Friday, January 03, 2014


Everybody has had at David Brooks for what he wrote about marijuana in today's column. I'm not going to add anything new or interesting or amusing to the mix.

Instead, I'm just going to talk about this Brooks assertion:
Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture? What sort of individuals and behaviors do our governments want to encourage? I'd say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.
Does Brooks think this describes our society? Really? Or even our society if we just worked a little harder to make it better?

Our society doesn't seek "to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship" -- certainly not on the part of our most prominent citizens. Our society wants aggressive sociopaths who would run over their own grandmothers to earn an extra .001% in quarterly profit, with the "self-governing" part being limited to making sure that only the have-nots experience the ill effects of the aggression. You want to package metaphoric toxic waste as triple-A-rated investment instruments and sell them far and wide until the global economy collapses? No problem! Just keep the profits flowing, and when it all blows up, let us know if you suffer any damage and we'll stake you again so you can repeat the process. And don't worry, we're working on naming that wing of the children's hospital after you.

And does Brooks actually believe this society "subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature"? I know this comes near the end of his column, and he's apparently trying to fill it out as if he's writing the world's most awkward personal ad. (It's not the column's only rough spot: several paragraphs up, Brooks writes about his high school stoner friends falling in love and, desperate for an original way of describing their emotional state, tells us that they "got thrills from the enlargements of the heart." This made me wonder if he was referring to coronary disease.)

But seriously: who around the large Applebee's salad bar that is America has been encouraged to pursue "the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts"? "The arts" are for un-American wussies. Same with nature, unless it involves extreme sports. America isn't that society. America is about football and fart jokes and expensively generated CGI low culture involving massive amounts of explosions. America isn't about "temperate, prudent, self-governing" citizens -- it's about narcotized citizens working to make the hyperaggressive few richer and richer.

So, since America has nothing in common with Brooks's ideal polity, those of us who choose to might as well get baked, right?


Victor said...

This is all the fevered masturbatory dreams of what Bobo envisions as the America of his dreams.

We're drastically cut support for the Arts, ditto National Parks.

This reality, of course, doesn't fit with his narrative, so he figures he'll just stick it in at the end, when anyone who isn't high on some upper'a has fallen asleep from his insipid opinions and writing style.

And of course, Bobo's had his pot-fun, so noq he has to tut-tut everyone younger.

This is typical (sociopathic) Conservative "Superiority-complex" behavior by Bobo.

Once Conservatives climb a step up on the ladder, they always want to make sure to pull that ladder up with them, so no one else can take that step.

And once they're on top, they want to take that ladder up with them, so that no one else can follow - unless they're deemed acceptable and desirable. Or, necessary, in the case of minorities, who are needed as "beards" to display more than one color in the box of crayons - "Peach."

Besides, Bobo and HIS friends were responsible pot-smoking kids having their "moments of uninhibited frolic!"

Not like, you know, those "Blah's" and other minorities.
They'll want to riot!

So, yes, Bobo and his bud's had their fun - but they can't allow theirs to have that same fun - because they won't be able to handle it.
They're not as responsible as Bobo and his responsible bud's.
It's a shame, that...

Basically, what Bobo's saying is what was said for centuries about Native Americans:
"That the white man can always handle his whiskey!
But them Red Injuns?
Well, everyone know that them Red N*ggers can't be allowed anywhere near that stuff, less'n they go crazy!"

And century.
But the message remains the same:
Every minority, is the White Man's burden!

aimai said...

This has been Brook'ss, and it was Himmelfarb's shtick too, they bleat that the masses can be tamed and civilized and rendered mild and middle class in their aspirations. Brooks is pretending this can be done gently, by hedging off certain pleasures and directing people towards "the good." People like Himmelfarb and her spawn, I believe (though its been a long time since I cared to read them) argued (as the right has long argued) that people must be forced to be religious and submissive in order for society to prosper. They are as into social engineering as their feared soviets, its just that they aspire for each person to be molded into a 1950's imaginary Leave it to Beaver persona.

marieburns said...

I think the previous commenters have it just right. What Brooks really objects to is the democratization of weed. He writes,

"By making weed legal, [Colorado & Washington] are creating a situation in which the price will drop substantially.... As prices drop and legal fears go away, usage is bound to increase.... Colorado and Washington, in other words, are producing more users."

That is, dope should be so expensive that it is readily available only to an elite group of wealthy people and their spawn. Only these elites have the inherent good sense to appreciate "the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature." By contrast, the riffraff, as Victor says, will "want to riot."

As for proof, we need only turn to Saturday's Times editorial page, wherein Mike Tyson, a man of riffraff lineage, writes a long confessional on how he abused drugs & alcohol because of the bad element in his milieu.

Marie Burns

M. Bouffant said...

Hear hear!!

If Brooksie were truly so worried about American appreciation of the arts, he'd call for increased funding for arts education & less money for drug-warring.