Tuesday, August 11, 2020

David Brooks, Change, and White Tie and Tails

Daniel Oliver is Chairman of the Board of the Education and Research Institute and a Director of Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was Executive Editor and subsequently Chairman of the Board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review.

David Brooks got his big chance in journalism from the same man I did, William F. Buckley Jr., the founder of the Conservative Movement and the most important intellectual of the second half of the twentieth century. Brooks writes regularly for the New York Times, the same newspaper that (scandal alert) was recently importuned by the Left into changing a headline because it seemed too favorable to President Trump. Brooks hasn’t written about that yet. Even so, it’s fair to say he’s a nice fellow.

But recently he wrote a column titled “Listen to Marianne Williamson.” For those of you who can’t tell the players without a scorecard, Williamson is one of a plethora of candidates for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Her chances of success are only slightly better than yours. But it is fair to say that the chances are overwhelming that you’d be a better president than she would be, a judgment based on Buckley’s theory that we’d be better governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.

Brooks, along with Ross Douthat and Bret Stephens, is probably billed by the Times as one of its house conservatives, a comparative description that might even fit an unplugged electric typewriter given the Times’s other columnists—Paul Krugman, Thomas Friedman, Charles Blow, Roger Cohen, Frank Bruni, and more. Still, Brooks is interesting to read, unlike most of the others.

But Brooks, like candidate Williamson, is afflicted with anti-Trumpism: “We just have to get away from all the evils that Donald Trump personifies.” And, “Every day,” says Brooks, “he will stage a little drama that is meant to redefine who we are, what values we lift up, and who we hate.”

Brooks means that to be a description of evil. But is it really?

Trump is an unlikely president. He ran against the zeitgeist. No one, including Trump himself, expected him to win. What he ran against was the corrosive liberalism that has been ascendant in American politics since about the time of, perhaps not Franklin Roosevelt, but certainly of Lyndon Johnson. Or perhaps it was against the progressivism of President Woodrow Wilson’s time. But “liberalism”—the old liberalism that had some good points—has morphed into something unrecognizable. It has changed so quickly that even the positions of Barack Obama (on immigration, for example) are no longer acceptable to modern Democrats, certainly not to the candidates vying for their party’s nomination.

President Wilson was a eugenicist. Today, abortion, eugenics’ heir, is the ne plus ultra litmus test of acceptability for Democrats. We have become a nation of abortionists—though it is fair to ask, “Whadda ya mean ‘we,’ kimosabe?” Donald Trump wants to redefine who we are, and why the Hell not—Hell being capitalized because it’s a place, and a place where many abortionists are likely to go.

Donald Trump wants to redefine who we are and what values we lift up? A lot of people will say, “Right on!”

Trump seems to believe in the concept of “nation.” Strangely, the concept of “nationhood” has become opprobrious to Democrats (or so they tell us). They say it really means “white” nationhood and is racist to the core. But does anyone really believe what Democrats say? Or believe that Democrats believe what they say?

Democrats say they are for open borders, which really means no borders at all. And many of them—most?—also support allowing illegal aliens to vote. What is that all about? Why do Democrats want to allow people who are not American citizens and who are here illegally to vote, a treasured right of the American people?

Is it cynical or realistic to answer by saying that Democrats just want power: and if they allow millions of illegal, non-English-speaking uneducated immigrants to vote, they will have a better chance of seizing power?

Donald Trump is willing to stage a little drama to make the point that America belongs to Americans, not to illegal Mexican immigrants.

It isn’t fair to say Trump is willing to “stage a little drama that is meant to redefine who we hate.” “Hate” is too strong a word. But then again, maybe we should hate people who want to flout our laws and change our customs, or if not them at least their enablers.

Brooks says Democrats need to remind Americans of the values we still share, which he says are pretty basic and can be simply expressed. One of those values, according to Brooks, is unity.

“Unity: We’re one people. Our leader represents all the people. He doesn’t go around attacking whole cities and regions.” Of course, it’s the Democrats, and especially those Democrats who aspire to be our leader, who have been calling whole groups of Americans white nationalists (or deplorables). But Brooks is probably (smile) referring to Trump, who recently said Baltimore is a Hell-hole. Well—it is! See, here, what Baltimore’s own mayor said about it. The city has been governed by Democrats forever, and the disease ailing it is not likely to be cured until it’s diagnosed.

Another value Brooks wants us to remember is opportunity: “We want all children to have an open field and a fair chance in the great race of life.”

Please! A noble sentiment, but hardly one Democrats give a fig for. One of THE GREAT NATIONAL SCANDALS in this country is the state of primary education. Education is run by and for the teachers’ unions, of which the Democratic Party is a wholly-owned subsidiary. Recently a delegation of the Chicago Teachers Union took a trip to Venezuela to meet with strong-man Maduro’s government, criticize US sanctions, and praise Maduro’s socialism!

Democrats don’t give a fig for giving children a fair chance in the great race of life. Is there a single sentient being who doesn’t know that? Where is Brooks when we need him?

Teachers’ unions and the Democrats who support them (99.999 percent) haven’t yet been suitably attacked by Trump. Maybe he’s waiting for the second term. If Trump won’t stage a little drama in order to reform education, who will? Marianne Williamson? Puh-lease.

Trump is an agent of change, not a white tie and tails tony status quo diplomat. The cushy pols who run this country don’t want change, but Brooks and Williamson should. With a little bit of luck, in 2020 Americans will vote to give the change agent another term. Then, perhaps four years from now, we can circle back for the opinions of David Brooks and Marianne Williamson.

Email Daniel Oliver at [email protected]

AAN Staff
AAN Staff
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