Dem a loot, dem a shoot, dem a wail

Bobo’s latest whinefest about the erosion of elite authority is epic. I’ll give you a bit, but don’t hesitate to click through: you will find his salty tears very tasty.

The old adversary culture of the intellectuals has turned into a mass adversarial cynicism. The common assumption is that elites are always hiding something. Public servants are in it for themselves. Those people at the top are nowhere near as smart or as wonderful as pure and all-knowing Me.

You end up with movements like Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Parties that try to dispense with authority altogether. They reject hierarchies and leaders because they don’t believe in the concepts. The whole world should be like the Internet — a disbursed semianarchy in which authority is suspect and each individual is king.

[…]

I don’t know if America has a leadership problem; it certainly has a followership problem. Vast majorities of Americans don’t trust their institutions. That’s not mostly because our institutions perform much worse than they did in 1925 and 1955, when they were widely trusted. It’s mostly because more people are cynical and like to pretend that they are better than everything else around them. Vanity has more to do with rising distrust than anything else.

Bad choice of years. In 1925, the country was in a (albeit soon-to-end) boom, in 1955 it was in the middle of the greatest 25-year-period in human economic history. Now, by contrast, we are at the end of a five-year stretch during which the average American family has seen its total assets drop in value by 40%, which means there has been no growth (zero) in the wealth of the average American family over the past 20 years. And then throw in a disastrous war that elites almost uniformly supported.

Elites have been making out like bandits, quite literally, through all of this. They’ve lost a little over the past couple years, but over the past 20 their income and share of the total wealth of the country has skyrocketed. At the Times itself, there’s been some outright looting by top execs:

Despite the shrinkage, the company has retained essentially the same top-heavy management, which it has kept well compensated. Even though the paper froze executives’ pensions in 2009, as it is threatening to do with union employees, the company created two loopholes, called the Restoration Plan and the Supplemental Executive Savings Plan, which allowed certain high-earning executives to take money out anyway. As a result, Janet Robinson received an additional lump-sum payment of over half a million dollars upon exiting the Times.

All in all, I’m happy to know that once elites have destroyed everything, at least they’ll cry about the fact that the peasants don’t respect them anymore.

112 replies
  1. 1
    Thoughtcrime says:

    007 at Ocean 11

  2. 2
    Joseph Nobles says:

    So the Tea Party eschews all authority?

    Heh. Except for the CONSTITUTION, GOD ALMIGHTY, and the nice tour guide waving them back onto the Dick Armey-scheduled buses to take them back to their cars.

  3. 3
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Vanity has more to do with rising distrust than anything else.

    I’m sure than his recent upgrade in housing had nothing to do with vanity. After all, only principled, Burkean modesty allows one to purchase a 4 million dollar home.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Jim, Foolish LIteralist says:

    It’s mostly because more people are cynical and like to pretend that they are better than everything else around them. Vanity has more to do with rising distrust than anything else.

    What an asshole. Vanity? I can sum up my distrust in our elites in two words: Iraq War. I was right and Brooks was wrong. I don’t think it’s vanity to say that, a whole bunch of us were quite simply smarter than Brooks. And there has been almost no accountability, either in the Beltway or the NYT offices.

    There are other things to be mentioned, of course. Bill Maher and EJ Dionne were rehashing exactly how outrageous the Citizens United decision was, how Roberts and his little pals didn’t just legislate from the bench, they told the plaintiffs to rewrite their briefs so they could write the decision they wanted to write. Bush v Gore, the Wall St crash, the inability to address global warming, all brought to us by the fine, fine elites that I’m too vain to give the respect they are due.

    What an asshole.

  6. 6
    Suffern ACE says:

    Well, we had one thread devoted to modern gluttony and a desire to eat like cavemen. Why not vanity? Not my choice, as I think there are good reasons to mistrust our institutions. But vanity makes more sense than sloth and less than wrath.

  7. 7
    RP says:

    Where’s my got-danged guillotine when I need it?

  8. 8
    David Koch says:

    speaking of 007, the ending of last nite’s MadMen was the bomb.

  9. 9
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I’ll make it simple for you, Brooksie. Back in “the good old days”, Americans saw our institutions and our leaders in a better light because they weren’t so furiously devoted to fucking us over. We tend to judge by results here: your twaddle about how the national elites deserve respect, just ‘cuz, sounds more in tune with pre-revolutionary France.

  10. 10
    Bill says:

    Then there is our fervent devotion to equality, to the notion that all people are equal and deserve equal recognition and respect.

    In an article that starts off lionizing the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials, I didn’t expect a slap against equality.

    Why can’t today’s memorial designers think straight about just authority?
    … Maybe before we can build great monuments to leaders we have to relearn the art of following.

    No, no, David. You had it right the first time. It’s a design problem.

