NO! [Picture me standing athwart history.]
I say no to the Sage of Knoxville blaming this epochal condition on "who we elected in 2008" and also to Brooks' conclusion that it is hard to get people to risk death in defense of principles other than nationalism or religion. Our national memes just aren't promoting the right principles. Take a look around Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch and tell me people won't risk death for an idea.
As for the president's culpability, sure, he has much to answer for. But as I expained to a FB friend (not of the RFF variety) the true villain in eminent domain actions is not the corporate beneficiary, but the force-wielding government. Homologically [I couldn't resist] a majority isn't to blame for the tyranny it imposes upon its minority neighbors - the blame belongs to the democratic system of government that instantiates and legitimizes said tyranny.
This came to me while driving this morning, as I listened to one Rush Limbaugh simultaneously celebrate the flight of Californians for Texas, and bemoan that they will "bring their stupid ideas with them." This is of course a very real phenomenon, as Coloradans can today attest, but it isn't the stupid ideas we need to worry about. It's the fact that GOVERNMENT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO FORCE THEIR IDEAS UPON OTHERS, AGAINST THEIR WILL.
There's yer problem.
Oh yes, I'm not finished.
My premise above mirrors Brooks' description of the pre-modern order throughout recorded history: That "Powerful people have generally tried to impose their version of the Truth on less powerful people."
But the modern order Brooks thinks we should "die" for includes exactly this, as factions are molded and shaped and allied to create, what? Democratic majorities. Which do, what? Impose their version of the Truth on the less powerful.
Okay, now I'm finished.
Firstly: you're not going to want to wait until Sunday's Review Corner to order your copy of David Harsanyi [all Hail His Holy Name]'s The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy.
Secondo: Not sure who gets the unequivocal and all caps no. Dost thou let Mister Brooks off the hook? The [albeit-token] Conservative at the NYTimes gives the all-clear to vote for the Democrat, based on . . . the crease of his trousers.
I was alive in 2008. Two-thousand-eight was a friend of mine. Many people I know thought that Senator Obama's professed plans to hastily reduce forces in Iraq and Afghanistan were reckless. David Brooks and Peggy Noonan provided cover for any Republicans who wanted to get swept in the celebrity fervor of "Our Nation's first African-American President™" and vote their conscience and dry-cleaning over a sober recognition of America's place in the world.
Likewise, Governor Romney was ridiculed in 2012 for his "Cold War mentality." I may be arguing with a statement you did not make, but I do not plan to forgive Brooks & Noonan (isn't that a C&W act?" until they admit culpability and beg forgiveness.
I am not Jesus but I can forgive. Are you and Mr. Reynolds not making the same reflexive overreaction as the RFFs you so rightly chided, mere paragraphs earlier? They did the wrong thing, and for the wrong reasons, but as long as they're serious about saving the liberty and prosperity of the modern era, and casting off the quest for "progress and global goodness" welcome under the tent Mr. Brooks and Ms. Noonan. Now, help me get your dumbass - excuse me, urbane - friends to vote for new restrictions on what can be done to people through the vote! Let's try again at that "republic" thingy. This time, without the anachronistic flaws.
Or, as Xander said, "The quality of mercy is not Buffy" (I Only Have Eyes for You, Season 2).
Forgiveness is swell, but neither Brooks nor our Margaret have come back to be reliable defenders of liberty. Nor has either acknowledged his or her mistake.
I'd greet either warmly and buy coffee at The Black Dog Coffee Shop, but both represent eastern elitism above liberty. When they do write good columns, I will happily recognize them.
All Hail Taranto?
Why? One reason was because of the cult of personality that surrounded Barack Obama during his campaign and the early days of his presidency. His supporters, including many journalists, were the functional equivalent of Data's virtual audience, cheering Obama no matter what he said or did. The virtual audience may be smaller now, but it's heavily represented at Vox.com--although it must be acknowledged that Klein, Fisher, Kliff and the rest of the "data-driven journalists" are all too human.
"NO" doesn't mean I don't hold Brooks, Noonan, Obama, Biden, Holder, Roberts, Kerry, Clinton, on and on ad infinitum responsible, it just means that getting rid of that army of people with bad ideas won't prevent a new wave from taking their place and doing the same thing. (Hence the term "ad infinitum.") Structural change is required. A "fundamental transformation" from the democracy we have crept toward and now find ourselves in, back to the republic our forbears were once bequeathed.
You're talking about the trees while I'm saying, "See that forest?"