The Tea Partiers, fundamentally, love America. The hardcore New Lefters, simply, did not.For years — decades — I've found insight into the way other people think with the simplification that there are 2 kinds of human minds: Those that focus on difference and those that focus on similarity. I think most people, like Jonah, figure things out by observing and heightening the ways in which things are different. We're taught to pursue that tendency from an early age. Think of the kindergarten/"Sesame Street" quizzes asking which of these things is not like the other. But the skill of likening things to others is also useful. Perhaps it should be encouraged by repurposing those old quizzes and asking kids: If you had to explain why all these things are alike, what would you tell me? And then you could grow up to be David Brooks.
Towards the end, Brooks offers this rhetorical flourish:
...both the New Left and the Tea Party movement are radically anticonservative. Conservatism is built on the idea of original sin — on the assumption of human fallibility and uncertainty. To remedy our fallen condition, conservatives believe in civilization — in social structures, permanent institutions and just authorities, which embody the accumulated wisdom of the ages and structure individual longings.Some Tea Partiers may get all sorts of things wrong. No doubt conspiracy theories find fertile soil at Tea Party rallies. But unlike the New Left, they do not believe in starting over with a plan hatched from a new cultural avant-garde. They believe in getting back to basics. They take the founding, the Declaration and the Constitution seriously....
March 7, 2010
"But when he says the 'similarities are more striking than the differences,'" Jonah Goldberg thinks "he gets it backwards. The differences are more striking than the similarities."