  11. 11
    freelancer says:

    The whole world should be like the Internet — a disbursed semianarchy in which authority is suspect and each individual is king.

    That’s how the Internet starts. Everyone has a voice, but certain voices rise to the top as a result of what they voice. Fuck yourself,Bobo. In a world where you fear the suspicion of authority, if that authority was truly undermined, you’d be a toothless, Fox News sponge, resisting gubmint mandates oblivious to the fact that gubmint mandates keep your wheelchair under your ass and the cheapest applesauce money can buy in your mooching tummy.

  12. 12
    Mnemosyne says:

    Shorter David Brooks: Why do the great unwashed keep demanding that I show them facts and statistics to back up my claims?

  13. 13
    jl says:

    “Instead of a crafty wielder of supreme power, Roosevelt is a kindly grandpa you would want to put your arm around for a vacation photo.”

    Click on the link and wait a sec for the correct photo to come up of…

    FDR visits Seattle, 1932: Democratic presidential nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt clasps the hand of Melody Bresina at Children’s Orthopedic Hospital

    http://www.seattlepi.com/local.....oto-681846

  14. 14
    Yutsano says:

    Shorter BoBo: “RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH!!”

  15. 15
  16. 16
    the farmer says:

    1925:

    The Ku Klux Klan demonstrate their popularity by holding a parade in Washington DC; as many as 40,000 male and female members of the Klan march down Pennsylvania Avenue. In 1925, an estimated 5,000,000 members belong to the Ku Klux Klan, making it the largest fraternal organization in the United States.

    Benito Mussolini (Il Duce) announces he is taking dictatorial powers over Italy.

    Dayton, Tennessee, biology teacher John Scopes is arrested for teaching Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

    The Thompson submachine gun sells for $175 in the 1925 Sears, Roebuck and Company mail order catalog.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes The Great Gatsby.

    Adolf Hitler publishes his personal manifesto Mein Kampf.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1925

    *

  17. 17
    David Koch says:

    More devastation for the elites.

    Focus groups of swing state moms in Virgina and Nevada

    When asked to use one word or phrase to describe Romney, the words or phrases they used included “Don’t know that much about him,” “selfish, “businessman who is concerned with making himself some money,” “concerned about the wealthy,” “can’t be trusted,” “scares me,” and “lackluster” — again, echoing some of what is being said in the Bain ads around the country.

    others followed up with “the country is more than a business … a country has to take care of its people.” Sound familiar?

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/08/.....index.html

  18. 18
    jl says:

    ” Even the more successful recent monuments evade the thorny subjects of strength and power. The Vietnam memorial is about tragedy. The Korean memorial is about vulnerability. ”

    Because, of course, memorials of the Korean War, and even more Vietnam, should all glorious tributes to the victory of strength and power.

    What an idiot.

    Edit: and earlier this goof complains about the WWII memorial because it is not thoughtful enough about why the allies went to war.

    Poor guy, looking for JUST and POWER in exactly the right proportions in just the right monument, but just can’t quite find it.

  19. 19
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Bill: Egads. I … Well.?! What?

  20. 20
    techno says:

    The real reason no one respects the “elites” anymore is that there is absolutely nothing elite about them. Last week, I did an analysis of the Americans invited to the Bilderberg conference. My goodness, what a collection of charlatans and fools. If they are our elites, humanity is in BIG trouble.

    This country was once awash in folks of enormous accomplishments and skills. There are many but I think of Kelly Johnson, the guy who designed most of the interesting Cold War era airplanes including the SR-71. Or Linus Pauling. Or Saarinen the architect. ETC! Any one of these people had fingernail clippings that understood more about how the world works than old Bobo. The trouble with Brooks is that he is too stupid to understand how stupid he is.

  21. 21
    jl says:

    ” Then there is our fervent devotion to equality, to the notion that all people are equal and deserve equal recognition and respect. It’s hard in this frame of mind to define and celebrate greatness, to hold up others who are immeasurably superior to ourselves. ”

    I will eagerly await the Douthat column worrying about where this kind of thinking leads…

  22. 22
    Marcellus Shale, Public Dick says:

    vanity? i blame apollonia purple rain, sex shooter

    we are all fucking it up for david brooks, aren’t we.

  23. 23
    Suffern ACE says:

    @jl: He has not been to the Buchanan memorial lately, I bet.

  24. 24
    NotMax says:

    Condensed version:

    Damn uppity serfs.

    We gave you television and then Applebee’s salad bar.

    You couldn’t possibly crave or deserve anything else, so just move along.

