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Smug David Brooks

Having resumed with occasionally posting to the NY Times, yesterday I received the censor stamp yet again.  Thin skinned editor for the absurd David Brooks, who manages to be about as smarmy as on can be.  Below is my response to his item of the day, The Rediscovery of Character.   David is always amazed and in wonder when he discovers new things that have been around forever.



As usual, Mr Brooks let’s his blinders blind him. He casually dismisses the “Marxist” claim that people behave owing to “material” things. Nope, it’s some more nebulous thing called “character.” Grow up in a poor neighborhood, with lousy schools, no hope of a job, and you get bad character and broken windows. Grow up in a rock solid Republican one and you get classy schools (perhaps private), a ticket to Harvard, and then you can go on to Wall Street and bust balls and crash the entire economy with your greed: good character.

It doesn’t take a social scientist to figure out poverty begets poverty, nor does it take a Marxist to notice that in our wonderful plutocracy wealth begets wealth, regardless of the “merits” or the “character.”

One Comment

  1. I recently received a newsletter from my union, the Local 1500 United Food and Commercial Workers, where the president of the union writes that the minimum wage of $7.25 in New York state is unacceptable. However, over the past few years the Union has signed over and over again contracts that have continually impoverished the workers in these corporations. I currently make $7.65, which is after two raises. I make 35 cents less than the minimum wage of my home state Massachusetts.

    Over the past year, this union has cut time and a half on Sundays and has cut in half the raises we receive. This all occurred because the incentive full time workers were given to sign the current contract made them comparatively well-off despite the impoverishment of future part-time workers like me. There’s a huge disconnect between what the president of the union writes about regarding minimum wage being unacceptable and the actions of the union in negotiating living wages for their workers at the super market I work at. It doesn’t help that both federal and state taxes are killing us, but combined with union dues, we’re getting creamed. The two raises I received still don’t reconcile the large amount of union dues I’ve had and still have to pay.

    I’m 23 and a college graduate, and my generation is being punished for the incompetence and avarice of the baby boomers. Except being the case where members of my generation have spurned their education in favor of degrees in money making majors such as economics, business, engineering, marketing, etc, we are a completely impoverished sort. We have relatively little means by which to climb economically–and it’s worse if you have no degree at all so I’m told. I don’t understand this. The previous generations allowed outsourcing to occur; allowed minimum wage to fall below inflation; allowed our agricultural production to be consolidated into the hands of but a few producers (no “product” at the supermarket deli I work at is actually produced in New York or the surrounding states).

    I decided this week to actually read the Communist Manifesto and Common Sense. It’s amazing how such rational ideas and observations are still being contested. In fact, reading Common Sense and then thinking about how the Founding Fathers constructed our government, it’s as if they never even read Thomas Paine’s work. John Adams opposed Paine’s philosophy that men without private property should be allowed to vote. Heck, George Washington was the richest man in America when he became president. And, after reading just the beginning of Common Sense, I was convinced that the nature of the presidency is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Of course, I grew up with George W. Bush, so it wasn’t hard work convincing me that the president is a useless, if not backward and damaging institution.

    To think, in the 2,500 years since the concept of democracy was founded in Athens, we haven’t really come that far.

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