Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Autumn in New York

Autumn in New York. It's often mingled with pain. Photo by AP via Huffington Post.
Shorter David Brooks, "Snap Out of It", New York Times, September 23, 2014:
I don't know why everybody's so upset. There's nothing wrong with our government that couldn't easily be solved by eliminating partisanship and getting legislators to dock their own pay if they don't get their work done. Meanwhile it's autumn in New York! And the city's the most walkable it's been in years, in the parts I go to!
I love walking in New York too, I'm not going to lie. Still, it's a little bit fatuous to be so pleased to be a wealthy person (just sold the Cleveland Park place for about $4.5 million, we hear) in the most unequal city in the United States.

Driftglass keeps calling Brooks a Whig, but he's always been a Tory, longing for an imaginary time when America was governed by the well-reared, well-behaved younger sons of a squirearchy:

America was governed best when it was governed by a porous, self-conscious and responsible elite — during the American revolution, for example, or during and after World War II. Karl Marx and Ted Cruz may believe that power can be wielded directly by the masses, but this has almost never happened historically.
Porous? I guess there's tiny holes in the barriers between the upper and lower orders through which the occasional Horatio Alger hero might manage to sqeeze.

The Cruz reference must be to the senator's anti-Obamacare campaign last year when he was demanding that government respond to the people's desires, as Ezra Klein reported when he was blogging the famous non-filibuster just a year ago:
Cruz isn't so much making an argument against Obamacare as an argument for direct democracy, or at least a high level of responsiveness to public opinion. "Americans feel like they don't have a voice," Cruz said. "I hope to play a small part in providing that voice for them."
The comical thing was, as Ezra noted at the time, that he didn't seem to know what public opinion was, which was opposed to defunding the ACA and to cutting spending on Medicare and Social Security, and in favor of progressive taxation on the wealthy and gun control.

Also Cruz is one of the especially retroactionary anti-democracy crusaders who thinks we should go back to having our state legislatures name senators instead of electing them directly:
Prior to the 17th Amendment, the state legislatures’ ability and authority to select senators was a powerful check on the federal government coming and intruding on the prerogatives of the state,” Cruz said on Thursday. “Because if you have the ability to hire and fire me, I’m a lot less likely to break into your house and steal your television.”
Lol, steal your television.  Because direct elections allow all kinds of riffraff into the world's greatest deliberative body.

Cruz doesn't give any fucks about the Will of the People; he cares about the state governments, elected in turnouts so low it could be 1820s England, making it all the easier for corporations to buy them. He was just demogoguing the refs, who obediently rolled over and called him a populist, but really it's too silly to tolerate.

The other comical thing, of course, is how in order to build his both-sides-do-it paragraph structure, Brooks has to get his left opposite number to Cruz in the form of somebody who died in 1883 and wasn't even an American, though he was an enthusiastic supporter of big-government leftist president Abraham Lincoln. At least Marx did believe in direct democracy, it seems, though he didn't have all that much to say about it.

Cross-posted at Booman Tribune.

His Crankiness thinks Brooks may have been abducted by space aliens who told him they were taking him to New York but he shouldn't have believed them.

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