David Brooks on the Olympics, and the fallen state of ‘man’,some questions by Political Cynic

David Brooks has a penchant for repeating the most callous, even loathsome, Conservative platitudes about human beings, and tries to pass them off as valuable insights, as the view of a deep thinker, a cogitator on the evil character of 'man'. A kind of moral fatalism he re-animates at will to demonstrate his sagacity. Lets just dismiss his observations on the Olympics as an opportunity to deploy that re-animated cynicism about the human person, in it's group setting, as a political opportunity to tell us, in the briefest of sketches, the lured details of our inherent nature. Reading this essay has the capacity to produce an animus in a critical reader. Mr. Brooks can't pass on the opportunity to give the Liberal readers of the New York Times a firm scolding on their inherent evil. He is driven to lecture on the fallen state of 'man', he quite naturally riffs in a Niebuhrian register of political theology, or to put it in plain language, politically useful moralizing claptrap. I am, of course, pushing polemic to the point of insult. But first we must hear what our thinker has to say about the Dance, a useful and enlightening aside. But, here, he articulates his central concern:

After the opening ceremony is over, the Olympics turn into a celebration of the competitive virtues: tenacity, courage, excellence, supremacy, discipline and conflict.”

Like so many contemporary American Conservatives, Mr. Brooks is enamored of the martial virtues, but only from the comfort of his study. He celebrates an 'ideal', in a proximate reminiscence of the Hegelian master/slave fight to the death: conflict and cooperation as the dialectic of the human story, in a carefully laundered conservative version. After all this, he neatly sums up with some life lessons about the necessity of incorporating both the practice of competition and cooperation. Mr. Brooks is petit bourgeois to his core.

Political Cynic

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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