  25. 25
    jl says:

    ” The old adversary culture of the intellectuals has turned into a mass adversarial cynicism. The common assumption is that elites are always hiding something. Public servants are in it for themselves. Those people at the top are nowhere near as smart or as wonderful as pure and all-knowing Me. ”

    Hey, Dave, I got sorry bad news for you, I am a ridiculous jackass, and it takes one to know one, you adorable old corrupt dingbat pompous hack, you!

    Edit: the j stands for ‘jackass’. True story, honest to God bless ‘m (as Joe B might say).

  26. 26
    Mnemosyne says:

    @techno:

    Hell, even our Hollywood sexpots used to use their free time to invent the cell phone when they were between pictures.

  27. 27
    Suffern ACE says:

    @jl: He really did miss that whole part of the 20th century where countries that put up large statues memorialising individuals for being immeasurably greater than the rest of us turned out to be lousy places to live.

  28. 28
    jl says:

    ” In his memoir, “At Ease,” Eisenhower delivered the following advice: “Always try to associate yourself with and learn as much as you can from those who know more than you do, who do better than you, who see more clearly than you.” Ike slowly mastered the art of leadership by becoming a superb apprentice. ”

    I see in Wikiquote, Eisenhower also said:

    ” It is my personal conviction that.. newborn states of the world would far rather embrace Communism or any other form of dictatorship than acknowledge the political domination of another government, even though that brought to each citizen a far higher standard of living. ”

    As quoted in Eisenhower and the Suez Crisis of 1956 (1995) by Cole C. Kingseed, p. 27

    See Brooks, Eisnenhower had something called insight into something called the viewpoint of something called other people (regardless of whatall mistakes he made).

  29. 29
    Yutsano says:

    @Mnemosyne: I didn’t know the bouillon cube one. I feel the need to check her Wiki now.

  30. 30

    @jl: That first part would get Eisenhower burned at the stake by the current GOP. They hate people who aren’t dumb as rocks.

  31. 31
    techno says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    I did not know about Hedy Lamarr and the cellphone but I have no problem believing it.

  32. 32
    burnspbesq says:

    Brooks is the best you can come up with?

    At least Cole is man enough to admit it when he’s got nothing.

  33. 33
    jl says:

    @techno: Hedi Lamarr! Oh, those were the days…. I have a crush on her. Born fifty years (not sure that’s right, but whatever) too late!

  34. 34
    Jewish Steel says:

    I don’t have any kids, but if I did the first thing I’d try to teach them is the value of having a followership problem.

  35. 35
    jl says:

    ” It’s mostly because more people are cynical and like to pretend that they are better than everything else around them. Vanity has more to do with rising distrust than anything else. ”

    Can the NYT ever get rid of that farted out smell after that gem?

    See, Brooks think he understands lesser inufficiently humble and deferential vermin like me. I would love to be “a superb apprentice” to the great successful leaders of today.

    I don’t know about you people, but I would love to filch a few mill on bank control fraud, or shady mortgages, or some such and then go to Aspen conferences in a suite and tie and get some chicks and high class booze.

    But I don’t have ENOUGH MONEY to get in on the racket. Even at apprentice level.

    If I sent Brooks a nice letter, think he would throw me a fifty grand or so to get started?

  36. 36
    Brachiator says:

    Bobo and his fellow rude boys cannot fail, but the rest of us will end up in Shanty Town.

  37. 37
    Suffern ACE says:

    Yes. Although if I were a member of this elite, I’d start to be concerned with whether I’d be commemorated properly, too.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Might it be that people have a followership problem because many so-called elite leaders simply suck? Respect must be earned. Iraq War, financial bubbles and looting, MSM stenography, Bobo’s own career, etc. Why do the people involved deserve my respect? Because they have money and power? Sounds a bit too much like “might = right” to me.

  39. 39

    Clime Acts hasn’t been around much the last couple of days, he must be tired and shagged out from masturbating to the testimony in the Jerry Sandusky trial.

  40. 40
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The ignition module I was working on today had a big label on it that says: Designed in the U.S.A. I’m glad we got that much of it. The rest? The little stamp in the plastic housing says Made in China.

    But at least we got to design it! That’s something to boast about nowadays.

  41. 41
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @burnspbesq:

    What?! DougJ obviously bested John by coming up with less than nothing. It’s no competition.

    That was my interpretation of his noting yet another insipid piece of shit that has spewed forth from Bobobobobo’s Gullet of Greatness.

    He needs to head back to the salad bar and stuff it.

    Bobo, that is. Not the Prof. :)

  42. 42
    Jewish Steel says:

    DougJ! No potatoes or bread? And you an Irishman?

    That’s a class of hell you find yourself in.

