At The New York Times: Tweedledum and Tweedledee or Arthur C. Brooks & Gail Collins on 1968 Redux

Arthur C. Brooks has just awoken from a very long Neo-Liberal slumber to find the USA about to burst into political flame,1968 style. Although Mr. Brooks was born in 1964, this reader was there and witnessed it first hand! Mr. Brooks is also the author of the Conservative Heart, an unconvincing work of political fiction, which attempts to put a human face upon greed. Ayn Rand would have held his pandering to ‘altruism’ in utter contempt. He is a an inept propagandist. Here is opening statement, the as if being that somehow he ‘cares’ about African-American lives. The ‘Bottom Line’ for Neo-Liberals is profit before people e.g. Hayek, Mises, Friedman and their epigones at AEI.


Mr. Brooks and his fellow Conservative Technocrats, at the American Enterprise Institute, are in fact hostile to the idea of Civil Rights, as the very notion puts the Market in last place, to the idea and practice of the primacy of civic republican virtue. Mr. Brooks assignment is the production of self-exculpatory propaganda. But here he soft pedals it in his  conversation with Gail Collins, ‘our team historian’. An homage to bourgeois political respectability is the New York Times reason d’etre. Ms. Collins never fails to be an unimaginative political bore as she prattles on.

Gail: Maybe it’s because I’m now on the other side of the generation gap, but despite the terrible moments in 1968, the situation in 1968 seemed more hopeful — the country was turning against the war in Vietnam, the civil rights movement had come of age and the women’s movement was blooming.

Now it feels as if we’re almost post-hope. I suppose it’s totally futile to mention guns. I’m sure you read the story in our paper about the 20 to 30 marchers in Dallas who were openly carrying assault-style rifles during the demonstration that ended with the shooting. Which is legal in Texas.

Populism now becomes Mr. Brooks focus:

Arthur: There was also a huge amount of distrust of public officials and a rise in political populism, both of which also look familiar these days. I want to get to that in a minute, but before we do, tell me — based on what we learned from 1968 — what our country and leaders need to do right now.

Mr. Brooks follows the political lead of The Economist and The Financial Times, and points the accusing finger at the dread Populism,of both Left and Right, as a political creature out of nowhere, rather that the product of the complete failure of a Neo-Liberalism, that Mr. Brooks and his army of political technocrats defend to this day.

Never fear, Mr. Brooks places himself in the same category as Thomas Friedman,dull witted apologist for a failed Utopianism: recall his infamous ‘suck on this’ comment uttered without shame, or even without challenge from the equally addled Charlie Rose?

Arthur: I definitely count Sanders as a populist, just a very left-wing one. Populism comes in many flavors, sort of like Ben & Jerry’s. Some people like Socialist Swirl. Others prefer Chocolate Chip Autarky.

No big shock that Trump is trolling for Sanders supporters because that takes strength directly from Clinton. And no shock Sanders is endorsing Clinton; she’s closer to his policy views and he can pull her closer to his. Although I imagine Sanders will enjoy stumping for Clinton about as much as he’d enjoy two scoops of asparagus ice cream.

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.'
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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.