Tuesday, November 20, 2012

KISS OF DEATH. David Brooks tells us about the "young writers and bloggers" whom he believes will rescue conservatism from its doldrums. I feel it my duty to fill uninitiated readers in on those Brooks pets of whom I have some experience.
Paleoconservatives. The American Conservative has become one of the more dynamic spots on the political Web. Writers like Rod Dreher and Daniel Larison tend to be suspicious of bigness: big corporations, big government, a big military, concentrated power and concentrated wealth.
Rod Dreher has told his readers that the Catholic Church child-raping scandals are really the fault of liberals ("One wonders if the leadership of the national Catholic churches... assimilated any of this so-called progressivism in the way they thought about sexuality"); that he keeps a gun in his house because he's afraid of gay people; that he thinks a bride who shows a tattoo on her wedding day is a slut; that "I probably have, re: fundamental morals, more in common with the first 500 people I'd meet in Cairo, Damascus or Tehran than the first 500 people I'd meet in Park City, UT, during festival time," etc.

Also, Dreher defines his visits to the gym as "living out a conservative principle of taking personal responsibility and making hard but necessary changes to live within my means." Here's Dreher on integration: "People -- black, white, brown, rich, middle-class, poor, Christian, secular, etc. -- naturally want to be around people like themselves." And Lord, how he hates gay people.

I've been covering this guy for years, and if there's a more miserable, small-minded God-botherer out there I hope I never come across him. This is Brooks' leadoff hitter.

Daniel Larison's all right. I assume Brooks included him as a red herring.
Lower-Middle Reformists. Reihan Salam, a writer for National Review, E21 and others, recently pointed out that there are two stories about where the Republican Party should go next. There is the upper-middle reform story: Republicans should soften their tone on the social issues to win over suburban voters along the coasts.
This sounds more reasonable than the Salam I've read, who believes that to reform American culture the Right Sort must "outbreed the people you hate most"; compares the fining of BP for environmental crime to the slaughter of Native Americans; argues that flexible work arrangements for women in the workplace are the real tyranny, and woman-stay-home-take-care-of-baby the real freedom, etc. Plus he writes shit like this:
This leads me to my central fixation, which is the notion that most of our political and social conflicts are best understood as gang wars between people with different kinds of capital — people with cultural capital waging war on people with economic capital, or people with erotic capital deploying it to gain access to economic or cultural or social capital, and so forth.
This guy deserves not a plug in the Times, but a wedgie.
Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review has argued for family-friendly tax credits and other measures that reinforce middle-class dignity.
When it was pointed out to him that Red State family dysfunction was worse than Blue State family dysfunction, Ponnuru blamed it on black people. He is also the author of a book called The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life
Soft Libertarians. Some of the most influential bloggers on the right, like Tyler Cowen, Alex Tabarrok and Megan McArdle...
Aaaaagggh! I give up. This reminds me of that bit from Annie Hall: "They give awards for that kind of music? I thought just earplugs."

UPDATE. I guess I should point to some McArdle Greatest Hits for the out-of-town crowd. OK, here's McArdle on why helping is futile ("It's all too common for well-meaning middle-class people to think that if the poor just had the same stuff we do, they wouldn't be poor any more"); on who the real victim is between the riches and the poors ("I doubt Occupy Wall Street will be assuaged by learning that the top 0.1% now only receive 8% of the income earned in the US, even if that number is the lowest it's been since 2003"); on how the exportation of manufacturing jobs to Chinese slave labor camps and resulting loss of jobs in the U.S. is a great trade because we get cheap crap ("I say to people, 'Why are you upset that the Chinese want to give us excessively cheap goods?' This is like a free gift from them to us. And we should be like, thank you, happy birthday!"); why giving health care to geezers is a big rip-off ("Moreover, as a class, the old and sick have some culpability in their ill health"), etc.

UPDATE II. Commenter mortimer makes a point about Brooks' full list: "Heather Mac Donald is 56, Tyler Cowen is 50, Dreher is 45, and most of the rest of Brooks' "young writers and bloggers" are in their mid- to late 40's. Even little Janie Galt is about to turn 40. .. If these boys and their ideas get any longer in the tooth they'll have to be put down."

