Tuesday, September 16, 2014

David Brooks Accidentally Reminds Us of His Side's Self-Destructiveness

David Brooks and his accidental metaphor: Yes, we had effective government,
back when both Democrats and Republicans were progressive. Like your badly erased
blackboard, your team decided to rub out big institutions that worked. Après moi, le
déluge. Well, done, Mr. Brooks, well done. You enabled the Grover Norquists, and now
you complain? It's your grapes of wrath, and you should be ashamed. You broke it.

Colin Powell said it best -- even though there actually isn't such a Pottery Barn rule -- when he said, "You break it, you buy it." David Brooks decided in his most recent lament -- yes, that's pretty much his favorite format these days, the philosophic lament, as the world he sabotages crumples around him, inspiring yet another article or book filled with insipid platitudes -- that we don't have the big institutions that used to take care of the world's problems, institutions filled with dedicated men in suits, into structure, into elaborate preparation for the Big Thing that needs to get done. Goodbye, Organization Man, Our Mr. Brooks laments. But oh, you fraud: Your team drove them away through funding cuts, through constant acts of destruction of the stolid institutions you now lament in twice weekly tomes.

(Mid-post observation: Oh, we have Organization Men. They work for IBM, Exxon, Koch Industries, hell, even Apple and Walmart. The Organization Man is alive and well, he's just not prospering in the halls of the underfunded ministries of our half-starved governmental institutions Our Mr. Brooks laments for. Hypocrisy, thy name is David.)

Team Republican and Team Conservatism, your Teams, Mr. Brooks, they've taken your advice as you rail against government and for free markets, spicing your destructiveness with Burkean wisdom. Your conservatives planted the seeds of distrust in American institutions while lambasting international ones like the UN, the WHO, and the WTO. How dare we succumb to the New World Order? So much better that we turn to private enterprise for our solutions. Why, just recently our ersatz progressive Democratic mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel -- who rarely sees a progressive cause he wouldn't want to undermine -- worked to bust unions and replace public-school maintenance and janitorial services with contracts with the private sector. How well is that working out, Rahm? The reviews are pretty, pretty harsh? Pottery Barn rule in the schools of Chicago? There is no rule, and you wouldn't follow it anyway, but school-wise, you done broke it.

We go to the janitorial wars with the rodents, the cockroaches and the dank, dirty halls we have now, not the clean schools we wish we had, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, who knew that understaffing a war was the best way to, uh, it's hard to tell what his point was, other than to save Pentagon dollars for sowing chaos elsewhere. We go to war with the lack of insight we have, not the hardnosed realism we wish we had. Random deployment! Let's see what happens! Maybe we'll get the lost decades of eternal war you wished we would have! At least someone succeeded. ISIS is a Donald Rumsfeld dream come true.

Talk about an Organization Man. Yes, David, you stuff your columns with the wisdom you have, not the wisdom you wish you had. But it's never mattered to you: You're content to sound reasonable and just barely insightful enough, so that the ones who fall for your shtick notice the wheels quietly rumbling under the floor of their commuter train as they read your column and don't notice that, inside your air-conditioned offices at the Gray Lady, you're full of shit as usual. Read the comments following your article, you know, the comments that point out that your premise is half-baked and your gall is twice-baked.

But, fuck, somehow you still get you paychecks and your invite to NPR and PBS. It's a living, being the reasonable man who gets by while he supports the insanity of Grover Norquist, Erick Erickson, Glenn Beck, and the wrecking crews at the National Review and the Daily Standard.

Yes, you're decidedly more reasonable than Rich Lowery or William Kristol. But you give them cover -- See, we conservatives are rational, and we quote Edmond Burke while John Boehner and Mitch McConnell fiddle. I guess we get the burning, crumbling Rome we deserve. Just don't have the gall, Brooks, to bemoan it.

Yes, it's Grover's bathtub to drown the government baby, but you help fill it, Brooks.

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