David Brooks, Political Nihilist: a comment by Political Observer

‘This is a wonderful moment to be a conservative. For decades now the Republican Party has been groaning under the Reagan orthodoxy, which was right for the 1980s but has become increasingly obsolete. The Reagan worldview was based on the idea that a rising economic tide would lift all boats. But that’s clearly no longer true.’

All this optimism is kind of a bewildering stance in the face of the rise of Trump , the American Caudillo. Our very own Peron, the strong man who sets all our vexing problems right, by knocking heads together, those dissenters,well! Building a fence against Mexican rapists. Xenophobia, Islamaphobia, a Politics of  Fear,Suspicion, the threat of violence and its actuality . Mr. Brooks looks forward to the post-Trump era of Conservative politics, as full of an absent quality in the now: hope allied to decency?

Mr. Brooks describes the American political present as a contest between the once ascendant Rising Tide America to the dismal present of  Coming Apart America. As usual  with the propaganda that Mr. Brooks produces, it is a convenient simplistic description, that erases from the picture, the inconvenient fact that the Republican/Conservative agenda has been one of nihilism, since the election of President Obama. And can we forget the era of The Contract With America authored/led by Gingrich? The Compassionate Conservatism of Bush II? The Willy Horton of the Lee Atwater/Bush I? We might become stymied in the act of remembrance of Nihilism’s Past.

All of this chatter framed,  tarted up,  by Kuhn’s Scientific Revolution:

‘ Trump is prompting what Thomas Kuhn, in his theory of scientific revolutions, called a model crisis.’

As usual with Mr. Brooks his apologetics for Republican Nihilism are subject to his notorious verbosity: the garnish of Kuhn’s theory of ‘model crisis’ is central to his pose as  optimist.Which becomes the soothing balm of ‘this to shall pass’ in his guise as  protestant scold.  In sum, Mr. Brooks’ Conservatism  is nihilistic at its core: a vision that is about sewing political discord, indeed chaos, as the means to power. Trump is the product of that Conservatism, and the self-destruction of the Republican Party.

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
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to David Brooks, Political Nihilist: a comment by Political Observer

  1. What role does Mr. Brooks expect to play in the ‘Post Trump Era’? Is he, perhaps, envisioning himself as the Elder Statesman, who will advise and council the Party? This the root of his political optimism? How might the Party apparatus look after the Trump nomination, and a Trump defeat, or more pointedly a Trump victory? If the Tea Party installed its operatives into the Party, after its ascendancy, and some or most of these will be sympathetic to Trump and Trumpism, might there be a natural antagonism between the factions? After all, the cultivation of political antipathy is the raison d’être of both factions. The vexing question arises, in light of Mr. Brooks’ optimism, how might these two factions govern as one Party?
    Political Cynic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.