Tuesday, April 05, 2005

There Is No God

The proof is in the fact that David Brooks is a columnist for the New York Times and I'm but a penniless blogging goddess. His columns are not only full of lies and inaccuracies and made-up sociological trends which nobody else has ever observed but they reek of immense intellectual laziness. Isn't sloth one of the deadly sins?

Today's serving of Brooks-babble is unusually bizarre, though, almost interesting in its inanity. Brooks argues that Democrats are wrong in thinking that it's the Republican message machine and its fanatic efficiency which has brought them into power. He, of course, thinks that the Republicans are correct in their beliefs, but in case this doesn't quite go down with the morning cappuccinos of the Times-readers he also presents a theory so upside-down that it's almost fun:

Conservatives have not triumphed because they have built a disciplined and efficient message machine. Conservatives have thrived because they are split into feuding factions that squabble incessantly. As these factions have multiplied, more people have come to call themselves conservatives because they've found one faction to agree with.

Well, it is true that there are several types of Conservatives: wingnuts, wingnuts and wingnuts, for example. But Brooks really implies that the wingnuts argue with each other more than we do among ourselves, and that there are fewer types of us than them. Otherwise his argument has nothing to latch onto.

Anyone following U.S. politics knows that progressives and liberals are as herdable as a bunch of cats. Everybody and their uncle has a different theory about the best thing to do next, and all these theories are expressed with great conviction, usually at the same time. Think about it. We have the greens, the trade union people, the traditional Democrats, the human rights people, the feminists and so on. All these groups bicker incessantly.

But Brooks hasn't noticed any of this. Instead, he believes that the wingnuts spend their days having erudite debates about their favorite philosophers (Jesus?) and this is why they have figured out the natural moral order of the society so well (wingnuts on the top, everyone else below them in color order, women always a rung below the otherwise comparable men). Progressives and liberals, on the other hand, know nothing about any of this deep stuff because they don't read books of philosophy.

Sceptical about what I said here? Read this:

Liberals have not had a comparable public philosophy debate. A year ago I called the head of a prominent liberal think tank to ask him who his favorite philosopher was. If I'd asked about health care, he could have given me four hours of brilliant conversation, but on this subject he stumbled and said he'd call me back. He never did.

Liberals are less conscious of public philosophy because modern liberalism was formed in government, not away from it. In addition, liberal theorists are more influenced by post-modernism, multiculturalism, relativism, value pluralism and all the other influences that dissuade one from relying heavily on dead white guys.

As a result, liberals are good at talking about rights, but not as good at talking about a universal order.

Modern liberalism was formed in government?!!! Philosophers themselves have nothing to do with concepts such as relativism and value pluralism? Liberals (John Locke, John Stuart Mill, John Rawls) are not good at talking about a universal order?

Why didn't Brooks bother to google some of this stuff if he didn't know anything beforehand? And if he didn't know anything beforehand, how did he get to write a column in the New York Times? I honestly don't want to address this stuff which makes me wonder why I wrote about it in the first place. Probably in revenge for early morning indigestion Brooks gave me. Well, thank God he's not on our side.