The Columbia Critic

A place to debate anything we want to. We'll talk Columbia campus issues. We'll talk up the homosexual problem. We'll talk China. And we'll talk without resorting to partisan rhetoric. We may be left. We may be right. But we aren't going to be quoting any party line. We're leading the discussion. But feel free to chime in. Hannity and Colmes this is not.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Loss of trust

David Brooks writes that while life in America is good, recent events, including 9/11, Iraq, and now Katrina, have shaken our confidence in institutions. It is an interesting idea, but he ends on a weak note, summarizing:

"Katrina means that the political culture, already sour and bloody-minded in many quarters, will shift. There will be a reaction. There will be more impatience for something new. There is going to be some sort of big bang as people respond to the cumulative blows of bad events and try to fundamentally change the way things are.

Reaganite conservatism was the response to the pessimism and feebleness of the 1970's. Maybe this time there will be a progressive resurgence. Maybe we are entering an age of hardheaded law and order. (Rudy Giuliani, an unlikely G.O.P. nominee a few months ago, could now win in a walk.) Maybe there will be call for McCainist patriotism and nonpartisan independence. All we can be sure of is that the political culture is about to undergo some big change."

Nothing special, more of a regurgitation of basic ideas that have been tossed around over the last year when things go badly in Iraq and attempts to reform Social Security and Medicare are opposed because public perception is that they don't really help anyone but the politicians.

Brooks seeks to burnish his progressive/conservative credentials that have allowed him to have his cake and eat it too, in the past. While I often enjoy his writing, I think he should take a page from Frank Rich's book and avoid ambiguously oriented columns that try to seem important while saying little. We have enough of that from untalented writers; Brooks has a lot of talent, and seeing him use it for more insightful writing would be welcome.

Link here


  • At 12:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There is a basic theory, I wish I could cite it from somewhere, that the american political compass shifts in a pendulum like manner. It swings liberal-conservative, for lack of better turns, approaching but never reaching extremes before reactionary sentiment in disgust moves it back towards the center and ultimately through to the opposite side.

    While partisan hacks on both sides have ranted about whether the shift-to-the-right is 'real' or 'the product of media and political machinery' or some variation on that. As acquaintances have fiercely argued over apocalyptical political scenarios, I've often raised the pendulum point, and feel that sometime in the next 5 years the pendulum will shift as partisanship drives further and further to the right resulting in a reaction. However it seems recently that I've only been willing this shift with words. Brooks is essentially arguing the same thing, but I don't particularly feel that he's any more qualified to divine a shift in the American publics opinion when many others have failed (Fill in any of a litany of whit house related 'scandals' that have failed to arouse the american public.) the intertia of public opinion has been grossly underestimated, or the american publics utter lack of a grasp on whats actually happening beyond spun and hyped soundbytes care of the evenigns 'prime' news anchor.

    BTW- nice touch adding anti-spam word verification.


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