is said in the article either. He send angry because it is inconsistent with previous statements by Brooks.

Don’t cheat yourself out of a good read. I rarely agree much with Brooks, but in this case, he is DEAD-ON CORRECT in the assessment of our situation, as compared with the foresight of our forefathers. And the inference of what that means for our future is scary.

connertown on May 19, 2012 at 11:58 PM

The problem is that waaaay too many “conservatives” consider themselves entitled to government largesse as well because they “paid into the system.” They don’t care what it will do the younger generations. And by “younger generations”, I mean people that are 50 or less.

They are smack-dab in the middle of the plantation but since they perceive themselves as “benefitting”, they don’t want to mess with their own bennies.

iwasbornwithit on May 19, 2012 at 9:43 PM

Bullsh!t. I’m in my early 30′s and would opt out of social security even if it meant I had to forfeit what I have paid in. However, I should be reimbursed for the money I have put into my social security “lock box!” no more , no less.

Meat Fighter on May 19, 2012 at 11:59 PM

Don’t let the liberals win the idiotic narrative that fiscal conservatism and a balanced budget are “extreme”. Living within your means if by definition being “moderate”.

ModerateMan on May 20, 2012 at 12:01 AM

Meat Fighter on May 19, 2012 at 11:59 PM

Well then my comment was not directed at you. However, it is wishful thinking to believe that you will get back what you have put into the system so far. If you are in your early thirties, I wouldn’t count on getting anything back. I’m in my mid thirties and I have accepted that I won’t be getting a red cent in entitlements by the time I reach the age that I would be eligible to receive benefits. We don’t have enough money to pay for these programs now (we print it) and its only going to get worse and that is even if Ocare gets kicked. I am paying for benefits for the current elderly and near-elderly populations that I will never receive. At some point the music is going to stop and you and I and our children will be stuck with the bill.

iwasbornwithit on May 20, 2012 at 12:16 AM

We know what works in America, and it’s been here all along. It’s the people who will make it work state by state. However, it might be too late, when half the population is dependent on the government and we live in a society where our young people do not think for themselves, but wait to be told what to do and how to do it. Even conservatives are guilty of thinking that it’s the people we elect who are going to “change things in Washington”. Who cares what David Brooks thinks? How many more generations do we have to lose before we wake up?

lea on May 20, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Krugman and Brooks make a mockery out of journalism. When you have babbling idiots representing your newspaper, it is hard to be taken seriously.

volsense on May 20, 2012 at 9:06 AM

You don’t get to move the goalposts.

John the Libertarian on May 19, 2012 at 5:55 PM

-
I just want to call a thing what it is… Centrist governing would look more like what I described than what Brooks put forth… and what common wisdom calls it too it appears.
-
The centrist he describes is not one… It’s more of a mental case moron than anything else. We would still spend have the money, but get nothing of use for it. That’s not moderate or centrist… that’s stupidity.
-
Just as calling Holder, Jackson and Sharpton out as the racists they are helps to reset the goal post in that arena (even if only a little), re-defining moderate and centrist to something that makes sense is a worthy goal…
-
So yeah… I did try to move the goal-post.
-

Are you happy with compromise, RalphyBoy?

blink on May 19, 2012 at 7:07 PM

-
Gee… no… not as you define it. Are you really calling that compromise…? Notice that my needed and compromised for bridge would have ended up with 2 lanes… one each way. See the bolded part of this post for further explanation on the arm removal thing.
-

So let’s say, in the spirit of compromise, that centrists want to build the bridge 65% of the way.

Fenris on May 19, 2012 at 5:51 PM

-
See… now you’re arguing against voting for Romney… but I’ll take ‘that bridge for 65%’ Alex… TYVM.
-

RalphyBoy on May 20, 2012 at 9:25 AM

The idioteological extremism of David Brooks

fixed

cableguy615 on May 20, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Brook’s ideological extremism is not moderation, but snobbery

When, in 2008, he qualified and approved of the Obama candidacy on the the basis of the crease-line in Obama’s pants … enough said

Jimbobby on May 20, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Senator Goldwater, please call your office.

SomeCallMeJohn on May 20, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Karl wrote:

Those Americans have elected people to the House and Senate in an attempt to restrain and reform the entitlement state. And David Brooks has metaphorically compared them to Nazis, uninterested in governance.

@Karl

Your interpretation here is different than my own. You suggest that Brooks is calling the GOP as the source of the gridlock. I suggest that Brooks is naming the Democrats as the source of the gridlock.

Congress is capable of passing laws that give people benefits with borrowed money, but it gridlocks when it tries to impose self-restraint.

He says that Congress gridlocks “when it tries to impose self-restraint” – That is, the republicans try to impose self-restraint, and the Democrats are the agents of the gridlock as self-restraint is imposed by the republicans. You’ve misunderstood Brooks.

I like David Brooks. Have for a long time.

tartan on May 20, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Congress is capable of passing laws that give people benefits with borrowed money, but it gridlocks when it tries to impose self-restraint.

This quote, referenced in my previous post, is taken from the article by Brooks.

tartan on May 20, 2012 at 7:05 PM

I agreed with every word of that David Brooks column.

rushlimbang on May 19, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Me too

tartan on May 20, 2012 at 7:27 PM

What I have found out about “moderates” or “centrists” is that they have the same motivations as liberals. By that I mean their views are meant to make them feel good about themselves and superior to others. In this case “others” means all those “knee jerk extremists”. You know, the ones who dare to take a position they don’t approve of.
Forget the fact that their beliefs won’t solve the problem and may even make the situation worse, they are too busy loving how wonderful and rational they think they are.
Jonah nailed them and their views.

Tartan, you like brooks, eh? Good. Now I know to ignore your posts due to your lack of judgement and likely leftist leanings.

Hard Right on May 20, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Tartan, you like brooks, eh? Good. Now I know to ignore your posts due to your lack of judgement and likely leftist leanings.

Hard Right on May 20, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Ignore my posts, eh? You break my heart. Now when you’re ready, go ahead and defend Karl’s interpretation of the Brooks quote. Or explain how the article can be used to defend your idea that David Brooks has the same motivation as a liberal.

tartan on May 20, 2012 at 11:10 PM