  43. 43
    jl says:

    When Aristocracies, are established by human Laws and honour Wealth and Power are made hereditary by municipal Laws and political Institutions, then I acknowledge artificial Aristocracy to commence: but this never commences, till Corruption in Elections becomes dominant and uncontroulable. But this artificial Aristocracy can never last. The everlasting Envys, Jealousies, Rivalries and quarrells among them, their cruel rapacities upon the poor ignorant People their followers, compell these to sett up Caesar, a Demagogue to be a Monarch and Master, pour mettre chacun a sa place [to put each one in his place]. Here you have the origin of all artificial Aristocracy, which is the origin of all Monarchy. And both artificial Aristocracy, and Monarchy, and civil, military, political and hierarchical Despotism, have all grown out of the natural Aristocracy of “Virtues and Talents.” We, to be sure, are far remote from this. Many hundred years must roll away before We shall be corrupted. Our pure, virtuous, public spirited federative Republick will last for ever, govern the Globe and introduce the perfection of Man, his perfectability being already proved by Price Priestly, Condorcet Rousseau Diderot and Godwin.

    John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

    15 Nov. 1813

    http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu.....15s62.html

    Sadly, Adams descends into bitter sarcasm and snark, and ridicules these Great United States’ right to rule over the world (Edit, and its own citizens) with JUST POWER!

    I hope Brooks can have a talk with Adams, and make him see the error of his uppity narcissistic vain ME ME ME ways.

    Let us hope so.

  44. 44
    James E Powell says:

    @The prophet Nostradumbass:

    That first part would get Eisenhower burned at the stake by the current GOP. They hate people who aren’t dumb as rocks.

    That first part would have made Eisenhower unelectable in the 60s. What kind of Leader of the Free World says anything like that about the commies?

  45. 45
    EconWatcher says:

    Funny that Bobo points to the left, toward the Occupy movement and whatnot, to assign blame for our disdain of elites. Wasn’t it Nixon who harnessed resentment of elites to help build the modern base of the GOP? Isn’t resentment of elites, and of expertise itself, what Limbaugh and the rest foment every day?

  46. 46
    jl says:

    @EconWatcher: Yeah, that kind of thing is funny. But cashing a big paycheck for easy work is fun.

  47. 47
    Pat In Massachusetts says:

    More reason never to subscribe to the New York Times. Excerpts are all I need from that “liberal” rag. My ten free reads (Krugman x 10), plus stealing the ten free reads from my partner’s computer is all the reading of the New York Times I need for one month.

    Suck. On. That. Mighty Fourth Estate. This reader thinks “you’re not all that” so when Davey has a sad over non-followers like moi, I’ll be reading about it along with all my other SECOND HAND NEWS because you know why Davey? I have better things to do!

  48. 48
    drunken hausfrau says:

    the US has a “followership” problem?! This man has a job writing for the newspaper of record?! Is proper English only for peasants, as they struggle to get an education?

  49. 49
    Caz says:

    This from one of the most elitist websites/blogs on the internets, lol.

    You guys/gals have your view of what’s right and wrong, and you wish to impose those values on the rest of society. Currently, you are willingly brainwashed by the progressives, so your values mirror theirs, and you would impose those socialist values on the rest of us.

    What you should realize is that the proper type of human society tolerates ALL values and beliefs, so long as they don’t infringe upon others’ rights.

    You’re in favor of the govt forcing people to buy products/services they don’t want. You’re in favor of the govt allowing only those marital unions you find acceptable (sorry, Mormons). You’re in favor of taking away the wealth of the rich who have earned it and redistributing it to the poor who have not earned it. You’re in favor of the govt taking control of the marketplace to ensure fairness and that no organization or individual gets too rich and too far above others without. You’re in favor of the president having the power to kill U.S. citizens on his own whim, without any Constitutional protections or due process. You’re in favor of punishing “wrong” speech and thoughts, such as the so called hate crimes, and the fight over prohibiting the KKK from adopting a highway for the good of the community (recent news story, check it out). You’re in favor of forcing people and organizations with religious objections against certain things to engage in those very things, so as not to inconvenience those who share your values and beliefs.

    You ought to be less elitist and let people live their lives free from govt control and pressure to conform to the “right” way of thinking, speaking, and living.

    So long as a person does not infringe on the rights of others with their actions, such actions should be permitted unconditionally. This elitist mindset of setting up a system of rights and wrongs in accord with YOUR values, and forcing everyone to conform to those values is anti-American.

    But I bet it feels good to speak out against the elitists! Those of you with mirrors should look at what’s in them from time to time. There is no right and wrong, only freedom and oppression. You all seem to strongly favor oppression over freedom. But keep in mind that the values our leaders are pushing on us might not always be so agreeable to you, and what will you have to say then when you’re being forced to follow sharia law or to enroll your children in gay sex education and lessons on how to use condoms in the first grade.

  50. 50
    jl says:

    Oh, goddammit, we forgot the silent prayer.

