Conservatism: concentrating minority power, picking the pockets of the rabble

I am not the only person who has observed that Donald Trump is American conservatism’s culmination. From Goldwater and Reagan and Gingrich to the Koch brothers and Sarah Palin, conservatism has thrived on grievance. But like so many things about this pathology-not-a-philosophy the grievance is itself a distraction.

Life in these United States: on critical gun theory

I don’t deny “education” excited Virginians last Tuesday evening because for many Americans “education” is synonymous with “employment office,” which is to say, a diploma signifies the ability to land meaningful employment. A “good school” is a place where parents can boast about their ability to send or pay for the school or to useContinue reading “Life in these United States: on critical gun theory”

In praise of demerits: Ross Douthat

In today’s New York Times, conservative columnist Ross Douthat pecked characters on a keyboard that after hours of cogitation first turned into sentences then cohered into paragraphs. Someone called it “Why We Miss the WASPs.” Let’s look at it together. The nostalgia flowing since the passing of George H.W. Bush has many wellsprings: admiration forContinue reading “In praise of demerits: Ross Douthat”

The myth of centrism, part XC

Americans who spend too much time watching MSNBC, particularly “Morning” Joe Scarborough and “Mika” Brzezinski’s pre-dawn chattering of well-connected sparrows, will recognize the signs of the ptomaine poisoning known as mythicalcenteritis. Its guests like to mourn the collapse of a time when over Merlot and Marlboros Barack Obama and John Boehner considered cuts to socialContinue reading “The myth of centrism, part XC”

David Brooks, building a mystery

Yesterday, David Brooks assembled sounds into phonemes that after hours of cogitation settled into sentence structures, only this time these structures got attention on shows I know I shouldn’t be watching. Let’s look at a couple of those structures together. Anti-Trumpists, Brooks argues, are so blinded by rage that they miss how actual policy decisionsContinue reading “David Brooks, building a mystery”

David Brooks, in search of heroes

Yesterday, David Brooks assembled sounds into phonemes that after hours of cogitation settled into sentence structures. Let’s look at them together. It turns out that John McCain’s most important service to American democracy was not rendered in a P.O.W. camp in Vietnam. It’s being rendered right now in the U.S. Senate. The experience as aContinue reading “David Brooks, in search of heroes”

The ingénue to sex temptress arc of David Brooks’ career

Sometime this week  David Brooks assembled sounds into phonemes that after hours of cogitation settled into sentence structures. Let’s look at them together: Sometimes pop culture seems completely prepackaged and professionalized, so when somebody steps out and puts on a display of vulnerability, trust and humility, it takes your breath away. What “sometimes” and “completely” areContinue reading “The ingénue to sex temptress arc of David Brooks’ career”

The élan, the perfect poster boys of conservatism

Do go on, Jonah Goldberg: So it sounds like Trump was rude, bullying and tacky to the former Miss Universe about her need to lose weight. That doesn’t shock me and I doubt it shocks anybody else. So could he have been nicer about it? Absolutely. But this notion that a beauty pageant winner’s physicalContinue reading “The élan, the perfect poster boys of conservatism”

‘It’s never too late to learn from experience’

The GOP Master of Ceremonies has written about his latest attempt at cogitation, and in some instances words form themselves into sentences. Lately I’ve been thinking about experience. A lie. David Brooks doesn’t think. Besides, how does one “think about” experience? Donald Trump lacks political experience, and the ineptitude caused by his inexperience is evidentContinue reading “‘It’s never too late to learn from experience’”

David Brooks, searcher and settler

With the United Kingdom crumbling and the EU reeling, it’s a comfort to know that David Brooks can bring keenness to the opacity of our political discourse. Here’s a precious thing he wrote called “At the Edge of Inside” published yesterday: In any organization there are some people who serve at the core. These insidersContinue reading “David Brooks, searcher and settler”