“David Brooks and the Intellectual Collapse of the Center”

David Brooks and the Intellectual Collapse of the Center” is excellent. I may be a small part of that intellectual center, to the point of writing a presidential endorsement post in October—something I’ve never done before, because the climate has never seemed to merit it. But given the potential for catastrophe, it seemed necessary. Some readers have complained about the increasing amount of political content on The Story’s Story, but given the worldwide political darkness that has been descending it seems necessary to attempt to understand it. I would like to go back to mostly ignoring politics apart from straightforward analysis.

And the problem of false equivalence is real, as Chait makes clear at the link: “official centrists would simply relocate themselves to the midpoint of wherever the parties happened to stand.” Yet official centrists should do more than triangulate. They (or we) haven’t done that. They (or we) have also been somewhat asleep over the last six or so years.

I certainly have been and am now attempting to make up for that slumber, in part because I’ve been so wrong about what I thought was politically possible or feasible. Though I’ve read The Myth of the Rational Voter, I didn’t entirely internalize its lessons. Though I’ve read about the extent to which irrationality pervades most human cognition, I didn’t think that we’d become so wildly irrational on a large-scale, public basis. Though I understand that most people know little about history, I didn’t appreciate the extent to which “little” really means “nothing.”

But knowing and understanding things may not matter very much, since we may be living in a post-literate age and I’m writing material that may go largely unread, especially by the people who most need to understand what’s happening.

One response

  1. B. Dylan explored your ennui in 1965 in Ballad of a Thin Man, which is supposedly about him being interviewed by a clueless Time Magazine: “You walk into the room, With your pencil in your hand,
    You see somebody naked, And you say, “Who is that man?”, You try so hard, But you don’t understand, Just what you’ll say, When you get home, Because something is happening here,
    But you don’t know what it is, Do you, Mister Jones?” http://bobdylan.com/songs/ballad-thin-man/

    Seems you may be Mr. Jones, as something is definitely happening and who knows what it is.

    Like

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