David Brooks - strong American values are leading to "incredibly backward-looking campaign" - Granite Grok

David Brooks – strong American values are leading to “incredibly backward-looking campaign”

David Brooks is “the conservative columnist” for the New York Time (“NYT”); the adjective “Conservative” would never be used as a modifier to his name here in NH – and am most assuredly positive that my sentiment would be replicated  with many others in other states.  But even as he opines as a New Yorker, he is Beltway Republican through and through.  In this column, he talks about how reporting on Prez campaigns has changed: used to hobnobbing with the candidates themselves, he now studies the people (you know, the ones that actually vote and to whom elections are not just an intellectual curiousity) that show up to the events to hear the candidates.  Given that the “Johnny on the spot” report was from South Carolina, he also spent a fair amount of time critiquing the candidate.

But this is emblematic of what is wrong with the Republican Establishment:

I was also struck, as in New Hampshire and Iowa, by the mood of this year’s rallies. Republican audiences this year want a restoration. America once had strong values, they believe, but we have gone astray. We’ve got to go back and rediscover what we had. Heads nod enthusiastically every time a candidate touches this theme.

I agree with the sentiment, but it makes for an incredibly backward-looking campaign. I sometimes wonder if the Republican Party has become the receding roar of white America as it pines for a way of life that will never return.

Oh, so right he is – that “icky stuff”, the stuff that speaks of the heart,Values, is just so retro! Er, no, he’s dead nuts on wrong.

Isn’t he just so full of what drives the grassroots crazy – the casual dismissal of the Values that powers the heartland of this Country even as he exhibits a blase acceptance of those Democrat / Progressive values that are steathily antithetical to the Values that were set back in the Revolutionary War time period.  You know, they only provided the values that guided the Pilgrims and the early settlers in a far away strange land.  Rock solid Values helped the Founders lay down one of the most perfect political documents in history.  Values are what helped to drive the Westward drive.  Values helped this country right one of its most egregious sins – slavery, and move forward through two World Wars and a Cold War.

But as many Establishment Republicans do, David Brooks only focuses on one thing – the campaign and its results.  Yes, that is important but without Values, what do you get?  A $15 Trillion deficit – and all of that is due to walking away (if not running) from the Values that formed this country.  Sure, once you win the campaign, you get to wield real power – because of ignoring the Values of the Founders, Government is too big.  That said, what you DO after winning should depend on Values – but it hasn’t (see above, $15 Trillion). I posit that it is BECAUSE of our turning from those solid character values that we find ourselves in such desperate straits.  Post-modernism, with its injection into the philosophical life by Progressives with its categorical refusal to recognize absolute truths, absolute right and wrong, has not only erected a giant slide on which our culture has been put, but has also greased it with major water jets that far outstrips philosophical gravity in pushing us down to the bottom.

And at that bottom, there are no values at all – for relative moralism says “it is what *I* say it is” – and with 320 million Americans, that’s too  many *I*’s for an orderly society.

Brooks also makes a point that I have never understood, with quite the racist phrase: white America.  In my eyes, Values have no skin color and know no race (you?).  Are there no Honorable black people?  Are there no courageous Latinos?  Is being loyal beyond the ability of Asians?  Are Love of Country, Love of the ideals on which it was Founded, and a Greatfulness to those who gave their all defending it only a white Value, Mr. Brooks?

Values – they matter.  And they should come FIRST before a campaign – a campaign without them is a mere tin cup full of nothing.  It would not be “incredibly backward-looking campaign” – it would be a campaign that totally misses the point; he is calling the cart a horse and left the real horse outside the barn.

Values matter – here is a snippet from Victor Davis Hanson (one of America’s great commentators) as he watches his state, California, is dissolving into bankruptcy:

The average Californian, like the average Greek, forgot that civilization is fragile. Its continuance requires respect for the law, tough-minded education, collective thrift, private investment, individual self-reliance, and common codes of behavior and civility — and exempts no one from those rules. Such knowledge and patterns of civilized behavior, slowly accrued over centuries, can be lost in a single generation.

Values – they form a civilization.  Without them, there is no civilization.


I started to make a quick list – let me know where I’m wrong and Values that I forgot

  • Loyalty
  • Honor
  • Faith
  • Duty
  • Community
  • Knowing Right vs Wrong
  • Self-responsibility and self-reliance
  • Integrity
  • Truthtelling
  • Frugality
  • Helpfulness
  • Rugged Individualism
  • Optimism
  • Love of Country
  • Respect of others and of their property
  • The value of a dollar – and of the value of the labor that earned it.
  • The installation of those values into their children – a Parent’s job and not the government’s.
  • The idea that schools taught and didn’t indoctrinate
  • That the right thing was to pull your own weight instead of scheming to be pulled
  • Looking to better oneself
  • doing the job right; others might not know the difference – but you do.
  • respectful of others – especially your elders.  A platitude, but we’ve lost something with our culture with youth oriented
  • Me comes last, especially when being a parent
  • being a parent means you come last for the next 18 years – and after that, you still might not be first
  • God exists, watches over us personally, and someday, there will be an accounting to be had
  • God has blessed this country – why have we dissed Him in our pop culture?
  • Chivalry still is of value and works – regardless of what feminism has wrought (and look what happens Titanic vs Italian cruise)
  • Manners counted