Don’t say I didn’t warn you about David Brooks. A few weeks ago, when it was announced that he’d be writing a regular New York Times column, I wrote:
he sees a world out of balance, a world in which flabby, effete coastal moral relativists lord it over upright real Americans with a clear, God-given sense of right and wrong. In other words, he holds a lot of us in utter contempt -- and he’ll be using The New York Times to tell the world why.
In his second column, published today, he’s starting to do just that. Sure, he praises Howard Dean -- but he does so bizarrely, by describing Dean and George W. Bush as representatives of a sort of Master Race, easily distinguished from their inferiors:
Both were inculcated with something else, a sense of chivalry. Unlike today's top schools, which are often factories for producing Résumé Gods, the WASP prep schools were built to take the sons of privilege and toughen them into paragons of manly virtue. Rich boys were sent away from their families and shoved into a harsh environment that put tremendous emphasis on athletic competition, social competition and character building.
For the moment, let’s ignore the fact that "manly virtue" and “chivalry” and “character” are the last two words any rational person would associate with Bush, a man who’ll go to his grave never once having accepted responsibility for a mistake. Let’s think about what Brooks is doing in this paragraph: He’s saying, yet again, that white-collar Americans who went to “today’s top schools” utterly lack a value system and a moral compass. (And I think it’s safe to say that he assumes most of these characterless go-getters are blue-state Democrats.)
Here’s the end of his column:
The Protestant Establishment is dead, and nobody wants it back. But that culture, which George Bush and Howard Dean were born into, did have a formula for producing leaders. Our culture, which is freer and fairer, does not.
About that “nobody wants it back”: Don’t believe it for a second. David Brooks wants it back. He’d be pleased at any development that diminished the influence of people with high SAT scores who’ve eaten Ben & Jerry’s.
Yes, by the way, I'm an Ivy Leaguer, though my father drove trucks for a living and I haven't parlayed my sheepskin to a particularly high notch on the career ladder. What Brooks says, or implies, these days sticks in my craw. I keep waiting for him to start complaining about "rootless cosmopolitans."