July 21, 2005

"This is the sort of person who rises when a movement is mature and running things."

David Brooks is in love with the Roberts nomination. Really! He's trying to write poetry to it -- it, the nomination -- not to Roberts. The poetry comes out in a dorky, Brooksian way, but it's rather touching, nonetheless. What he loves so much about it that it shows "the face of today's governing conservatism." And it's such a charming face:
Roberts is a conservative practitioner, not a conservative theoretician. He is skilled in the technical aspects of the law, knowledgeable about business complexities (that's why he was hired to take on Microsoft) and rich in practical knowledge. He is principled and shares the conservative preference for judicial restraint, but doesn't think at the level of generality of, say, a Scalia. This is the sort of person who rises when a movement is mature and running things.


Mark Daniels said...

For all its apparent dorkiness, I nonetheless think that Brooks' piece has it right.

Roberts is the direct opposite of the sorts of nominees a less mature movement would put forward. Young movements usually send fantastic thinkers to the fore, people who explore "out loud" and thereby take flights of fancy down embarrassing boulevards. Their paper trails are rife with both brilliance and absurdity.

But conservatism, from the days of Goldwater, has evolved. Yes, there are still crazies who tag along, as is true in any movement. But Roberts truly is an expression of conservatism at its zenith.

That may also be a warning sign to conservatives, though, not to fall prey to hubris. Otherwise this dizzying height may also signal the beginning of a last act.

Sloanasaurus said...

I dare you to debate what conservatism means... There are many definitions. Thus, I think it is a lot easier to say what conservatism isn't... For example, conservatism is not a quest for economic and social equality (that is modern liberalism). One could argue that most liberal polices stem from this quest...high taxes, national health care, affirmative action, etc.... Conservatism is against these goals. Perhaps a universal definition of conservatism is to favor freedom over equality.

Crank said...

I was waiting for him to call Roberts the Man in the Grey Flannel Suit.

ploopusgirl said...

No wonder you hate the left, Sloan. Social and economic equality is for leftist idiots! The world is so much better when a third of it holds all the wealth and respect, another third is dirt poor, and the rest are just hated because they have dark skin or are different in some other way. Conservatism is a beautiful thing.

ploopusgirl said...

Also: conservatives are "for" freedom for whom exactly? Given that you are "against" equality, it seems fair to assume that some people must be repressed in some way, whether economically or socially. So, who gets to be completely free, and who gets to suffer through poverty and discrimination to experience their "freedom?"

Jeremy said...

Conservatives are actually for equality - they just don't think there needs to be special laws to enforce that equality.

Similarly, it wants what's best for everyone, materialy. They just happen to think free markets and capitalism work much better at this than distributing "wealth" at gunpoint. Because wealth is not something that exists, it has to be made, and capitalism is the most effecient way to do it.

Sure, there are always going to be poor people, but their standard of living is really quite high. I am quite poor, yet I have AC, which is great when it's 98 degrees out (which it is now). I have a computer that is more powerful than anything that existed 3 years ago, much less 10.

Heck, I even have a pool. One of those inflatable things. But it works quite well. 10 years ago, any sort of pool was the province of the really really rich.

Sure, I don't have a private jet or a limo. But not being a liberal, I can do without those things.

The biggest health crisis in the US affecting the poor is obesity. How wacky is that?

Jeremy said...

Anyway, my real point in wanting to comment, is that an endorsement of Brooks that this guy is a conservative is pretty meaningless, given that Brooks is not the most conservative person on the planet, pretty much a moderate.

ploopusgirl said...

Um.. Jeremy, I think you're prty. Well, no, I lie. I think you're right!! The standard of living for poor people is quite high indeed! I know this one Mexican in California who can even leave the swamp cooler on ALL day because it's like 133 degrees outside. She's soooo happy with her situation.

I'm not quite sure that you understand that there's a world outside of the United States. Not that I'm saying that I agree with your contention that the standard of living for poor people is quite high here either-because um.. it isn't. I don't think you and your brand new computer qualify as "quite poor" and I don't think you really have any idea what real poverty is. Like in Africa where they live in huts or run down tenements or under tin paneling thats been attached to two trees just to provide some sort of shade? I think these people would disagree with your assessment as well. Liberalism doesn't wish to hand out equal amounts of wealth at gunpoint, but it does want to make it so that everyone has an equal shot at living at least somewhat comfortably. ..Which doesn't include private jets and limos. Way flaunt your ignorance.

bos0x said...

Jeremy: LOL so wacky! Poor people who are also obese must not be very poor at all, right? Because it takes sooo much money to eat a 1000 calorie meal at McDonalds... only liberals with limos can afford that kind of extravagance.

Though I kind of agree. If I were rich, I would never have the excitement my life has right now! When I worked at the carwash, I met so many fascintating people while vacuuming cars - especially the nice families that drove Hummers with cute little televisions in the headrest and the Bush-Cheney stickers on the bumper. I didn't mind when they complained about the price of a carwash ($12) because I knew that it could be worse LOL it could have been a liberal in a limo!

I really love driving places in my 1984 Mercedes Benz. It's exciting every time anyone tries to turn it on, because nobody ever knows if it will start or not! I love using jumper cables because it reminds me of a time when poor people didn't have jumper cables. I don't even mind that the car has no air conditioning. If I couldn't leave the windows down, I would never be able to hear the sweet music of the freeway! The tires are almost bald and the size is special order and expensive, but the knowledge that they could burst and I could have a major accident on the freeway is strangely liberating. I orgasm whenever I think about it!

I love being poor all the time, but especially when I think about the sweetness of capitalism and all the mean leftists who want to distribute wealth at gunpoint :( ono!

Dean said...

All I have to say is if the man played Peppermint Patty and took on Microsoft, he can't be all bad.

Goesh said...

Poopusgirl could have addressed the concept of indentured servants, which I think helped our founding industrialist fathers more than anything. I was a robber baron in a former life and have not fully repented. There is nothing wrong with making a little money in teaching poor folk to pull themselves up by their boot straps.

Sloanasaurus said...

A conservative view is to oppose laws that oppress freedom to favor social and economic equality. Of course there are always exceptions to this rule, but it should be the general rule.

Ploopusgirl said:

"...So, who gets to be completely free, and who gets to suffer through poverty and discrimination to experience their "freedom..."

Freedom does not include the right to oppress another person's freedom without due process. People like Saddam, Mugabe, and Chavez should be punished and driven from power.

ploopusgirl said...

Goesh: What does that even mean?

Sloan: What does that have to do with what I said? I completely agree with the fact that people who abuse their freedom should lose it (Saddam, Mugabe, Chavez, etc.). That is completely irrelevant to what I said, however. In capitalism, there are the rich and the poor. In order for everyone to experience freedom, who gets to vote/make their own decisions while living in a ditch somewhere while you get to vote/ make your own decisions in your cozy four-bedroom colonial?