    Eisenhower remark at a cabinet meeting

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Eisenhower

  51. 51
    jl says:

    @Caz:

    ” What you should realize is that the proper type of human society tolerates ALL values and beliefs, so long as they don’t infringe upon others’ rights. ”

    I support Brooks’ right to cash a big paycheck for typing out dishonest propaganda and drivel in a sad and futile attempt to prop up a corrupt artificial aristocracy. What gave you the idea I did not?

    In fact, if you will kindly check the comments above, I wish to follow Dear Mr. Brooks’ advice and benter into a humble apprentice to one of our great leaders, but I have not been able to obtain a situation as a sleazy executive at a too big to fail bank.

    If you will kindly lend a few hundred grand to get started, I would gladly pay you back next Tuesday.

  52. 52
    Egg Berry says:

    @Caz: O hai, glibertarian!

  53. 53
    owlbear1 says:

    Hey Caz, what progressives really want is for Conservatives and Libertarians to actually have to live in the world they spend so much time, money, and effort trying to create.

    The fabled “Contard Heaven”.

    It would only last a week or two tho, because that’s all it would take before y’all came squirming back begging for clean water, medicine that wasn’t snake oil, and air that didn’t choke you to breathe.

    Human beings aren’t property, corporations are.

    also too

    “I don’t know if America has a leadership problem; it certainly has a followership problem. “

    David Brooks is SO fucking lucky he doesn’t actually have to feed himself.

  54. 54
    Older_Wiser says:

    How does one file charges of sedition against these traitors to our democracy, these fascists who have hamstrung our economy, the President’s efforts to correct the wrongs of the previous administration, and the ability of the rest of us to make a living? http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....rank-Luntz

  55. 55
    jl says:

    ” The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial brutally simplifies its subject’s nuanced and biblical understanding of power.”

    3 And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment?

    2 Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;

    3 Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.

    4 Then shall they cry unto the Lord, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.

    5 Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.

    6 Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.

    7 Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.

    8 But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.

    9 Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.

    10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.

    11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us.

    12 Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.

    Micah 3

    Brooks wants that on the King monument? Ask me, that would scare the children.

  56. 56
    Older_Wiser says:

    By lumping together the astroturf teabaggers with the genuine grassroots movement of the ocupados, it’s pretty obvious that Brooks’ “intellectual superiority” is made out of whole cloth and makes his entire argument suspect.

  57. 57
    harlana says:

    disbursed semianarchy in which authority is suspect and each individual is king

    “dispersed” not “disbursed” dumbass

  58. 58
    drunken hausfrau says:

    seriously, do they no longer employ copy editors at the NYT?

  59. 59
    harlana says:

    @drunken hausfrau: that’s fucked up. it’s not a typo but using the wrong word, unless he dictates his columns which i seriously doubt. editors may have been able to catch that of course, but he doesn’t have sense enough to know the difference between disburse and disperse? and they stupidly did not catch the mistake which is pathetic and inexcusable for a columnist of his “stature.”

    let’s flood him with snarky comments

  60. 60
    harlana says:

    well, unless someone is going to pay me with semianarchy in installments!

  61. 61
    barbequbob says:

    I like how Brooks includes bashing public servants as “in it for the money” as an example of lack of respect for the “elites”. His beloved GOP since at least the days of Reagan have been trying to dismantle government in part by painting government employees as lazy and evil. Now he turns around and complains about lack of respect for public servants? Or perhaps he only means political appointee “public servants” not the rank and file public servants in the trenches?

  62. 62
    harlana says:

    Editor’s Note: we would like to correct David Brooks’ column in which he improperly uses the word “disbursed” instead of “dispersed,” because he is a pathetic lying little douche who doesn’t know what the flying fuck he is writing about

  63. 63
    MariedeGournay says:

    @Jim, Foolish LIteralist: I hear you. The fact that Brooks still has a job says everything you need to know about elites in this country.

  64. 64
    danielx says:

    The old adversary culture of the intellectuals has turned into a mass adversarial cynicism. The common assumption is that elites are always hiding something. Public servants are in it for themselves. Those people at the top are nowhere near as smart or as wonderful as pure and all-knowing Me.

    And if there’s anybody who is familiar with a “pure and all-knowing Me” (besides Tom Friedman), it’s David Brooks. As to the “followership” problem – the peasants are revolting! – it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that virtually every major institution in America has proven to be corrupt and/or incompetent over the past fifty years. Take your pick: Congress, Wall Street, Corporate America, the foreign policy establishment, the Supreme Court, major league sports, the Catholic Church, churches in general, the military, the media…and the list goes on. Moreover, it’s become apparent that world class fuckups by these institutions will for the most part go unpunished except for those at the bottom of the heap, for whom no punishment can be sufficiently punitive.

    Cynicism does not grow in a vacuum, David, nor does it grow without fertilizer.

