Another anti-freedom conservative: David Brooks

[Following up on my “Do conservatives really value economic liberty?”, on the conservatisms of Newt Gingrich, Robert Bork, and Irving Kristol.]

murray-coming-apartIn The New York Times, moderate conservative David Brooks reflects upon Charles Murray’s Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. Brooks agrees with Murray that Americans have divided into two polarized “tribes.”

“The members of the upper tribe,” says Brooks, “have made themselves phenomenally productive. They may mimic bohemian manners, but they have returned to 1950s traditionalist values and practices. They have low divorce rates, arduous work ethics and strict codes to regulate their kids.”

Meanwhile, “in the lower tribe, men in their prime working ages have been steadily dropping out of the labor force, in good times and bad. People in the lower tribe are much less likely to get married, less likely to go to church, less likely to be active in their communities, more likely to watch TV excessively, more likely to be obese.”

brooksdavidBrooks praises Murray for the rigor of his data and analysis, and then offers his own solution to the problem.

“I doubt Murray would agree, but we need a National Service Program. We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years. We need a program in which people from both tribes work together to spread out the values, practices and institutions that lead to achievement.”

So: While American liberals want to use force to redistribute wealth and jobs among the rich and poor, Brooksian conservatives want to use force to redistribute values, practices and institutions among rich and poor. Liberals want to use compulsion to move other people’s money around as they see fit. Brooks wants to use compulsion to move the people themselves around as he sees fit.

Once again I am shocked at how easily and automatically so many intellectuals are willing to use compulsion to solve problems.

5 thoughts on “Another anti-freedom conservative: David Brooks

  • February 1, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Appears that Obama’s liberalism is fascism, and Brooks’ conservatism is communism. All for the good of “society” whether individuals want it or not. (No wonder both oppose the Constitution and founding principles.)

    I recommend, “Neoconservatism,” by Thompson & Brook (different guy).

  • February 6, 2012 at 10:39 am


    You shouldn’t be surprised. Many neo-conservatives are former Marxists. Have you heard of “Neoconservatism: An Obiturary For An Idea”? It was a book written by Bradly Thompson and Yaron Brook. They were able to clear up a lot of things in my mind about Republicans and their intellectual history. I had no idea that many openly advocated Marxism. Only until the truth about Lenin and Stalin’s wholesale slaughter did they extricate themselves from Marxism, per se. They still believe in the fundamentals of the ideology. Hence fools like Brooks. He really makes me physically ill.

  • February 15, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    They are willing to use coercion, so either they don’t get that it doesn’t work and can’t work (you can’t force a mind), or they want to use coercion anyway.

    I’ve wondered if everything that becomes a bad thing in the world can be traced back to sacrifice. That then divides into forced sacrifice, i.e., coercion, or self-sacrifice. If there were no coercion, the errors would be weeded out in the natural process of human’s rejecting that which doesn’t work.

    The other thing that causes a lot of problems is that people such as Brooks and many others come from that “there is something wrong here.” Then they want to “fix it.” Maybe there is “nothing wrong” and “nothing to fix.” Rather, things are in the natural process of correcting themselves.

  • April 13, 2012 at 12:08 am

    The political spectrum is not a line – it’s a circle. I’ve often felt that those on the extreme right and those on the extreme left are much closer to each other than either of them are to me.

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