Monday, January 9, 2012

New York Times Columnist David Brooks Loses It in His Times Column – Something About Writing for the Times Makes Conservatives Go Crazy

Why Can’t the Times Find a Rational Conservative? – Because There May Not Be Any

David Brooks has been one of the latest house Conservatives that the New York Times uses to try and present all sides on its editorial and opinion pages.  This is a worthy goal, and the public discourse is enhanced by having a rational and logical argument between competing views. That, of course, requires logic and rationale thought on the part of those presenting those views.

For some reason whenever a Conservative is selected to write in the Times, they seem to eventually go off the deep end.  Such is the case with David Brooks, who for a while after being selected by the Times was occasionally able to turn out coherent pieces.  But here is Mr. Brooks writing about the rise of Rick Santorum as a challenger to Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination.

I’m to Rick Santorum’s left on most social issues, like same-sex marriage and abortion. I’m also put off by his Manichaean political rhetoric. He seems to imagine America’s problems can best be described as the result of a culture war between the God-fearing conservatives and the narcissistic liberals.

Okay, that seems about right.  And so does this

Like most Americans, including most evangelicals under 40, I find this culture war language absurd. If conservative ideas were that much more virtuous than liberal ideas, then the conservative parts of the country would have fewer social pathologies than the liberal parts of the country. They don’t.

Alright, we now understand where Mr. Brooks is coming from on Mr. Santorum.  But then there is this.

But having said all that, I’m delighted that Santorum is making a splash in this presidential campaign. He is far closer to developing a new 21st-century philosophy of government than most leaders out there.

What?  Here is a person whose philosophy of government Mr. Brooks violently disagrees with, yet he is delighted Mr. Santorum is running and says he is developing a great new philosophy.  Reading the rest of Mr. Brooks’s article results in one being exposed to a lot of gibberish.  Here is sort of a summary of that gibberish in gibberish.

One of Santorum’s strengths is that he understands that a nation isn’t just an agglomeration of individuals; it’s a fabric of social relationships. In his 2005 book, “It Takes a Family,” he had chapters on economic capital as well as social capital, moral capital, cultural capital and intellectual capital.
He presents an extended argument against radical individualism. “Just as original sin is man’s inclination to try to walk alone without God, individualism is man’s inclination to try to walk alone among his fellows,” he writes.

Communities breed character. Santorum argues that government cannot be agnostic about the character of its citizens because the less disciplined the people are, the more government must step in to provide order.

Wow, if you can understand this, and that takes a struggle, it seems that the so-called conservative Mr. Brooks is commending the so-called conservative Mr. Santorum for having government as the ultimate moral dictator of social values.  This is far more intrusive of individual liberty than say, requiring everyone to have health insurance. It reveals what Conservatives really believe, that they are not against government controlling the lives of people, they just want government controlling the lives of people to make them do what Conservatives want them to do.

Mr. Brooks conveniently omits the details of Mr. Santorum desire for government to impose “character” on the citizens.  Mr. Santorum’s commitment to family, for example only extends to families that Mr. Santorum approves us.  His commitment to values would allow state government to restrict or even ban family planning practices, because those practices are contrary to Mr. Santorum’s religious beliefs, religious beliefs which he would impose on the country. 

Note that Mr. Santorum’s railing against government does not extend to Mr. Santorum.  After living very well by feeding at the public trough Mr. Santorum made huge sums by cashing in on his political contacts.

Rick Santorum 
has vaulted to the front ranks of the Republican presidential nomination race in part by depicting himself as a religious family man of lowly beginnings who would bring needed change to Washington.

But that characterization leaves out two decades in which Santorum was a central and often high-ranking player in Washington politics, with connections to
K Street lobbyists and a lucrative consulting career that made him a millionaire.

That formerly incisive commentators like Mr. Brooks are now embracing Mr. Santorum says much about – wait for it – Mitt Romney.  It says that Mr. Romney is such an undesirable candidate that an extremist like Mr. Santorum is preferred over Mr. Romney.  That message could not be clearer.

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