November 16, 2018

"During the Cold War, being a conservative was a moral cause. You were fighting Communist tyranny — aligned with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Lech Walesa."

"But you were somewhat marginalized in your own society. Liberals controlled the universities, the news media, the cultural high ground, so the right attracted many people with outsider personalities.... After the Soviet Union collapsed, conservatism no longer had a great moral cause to rally around. It became a technocratic, economics-focused movement concerned with small government and entitlement reform.... Many conservatives simply could not succeed in the new conservative counterestablishment.... [T]hey resent how spiritually flat conservatism has become.... In such a situation, you’re almost bound to get a return of blood-and-soil nationalism. The losers in the meritocratic competition, the permanent outsiders, seize on ethnic nationalism to give themselves a sense of belonging, to explain their failures, to rally the masses and to upend the meritocracy. In office, what the populist nationalists do is this: They replace the idea of excellence with the idea of 'patriotism.' Loyalty to the tribe is more important than professional competence. In fact, a person’s very lack of creativity and talent becomes proof of his continued reliability to the cause, as we’ve seen in the continued fealty to King Trump...."

Writes David Brooks in "The Rise of the Resentniks/And the populist war on excellence" (NYT).

154 comments:

sparrow said...

Being conservative is still a moral cause.

Danno said...

The pants crease guy, totally reliable to the NYT point of view, but not a conservative.

sparrow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

Twaddle.

MadisonMan said...

I so very much do trust the NYTimes to give an accurate read on the pulse of Conservatives.

CWJ said...

The self regard of the credentialed American elite would make an European aristocrat blush.

Expat(ish) said...

Huh, I did not know David Brooks was still alive.

Bless his heart.

-XC

Bob R said...

Michelle Goldberg to David Brooks, have you had a crappy morning or what?

Shawn Levasseur said...

"When you take away excellence and integrity, loyalty to the great leader is the only currency that remains."

Funny, one could see a conservative saying the same thing during the Obama administration in a piece about the failings of liberalism.

gilbar said...

Do ANY people that read the NY Times think that Brooks knows Any thing about Conservatism ?

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Brooks resents the deplorables.

Bob Boyd said...

I wish I could by Brooks for what he's worth and sell him for what he thinks he's worth.

jaydub said...

Brooks is a fool. A chemical engineer with a masters in operations research/systems analysis who specialized in lean enterprise development and manufacturing plant design and startup - that is after 26 years in the Navy including five commands and four chief engineer assignments - I could never find a way to succeed in the meritocracy? I am not a conservative because I'm a failure or bitter about anything. I'm a conservative to prevent the left from taking the world back to the scourge of communist and socialist "utopia." Like many others I did not spend so much of my life helping to defeat Soviet communism only to roll over so that the David Brooks of the world could undo what we achieved. So, suck it David!

MikeR said...

"In such a situation, you’re almost bound to get a return of blood-and-soil nationalism." How about a return of people who are tired of credentialed lunatics running things and preening themselves on their superiority to the rest of us. Like David Brooks.

rhhardin said...

Brooks isn't widely read in a free market. Probably lack of insight makes him unattractive.

hawkeyedjb said...

It's never enough for Our Betters to disagree; they have to condescend. Even if it frequently means condescending upward.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Yet - we are told that the facebook is bad because it didn't deliver Hillary like it should have.

Meanwhile I notice a pattern with Drudge links to Hillary's potential return.
Every “Hillary might run” story promotes and weaves a deceptive pattern. A pattern where the writer slimes another potential non-Hillary candidate. HOW is Elizabeth Warren out of the running? You mean to tell us her DNA BS, which is lame, yes, but nothing in comparison to the criminality of Clinton’s set-up and use of a private server to hide her stuffing her own coffers with international pay-to-play connections while head of the State Dept, is fine, but some DNA BS is a deal killer?

DNA BS - v. full on corruption. Full corruption wins.

readering said...

Just so stories.

Two-eyed Jack said...

Somehow a commitment to excellence translates, in practice, to a commitment to increased immigration from countries which have shown no capacity for excellence. Anything else is blood-and-soil.

chuck said...

I have the impression that Brooks judges himself to be "excellent".

Amexpat said...

When has there ever been a pure meritocracy in a presidential administration? There's always a number of political favors to pay back and various constituencies to please. And you'd rather hire people that are with the program rather than more qualified people than disagree with your policies.

Sydney said...

"The populist war on excellence." I have used up my free NYT clicks. How does he define "excellence?"

rehajm said...

Fopdoodle grasping to remain relevant in a changing world.

I want him on my team for Beltway Buzzword Bingo, though.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Tribalism is human nature, Brooksie. “Blood and soil nationalism” too. There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of that, and in fact that is what binds cultures together. Not “excellence”. That’s dumb and guaranteed to fail.

Trump appeals to those of us who recognize the importance of such things because these are appeals to emotion based on identity. There is no stronger type of connection, as Scott Adams can tell Brooks if he cares to learn anything useful instead of bloviating to the clueless. What a clown!

Lucid-Ideas said...

The last 2/3rds of that paragraph, with some additional and pertinent edits, could have the word "conservative" replaced with "liberal" and still ring entirely plausible.

They write crap like this but fail to see masked-Antifa-communists burning garbage cans in the street.

Ineffible twaddle.

Two-eyed Jack said...

Thanks to Althouse for cutting and pasting paragraphs from two NYT writers and utterly destroying any pretention to excellence of that paper. You don't need to argue against these writers when quoting them is enough.

Gahrie said...

The losers in the meritocratic competition, the permanent outsiders, seize on ethnic nationalism to give themselves a sense of belonging, to explain their failures, to rally the masses and to upend the meritocracy.

Meritocracy? What the Hell is he talking about? We live in a society that rewards victims and values identity over accomplishment.

Darrell said...

