Monday, May 21, 2007

David Brooks, Bobo for Hire

Some of the leftish blogs I read take pot shots at obviously loony, deservedly obscure wingnuts. Alicublog takes on David Brooks, who inexplicably has a column in the New York Times. There's so much wrong with Brooks' May 18 column that it boggles the mind. I'll only mention a couple of main points. (Sorry the column is behind the paid wall, but read Alicublog and you'll get the gist of it.)

(1) "Compassionate conservatism" was never meant to be any more than a political slogan. Pretending otherwise after six years of CC is disingenuous at best. A few bucks were tossed at the marriage initiative, faith-based programs, and abstinence education to con voters; the only beneficiaries of the programs were Republican candidates and cronies.

(2) Brooks, as usual, devolves into delusion.

(2a) He sees nothing wrong with a system that provides obscene rewards to "the top 0.01 percent," whose taxes must be kept low to provide "opportunity" to the remaining 99.99%. That 99.99% must be in hiding, by the way, because we have a shortage of people to invest in.

(2b) Brooks' human capital agenda simultaneously cuts across left and right, and exploits the divisions between left and right. And spins plates on a stick while riding a unicycle, no doubt.

(2c) The measures Brooks favors are weighted toward Republican shibboleths: low taxes, school choice, and encouraging marriage. How are we going to pay for investing in a human capital agenda, if we can't tax wealth? School choice is a meaningless concept, unless parents have quality schools to choose from in the area where they live. How do you encourage marriage? By making divorce harder? Americans of all classes and religions have voted with their feet on that issue - they want to be able to end failed marriages. Woman have the economic freedom to choose marriage or not, and the social freedom to have families without the consent of the patriarchy. We're not going back.

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