    But then again, clearly things have been working just fine for David Brooks, so he cannot understand why those not as fortunate as he don’t just shut up, go along with the program and – above all – respect the wisdom and authority of their betters, a great many of whom just happen to be friends, acquaintances or colleagues of David Brooks.

    Followership problem…Jesus. Where are the drugs?

  65. 65
    Xenos says:

    The internet is a ‘disbursed semi-anarchy’ because it was paid for by the government. so maybe that is what he meant.

  66. 66
    jayboat says:

    the only good thing about this moocher’s existence is the snark in the bj response comments whenever he cuts one loose.

  67. 67
    Seth Owen says:

    Napoleon, who knew a little bit about power and leadership, once said: “There are no bad regiments, there are only bad colonels.”

    I don’t think there’s any better proof of the depravity of our ‘elites’ — as represented by Brooks — than their attempt to blame the people for the elite’s failures. A ‘followship’ problem!? Please. Not fit to be a midshipman or corporal with an attitude like that.

  68. 68
    Matt says:

    Sign #8,568,325 that Bobo’s out of touch: he can do a whole article about people losing respect for institutions without mentioning either the thirty-year GOP monkeywrenching campaign (“gubmint is the problem”, anyone) *or* the roughly contemporary line of utterly sleazy behavior (Iran-Contra, the Keating 5, the Clinton impeachment, damn near everything Teh Shrub did, etc).

  69. 69
    chopper says:

    @techno:

    Our country was founded by polymaths. We ended up with George W Bush. stick a fork in ‘er.

  70. 70
    Vishnu Schist says:

    St. Ronnie all told us that the worst fucking thing in the world was government, they were the enemy and the scariest thing EVAH. And a whole generation of leaders grew up on that shit. So now you have 49% of a country that thinks every public worker is some fat grease stain because Ronnie and Ayn told them so. What the fuck do you expect?

  71. 71
    SFAW says:

    Hell, even our Hollywood sexpots used to use their free time to invent the cell phone Internet when they were between pictures.

    Not sure I’d refer to Al Gore as a “sexpot,” but whatever floats your proverbial boat.

    I did not know about Hedy Lamarr and the cellphone but I have no problem believing it.

    That’s “Hedley.”

  72. 72
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Vishnu Schist: Yeah, I thought this was supposed to be feature, not bug. If the “elites” (said w/tongue so firmly in cheek as to risk injury) wanted us proles to respect them so much, maybe they should have spent some time, oh, I don’t know, NOT being douchebags?

  73. 73
    Raptor fence says:

    Its probably worth remembering that we have a political movement in this country that has dedicated itself to destroying the very institutions whose demise Brooks laments. Republicans spent four decades tearing down the institutions of state that made Jefferson, Lincoln, and Eisenhower great, mostly because they believed them to be over run with liberals.

  74. 74
    Keith says:

    I don’t know if America has a leadership problem; it certainly has a followership problem

    I think I threw up a little bit in my mouth.

  75. 75
    JoyfulA says:

    @techno: What I tried to comment: Well done! There’s no one on that list I feel obliged to respect or even pay attention to.

    It would be better if the three Navy vets were running things.

  76. 76
    J R in WV says:

    I’m glad to see that no one fed the troll.

    And indeed, there are people too stupid to know how stupid they are. Proven by research.

  77. 77
    reino says:

    1925: John Scopes
    1955: Rosa Parks

  78. 78
    ericblair says:

    @Vishnu Schist:

    St. Ronnie all told us that the worst fucking thing in the world was government, they were the enemy and the scariest thing EVAH. And a whole generation of leaders grew up on that shit. So now you have 49% of a country that thinks every public worker is some fat grease stain because Ronnie and Ayn told them so. What the fuck do you expect?

    Not only that, I’m confused. Don’t goopers and their lickspittles rail on against the Elites, where Elites seem to be the humanities faculties of state universities and B-list Hollywood actors? And the demonization worked?

    Sounds like these arrogant fucks tried their multiyear anti-elite astroturf campaign but can’t stand the fact that even though they run everything of consequence, they don’t get as thorough a foot bath as they feel their station demands. Bullshittin’ is hard work, my friends.

  79. 79
    Oort Cloud says:

    I do wish there was a proper monarchy Mr. Brooks could remove himself to.

  80. 80
    Maude says:

    Brooks is afraid. The 99% has caught on to the rich and the politicians. They are corrupt, lazy and have done a lot of harm to this country.
    Brooks isn’t getting the admiration he believes he deserves. He is also way behind the times.

  81. 81
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    Chris Hayes has a good article in the Nation about this topic. I think Ann Laurie mentioned the book it is excerpted from in an earlier post.

  82. 82
    Stetson Kennedy says:

    Salty? It’s well documented that Bobo cries rocks.