Brooks is an idiot. Shouldn't he be concerned with Russia manipulating our election results? Lefties tell us that it happened. Or doesn't he believe his Lefty friends. They must be incompetent.

Jeremy Abrams said...

"Losers in the meritocratic system"? I think he means skilled factory workers whose managers sold their jobs to China.

Otto said...

ts elliot -> marcuse -> brooks.

Kevin said...

Loyalty to the tribe is more important than professional competence.

I think he's confused his tribes.

Shouting Thomas said...

Yes, we conservatives do have a great moral cause. More than one.

Defeating Althouse's Marxist feminism. Restoring traditional religious belief and practice. Defeating the Marxist feminist program to erase the differences between men and women in order to create the New Man and New Woman. Defeating the campaign to demean and eradicate traditional heterosexual marriage.

The real source of progressive hatred of Putin's Russian is that it abandoned the great Utopian dream of the Soviet Union.

Kevin said...

Better to be thought a fool than write a column for the NYT and remove all doubt.

rhhardin said...

The Brooks Effect is not new.

A notorious case of the growth of Implications in a word is provided by "native," in itself able to arouse sturdy local patriotism, which came to be felt as insulting when applied to the natives of (say) India. The empire-builder's use of the word was naturally limited to the persons native where he worked, and acquired stock Emotions (contempt sometimes touched with fear) and Implications such as "inherently subjected," which could easily become "racially inferior." So far the word merely does what the speakers want; their opinion of the natives in view colours the word and may then be asserted as a piece of common knowledge. The equation is "such people are -- inherently subjected," or whatever the less stark view the speaker might entertain. The only puzzle is to decide whether there was any memory of history at work. The N.E.D. gives the oldest meaning of the word as "one born in bondage; a born thrall;" the first example is no earlier than 1450, but is still cognate to an earlier technical term "neif" for persons attached to the soil. A disparaging use for the local residents of an English country town is quoted from 1800, whereas the use for natives of countries considered savage is found in the late seventeenth century. A tendency to rude suggestions might well go on clinging to the word, as a rival to the suggestions of local patriotism ("that we are native where we walk"); so that the empire-builders were not putting any strain on it. On the other hand the seriously rude use of the word does not seem to appear till the historical meaning had been quite forgotten. In any case the meaning presumed from the Latin derivation, "one of the original or usual inhabitants of a country, as distinguished from strangers or foreigners," dated 1603, was taken through all this development as "what the word really meant." There was no idea that two meanings of the word were in play, even when the Implcations became so strong as to seem actually part of the word's meaning. Nor did the change of feeling in the word involve any change of the referent in view, which continued to be the natives of India (or wherever it might be). There was no puzzle about the referent until the empire-builder's dialect began to affect the talkers at home, and then the meaning of the word had to change...

Wm Empson, The Structure of Complex Words, p.49-50

Mike Sylwester said...

The Republican Party's establishment -- in particular, the Wall Street Journal and National Review -- did not want to get tough on illegal immigration.

The establishment's obliviousness on the immigration issue was demonstrated when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated by David Brat in the 2014 Republican primary election.

Then in 2015, Donald Trump entered the Republican Party's primary elections and won election after election on a platform where the immigration issue was his most important plank.

However, Brooks' article does not mention the immigration issue. He still does not understand how Trump rose to the leadership of the Republican Party.

mezzrow said...

"Is my crease straight?" asked Trump, while mooning David Brooks.

Mike said...

Keep trying, Brooks. You ain’t figured it out yet.

Henry said...

That's a lot of words to say "deplorables."

Omaha1 said...

Now that the media and educational establishment have successfully erased our memory of the "cold war" and the existential stakes involved, we have to start fighting it all over again, with the current rise in popularity of "Democratic Socialism". My father, who served for over 30 years in the Air Force defending the US against missile attacks, would be mortified by the rise of Bernie Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and others promoting socialism in the US.

traditionalguy said...

Brooks was right about the conservatives until he threw in their inevitable turning to a Blood and Soil cult. They are all just dull nerds, which is why Brooks can pass for a conservative at the NYT. He is a dull nerd.

But this propaganda piece calling Trump's deplorables retarded Nazis ( ethno-nationalists) should win Brooks a big bonus. Next week he can throw in KKK.

Kevin said...

I always thought the WSJ had a great business model:

Stocks went up yesterday, here's why!
Stocks went down yesterday, here's why!
Stocks went nowhere yesterday, here's why!

The NYT has flipped it:

Trump is terrible, that's why stocks went up!
Trump is terrible, that's why stocks went down!
Trump is terrible, that's why stocks went nowhere!

The WSJ model makes you look smart, even if you don't know what you're talking about. The NYT's forces you to repudiate even your good ideas to keep the meme going.

Dave Begley said...

"In such a situation, you’re almost bound to get a return of blood-and-soil nationalism."

The first duty of the United States government is to serve and protect the citizens of the United States. Not the government employees in The Hague and certainly not young men from El Salvador.

And Brooks is such a wimp that he can't even call Trump a Nazi. Just say it, dude.

Mike said...

We are still fighting socialism, but we’re doing it domestically, politically. But it appears that the most difficult thing to conserve is the Rule of Law. Equal opportunity is losing out to equal outcomes as a goal. Someone, and it must be Conservatives, has to fight for traditional values of fairness, good citizenship, responsible government, and freedom of speech. Don’t expect a Leftist to even acknowledge your right to free speech much less fight for you.

Kevin said...

However, Brooks' article does not mention the immigration issue. He still does not understand how Trump rose to the leadership of the Republican Party.

Brooks boils it down to "half the country worships incompetence", which of course becomes its own tautology. Whomever the conservatives back doesn't agree with me, therefore they are incompetent.

When that's your theory, you need a new one.

Amadeus 48 said...

"Loyalty to the tribe is more important than professional competence. In fact, a person’s very lack of creativity and talent becomes proof of his continued reliability to the cause..."