Yeah. Despite Brooks' guff about how "these diverse writers did not grow up in the age of Reagan and are not trying to recapture it," they all clearly proceed from Reaganite premises: The market is the ultimate good, the poor are poor due to cultural rather than economic factors, and you better be nice to the fundamentalists because they're loaded.

But what really young jacks could Brooks have included? There's always the Kids from McArdle, Jane Galt's replacement crew during her frequent vacations, including Courtney Knapp, author of "Let's Abolish Tipping" (though to be fair she just wants to social-engineer the restaurant world, not stiff waiters for thought crimes like the Go Galt crowd), Tim B. Lee, who thinks toll roads are slavery, Katherine Mangu-Ward, who applauds the "university" Wal-Mart created for its employees (she went to Yale) and wonders why we consider jobs in America better than jobs in China, et alia.  Brooks wouldn't have to worry about them growing out of it -- as long as wingnut welfare exists, they'll have no motivation to do so.


  1. Spaghetti Lee12:29 AM

    people with erotic capital deploying it to gain access to economic or cultural or social capital, and so forth.

    I'm always stunned by the sheer number of synonyms right-wingers have for 'Why can't I get laid?!'

  2. I like Daniel Larison -- although, yes, he's a religious lunatic, and yes, he's tight with VDARE and the League of the South, he somehow manages to confine his blog mainly to topics upon which his particular case of crazy never impinges -- but the notion that the American Conservative set has any clout within the Republican party these days is...well, I guess pretty much par for the Brooksian course.

  3. MBouffant12:37 AM

    outbreed the people you hate most link no good. (Not that I need to read more about

    Is Bro Rod still a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, or has he made the move to Coptic Xianity?

  4. erlking12:45 AM

    I had to tune Brooks out when he mentioned Front Porch Republic. What a shower of assholes. I had the misfortune of going to grad school with one of them. He was a pompous god-bothering prick then and he has not improved with age.

    They try to cloud their nauseating bullshit with some Wendell Barry from time to time but, mostly, they're just young fuddy-duddies aping the Agrarians.

  5. Since Nov. 6, the G.O.P. has experienced an epidemic of open-mindedness.

    I think I understand.

  6. I see you speak jive.

  7. Jay B.1:02 AM

    Larison is a pig, but at least he gives an honest critique of modern conservatism, which makes him unique in modern conservatism, as evidenced by Dave Brooks and his mindbendingly stupid roster of "open-minded" young (middle-aged) go-getters.

    I'm going to go out on a limb here — the conservative turd won't be polished by these mendacious dickheads who say EXACTLY the same things as EVERY OTHER CONSERVATIVE. My God, the conservative "rebound" is going to give me a stroke.

  8. Jay B.1:08 AM

    I don't know, SL, it sounds more like he's bitching about how much he has to pay for it. "See, officer, that Korean Transvestite had erotic capital and I was merely compensating her with access to my economic capital."

  9. ...In contrast to many members of the conservative political-entertainment complex, they are data-driven, empirical and low-key in tone.

    "The Monkees weren't about music, Marge! They were about rebellion, about political and social upheaval."

  10. To think, tens of millions of ordinary, basically honest, reasonable, inoffensive people stand up and vote Republican with this sorry list of motherfuckers every election cycle. Someone should really do something about that.

  11. tensor1:46 AM

    "There is the upper-middle reform story: Republicans should soften their tone on the social issues to win over suburban voters along the coasts."

    I disagree. Putting more "rape philosopher" candidates out there will be a winner! You can't go wrong. Luckily, the writer in question also disagrees:

    "Then there is a lower-middle reform story: Republicans should focus on the specific economic concerns of the multiethnic working class. Salam promotes the latter."

    We can hear it now: "The solution to your being an immigrant, slaving away at two low-paying jobs, is for you to get a single, high-paying job, so we can give you a tax cut."

    Remember, the New York Times pays both him and Ross DoWhat? And by "remember," I mean, "cry bitter tears."