  83. 83
    harlana says:

    i could sit here all day and correct spelling errors on blog posts. but that would make me a self-important, irritating, condescending douche. in addition, i have no compunction to do that.

    however, this IS the effing NY Times, fercripesake.

  84. 84
    handsmile says:

    Also now at the Nation site (thanks for the link Commenting at Balloon Juice…), there is this article,” Bernie Sanders on the ‘Aggressiveness Among the Ruling Class'”:

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/.....ling-class

    Neofeudalism seems to be the trending political movement in this country, at least until the Chinese get here. At which point, Bobo and his fellow courtiers will slavishly offer their services to the new overlords.

  85. 85
    Alex S. says:

    Interesting. Sally Quinn has a similar column about Washington’s loss of power and what it means for her dinner parties. h/t Atrios

  86. 86
    Karounie says:

    Elites have been telling us very pointedly not to trust them for decades – often on pieces of paper purported to have legal force.

    We are expected to be “educated consumers” right? Please do your research before wasting the expensive time of the medical, legal and financial professions.

    Corporations seem comfortable with the idea that their relationship with customers – not to mention their own reputation and their future – may be acceptable collateral damage toward the goal maximizing shareholder profits. Maybe they don’t seek that outcome specifically (yet) but if it happens, it’s OK. that’s what PR is for.

    More and more medical, legal and financial professions are publicly held corporations. Nearly all of the design, advertising and publishing firms I work in and around have been scooped up by vast media conglomerates. And then there’s the media itself…

    I think most Americans would much rather trust elites than not – it makes life so much more manageable if one doesn’t have to be some kind of mini-expert at everything. Unfortunately they’ve made it clear that we really can’t risk that kind of complacency.

    It’s actually sort of pathetic how long we clung to the idea that we mattered to them more than just as marks and cannon fodder. The heat in the pot is high enough now that the frog grasps the possibility of being boiled.

  87. 87
    RalfW says:

    If you don’t know if America has a leadership problem and you’re a columnist for the NYT, you should be fired. Today, Monday, no 2 weeks notice.

  88. 88
    Interrobang says:

    What’s the over/under on how long it’ll be before Brooks writes a(nother) pean to Rugged Individualism™? I give it two weeks. Ladies and gentlemen, place your wagers.

  89. 89
    slag says:

    Vanity has more to do with rising distrust than anything else.

    Try again, Bobo.

    “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us.”

    Pride. The plebeians are finally starting to get it. We hope!

  90. 90
    Jebediah says:

    @barbequbob:

    public servants as “in it for the money”

    In capitalist America, money make you!

    /Yakov Romneyanov

  91. 91
    dave says:

    @Caz:

    Wouldn’t it be just awesome if an al Qaeda imam handed out condoms to our kids at the ceremony where my wife and I were forced at gunpoint to gay marry one of our friends, as long they were of the same sex?

    Note that we’ve had a warning that some of the acid circulating at the wedding is bad. I repeat, stay away from the brown acid.

  92. 92
    Linda says:

    Don’t you wish you could put Brooks into a wayback machine, and hear him rail against those damn vernacular Bibles and printing presses, and other devilment that pits the common folk against their betters?

  93. 93
    Roy G. says:

    I’m sure there were plenty of ‘centrists’ in Weimar Germany who felt the same way – that a strong Leader could fix everything.

  94. 94
    Jennifer says:

    Oh, how I long for the days when the elites were the bogeyman! It seems like it was only…20 years ago when we were being lectured about the “cultural elite” by Dan Quayle and Bush I.

    Also, too:

    Why can’t today’s memorial designers think straight about just authority?

    Who coodanode an authoritarian would bemoan a general failure to kneel down and kiss authority’s ass?

  95. 95
    Ed Drone says:

    @Older_Wiser:

    I don’t know how one would bring charges, but I think it’s damned time to treat these sons-of-bitches like puppies.

    They made the mess.

    Rub their noses in it, spank them with a rolled-up newspaper, and kick ’em out the door, not to return till they can behave.

    And while we’re quoting Ike:

    “If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.”

    Same bunch of sons-of-bitches.

    Ed

  96. 96
    Nutella says:

    @harlana:

    disbursed semianarchy in which authority is suspect and each individual is king

    “dispersed” not “disbursed” dumbass

    Are there no copy editors? Are there no writers with basic literacy?

    I guess they’ve been so busy paying departing, failed top management bonuses for fucking up that they had to fire all the copy editors.

  97. 97
    Carl Nyberg says:

    Do the elites think they are getting results that meet the needs and expectations of the citizenry?

    If they do, they are severely out of touch.

