From time-to-time establishment talking heads are forced to face some realities. They’ll do so under certain conditions, of course. First, the reality can no longer be avoidable. Second, it must be socially acceptable (i.e., their fellow statists won’t ostracize them).
For example, as opposed to 10 years ago, it is now “safe” for a talking head to criticize the Iraq war as a loser. It’s no longer avoidable, and the talking head won’t be ostracized by the rest of the government worshipping community.
There is one more major qualification if a talking head decides to discuss the reality. He must qualify at the end of his spiel that government is still inevitable, and is still the best and only non-utopian option to solving the world’s problems.
In today’s column by David Brooks, who regularly genuflects at the altar of the state, hits all the qualifications:
We’re in the middle of a remarkable shift in how Americans see the world and their own country’s role in the world. For the first time in half a century, a majority of Americans say that the U.S. should be less engaged in world affairs, according to the most recent Pew Research Center survey.[…]
Brooks uses the words “should be less engaged” instead of “mind its own business” which is the language that Pew used. But hey, it’s David Brooks. His job is to make government stench come off as potpourri.
At first blush, this looks like isolationism. After the exhaustion from Iraq and Afghanistan, and amid the lingering economic stagnation, Americans are turning inward.
But if you actually look at the data, you see that this is not the case. America is not turning inward economically. More than three-quarters of Americans believe the U.S. should get more economically integrated with the world, according to Pew.
America is not turning inward culturally. Large majorities embrace the globalization of culture and the internationalization of colleges and workplaces.[…]
This sense of limits is shared equally among Democrats and Republicans, polls show. There has been surprisingly little outcry against the proposed defense cuts, which would reduce the size of the U.S. Army to its lowest levels since 1940. That’s because people are no longer sure military might gets you very much.
This reality must be tough for Brooks to face. After all, isn’t that pound-for-pound a manifestation of the ideas that Ron Paul has been spreading for the last 30+ years?
But we must remember the rule. If reality is discussed by a talking head (and especially if the reality is Ron Paulian) the talking head must adhere to the most important qualification. Brooks delivers:
It’s frankly naïve to believe that the world’s problems can be conquered through conflict-free cooperation and that the menaces to civilization, whether in the form of Putin or Iran, can be simply not faced. It’s the utopian belief that politics and conflict are optional.
Brooks’s social standing with the comrades will not be in danger with that finely crafted statement. First, throw in the word “naive”. Next a ridiculous claim that the flavors of the day (Putin & Iran) are somehow “menaces to civilization”. Then throw in the trusty word “utopian”. Finally, top it all off with saying that politics and conflict are not optional.
Hate to burst your utopian bubble David…but they are!
Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.