  12. Spaghetti Lee2:25 AM

    Also: How long has McArdle been the Next Big Thing, exactly? Feels like a decade. Don't you have to think about giving up the title after turning 40? I guess Brooks and the like either really want to push her views into mainstream respectability, or they've just got no one else. Actually, both are probably true.

  13. At this point we’re one, maybe two generations away from Conservatives going full Spartan and demanding that we throw the sick and deformed off a cliff, while electing to public office only those men pure of heart enough to survive a winter alone in the wilderness, killing wolves with their bare hands. Anything less is just nanny-state mollycoddling. (The hip young Conservatives of this shining future era will of course argue that fire is a liberal conspiracy, and an affront to traditional hunter-gatherer culture).

  14. Warren_Terra5:34 AM

    I think you mean, along with my phallic capital.

  15. Warren_Terra5:39 AM

    The description of her class of new conservatives was especially funny. It basically translated to "People who will assiduously and dedicatedly promote the Republican cause, whatever it happens to be at the moment, while using phrases calculated to appeal to people who fancy themselves to be Libertarians."

  16. smut clyde5:56 AM

    tend to be suspicious of bigness

    Apart from Big Religion because shut up that's why.

    my central fixation, which is the notion that most of our political and
    social conflicts are best understood as gang wars between people with
    different kinds of capital

    Boasting of one's tunnel vision and one's determination to fit everything into a single ideological framework does not make the Procrustean bed any more comfortable.

  17. fraser6:58 AM

    But first they have to come up with a rationale for why Galtian superhumans such as themselves are so obviously capable of killing wolves they don't need to participate.

  18. fraser7:02 AM

    "Family disruption undermines social mobility. Republicans, he argues,
    should keep the social conservatism, which reinforces families, and
    supplement it with an agenda that supports upward mobility and social
    In other words, Repubs should focus on the economy--but social conservatism is an economic policy so keep bashing the poor people as immoral gutless sluts and homosexuals.

    I'd assume this was some deranged effort to satisfy both sides of the fence but Brooks has been beating the "What's wrong with the economy is that poor people are immoral" drum for a while, so I imagine he's a sincere idiot.

  19. satch7:31 AM

    I don't read Larison often, but the times I did, I didn't think he was too bad. So I checked out his latest post at The Am Con, which includes this: "...Republicans are arguably inclined to support relative moderate candidates if they think it gives them a better chance at winning the presidential election. The longer they aren't controlling the Presidency ... the more concessions they will be willing to make in order to end their time in the wilderness." He says nothing about supporting candidates or policies on the basis of whether they'd be good ideas or helpful to the country, only "will they get us back in power?" Y'know what? Fuck these guys... they're either at your throat or at your feet, and the sooner we realize that, the better.

  20. satch8:08 AM

    Brooks is just another slug in a long line of conservative hacks who love to tout "conservative values" but who are really in the business of re-defining admirable human values as conservative and then hijacking them to make cheap political points. This has been his shtick for so long he can do it in his sleep.

  21. Bending the metaphor a bit to describe as "an epidemic of open-mindedness" what was actually more like "brains falling out".

  22. reallyaimai8:52 AM

    How much do I love thee, Roy, for this:

    This guy deserves not a plug in the Times, but a wedgie.

    Also, is this not in fact the origin of "Sluts Vote"--we are employing our "erotic capital"--my husband loves it when I let him make a deposit!--in order to secure better access to the real, hard stuff?


  23. reallyaimai8:53 AM

    Ok, I was so overexcited that I put my comment about this in the wrong place but I think there is some kind of joke to be made here about metopyes and ionic vs. corinthian but I'm too confused to make it.

  24. reallyaimai8:54 AM

    There was another guy, Arthur something, but I haven't seen his work in a long time. I believe he was a very, very, very sincere libertarian and, as a result, always on the verge of literal extinction from lack of money and social/familial support.

  25. JennOfArk9:00 AM

    I think he left a word out of the description for that last category; shoulda been Soft-headed Libertarians.

