Want to hear something funny? I started reading David Brooks from the other end, with this:
Neither the United States nor the European model will work again until we rediscover and acknowledge our own natural weaknesses and learn to police rather than lionize our impulses.And I thought: Wow, the guy is advocating regulation of the financial markets, finally! I must give him credit when the credit is due.
Then, of course, I read the column in the proper order and it's just Brooks' usual missive from an Alternative Reality where Democrats are selfish and greedy and Republicans are not at all selfish or greedy.
In that Reality the past was gold-tinted and wore rosy-but-firm spectacles on its pinched nose. In that Reality this was true:
The American founders did this by decentralizing power. They built checks and balances to frustrate and detain the popular will. They also dispersed power to encourage active citizenship, hoping that as people became more involved in local government, they would develop a sense of restraint and responsibility.They dispersed power? To land-owning white men, if I remember correctly.
The whole column is preposterous. As Charlie Pierce states, Brooks deserves to be pelted with rotting fish for that one. Because that wasn't unknown in the actual real history of Europe and the United States which has very little to do with the Alternative History Brooks posits at the beginning of his fable.
I really should do a write-like-David-Brooks day.