Saturday, March 13, 2004

David "Gasbag" Brooks Is At It Again

Today we get more blathering in the New York Times courtesy of a man who likes to use big words to convince us all to be simpletons. Take, for example, this excerpt in Brooks's current rant against John Kerry:

"Kerry was venturing off into the realm of Post-Cartesian Multivariate Co-Directionality that would mark so many of his major foreign policy statements."

Ah me. Chuckle, chuckle. It takes a special kind of superficial and shallow person to use so many polysyllabic words to convince us that subtlety and nuance are a sign of weakness and misunderstanding. Yes, David Brooks would have us believe that accusing the next leader of planet earth's only remaining military superpower of reasoning that leads to "Multivariate Co-Directionality" is to slay him politically. Apparently Brooks is on-board with a new Post-Cartesian form of logic encouraged by PNAC and the neo-conservatives. This is a far easier logic which conveniently eliminates all of those nasty, fuzzy, subtle variations of life. Here's how it works:

President Bush = good
Everything President Bush does = good
John Kerry = bad
Saddam Hussein = bad
Osama bin Laden = bad
John Kerry = Saddam Hussein = Osama bin Laden = bad
Dick Cheney = holy
Paul Wolfowitz = Richard Pearle = smart
Don Rumsfeld = Department of Defense = real
Colin Powell = Department of State = irrelevant
Europe = chicken
oil = money = everything
USA = can never be wrong about anything

This pretty much sums up David Brooks, PNAC, and neo-conservative "thought". To suggest that, for example, Saddam Hussein's corrupt and dysfunctional regime could have been first contained and then toppled by some method or (now try hard to think and understand this subtle idea) some combination of things other than an invasion, is to engage in "Multivariate Co-Directionality".

One thing seems certain, even for those of us lost in the fog of a complicated, multivariate life, Mr. Brooks's accusations tell us a great deal more about how he thinks (or doesn't, as the case may be) than they do about John Kerry's qualifications for office. The really scary and dangerous possibility is that a sufficient number of voting-age Americans would prefer a simpleminded, "with us or against us" approach to managing US foreign policy in a world growing more complicated and more dangerous everyday. Certainly if a New York Times editorial writer is seduced by such simplemindedness and believes that subtlety and nuance are fodder for ridicule, then we should all agree.

Here's what I propose to help the election process along this year (in support of Mr. Brooks's anti-intellectual stand). When it's time to have the candidates debate one another, we can use a new format that will make it much easier for unemployed mill workers, fast food manufacturing sector workers, and David Brooks to follow. Answers will be limited to one word!

Moderator: Mr. President, would you say that terrorism is a bad thing?

G. W. Bush: Yes.

Moderator: Mr. Kerry, would you use nuclear weapons to utterly destroy the nation of Iran if it turns out they have unauthorized nuclear materials?

John Kerry: No.

Moderator: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for tuning in to tonight's Presidential Debate.

Fox News "Analyst": Well there you have it. Kerry is clearly a weak-willed, left-wing, liberal elitist who is soft on terrorism. The choice is clear. President Bush all the way. Thank you ladies and gentlemen, for tuning in to tonight's "Fair and Balanced" analysis of the Presidential Debate.

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