Saturday, June 17, 2006

More challenges to "Brooksism"

Daniel Larison in Eunomia discusses some of the problems and inconsistencies in David Brooks' new political-ideological split of "pop-nats" vs. "prog-globs." Among other things he suggests that:
Note how Brooks has defined determining trade policies in the light of national interest or maintaining a domestic industrial base (the sorts of policies that he, as a prog-glob, despises) as "liberal" economics (as Brooks is relying on the phrase "liberal on economics" to scare the well-to-do to side with the prog-globs), whereas policies dedicated to shoring up the interests of the extensive bureaucratic machinery of multinational corporations and international governing institutions are allegedly "market-oriented." You don't need to think on that much to see that the prog-glob embrace of "market-oriented" policies is a corrupt and distorted one that aims to use certain mechanisms of "the market" to expand their control.

And, indeed, not only are many free-market proponents (libertarians, etc) are opposed to the idea of promoting democracy through the use of government and military power. My guess is that that is the dominant view in the Silicon Valley and its satellites.
There is also an interesting discussion of the issue in verbum ipsum.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Larison and other blogs mention Rod Dreher. Here is a Dreher blog comment about Brooks's PN:

Populist nationalists (PNs) would be "liberal on economics, conservative on values and realist on foreign policy."

Consider the Brooks quote that Dreher supplies. If you took Brooks seriously, then you can see his definition of Polulist Nationalists as being pretty close to the views of the Catholic Church, as expressed thru Bishops and Vatican.

The problem is that Vatican is not American nationalist. It's actually a foreign state - complete with an Ambassador. It's an international organization - a cosmopolitan institution in a national age, as some have said.

But they are very much, "liberal (not classically liberal) on economics, conservative on values and realist on foreign policy."

Another weakness for Brooks is the fact that his Progressive Globalists have to rely on Populist Nationalist (as defined the way Dreher describes Brooks's view) to fight their wars.

The trouble with that - is that the Populist Nationalists are not attracted to the vision of the Prog Globs.

So in order for the Progressive Globlists to recruit the Populist Nationalists to fight for what they don't believe in - an excess of guile and subterfuge must be excercised.

There are just not enough brave Progressive Globalists around to fight and die for the cause they believe in.

But the fact is that if people really believe in a cause, then they are willing to risk their lives for it -

Very few Progressive Nationalists seem willing to risk their lives in battle for these ideas - That doesn't mean they wouldn't risk their lives - But it does call into question whether or not they really believe in what they say they care about.

As long as others can be recruited to fight - then it's human and understandable why it is tempting to portray the war aganist Iraq as the equivalent of the war against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. We've all heard the Progressive Globalists imvoke Munich, etc.

Do they really believe their own rhetoric? If so, they would be focused, they would demand a draft, they would stop talking about peripheral issues, etc.

Anonymous said...

Consider the Pop-Nat Buchanan. Pat watches Mexicans jumping the border. Does he reply to this as a Catholic? Afterall, he is has spoke forcefully as an loyal follower of the Church. Further, Mexicans are mostly Catholic and they tend to be more observant than the soft, secularized, modernized, pastuerized, and prosperous Catholics Pat hangs with in media circles. Further, an infusion of Mexicans into US parishes will bring church attendance up, etc . Plus - Mexicans have great food.

But Pat does not follow the cosmopolitan creed of the borderless Church, on this issue - In fact, the Mexicans will do better to have the Neocons make their case.

The Neocons are a bit like the Jesuits were for Rome in the 16th to 18th century.

But they are advocates for the House of Bush, rather than the Seat of Peter.

Or how about Populist Nationalist like Bill O., or Ann C.? Do you honestly think they do not have Mexicans (hired by denialable third parties) do work on their homes, etc.

Anonymous said...

Larison quotes the phrase, ""unpatriotic conservatives." If memory serves, that is from a National Review article by David Frum.

"Axis of Evil" Frum is a Canadian - so it was pretty funny seeing a foreigner try to evoke an sense of emotional nationalism against conervatives - many who seemed to be what Brooks would call Pop-Nats.

Imagine moving to England and within a year or so you start denouncing the patriotism of the entire British Conserative Party - You might be right LOL - but no one would take you seriously - They would say, "who does Hadar think he is, calling Thatcher un-English?" LOL

Yet, In Brooks-land, Frum is Progessive Globalist. Right? But evocations of "patriotims" has traditionally been an appeal, a base appeal , to the nationalist right.

It was pretty funny -

Imagine Pat Buchanan and Robert Novak moving to Vancouver and denouncing all the left leaning Canadians as un-Canadian. They would just be laughed at -

But somehow Frum was able to pull that trick off - he was able to denoune the patriotism of Americans , and no one seemed to find that odd - even though he was a foreigner. Hitchens does something similar

Anonymous said...