  98. 98
    Ruckus says:

    @Jim, Foolish LIteralist:
    a whole bunch of us were quite simply smarter than Brooks
    Three points.
    1. My dog is smarter.
    2. My dog is right more often.
    3. My dog is less an insufferable ass. Way, way less.

  99. 99

    […] “Dem a loot, dem a shoot, dem a wail” – Metrosexual Black AbeJ (Balloon Juice) […]

  100. 100
    PWL says:

    Well, if people don’t trust the “elites”, maybe it’s because of “elites” like Richard Nixon, W., Dick Cheney, Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon.

    Yeah, you’re going to have a “followership problem” when the elites have proven to be arrogant, dishonest, corrupt, and incompetent. But I guess Mr Brooks can’t see that, living as he does in his Villager bubble.

    Yes, poor Davy B. Born too late for feudalism.

  101. 101
    bjacques says:

    The Solution
    Bertolt Brecht

    After the uprising of the 17th June [1953]
    The Secretary of the Writer’s Union
    Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
    Stating that the people
    Had forfeited the confidence of the government
    And could win it back only
    By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
    In that case for the government
    To dissolve the people
    And elect another?

  102. 102
    RobinDC says:

    Brooks deserves to be beat to death for this column.

  103. 103
    Mike G says:

    We used to have elites who (at least, many of them) earned their exalted status by actual intelligence, achievement and excellence.

    As happens with many societies, some venal elites who reach the top then use their power to perpetuate their high position for themselves, their relatives and cronies, until you end up with lazy mediocrities like GW Bush in the White House, pandering hacks like BoBo in the leading newspaper and nepotism-nonentity Luke Russert on TV.

  104. 104
    tech98 says:

    Why can’t today’s memorial designers think straight about just authority?

    Because today we have very little Just Authority — just authority.

  105. 105
    HyperIon says:

    How can anybody look at the field of Republican candidates and not realize that we have a leadership problem?

    Bobo is an idiot.

  106. 106
    Rosalita says:

    As usual, Pierce shreds…

  107. 107
    dongisselbeck says:

    We need to stop using the word “elite” and replace it with “predator class”.

  108. 108
    SFAW says:

    It’s always refreshing to read something from a war hero such as David Brooks. Who better to know about and extol the glories of war than someone who may have singlehandedly led the 101st Fightin’ Keyboarders as they fought against the Llllliberal Scourge?

    Because, FSM knows, statues and memorials to/about War should ONLY be about POWER and AUTHORITY – none of that candy-assed other bullshit, like the horrors and suffering of war, or that some people might not think it’s glorious to try to kill as many of the “enemy” as you can.

    If Brooks had two brain cells with any type of self-awareness present, they’d tell him to kill himself out of shame.

  109. 109

    […] don’t typically read David Brooks, but DougJ induced me to. And his most recent column is an interesting one indeed. He starts by blathering about how he […]

  110. 110
    Harold says:

    A line of poetry is a better memorial than a marble statue. According to wikipedia: In the Tusculan Disputations, Cicero recounts how during a visit to Syracuse, in Sicily, he had chanced to discover the tomb of Archimedes, at that time unknown to the inhabitants of the city, but which he, Cicero, recognized from its description in a line of poetry he had memorized; and he contrasted the enduring fame of Archimedes, the mathematician, to the obloquy of the notorious Sicilian tyrant Dionysius the Elder, buried nearby: “Who is there who has had anything at all to do with the Muses, that is, with humanity and learning, who would not prefer to be this mathematician rather than that tyrant? If we look into their manner of life and employment, the mind of the one was nourished by seeking out and pondering theories, accompanied by the delight in his cleverness, which is the sweetest sustenance of souls, that of the other in murder and wrongdoing, accompanied by fear both day and night” (TD 5.64–5). This anecdote is one of the sources for the humanist commonplace that poetry is a more lasting monument than stone. See Mary Jaeger, ”Cicero and Archimedes Tomb”, The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 92, (2002), pp. 51–52. The incident is recalled by Wordsworth:
    Call Archimedes from his buried tomb
    Upon the plain of vanished Syracuse,
    And feelingly the Sage shall make report
    How insecure, how baseless in itself,
    Is the Philosophy, whose sway depends
    On mere material instruments;—how weak
    Those arts, and high inventions, if unpropped
    By virtue.—He, sighing with pensive grief,
    Amid his calm abstractions, would admit
    That not the slender privilege is theirs
    To save themselves from blank forgetfulness! —William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

  111. 111
    null says:

    Test

  112. 112

    […] == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}There’s been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over David Brooks’ truly atrocious column about insufficient deference to elites from the other day. Because Lord knows that’s the lesson of the past 15 years of world history. The best […]

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  2. […] don’t typically read David Brooks, but DougJ induced me to. And his most recent column is an interesting one indeed. He starts by blathering about how he […]

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