David Brooks on ‘The Age of Innocence’ by Political Observer

Mr. Brooks in his essay of May 17, 2012 appropriates his title from Edith Wharton's 1920 novel of the same name. Mr. Brook's meditation might better be called The Age of Cynicism: as it takes the careful, and quite precise political thought of James Madison, and just gives it enough of a rewrite to accommodate his political purpose. His introduction is rather long but bears it's fruit as a critique of the political campaign of President Obama, and he drags along for political purposes the institutionalized political cautiousness of Mr. Madison, re-imagined as both a simplistic cynicism about 'human nature' and the fallen-ness of man as a general proposition, expressed as we cannot be trusted in any context, not just the realm of the political. To this dubious set of assertions on the human condition, via an edited version of Mr. Madison, he manages to add a quite superfluous attack on the failed state of European Social Democracy, as an example of fiscal irresponsibility wedded to an endemic moral decay: a bit of a riff on the popular notion of the 'lazy,improvident southerners' of the Euro-zone North.  Adding an aside on the anti-democratic character of the European Union , a federation of states analogous to the United States of America, while not sharing all the attributes of our federation: all of this argumentative accumulation is in the hope of buoying this intellectual craft out of the shallows and into the deeper waters.I will report that ship foundered and sunk with all of it's precious cargo lost. The report heard is that Mr. Brooks was seen rowing to shore in a more modest conveyance, a small dingy.
Political Observer

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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