    Also, Krugman takes Brooks to task, though he doesn't address him directly:

    Finally, it’s true that there are some Republican intellectuals and pundits who seem to be truly open-minded about both economic and social issues. But I worded that carefully: they “seem to be” open-minded; indeed, they’re professional seemers. When it matters, they can always be counted on — after making a big show of stroking their chins and agonizing — to follow the party line, and reject anything that doesn’t go along with the preacher-plutocrat agenda. If they don’t deliver when it counts, they are excommunicated; see Frum, David.
    Read the rest; it's just as good - as always, the good professor makes a sound case of the fact that with the GOP, it's always window-dressing - the underlying goals remain the same. As roy points out above.

  26. M. Krebs9:28 AM

    Jesus. They really are fucked, aren't they?

  27. mortimer9:31 AM

    WTF? Heather Mac Donald is 56, Tyler Cowen is 50, Dreher is 45, and most of the rest of Brooks' "young writers and bloggers" are in their mid- to late 40's. Even little Janie Galt is about to turn 40. Only a handful of his "increasingly influential center-right" kids are in their 30s or less. Hell, Brooks is only two years older than Jim Manzi, another youngster he cites. (Can't for the life of me figure out why poor Dinesh D'Souza didn't make the cut, he's the same age as Brooks.)

    If these boys and their ideas get any longer in the tooth they'll have to be put down.

  28. BigHank539:34 AM

    Arthur Silber, whose work can be found here:


    Still bleak as hell, still alive, still one of the only real libertarians I've ever read.


  30. satch9:54 AM

    Why wait?

  31. Fixed link, thanks. Don't know which iteration of Cthulhu worship Dreher's onto at this point.

  32. FMguru10:11 AM

    Not only are they old, they've been plugging away at the heart of the conservative message machine for more than a decade. Brooks' list of fresh up-and-comers who are going to reinvigorate conservatism with their outsider perspectives looks like a list of Roy's favorite punching bags circa 2004. Dreher was promoting his crunchy con bullshit on National Review back in 2002. No one bought his blather about "hip homeschooling mamas*" back then, why would they now?

    *Seriously, that was in the subtitle of his 2006 book: Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, Gun-Loving Organic Gardeners, Evangelical Free-Range Farmers, Hip Homeschooling Mamas, Right-Wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives Plan to Save America (or At Least the Republican Party)

  33. BigHank5310:12 AM

    I've actually been curious about how Ms. McArdle is doing these days, given that she got off The Atlantic gravy train just in time to join Tina Brown for Newsweek's bus plunge into the online depths. I know she's been working on a book...but that's been going on for a while now. Blogging lets one blorp out 6,000 words worth of anecdote, hand-waving, and bad math and call it a day's work, but a book requires a little more coherence. Unless she sold it to Regnery, of course.

  34. whetstone10:12 AM

    Dreher's only 45? Based on his prose and the number of religious adherences he's cycled through, I would have put him at at least 50.

  35. whetstone10:14 AM

    Given that her book is entitled "Permission to Fail," maybe she's decided to take a performance-art angle.

  36. whetstone10:25 AM

    "Since Nov. 6, the G.O.P. has experienced an epidemic of open-mindedness"

    I was going to say that it's more like "rats fleeing a sinking ship," but "epidemic" is about right: parasites fleeing a dying host in search of more ripe sucks. So I'll go with "rats fleeing a plague-ridden town."

  37. BigHank5310:27 AM

    Jesus H. motherfucking Christ. I actually know some organic gardeners and free-range farmers, and let me tell you: after the amount of time they have to put in earning a living from the soil and the sweat of their brow, they barely have time to vote, never mind save the stupid-ass Republican Party. You know what they want? Customers.

    Rod's subtitle was stupid in 2006, and six years later it's degenerated to the point where it's in danger of choking to death on its own tongue. How th' fuck many "countercultural conservatives" d'you think there are in this country? Two busloads?

  38. redoubt10:29 AM

    "The Conservative Future"?
    More like the Conservative Traditions:
    Rage (Dreher)
    Sophistry (Reiham Salam)
    and the Lash (Ramesh Ponnuru)

  39. Jay B.10:37 AM

    This reminds me of 2005, when the Times discovered hip hop.

    And you have to think that when Brooksie unveiled his list of young, modern conservative thinkers, our young Flounder Goldberg cried bitter tears in his morning rendered pancetta.

