Tuesday, December 17, 2013

David Brooks Licks the Jackboot

I have officially put Brooks in my Friedman box. I will never read his stuff the same way again.

Four days ago, his desire for more "unified authority" made me want to reach for the black flag of my youth. He even rolled around in Fukuyama for the love of Pete.

He hit a lifetime touchy subject for your humble blogg'r. In my youth, in my nogg'n I raged against everything that stood in front of where I wanted to go (I had no idea where that was, but that didn't matter), throwing "fascist" at everything that tried to put a fence around me. I then did a 180 and went military as the only thing worse than fascists were communists, but through a little luck managed things to give me the intellectual and personal running room I needed, somehow threading the needle from a one-tour-and-go to a career still pulling against the yoke of whatever I felt was around my neck.

For my adult life, with time I largely mellowed, refining my black flag in to a love of liberty and small "l" libertarianism - seasoned with an understanding of the sublime success of this nation's founding. The younger me is just a little under the surface, and the right thing can bring him out.

People like Brooks, who in their vanity, desire to toss away messy freedom for the mirage of a kinder authoritarianism drive me to distraction.
It’s a good idea to be tolerant of executive branch power grabs and to give agencies flexibility. We voters also need to change our voting criteria. It’s not enough to vote for somebody who agrees with your policy preferences. Presidential candidates need to answer two questions. How are you going to build a governing 60 percent majority that will enable you to drive the Washington policy process? What is your experience implementing policies through big organizations?

We don’t need bigger government. We need more unified authority. Take power away from the rentier groups who dominate the process. Allow people in those authorities to exercise discretion. Find a president who can both rally a majority, and execute a policy process.
Most of the world suffers under the choking hold of one type of tyranny or another; usually large, often small. We, along with a couple of dozen other nations, live in strange but nice world of personal freedom in a fashion that fits the desires of the people who live there. 

Those like Brooks, Friedman and Fukuyama benefit from the freedom they find so inconvenient. These brilliant idiots don't like the fact that our difficult government structure is a feature, not a bug. They all make me sick - like a baying gaggle in Greece and Rome who cried for a leader to get rid of all that messy freedom.

Slit trenches throughout the world are full of the bodies put there by a pampered, self-important, over-credentialed, appointed betters who - unable to convince the masses of the brilliance of their ideas - decide it would be best to grab the jackboot and wallow in option of power. 

They have to know that outside of St. Petersburg, Munich, Madrid, Havana, Barcelona, Phnom Phen and other places - there are smaller pits filled with the bodies of those like-minded with Brooks et al who, in their time, thought they could control and contain the tyranny they traded in place of a messier society outside their control. 

There is a very short path from "unified authority" to lining people against the wall and having them shot. All three of those guys should know that - but their arrogance blinds them to the failures of better men who went down the same path before.

Amazing misreading of human nature.
UPDATE Why, yes. As mentioned in comments by DB;

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