Let me clarify this above comment:

"As long as others can be recruited to fight - then it's human and understandable why it is tempting to portray the war aganist Iraq as the equivalent of the war against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. We've all heard the Progressive Globalists imvoke Munich, etc"

-
From the Progressive Globalist POV - it seems entirely reasonable and understandbale to to use "Munich" and other Nazi comparisons as motivational tropes to aid in propaganizing the mass of Populists Nationalist base - .

After all, if you believe in the Iraq war - then you must figure out a way to sell the war. The Nazi comparisons are used because they work - They get people scared and motivated.

So what if they are not true? Haven't you ever lied your girlfriend/wife? That doesn't mean you don't love her. You just tell her (sometimes) what she wants to hear - You know , deep in your heart, it's the right thing to do.

So if you want to motivate people to fight Iraq you have a choice - You could accuarately describe the Iraq threat or you could compare Iraq to Nazi Germany. As you can imagine - the Nazi threat comparison works better as a motivating tool.

The problem is that Nazi Germany was the most advanced, most menacing war machine ever developed - in the heart of Europe. While Iraq was about as powerful as the Cincinatti Police Department - with a population of shoeless masses outside of the cities. Not exactly as fearsome of a Germany and Japan - who actually had superior forces in the beginning of the conflict.

So the Progressive Globalists fall into a quandry - they lose support over times as people begin to realize that much of what they say is hype and noise -

But they are more consistant than the Populist Nationalists like Buchanan on issues like Immigration - Partly for class reasons.

Anonymous said...

Larison is correct to score Brooks for conflating so-called realists with so-called populists.

All of these labels are ridiculous - and it makes Brooks less deserving of being called an 'intellectual,' much less the more exalted title of 'comic sociologist' that he claims.

But - he is good a driving people to write about his columns - even though no one seems to like doing so.

Global Paradigms said...

I agree with one of the "anonynous" that we do have to give Brooks credit for igniting this lovely debate. He is good "pop sociologist" and he is successful in simplifying complex social-economic issues (the way Friedman does with global-ecomonics). He certainly could have been a great asset as a propagandist working for the old Comintern. I think that there is another way of framing the debate that he alludes to. It's really between contrasting definitions of U.S. national interest, which tend to reflect, in turn, certain ideological beiefs, economic and social interests, etc. The problems is that with a few exceptions, we don't have these two camps, but various coalitions around issue-areas, like trade, immigration, foreign policy, social-culture. And -- with some exceptions --- there is no direct correlation between views on these issue-areas. You have indviduals and groups who wants to restrict immigration and yet support Bush's foreign policy (many Republican memebrs of Congress). You have those who support free trade and are opposed to the imperial neoconservative agenda, and protectionists who are imperialists. Anti-abortionists who are anti-immigration and/or pro-immigration, and we could go on and on here. Again, Hagel and Gore are very "globalists" (free trade and immigration) yet realists on foreign policy. The paleo-libertarian associated with LewRockwell share many of Buchanan's positions on foreign policy but not on trade. Again.. my main argument is that Brooks basiclly trying to bash the anti-Iraq camp as xenophobic, conspiracy-oriented, etc. And that nonsense, even as it applies to the people he mentions such as Webb, Dobbs, and Phillips. I recall that at some point some of the leading Republican lawmakers boasted that they don't even have passports as part of their efforts to attack the UN, France, etc. during the debate on Iraq. And these are supposed to be Brooks' "progressive globalists?"

Anonymous said...

All the above anonymous comments are from this same anonymous commenter - But on a previous post, there is another anonymous commenter that is different than this one. Next time, remind me to sign in.

Your analyis is excellent - Brooks is entitled to his view - whatever that happens to be - But it so obvious that he knows that some people he tries to portray as xenophobes are not xenophobes that it becomes a bore to pretend Brooks believes what he says he does.

Think of when Bush was booed at Coretta Scott King's funeral - That was great because Bush was being busted for trying to do some Brooksian co-opting of a liberal hero no longer alive to despute him. Brooks pretended that Bush was sincere , etc .
The NewHour would be more accurate if they hired Coulter to replace Brooks - She represents a wider swath of the right - but she is not acceptable to the PBS crowd. But it would be funny to see that.

Anonymous said...

Leon wrote:
--
He [Brooks] certainly could have been a great asset as a propagandist working for the old Comintern
--

Years ago, on a visit to Amer. U, saw Vlad Posner speak This was several years before the USSR fell apart. He got AU student to applaud him when he tauted various Soviet peace initiatives and Soviet universall health care. Posner was a Soviet propaganist - and he actually apologized for that fact years later. But when he spoke at AU, he was very good at making the ussr sound reasonable and progressive. Many students who went to hear him nodded along, thinking that he and the Politburo guys back in Moscow were more in tune with their liberal college attitudes than the reactionaries in US gov Eventually Posner recanted = will Brooks?

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