David Brooks Sternly Lectures Edward Snowden by Almost Marx

Does this sound familiar: ‘The Solitary Leaker‘, The Social Misfit,’the atomization of society, the loosening of social bonds’? The shotgun wedding of Psychoanalysis and Pop Sociology finds a home in the mind, the ‘thought’ of David Brooks?

But mind you, he has bet on the vulgarized, intellectualized thread of that Psychoanalysis, that has been laid waste to by,among others, Frederick Crews.(See Follies of the Wise and Memory Wars for a bracing polemical dissection of the Freudian Myth.) But that dead letter is one of cornerstones of Brooks  worldview: add to that a vigorous apologetics for Patriarchal power and it’s religious expression, wedded to a politics that is invested in that religion as the personal/social glue that hold ‘social decay and chaos at bay’. An echo of T. S. Eloit?

The looming specter of Decadence is also central to the Brooks mythology which he lapses into at the appearance of the personification of that ‘Social Misfit’ as he obtrudes himself into the dismal Politics of the Present, enter Mr. Edward Snowden. This vulgarized Psychoanalysis becomes in the hands of Mr. B., a crude but useful rhetorical tool to explore the phenomenon of that ‘Social Misfit’ as type. Another crude rhetorical tool favored by Mr. B. is his penchant for Platonic ideas. They are so easy to move to strategic places in his argumentative structure.

What follows is a personality profile of Mr. Snowden, argued as a kind of Psycho-biography of the ‘Social Misfit’. Mr. B. could be describing the lone serial killer,lone gunman, the notion ramifies itself in the mind, the imagination of the reader. Mr. Snowden in the narrative that Mr. B. constructs has not been properly ‘socialized’ because he has no allegiance to the legitimate social/political institutions. The identity of ‘Social Misfit’ and the ‘Political Dissident’ are equivalent,as Mr. Brooks presents it.

And now, in his narrative Mr. Brooks become the moral/political scold, shaking his finger at the betrayer, as the Head Master used to do at school,enumerating an exhaustive list of his transgressions, but carefully couched in ‘betrayal of the Constitution’ and ‘self-indulgently short-circuited the democratic structures of accountability, putting his own preferences above everything else.’ Mr. Brooks, for a telling moment, becomes Endicott Peabody, as the embodiment of a respectable bourgeois authoritarianism.

Almost Marx

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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