Brooks has been looking around the NYT newsroom again.

Kevin said...

The Republican Party's establishment -- in particular, the Wall Street Journal and National Review -- did not want to get tough on illegal immigration.

Joni Ernst said Senate leaders didn't encourage her to run for a leadership position, but Senate members did.

When asked about the difference, she noted her belief that the wall actually needs to be built.

chickenlittle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Sylwester said...

The meritocracy that David Brooks wants to restore is the meritocracy where thousands of computer programers are imported from India to write computer code for less money than American programers write it.

The "Resentniks" want American coders to prosper instead of Indian scabs.

Brooks does not understand that "resentment" in the Republican ranks.

Crazy Jane said...

The term "nationalism" has had a real workout in the last 10 days. In the late 18th and much of the 19th centuries, it was the buzzword for "progress," the amalgamation of small fiefdoms into capable countries.

In the 20th century, the idea was tarnished by Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan et al. Nationalism was the byword for tribalists and bigots who cheered for their home teams and used new warfare technology to get rid of pesky "others"

None of this applied to the United States, which was born with the ideal of pluralism -- e pluribus unum -- and continues to perfect that project. Unfortunately Americans have forgot their history and now associate American "nationalism" with Nazism and fascism. That's what you get when you have a population who can't name the three branches of government and where a significant minority of citizens believe Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court.

Sometimes our sneering elites seem like the most tribal of us all. Ironically, they call themselves globlists.

Kevin said...

"During the Cold War, being a conservative was a moral cause. You were fighting Communist tyranny — aligned with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Lech Walesa."

The real subject of this article is why David Brooks no longer considers himself a conservative.

It should be his final column so they can get someone in there to explain to the Times' readers what this is really all about.

Roy Jacobsen said...

I'm interested in hearing some examples of this purported "excellence" he refers to.

Unknown said...

Brooks and his NYT like us better as

losers

chickenlittle said...

The losers in the meritocratic competition, the permanent outsiders, seize on ethnic nationalism to give themselves a sense of belonging, to explain their failures, to rally the masses and to upend the meritocracy.

This is particularly offensive. Taken to its logical extreme -- open borders USA -- there is no need to raise children or to give your own children competitive advantage. We can always import people and for less! Hell, Brooks works for a newspaper which loses money and in theory should go out of business. I don't see him too worried. He probably thinks (inaccurately) that he owns his particular meritocracy niche. In truth, David Brookses are a dime a dozen, and he's lucky that labor laws make it difficult to fire him.

Amadeus 48 said...

An interesting party game is to ask each dinner guest what "Make America Great Again" means to them. The answers embrace a wide variety of ideas, not all of which are complimentary to either America or their hosts.

Mr Wibble said...

The meritocracy that Brooks considers himself a part of has failed spectacularly over the past twenty years. They aren't elite in any way. They are merely part of a globalist urban class that has burned through whatever social and political capital their parents and grandparents amassed.

Unknown said...

Trump hasn't "fooled" anyone.

Republican primary voters could have preferred a conventional Jeb!, Rubio, or Cruz.

We found him, he did not find us.

After Donald, I fear nobody will fight for us.

rhhardin said...

A company that opens a "center of excellence" will shortly be bankrupt. It's a sign of delusion at the top.

William said...

What part of Hillary's appeal is based on merit and excellence?.......Does being editor of the Harvard Law Review demonstrate more merit and excellence than being a successful real estate developer?.........Why do possessors of a certain type of virtue and intelligence get to tell us what is the proper and, indeed, only form of intelligence and virtue?

Tom Grey said...

Brooks & Krugman and most professors are totally loyal to Political Correctness, despite the many false claims put out by PC true believers.

GOPestablishment was mildly to strongly accepting of more immigration and illegal immigration. Many, perhaps now most, GOP voters are totally fed up and against current and future illegal immigration. Many now against all immigration (tho not me). These normal folk are then called racists, and Nazis, and racist Nazis, by those who favor more illegal immigration. Whose policies in practice are Open Borders, but who are dishonest about this support and even deny that's what they mean -- yet oppose any enforcement of a border that stops any immigrants.

America is not and has never been perfect, nor claimed to be. Yet it has been, arguably, the best country in history. These patriotic nationalist feelings are often twisted by PC despots to claim that nationalists do say America is perfect, and thus are lying racists.

Liberals do control the Universities, with their secret discrimination against conservatives. Often dishonest ("we don't discriminate, it's just that ..."). Combined with constant dishonest hypocritical calls for "inclusion" when they can't even accept a Trump supporter eating in a restaurant. Enough to get me outraged against them, again.

Support for Trump continues as he does great policies: more US jobs, less regulations, more jobs, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, more jobs, trying to build the Wall against illegal immigration, and more jobs.
Did I mention the great job Trump is doing in getting more US jobs?
Like he has a magic wand.
And he frequently said the details of his magic policies before the election -- and he's fulfilling the promises he can.

But no Obamacare repeal? "Thanks McCain" -- but THAT's a big GOP failure to agree on what better healthcare would be in the USA. "Not Obamacare" is not a good health care policy.

robother said...

Remind me, what brutal meritocratic competition did "Pinch" Sulzberger, or Chelsea Clinton, ever win?

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

the NYT is democratic writers writing for democratic readers.

Deplorables are the never-ending punching bag.

Mike said...

The losers in the meritocratic competition, the permanent outsiders, seize on ethnic nationalism to give themselves a sense of belonging, to explain their failures, to rally the masses and to upend the meritocracy.

I agree with chickenlittle that this is patently offensive. We don't have "permanent outsiders" in this country. Hell, nothing is permanent, but certainly NOT one's social position relative to our "governing class." And speaking of "seizing on" ethnic nationalism, who is it exactly that is obsessively focused on race and counting colors? It ain't nationalism, but racial identity politics that Brooks is observing. Without the millions of progressives who start every sentence with "as a [fill-in-the-blank group identity], I feel that..." there would only be a tiny insignificant group of white Americans who even acknowledge their own race and identify with "it" as a thing.