  40. I've been showing off for years by saying (after having looked at it, like, twice) that The American Conservative was the one place that gave an honest critique of W and his administration at the time, and now you tell me Crunchy Rod is there? (deep sigh) Another disillusionment. Well, we'll always have Protein Wisdom.

  41. reallyaimai10:50 AM

    Its not the years in your hysterical religious bigotry, its the hysterical religious bigotry in your years.

  42. reallyaimai10:54 AM

    six years later it's degenerated to the point where it's in danger of choking to death on its own tongue.

    In the immortal words of John Kerry: "Would that it were!"

  43. reallyaimai10:55 AM

    Thank you! That is correct. Bleak as hell describes his situation and his worldview. I feel terribly sorry for him because he seems like a really good person who is trapped in a devastatingly proud and foolish ideology.

  44. Jon Hendry11:17 AM

    Small caps, at best.

  45. Fats Durston11:17 AM

    electing to public office only those men pure of heart enough to survive
    a winter alone in the wilderness, killing wolves with their bare hands.

    Yes, I know that the conservative worldview is much more likely derived from a comic book (or movie), but I think they'd probably prefer the real Sparta, where killing human slaves proves one's masculinity and fitness for political participation.

  46. Jon Hendry11:17 AM

    Possibly minuscule.

  47. Jon Hendry11:19 AM

    Then they will argue that serving in their dad's campaign was just like a winter alone in the wilderness.

  48. Jon Hendry11:21 AM

    Every time you forsake a deity you lose CON and hit points. And SAN, actually.

  49. Duncan11:29 AM

    Well,that's politics. Only naive losers think it's about policies, let alone principles. It's about winning elections.

  50. Leeds man11:43 AM

    I pop in to Silber's place now and then. Lot of truly righteous rage, but I don't see the libertarian. Does he have a manifesto somewhere?

  51. KatWillow12:10 PM

    The "writers" at American Conservative don't direct the party, they are its (easily replaceable) yapper-dogs, running around in circles, yapping, growling, occasionally biting-and-then-peeing-on-the floor, pooping wherever they want and blaming the cat...

  52. Oh, I don't know... our very own Elizabeth Warren did pretty well campaigning on those "principle" thingies.

  53. sharculese12:42 PM

    It should be noted that Rod has since retreated to the safety of France, where he can bitch in peace about the decline in quality of European bread and coffee as a metaphor for our values.

  54. zencomix12:45 PM

    300 is the new Red Dawn!

  55. sharculese12:49 PM

    McMegan will tumble down the ladder to outposts requiring increasingly less rigor, all while jealously guarding her title as Official Mean Girl of the Beltway until the inevitable day when she stumbles onto the Washington Post editorial page and we'll get to here in great detail the social indignities imposed by her daughters coming wedding to Augustine Aquinas Douthat.

  56. Another Kiwi12:52 PM

    Is this comment, you know, seeing anybody?

  57. Another Kiwi12:57 PM

    It'd be all right if the 300 was at David Horowitz’s “Restoration Weekend” and the fighting was over the candy sprinkles sandwiches.

  58. Another Kiwi1:12 PM

    But Conservative years are like 3 human years because of being constantly on edge wondering about are you fundamentalist enough.

  59. fraser1:36 PM

    "Many of these market-oriented writers emphasize that being pro-market is not the same as being pro-business." And Tyler Cowan thinks there's no valid reason for an employee to refuse sex with the boss in order to stay employed. Very pro-market.

  60. Leeds man1:44 PM

    Never mind. I keep forgetting that their are ways of looking for things.


  61. "Permission To Suck", even. Which... come on. Come on.

  62. I know there's nothing that turns me on quite as much as a man who imposes an economic model on sexytimes.

  63. bekabot2:34 PM

    "This sounds more reasonable than the Salam I've read, who believes that to reform American culture the Right Sort must 'outbreed the people you hate most';"
    The Right Sort don't understand that the tactic described above will never work as long as the rate of exclusion from the gang on account of color, gender, income, country of national origin, et cetera, exceeds the number of kids brought up in the way they should go. You have to be willing to let people in; you can't be satisfied with being willing to grunt babies out. But, like I said, that's something righties don't comprehend. They never have and they never will. A couple of weeks ago we had an election which would have taught them this lesson, had they been capable of learning it, which they aren't. Whenever I contemplate their predicament I sigh, but not too deeply; it's not my responsibility and it's not my funeral.

