Saturday, February 20, 2010

Missing the point...

...David Brooks has time and time again demonstrated himself to be good at that:

Since Watergate, we've tried to make government as open as possible. But as William Galston of the Brookings Institution jokes, government should sometimes be shrouded for the same reason that middle-aged people should be clothed. This isn't Galston's point, but I'd say the more government has become transparent, the less people are inclined to trust it.

Brooks seems to be saying here that government is not trusted because it's too open. For the sake of the argument we'll grant his point and leave out things like the Democrats not wanting to let C-SPAN televise the talks on health care. One wonders why he fails to mention the possibility that Americans don't trust their government because of the outrageous things that our legislators do when the cameras are on them, seemingly not caring that they're being watched. Does Brooks think that it would be better if things like the deal Ben Nelson got for Nebraska in exchange for his vote for the health care plan were not so extensively documented? Once again, we see Brooks putting forth an argument with absolutely nothing to support it.

I also thought it was funny to see Brooks say it was "less necessary to be clubbable," considering how he prattles on about supposed intellectuals and with almost every column he writes divides people into two clubs -- the intellectuals and everyone else. In effect he does that here, as he puts forth the idea that society should have leaders, saying it's "not even clear that society is better led" and talks as if it's people in professions like finance that supposedly lead us -- breezing right over the fact that the people in finance in effect do things with money that everyone else makes. And that includes those in that other club whose members Brooks looks down on and derides. I shouldn't be surprised that he misses that from his lofty pseudointellectual perch, but it's still not a pretty thing to see someone demonstrate time after time just how "educated beyond his intelligence" he is.