If every Democrat running in 2020 doesn't routinely and reflexively condemn "white males" as the scourge of society I will be absolutely shocked into submission. Do they think "leaders" speaking this way have no effect, no equal and opposite reaction, among the general population.

Bay Area Guy said...

Ahh, one of my favorite topics - how a group of brave American men fought and toppled the Soviet Union - without a WWIII nuclear confrontation (WWII - 75 Million deaths) and without the help of Nancy-boy, Incels like David Brooks.

Instead of a silly NYT article, I'd prefer maybe a thank you card or a nice cup of hot coffee would do fine.

Seeing Red said...

The pants crease guy is excellence?

In his own mind.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

Any instance in which this...

The losers in the meritocratic competition...

...appears in non-self-referential context with this..

...Writes David Brooks...

...is worth reading only for amusement.

I know I've been pointing it out to the point of tedium, but do earnest NYT readers really not notice how petty and puerile all the "analyses" of the Other has become among their name-brand pundits? (Aside from their marinating in "not even wrong" assumptions.) Indeed, to call them "sophomoric" would imply a sophistication and sagacity several levels beyond what they appear to possess.

Yes, I know these are newspaper columns, meant to generate click revenue, but is there nobody among the credentially self-satisfied readership who is not embarrassed by how dumbed-down, how written to appeal to the LCD, this criticism of the allegedly resentful and ignorant, written for the allegedly resented and educated, is?

Bob Boyd said...

Brooks has become a caricature on the order of Greg Marmalard and the Omegas. It's like he's trying to prove everything the libs always said about conservatives is true. He should be deeply embarrassed to write this stuff, but he isn't. He thinks it's excellent.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

The NeverTrump Republicans are increasingly a mystery. Maybe in the campaign there was some excuse for thinking Trump had demonstrated something like day one of one of Mussolini's campaigns, but there was never a day 2 or day 3, never any storm troopers, never any real threat of illegal or violent actions against judges, the media, members of the public, or anyone in Congress. Antifa's record is a bit different. Progressives have good or at least consistent reasons to hate Trump: he is (apparently) against open borders, which progressives see as part of the dawn of a utopia. His negative comments on endless wars, and questionable trade and security arrangements, were all consistent with putting America first--not any ethnic or racial group. Progressives tend to favour the UN and the EU, and they have somewhat surprisingly come to accept whatever the Pentagon dishes out--quite different from the 60s. Trump has a sane pro-American position, the NeverTrumpers are riding on the progressive train without admitting it. I honestly don't know why Trump promised to appoint conservative judges, but he is keeping that promise. He trusts people with credentials, including credentials very different from his own--like generals and congressional leaders. Maybe he is giving in to such people too much, giving up some of what he campaigned on. Not surprising for a guy over 70 who made money in real estate, and has never claimed to be an intellectual.

hawkeyedjb said...

A meritocracy is like the National Basketball Association. You have to be really, really good to get into it, there's no faking it, nobody cares who you are related to, and kissing ass won't get you in. David Brooks thinks a meritocracy is like the New York Times. Somebody inherits a business (you didn't build that!), then hires people who think like him to say things that he and all his friends agree with.

Imagine what the NBA would look like if, say, the center position for the Golden State Warriors were handed to the general manager's son-in-law because he needs a job. He'd fuck up the team, get paid ten million dollars and bray how he's part of the meritocracy. Look at me, I'm the center for the Warriors, formerly a championship team!

Fernandistein said...

The losers in the meritocratic competition, ...
... in the continued fealty to King Trump...."


King Trump lost the election?

You were fighting Communist tyranny ...
...economics-focused movement concerned with small government and entitlement reform....


IOW, still fighting communist tyranny.

Ray - SoCal said...

The so called elites are credentialed on paper and Democrats. The education they receive is a joke, and they live in their ideological bubbles.

The Trump GOP Party is becoming more working class.

Democrats are more the party of the Rich, suburbs, victims, minorities, anti religious, government, and technology.

Trump has channeled some of the anger of the tea party.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Here's a snip from Drudge's pimping of Hillary:

"With Sen. Elizabeth Warrenn (D-Mass.) recently flaming out of contention with her ill-timed DNA pronouncement, it seems unlikely that the former front runner Warren will be running for anything other than her own re-election in 2024."


Behold the slow drip from the Corrupt Clinton Crime Camp.

They are on the war path to destroy all potential viable candidates.


Ambrose said...

"The losers in the meritocratic competition, the permanent outsiders, seize on ethnic nationalism to give themselves a sense of belonging, to explain their failures, to rally the masses and to upend the meritocracy."

I don't when I have ever seen a better description of left wing identity politics.

Chris N said...

Brooksy’s back baby!

One of his pieces can sell for millions at the right gallery.

narciso said...

Solzhenitsyn was for Putin he stated on many occassion that stolypin could have straightened the Russian regime, and he blamed their version of the deep state the okrana for it.

mikee said...

I, for one, am glad that Brooks has discovered a total lack of international challenges facing the US. Things such as imperialistic Chinese Communism, Russian expansionism under Putin, south-to-north immigration pressures worldwide, and so on might otherwise require a more functional political philosophy than progressive statist authoritarianism.

One might think that such challenges require a sound political philosophy such as "conservatism." But Brooks flies past all that to decry the deplorable nature of the failure that is conservatism, which only stopped the Soviets without a world war, brought economic success to every nation on earth that adopted its capitalistic tenets, and led to the greatest increases, over several centuries, of human achievement in world history.

Thanks, Brooksie! I might have made a mistake and continued with a winning program of conservatism had you not pointed out how deplorable that would be! Sign me up for progressivism, wherein the boot presses on my face forever!