  64. BigHank533:05 PM

    Which should say something about how often Brooks has sex without a financial transaction.

  65. Halloween_Jack3:07 PM

    I like this bit from Krugman's preceding post even better:

    [Paul Ryan's] genius, if you can all it that, was in realizing that there was a role — as I said, that of Honest, Serious Conservative — that self-proclaimed centrists desperately wanted to see filled, so that they
    could demonstrate their bipartisanship by lavishing praise on the
    holder of that position. So Ryan did his best to impersonate a budget
    wonk. It wasn’t a very good impersonation — in fact, he’s pretty bad at
    budget math. But the “centrists” saw what they wanted to see.

    I think that we know just which "centrist" Krugman is thinking about in particular. Krugman has been relentless in his criticism of Ryan, and this particular post may have been prompted by a just-before-the-election NYT Sunday Magazine cover article on Ryan, which, while on the surface somewhat flattering, includes many criticisms of him (such as that, in high school, he was "the kind who joined a million clubs, befriended teachers and was recognized in his yearbook as his class’s Biggest Brown-Noser"; this in reference to his repeated deference to older politicians, buttering them up as mentors), something that's reflected in the cover (by the excellent cartoonist Jaime Hernandez of Love and Rockets fame), which looks like a straightforward portrait but manages to convey the shallowness of Ryan's veneer of aw-shucks sincerity. The article ends with the observation that, should Romney lose, Ryan would be elevated to the position of The True Conservative Standard-Bearer. I think that Krugman not only agrees, but knows exactly who in his own paper would be among the first to proclaim him as such.

  66. BigHank533:27 PM

    Now that's the kind of art that you can charge for at an hourly rate. Just ask Eliot Spitzer.

  67. redoubt3:41 PM

    Proverb: "It's a poor workman that blames his (capitalist) tools."

  68. montag23:41 PM

    I must say, Brooks does bring out the best in everyone here--very funny stuff. So, he serves some small useful purpose (though hardly in proportion to the psychic damage he otherwise inflicts on most people).

    That said, one has to wonder what Pinch's reasons are for maintaining such a stable of nincompoops as Brooksie, Flat Lexus and Doubthat. None of them has much facility with language nor fondness for intriguing ideas, and all elicit more groans than nodding appreciation. Maybe that's it--Pinch just has an artificial nostalgia for vaudeville. Further proof is that Krugman gets to hit Brooksie over the head with an intellectual pig bladder twice a week, if he wants.

  69. Pope Zebbidie XIII3:42 PM

    I wonder if it is Doric, Ionic or Corinthian?

  70. Pope Zebbidie XIII3:51 PM

    We can become too cynical, which allows the Roves and Morrises to regard their dishonesty as morally justified. It also influences good people to beggar their principles as they fear it is the only way to get elected.

  71. Wow. We sometimes used the rule allowing negative HP as a proxy for "bleeding out," but a system with negative sanity points? We could call it "World of NROcruft."

  72. reallyaimai5:35 PM

    It occured to me on reading montag's comment that the reason the Times maintains its stable of writers so, well, stabley over time is the same reason that a Kindergarten teacher gave me for the organizational system they used in Kindergarten classrooms. As I looked around at all the plastic tubs marked "shapes: purple" and "blocks: square" she said "Yes, you can be happy teaching kindergarten only if you are the kind of person who likes knowing that every tuesday, at ten a.m. will be circle time and every friday at 11:00 will be block time."

    I get the feeling that the Times is run on the same principle: the owner is happy as long as he knows that every day one of his reliable stable of nags will be plodding towards the appropriate goal. Regardless of time and change.

  73. AGoodQuestion6:45 PM

    You can wind up exchanging a lot of economic capital for erotic capital and nose candy capital, if you get my drift.

