This is why I hate conservatives, especially the ones who pretend to be intellectuals:
The people around Obama are smart and sober. Their plans are bold but seem supple and chastened by a realistic sensibility.
Yet they set off my Burkean alarm bells. I fear that in trying to do everything at once, they will do nothing well. I fear that we have a group of people who haven’t even learned to use their new phone system trying to redesign half the U.S. economy.
Where were those Burkean alarm bells when we set out to remake Iraq? (And no, this doesn’t count.) Why do they only go off when a Democratic president attempts much-needed domestic reforms and not when a Republican president forms a Holy Alliance to create democracy in the Middle East?
No amount of masturbating about Burke and Oakeshott and the rest of your little heroes is going to change the fact that the ideology you supported has harmed this country, perhaps irreparably. Maybe it’s time to leave those books (that you probably don’t understand) behind and start reading budget reports and health care plans. That goes for Sully (whose blog I do genuinely like) too. Give it up.
There’s an episode “Cheers” where Diane describes something she’s written as “Joycean”. Carla says “if Joycean means stupid, then I agree.” That’s how I feel when I hear conservatives prattling on about “Burkean” this and “Oakeshottian” that and the importance of “intellectual integrity”. You guys aren’t intellectuals and you have no integrity.
In the end, I don’t think it’s likely that there are many political philosophers of note who would have recommended sending as unaccomplished a man as George Bush to the White House or running four hundred billion dollar deficits during times of economic expansion or persisting with a health care system that costs twice as much per person as any other system and offers worst results. I don’t think that’s likely at all. I think it’s much more likely that people like Brooks (and to a lesser degree Sully) use faux erudition to mask their ignorance of policy details and lack of common sense.
Update: Sully is also mocking Brooks about this, which confirms what the thread already convinced me: that it’s totally unfair to compare him to Brooks.