Seeing Red said...

He’s pissy because a lot of us don’t care which salami he puts on his freshly baked artisan bread.

It’s like they never left jr. high or high school. I must be prom king or queen.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

is there nobody among the credentially self-satisfied readership who is not embarrassed by how dumbed-down, how written to appeal to the LCD, this criticism of the allegedly resentful and ignorant, written for the allegedly resented and educated, is?

I especially like, or rather appreciate, the reference to "blood and soil nationalism." Or to put it bluntly, Nazism. The fact that a politician attempting to fulfill promises that the people who now accuse him of being Hitler were also promising two or so years ago allows a certain amount of insight into their motives.

Matthew Sablan said...

I find that a lot of my arguments are based on the fact that governments are, at best, amoral and can't be trusted. It is hard to explain that I believe and practice personal charity; that I, personally, believe many things are good and should be preserved, etc., etc., but that I simply do not believe Government is the right force to put in charge of things. This is most clear when it comes to the death penalty; I am against it because the government and justice system can make mistakes. I don't believe we should put that power in government's hands when other, cleaner options with the safety valve of releasing the wrongly accused and doing what little we can to make them whole, is available. Yet, that's a conservative opinion reaching something of a liberal end point; liberals seem confused by the "the government could be wrong, so we should restrain it," philosophy. Most conservative positions tend to be so often caricatured ("Trickle down!" for example), that it is hard to actually ever know if you're starting from a base of zero when explaining your position, or if you have to actively remove negative learning about it before you can start talking about your actual beliefs. This ridiculous strawman of: "all that's left for conservatives is Naziism!" is one example of negative knowledge I wish I didn't have to dis-spell whenever I said something like: "The stimulus clearly failed by their own chosen metrics" or other basic conservative arguments.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Do ANY people that read the NY Times think that Brooks knows Any thing about Conservatism?"

-- I'm convinced the NY Times believes a vast majority of their readership views Conservatives as akin to Megatron or Cobra Commander. They are de facto stupid/evil, and we need not spend any time trying to understand their positions because they just ARE evil.

EDH said...

Fixed it for you Brooks. [Changes in brackets.]

The losers in the meritocratic competition, the permanent [insiders], seize on ethnic [identity] to give themselves a sense of belonging, to explain their failures, to rally the masses and to upend the meritocracy. In office, what the populist [progressives] do is this: They replace the idea of [equality] with the idea of '[diversity].' Loyalty to the tribe is more important than professional competence. In fact, a person’s very lack of creativity and talent becomes proof of his continued reliability to the cause, as we’ve seen in the continued fealty to King [we're still looking]...."

rcocean said...

Lets be brutally honest. David Brooks is an hyphenated-American. His son served in the IDF. He has nothing against "Blood and Soil" nationalism as long as it concerns Israel.

All his other comments are equally self-serving. All those economic "losers" are full of "resentment" and can't compete -unlike David Brooks, who doesn't have to compete because he has a nice, safe, cushy job as NYT #FakeCon.

Globalism and massive immigration puts $$$ in the pocket of people like Brooks - which is why he's NOT full of resentment. And tries to act like patriotism is somehow NOT OK.

Critter said...

Is this guy Brooks supposed to be smart? I have no idea what he is saying due to his lack of any logic flow. The statement seems like some sort of read out of his emotions. He needs to change therapists.

chickenlittle said...

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...Here's a snip from Drudge's pimping of Hillary:

The Clintons put Drudge on the map and Clinton stories mean clicks for Drudge. You can expect him to support her full bore.

rcocean said...

Populism is just a label for a thing called Democracy.

Its the same old BS. If the average People want what the elite want, then that's "the will of the people", "Democracy in Action" if the the average people disagree with an elite position than it "Populism" or "The tyranny of the majority" or "Demagoguery"

Its all tiresome words games. Class warfare cuts both ways. Globalism is class warfare on the middle class and working class.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Globalists make themselves feel better about their exploitation of others to enrich themselves by telling themselves its all about meritocracy and nothing is more important than maximizing economic output. Ties to the local community, family, or nation are inconsequential or, if they somehow inhibit maximizing economic output, immoral.

rcocean said...

"They replace the idea of excellence with the idea of 'patriotism.' Loyalty to the tribe is more important than professional competence."

What does this even mean? Patriotism is now "Tribal loyalty"? So, when 50,000 gave their lives in Vietnam it was for "Tribal Loyalty"? And that's bad -according to Brooks.

We rig the economic game to give all kinds of minority "Tribes" an edge. But lets not Americans an edge. Crazy.

Robert Cook said...

"Like many others I did not spend so much of my life helping to defeat Soviet communism only to roll over so that the David Brooks of the world could undo what we achieved."

You had nothing to do with it. They collapsed of their own accord.

Robert Cook said...

"Being conservative is still a moral cause."

If it pleases you to think so.

gahrie said...

You had nothing to do with it. They collapsed of their own accord.

Yep the moral arguments led by Pope John Paul II, Reagan and Thatcher had nothing to do with it. The arms race intensified by Reagan had nothing to do with it.

The Commies simply woke up one day after seventy years and said "Never mind".

rcocean said...

Last post.

Brooks has never been a real conservative. The closest he came was during the late 90s and early 2000s when he could spend all his time pushing his interventionist foreign policy and tsk-tsking about Bill Clinton.

After that, he had to talk about other issues, and it became clear he was just a liberal who didn't like taxes or isolationism. Trump - and his defacto support for Hillary -showed him to a total FAKE.

Amadeus 48 said...

This isn't the place for this, but someday soon there should be a thread devoted to the Althouse commenters' own criticisms of Trump. We know what Inga, Chuck, Ritmo, and Once...think. Trump is fortunate in the fatuity of his critics and enemies, but he is wrong about a lot of things. No one should forget that.

gahrie said...

