Today's David Brooks is written for some reason by Mr. Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, no relation, I believe, who doesn't do it quite as well, but stands in a similar position, urging American conservatives to adopt an innovative "compassionate" conservatism (Hey, kids! Let's put on a show!) with fresh ideas like offering more tax breaks for poor people (look at all tax breaks have done for the rich!) and the inevitable Scott Fitzgerald quote:
F. Scott Fitzgerald famously declared that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”I can't understand why people think Fitzgerald's Law means if you want to show a first-rate intelligence you must hold opposed ideas in your mind at all times. That's not first-rate, it's irrational.
What Fitzgerald was talking about in The Crack-Up was a serious crisis in his own life that hit him in the early 1930s, a moral-emotional collapse that hollowed him out and left him in despair. The "test" was not to spend the rest of his life living in contradiction but to live through it to some kind of resolution. You have to at least look at the next sentence: