Saturday, May 19, 2012

David Brooks Nails It,...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Moderates seem to have a particular balanced sense of reality that is often lacking in the hard left or right. David Brooks is one of those reasoned moderate journalists that while not always agreeing with his positions I do find him often making lots of sense.

His recent New York Times article entitled The Age of Innocence is a statement on current political realities and how far we have regressed from our founders vision. Following are what I consider to be the highlights of his article. I also note that where you see ... indicates references to Europe have been omitted, temporarily.

The people who pioneered democracy in... the United States had a low but pretty accurate view of human nature. They knew that if we get the chance, most of us will try to get something for nothing. They knew that people generally prize short-term goodies over long-term prosperity. So, in centuries past, the democratic pioneers built a series of checks to make sure their nations wouldn’t be ruined by their own frailties.
For nearly 125 years the foresight of these pioneers, our founding fathers held the nation and its government pretty much in check, and balance.
The American founders did this by decentralizing power. They built checks and balances to frustrate and detain the popular will. They also dispersed power to encourage active citizenship, hoping that as people became more involved in local government, they would develop a sense of restraint and responsibility.
Unfortunately in the early days of the 19th century the forces of European socialism began to take root in the progressive movement in America and the resulting movement away from restraint and decentralized power.
James Madison put it well: “As there is a degree of depravity in mankind, which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence.”

But, over the years, this balanced wisdom was lost. Leaders today do not believe their job is to restrain popular will. Their job is to flatter and satisfy it. A gigantic polling apparatus has developed to help leaders anticipate and respond to popular whims. Democratic politicians adopt the mind-set of marketing executives. Give the customer what he wants. The customer is always right.

Having lost a sense of their own frailty, many voters have come to regard their desires as entitlements...
Boy isn't that a real mouthful of truth? Many Americans are certainly in line with hands outstretched to take whatever they can get from Leviathan. Without considering the ultimate costs or the nations inability to sustain some the "entitlements" they have grown used to and demand on a ever increasing trend.
The consequences of this shift are now obvious. In... America, governments have made promises they can’t afford to fulfill. At the same time, the decision-making machinery is breaking down. America... still have the structures inherited from the past, but without the self-restraining ethos that made them function.

The American decentralized system of checks and balances has transmogrified into a fragmented system that scatters responsibility. Congress is capable of passing laws that give people benefits with borrowed money, but it gridlocks when it tries to impose self-restraint.

The Obama campaign issues its famous “Julia” ad, which perfectly embodies the vision of government as a national Sugar Daddy, delivering free money and goodies up and down the life cycle. The Citizens United case gives well-financed interests tremendous power to preserve or acquire tax breaks and regulatory deals. American senior citizens receive health benefits that cost many times more than the contributions they put into the system.
Mr.Brooks really nails it here. Our system has certainly become dysfunctional. With the Obama Presidency we see a accelerated pace down the very path that has been in large part responsible for our continuing fiscal insanity and growing dependance on Leviathan government.

Now for the connection to Europe and the socialist mindset so prevalent in European nations.
In Europe, workers across the Continent want great lifestyles without long work hours. They want dynamic capitalism but also personal security. European welfare states go broke trying to deliver these impossibilities.

The European ruling classes once had their power checked through daily contact with the tumble of national politics. But now those ruling classes have built a technocratic apparatus, the European Union, operating far above popular scrutiny. Decisions that reshape the destinies of families and nations are being made at some mysterious, transnational level. Few Europeans can tell who is making decisions or who is to blame if they go wrong, so, of course, they feel powerless and distrustful.
See the parallels that exist with European socialism and the path American is trending? In reality our nation is only several years behind the situation Europeans find themselves in. Isn't time to consider the consequences of our actions and begin to hold ourselves responsible and accountable?

Read Mr. Brooks entire article here.

Via: Memeorandum


  1. There is a small window of turning the ship of state around because the ship is sinking under the weight of its debt. We may reach collapse before any real progress can be made. The Angry Middle needs to rise up and force accountability back into Washington.

  2. Amen, SS, but as long as there are more Pauls than Peters in America, the robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario will probably continue unabated - right up to the precipice and beyond.

  3. Brooks a Republican shill.

    This whole "European socialism" thing has gotten way out of hand. It's just silly. It shows a complete disregard for history.

    The conditions of workers during the Industrial Revolution were horrific. People didn't want some easy life out of greed and laziness. They wanted basic conditions that any human being deserves. Reasonable work hours, reasonable working ages, redress for abuse, safe working places, the right to organize. These are not lazy "European socialists" demanding something for nothing, a scummy accusation at best.

    The world we have today is a result of actions and reactions, with causes and reasons. Not the product of a simplistic, unrealistic understanding of human nature.


    1. And you're a shill and mouthpiece for progressive socialism on a site that advocates individualism, self reliance, against crony capitalism, for real capitalism, limited responsible fiscal restraint in government, a return to classical liberalism, discontinuation of interventionist foreign policy, and the list goes on of things we seem to be in disagreement over.

      That's fine, I'm perfectly okay with it. Perhaps you will convince some who visit this site, many you likely won't. I can very safely say you WON'T convince me. You see I was were you're at when I was 20. Saw the error of my way and...

    2. Modern "progressives" like JMJ: Hopeless naivety to the point of religious fundamentalism.

      Two questions for JMJ (that he won't likely answer):

      1) How much is too much deficit spending?

      2) What is the highest tax rate that ANY American individual should pay?

  4. Alexander Hamilton and his cadre certainly feared the Demos rising up and taking all the stuff of the wealthy. And as the Constittuional Convention was coming to the minds of the Founders, boom, Shay's Rebellion hits and Hamilton feels the peasants are about to slaughter the Rich few.

    "In all the governments which were considered as beacons to the republican patriots and lawgivers, the rights of persons were subjected to those of property. The poor were sacrificed to the rich," - James Madison, Father of the Constitution, 4th President of the United States.

    What has really happened is the uber-rich are so afraid of their property (oft time ill-gotten gained) being taken from them that they have set up a system of Oppression inside the United States which is jealously protected by the bought and paid for politicians in the Federal Government.

  5. And who in the hell are these frigging "uber rich"? I mean, if you listen strictly to these 99%ers, you'd think that they were all frigging investment bankers and hedge-fund managers. Yeah, well, guess what, folks, THEY'RE NOT!!! Yeah, that's right, 31% are executives, managers, and supervisors in fields TOTALLY UNRELATED TO FINANCE, 16% are in the medical field (doctors, dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists, etc), 8% are lawyers, 5% are engineers or in other tech-related fields, 5% are in sales, 5% are retired, 3% are entrepreneurs, 2% are farmers, 2% are in real estate, and, hell, there are even 4% of them that are in the blue-collar field. Not exactly a monolithic entity, in other words. And, yes, for the hard-left (of which I do NOT include most mainstream Democratic politicians, btw) to so moronically homogenize them is pretty God damned divisive, in my opinion.


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