The NeverTrump Republicans are increasingly a mystery.

It's actually quite simple...he's threatening their rice bowls.

Ken B said...

Oy.

I just saw an article about a vigilante mob in Mexico that burned two men on a false rumor spread by WhatsApp. The implication was it’s WhatsApp partly to blame. Not really. It's accepting stuff without evidence that is to blame.

What blood and soil nationalism? Where is the evidence?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

David Brooks is perplexed by the fact that people who are not benefiting from the current system want to change it. If that number was a small minority of the whole then ignoring them would be feasible. Brooks and NYT readers might want to contemplate that the number is substantial and even if they are in the majority (if!) its not a substantial one. What are the demands? A stop to massive illegal immigration which is suppressing wages and substantially harming the working and middle classes. Revisiting trade treaties that have caused the destruction of much of the manufacturing base of the country, further harming the working and middle class so that plutocrats can avoid labor and environmental regulations. Reducing government regulation which burdens small business owners and advantages large corporations. Seems to me that if you really are for small government and empowering people those would be pretty reasonable. If you don't think they are reasonable then you are a hack working for the people who are benefiting from the status quo.

Matthew Sablan said...

"This isn't the place for this, but someday soon there should be a thread devoted to the Althouse commenters' own criticisms of Trump."

-- Style and tone are the two biggest complaints. Besides the standard "tone" and "shiny thing method of governing" complaints I share with others, my biggest issue has been that he always defaults to Fight when Compromise would be better. Not only that, but while he isn't as fatally loyal as Obama/Bush were to bad staff members, Trump is a change-oriented leader in a position that... frankly does not benefit from the constant shake ups he normally does.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Brooks wrote: "Some conservatives stayed on the political trajectory they were on in 1999. Others embraced populist nativism. They wandered into territory that is xenophobic, anti-Semitic, authoritarian."
I can't think of any conservatives who have become xenophobic, anti-Semitic, or authoritarian. Not one. It would be nice if Brooks would name names.

narciso said...

Actually he has sought compromise on his terms not the Democrats they want it all.
The dems have gotten more feral over 40 years and when you consider McCarthy and McConnell the Republicans decidedly not.

Ken B said...

Cookie
You aren’t usually that stupid. The Cold War had nothing to do with the collapse of communism?

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Brooks is a Hillary supporter. Therefore - a corruption supporter. His words are poison.

Graham May Investigate Hillary; If Dems Look Backward, 'We're All Going to Look Backward'

Matthew Sablan said...

"Actually he has sought compromise on his terms not the Democrats they want it all. "

-- I guess what I mean is that he's been ineffective at doing it because his primary face is The Fighter. Yeah, he was willing to give them amnesty and a billion other things for the Wall, but he's not got a chance because he's so long ago participated in the poisoning of the well (yeah, the Democrats may never have dealt with him anyway, if past history is any guidance, but he doesn't even hold the moral high ground that Bush or a Romney/McCain could have held on the lack of compromise.)

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The neverTrump sides position, so far as I can make it out, besides Trump being NOK, is that heritage Americans, if they can't cut it economically, need to replaced by new Americans who will work cheap and not raise a fuss about working conditions. And if heritage Americans object to that, well they're clearly Nazis.

Biotrekker said...

I admit I benefit from the current system, but - unlike the Collectivist Libs, Progs, and "conservatives" who conserve nothing, like David Brooks, I understand that the very benefactors of the system and the NATION that birthed it, are wrecking its foundations and setting it on a course to self destruction. Collectivism is a parasite that thrives on the resources/wealth/infrastructure accumulated under conditions of capitalism, individual rights and liberal Democracy. It cannot succeed on its own, from scratch. In Israel, the original high-IQ, intellectual socialist Zionists were commitetd to creating the socialist utopia, exemplified by the Kibbutz. They failed, as they failed in Russia. Now, Israel is a capitalist powerhouse (with socialist elements, I grant you) and the Kibbutzim have mostly transformed into corporate entities. If these guys couldn't do it. no one can.

mockturtle said...

Brooks has a pathological fear of patriotism and Trump. His vision of 'meritocracy' describes the many far-left academics and their spawn who have rotted the fiber of our nation. Trump has built and produced. The only thing Brooks has produced is quasi-conservative swill. As a Jew born in Canada, he seems intent on being WASPier than the WASPS and an insufferable snob.

Lewis Wetzel said...

You had nothing to do with it. They collapsed of their own accord.
This is what people who failed to predict the collapse of the USSR believe.

narciso said...

Yes he had an aversion to Palin, so you get in spades with trump, Whittaker is a heartland figure as well so you can see where the scales lie.

Darrell said...

Cookie is feeling his oats. CPUSA must be paying him 1 cent per comment again.

M Jordan said...

Let’s cut to the chase: all NeverTrumpers are Jeff Flake, standing in an elevator, head down in a shame posture, thinking of how they can regain favor with the Jet Set. They are the epitome of cowardice and fecklessness.

Matthew Sablan said...

"You had nothing to do with it. They collapsed of their own accord."

-- Isn't that an even bigger indictment of Communism?

JPS said...

robother, 8:53:

"Remind me, what brutal meritocratic competition did "Pinch" Sulzberger, or Chelsea Clinton, ever win?"

I've been wondering about this. I keep seeing "meritocracy" used in a way that makes sense only if "merit" reflects merely the subjective judgment of one's social peers, rather than abilities reflected by concrete accomplishments.

narciso said...

Flashback to 1989, the punchline was the apparatchiks became the oligarchs the KGB became the siloviki (including putin)

Big Mike said...

I'm not going to waste one of my monthly free trips past the New York Times paywall to read David Brooks' latest polemic against the great unwashed masses. You didn't go to an Ivy or some other elite private school (e.g., Chicago, Stanford) then you are a loser. Your kids should forget about going to college, or if they do go they will be so burdened by debt that they will never be able to get a good start in life. Good starts in life are reserved for the Elite that Brooks worships -- and regards himself as part of. You might be the best plumber in the state, but you are a L-O-S-E-R and you have to know your place.