  74. AGoodQuestion6:52 PM

    I'm sure that conservatives will agree amongst themselves that Spartanism is the way to go for all the little people out there, if not for themselves. Much like military service now.

  75. Sounds like what Paula Broadwell said to David Petraeus.

    I'm so sorry.

  76. Satch: I think it helps emotionally to realize that while Larison may be a decent person, one cannot support some of his positions, and that there is nothing wrong with that. The helpful part, I mean, is the realization that "he is a person of goodwill" does not have to mean "I support him". Once you get that on a deep level, politics gets a little easier. Just my take.

  77. Good point and anyhow, does craziness somehow get better if it is "principled" and consistent? Does my belief that I am being followed by wee murderous leprechauns seem better if I am also scared of garden gnomes? Or is craziness just crazy?

  78. OK, I understand that Silber is trapped by his own worldview etc. etc., but after a certain point one starts to wonder: why doesn't he just change his mind?

  79. Leeds man9:10 PM

    I don't know shit about labels, but to me most of his writing looks humanist rather than libertarian. If he's trapped by anything, it's justifiable outrage.

  80. smut clyde3:04 AM

    Logan's Run!

  81. smut clyde3:24 AM

    There must be an Essene revival he can join.

  82. yeah, i never got that he was doing the libertarian thing either. sources, please.

  83. Y'know, I think Brooks meant well, what with his descriptions of "Burkeans", "Soft Libertarians", "Paleocons", and the rest of the Wingnut zoo, but in discussions on the future of conservatism and the Pugs in general, I prefer to keep it simple, like Beatrix Kiddo did with Elle Driver in "Kill Bill", when she helpfully explained: "Bitch, you don't HAVE a future."

  84. Halloween_Jack1:05 PM

    More honor'd in the breach than in the observance, one might say.

  85. BG, ribbons in my hair1:37 PM

    Age isn't the issue. Stupidity is.

  86. Halloween_Jack4:32 PM

    Interesting that Bobo doesn't mention his NYT colleague, Ross Douthat; here's Douchehat's latest, in which he reassures his readership (whatever sad group of knuckle-draggers that may be) that, in fact, liberals were the big losers on Election Day.

  87. Aimaia10:41 PM

    I used to read him regularly and he definitely self described as a libertarian. His bleak, uncompromising, honesty makes him unique as does his willingness to suffer for his total independence.

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  89. Dreher should be Essene and not heard.

  90. chuckling2:53 PM

    You are quite the optimist. I'd say it's more like plague-infected flees seeking rats in which the plague is not quite as well-advanced.

  91. chuckling3:00 PM

    It will be interesting when Brooks discovers up and coming hip hop artists. List is somewhat predictable, though. 1. Blood of Abraham, 2. Vanilla Ice, 3. Milkbone, 4. Eminem, 5. House of Pain, and so on.

  92. BigHank5310:27 PM

    Well, he calls himself a libertarian. I'll agree he's got nothing in common with the clowns we usually make fun of around here. He seems to loathe all political leaders equally, since he's of the opinion that one of the main reasons for the existence of the modern nation-state is to enable legal murder. Given the rates at which nation-states murder people, and the pathetically thin excuses they provide for those murders, I'd say he has a point.

    This puts him far, far away from the "it's okay when our team does it" Randian fuckwits.

  93. JennOfArk1:41 PM

    It's always good news for John McCain.

  94. TheSailor6:47 PM

    If you like them so much, go get your own column. ;-)

  95. TheSailor6:52 PM

    "many members of the conservative political-entertainment complex, they are data-driven, empirical and low-key in tone."

    Tell that to Nate Silver.

  96. This is... a horrible article.

    Basically, you're upset because the writers held views that were antithetical to your own and that makes them bad?

    Perhaps you should start a blog article about liberal authors like Beinart, Chait or Kenneth Pollack who were supportive of the war in Iraq?

  97. edroso9:18 AM

    Can't read, eh? Short version: Products were misrepresented to the public. Sound it out and let me know what you think!

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  103. SocraticGadfly12:37 AM

    Not content to gay-bash, Dreher has now doubled down on racism: http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2013/07/rod-dreher-channels-his-inner-racism.html