In the wake of Trump's election Brooks vowed to get out into flyover country and meet real people. Did he ever get further west than Newark (other than seven miles up in an airplane)?

Robert Cook said...

"Cookie
"You aren’t usually that stupid. The Cold War had nothing to do with the collapse of communism?"


I can't say the Cold War had nothing to do with it, but it was not the primary cause. They spent monies on it to keep pace with us--which they never could--until Gobachev decided to stop playing that game, as they couldn't afford it. But it was the internal political, social, and economic dynamics of Soviet Russia that brought about its collapse, hastened by Gorbachev's reforms.

Soviet Russia's collapse took the U.S. completely by surprise.

Big Mike said...

Plus what JPS wrote.

John said...

Yes, we conservatives do have a great moral cause. More than one....Restoring traditional religious belief and practice.

I'm constantly amazed by the degree to which conservative and liberal partisans conflate conservative or liberal with what they agree with or disagree with. Like the statement above as if that's a key conservative belief.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Where do you fit in demonizing Ayn Rand?

Qwinn said...

Soviet Russia's collapse took the US *Left* completely by surprise, Cook. They had just spent the previous decade repeatedly insisting that the USSR was the future and Reagan standing up to them was pointless and could only lead to nuclear war. Best surrender immediately.

Neither Reagan nor the rest of us were that stupid, and Reagan did what he did in order to bring about exactly what happened.

Ken B said...

Cookie
Not quite complete surprise. The premise of the Cold War was that it would happen. Have you read X's article from 1946? (X was Kennan.) it was part of Cold War thinking from the get go.
Plus of course the fact that no-one knew the date in advance proves little. I know my flickering light bulb will pop.

But your answer refutes your claim.

Qwinn said...

John - it is a core conservative belief, and I say that as an agnostic. The Founders themselves said our system requires a moral and religious populace. Conservatives tend to be down with the Founders' intent.

Big Mike said...

Soviet Russia's collapse took the U.S. completely by surprise.

Cookie's right about that -- but it's an indictment of the CIA and the State Department more than a support to his argument.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Where do you fit in demonizing Ayn Rand?"

-- Having read Ayn Rand, while I won't demonize her, I will say this: Ayn Rand needed an editor. And someone to slap her when she thought, "Well, the hero is the guy who blows up the building and rapes the leading lady. It's cool. She ends up liking it afterwards."

Big Mike said...

Folks, let's not let Cookie hijack this thread. (Yes, I know, I responded to him, too.)

Let's do some more dumping on Brooks and his elitism. Not to mention his belief that your parents' political connections, as for instance Chelsea Clinton, constitutes part of your own "merit." IMHO if we had a genuine meritocracy Chelsea Clinton would be cleaning toilets for a living.

John said...

John - it is a core conservative belief, and I say that as an agnostic

It's a core belief of social conservatives. But they are only part of the group known as conservatives. It may or may not be a core belief of defense hawk conservatives, libertarian leaning economic conservatives, anti-tax conservatives, etc. gun rights conservative, etc.

Lewis Wetzel said...

The most interesting explanation I heard for the collapse of the USSR was in an essay written by a Polish academic & dissenter. He said that a superior understanding of economics and history was the foundation of the Soviet system, and in fact they understood neither.
Svetlana Alxeivich interviewed hundreds of Russians for her book _Secondhand Time: the Last of the Soviets_. She says that the Soviets were taught always to look to the future. Their popular culture was focused on a bright, golden future of ease and plenty. By the 1980s the common people no longer believed in that future, and that meant that the sacrifices they had been making for six decades were for nothing.
It is telling that after seventy ears of doing really horrible things to people to destroy their sense of ethnic and national identity, when the USSR broke up, it broke up on ethnic and national lines. Mussolini was right and Stalin was wrong, ethnic and national identity trumps social class identity.

traditionalguy said...

Under Trump, American Blood and Soil Nationalism is giving our blood to save our soil starting with saving it from Great Britain's Empire and now ending with saving it from a Global Empire. It does not seek anyone else's soil, the Philippines being an oops.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s there were conservative voices who were saying that the USSR was weaker than we were told; that it's population and GDP were much smaller than the CIA estimates (Jerry Pournelle wrote about this, for one). The Soviets never really recovered from WW2, in the 1980s most roads outside of major cities were still unpaved, and the labor of draft animals was still a critical input for their ag production.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

blows up the building >> architect nullification of contact.

rapes the leading lady. >> Whipping him was her foreplay..

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Contract.

Sam L. said...

I don't believe anything in the NYT, but especially Brooks.

mockturtle said...

Tradguy has nailed it: The old 'conservative' vs. 'liberal' labels are no longer important. It boils down to 'globalist' vs. 'nationalist'. And in both major parties today we have mostly globalists. And just as it would have been much easier for the colonies to remain British subjects, so it is easier today to go with the global flow. But I'm hoping there are enough brave souls who will fight it tooth and nail.

John said...

The old 'conservative' vs. 'liberal' labels are no longer important.

That also underlines how weak support for free markets was on the right. Until recently a person could walk into a store and choose to pay $10 for something from China or $15 made in America. Most Americans choose the $10 item. Now Trump is saying we've chosen wrong. To force us to make the right choice we're going to tax the item from China to push us toward buying American. Old school conservatism was about freedom and person choice. Now it's about forcing the public to make choices "for their own good."

Pianoman said...

Interesting that nobody mentioned the "global warming" scare. The rise in global warming hysteria coincides with the fall of the Soviet Union.

Conservatives and Liberals line up perfectly along either side of the issue.

Of course, that issue is gradually losing steam, as the apocalyptic predictions of the CAGW crowd fail to materialize. As a result, they've gotten more and more shrill in the last 5 years.

But Brooks' has a good point about "grand causes" for Conservatives to fight against. CAGW was pretty easy compared to Communism. What's the next big battle?

John said...

Liberals - Some consumers are making the choice not to buy health insurance. People can't be trusted to make the right choices so we're going to use taxes to force them to buy it.

Conservatives - Some consumers are choosing to buy Chinese products despite China's record of currency manipulation and poor environmental and labor policies. People can't be trusted to make the right choice so we're going to use taxes to force them to buy American.

Freeman Hunt said...

A liberal Penthouse letter of politics.

chuck said...

Cookie - But it was the internal political, social, and economic dynamics of Soviet Russia that brought about its collapse


The Cold War policy of containment was undertaken to limit the damage while waiting for that to happen. Kennan stated at the beginning that the internal contradictions of the Soviet Union would eventually take it down. Kennan was a hard eyed realist when it came to foreign policy, and very astute.

alanc709 said...

Mussolini was a socialist before he was a fascist. The progression is illustrative.

Sebastian said...

"In office, what the populist nationalists do is this: They replace the idea of excellence with the idea of 'patriotism.'"

Some problems here.

First, righties have to get "in office." McCain and Romney didn't, Trump did.

Second, you can't "replace" what wasn't there. The idea of excellence didn't matter with Janet Waco Reno, it didn't matter with lit major Ben Rhodes making foreign policy, it didn't matter when the Dems nominated Hill of all people.

Third, the right tried excellence. Mitt was truly excellent, in character and competence. The left vilified him, without a word about his excellence. Voters didn't go for it. We had to try something else.

Fourth, excellence is not is not a good in itself. Excellence in what, for what? Excellence in politics must include the protection of national interests, national sovereignty, and national values--hence "patriotism."

n.n said...

choose to pay $10 for something from China or $15 made in America

A free market does not exist with labor and environmental arbitrage, and other set asides. The latter figure includes government programs, social policies, and the cost of inflated assets. Americans were offered a false choice, and they naturally chose the simpler, cheaper alternative.

William Chadwick said...

I was part of the New Right when it was new, a member of Young Americans for Freedom until I left to become a full-on libertarian. (One of the deciding incidents was when I attended a conference of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, formerly the Intercollegiate Society of Individualists; and five out of six of the conservative heavyweights on the panel came out four-square for Nixon's Wage and Price Controls. I was so distracted by the sound of ISI's founder, libertarian Frank Chodorov, spinning in his grave that I could hardly hear them.) And I can say one thing remains the same: statism was the enemy then, and remains the enemy now.

Jim at said...

I've disappointed David Brooks again.
What shall I do?

chuck said...

> Mitt was truly excellent, in character and competence.

But he was awful at politics. I could hardly bear to listen to the man, he was wooden, dull, and sucked at lying, which he attempted anyway. His supposed strong point was executive, and he screwed up picking talent and running the campaign. So much for Mitt, a nice guy who can't recognize his limitations.

Mark said...

What would David Brooks know of conservativism?

Mark said...

Mitt was truly excellent, in character and competence

Mitt was and is truly a weasel in character and no more competent than countless others. Even less so, most times, because he is such a weasel.

Leonard Pailet said...

Making tons of dough off your elitist position, credentialed by the "old boys' network" and probably having graduated from a "prestige school" does not determine how much respect you merit nor does it justify your achievement. By the way, I have a PhD in English Renaissance Rhetoric and Literature but it was from Arizona State University who hired me as a teaching assistant so that I could use their library to do MY work. I have esoteric interests and very stringent ways of forming provisional judgments until I receive better or more information to revise them. And no, I am not in the academic world; I was run out of it because I wanted my students to learn how to write effectively and accurately, not use jargon. I was also not interested in current pedagogical theories. But having taught freshman composition for approximately 7 years and having worked or lived in areas which were not posh suburbs or high rent districts, I can honestly say that what the elite call the uneducated mass have more common sense and understanding about what is going on around them than David Brooks and others of his ilk. I can see David Brooks doing a cameo in a movie, playing Marie Antoinette in shepherdess dress, saying, when told that people are starving, "Well, let them eat cake!"

rcocean said...

BTW, Never forget that Gerald Ford refused to invite Alexander Solzhenitsyn to the White House, because he didn't want to offend the Commies.

Really.

rcocean said...

Only in the New York Times/NPR world does a Hillary supporter get labeled "Conservative"

walter said...

Brooks..clinging to his Brie and Chardonnay..but always wearing that uncomfortable expression as if he let out a fart that was just a little too moist.

mikesixes said...

Yeah, David, call it a "war on excellence" if that makes you feel better. It's really just a recognition that the people who've been trying to tell us how excellent they are have shown themselves to be less than mediocre.

Sebastian said...

"Mitt was and is truly a weasel"

I hear you. A political weasel, perhaps, but not as a person.

But my main point, of course, was to say that by the Brooksian standards of excellence, Mitt was it: Harvard JD/MBA, Bain CEO, Mass governor, Olympics rescuer. Didn't matter. So: politics ain't no meritocracy, and never was. Hence, talk of "replacing" it is silly.

DavidD said...

What a load of horseshit.

Now to read the comments from all y’all....

bagoh20 said...

Brooks sure uses a lot of words, when a simple white flag would have expressed his ideas more honestly. Brooks is the kind of guy who would try and get a job running trainloads of people to the gulags just to stay on the right side with the right people.

bagoh20 said...

When Brooks talks of excellence, he's mostly just talking about good ironing. That was clearly excellence enough for him on a rather important subject, as I remember. What a maroon.

PJHJD said...

Brooks mistakes meritocracy for credentialism.

The Gipper Lives said...

"Excellence"?

If only.

Jonathan Graehl said...

'they hate us because we're good' - david brooks and adolf hitler