The Retreat to Tribalism – by David Brooks – NYT

“Imagine three kids running around a maypole, forming a chain with their arms. The innermost kid is holding the pole with one hand. The faster they run, the more centrifugal force there is tearing the chain apart. The tighter they grip, the more centripetal force there is holding the chain together. Eventually centrifugal force exceeds centripetal force and the chain breaks.

That’s essentially what is happening in this country, N.Y.U.’s Jonathan Haidt argued in a lecture delivered to the Manhattan Institute in November. He listed some of the reasons centrifugal forces may now exceed centripetal: the loss of the common enemies we had in World War II and the Cold War, an increasingly fragmented media, the radicalization of the Republican Party, and a new form of identity politics, especially on campus.

Haidt made the interesting point that identity politics per se is not the problem. Identity politics is just political mobilization around group characteristics. The problem is that identity politics has dropped its centripetal elements and become entirely centrifugal.Martin Luther King described segregation and injustice as forces tearing us apart. He appealed to universal principles and our common humanity as ways to heal prejudice and unite the nation. He appealed to common religious principles, the creed of our founding fathers and a common language of love to drive out prejudice. King “framed our greatest moral failing as an opportunity for centripetal redemption,” Haidt observed.”

DL: David Brooks has written a challenging piece, and it is full of great points, but it is so abstract as to be almost meaningless. Does he really mean that college professors and their students are as responsible as Donald Trump and the GOP for centrifugal forces tearing apart America? A second, careful reading suggests that Brooks is in fact aiming most of his barbs at Trump and the GOP, but so abstactly, that he maintains a distance, even deniability. Many of the commenters point out that it is mostly the GOP that is doing many things to undermine our democracy and its principles, as they cater to the desires of the billionaire donors.

Here is a comment, that though it fails to recognize that a few Republicans are not pleased with GOP radicalism, I endorse:
B. USA 3 hours ago
The right spends a significant amount of its time and effort to make it harder for individuals to participate politically, while making it easier for corporations and organizations with vast sums of untraceable money to be included in the political process.

The right has been driving wedges and creating an us-vs-them atmosphere since Reagan declared “government is the problem” and demonized freedom of association by attacking unions which work for the common good.

The right has abandoned the notion of truth, has abandoned education for all, and has abandoned traditional moral values in favor of dogmatism, science denial, exclusivity, and power-grabbing at any cost. The current leader of the right now sitting at 1600 Pennsylvania is the embodiment of GOP beliefs and practices brought to life.

After 30 years of attacks on American values and decency, the left has finally said “Enough!” and have started to speak out. Suddenly Brooks think the nation has become divided as never before.

The nation has been divided for a long time; it’s only recently that the left has decided things have gone too far in the wrong direction and it’s time to fight back, to fight for American values of honesty, decency, and inclusion. There is a big blue wave just over the horizon, and it’s going to sweep away anyone who is not willing to stand up for traditional American values of honesty, decency, inclusion, and a fair deal for all.

FlagReply 305 Recommended


Opinion by David Brooks | The Workers Paradise

From the comments section, the top comment, and my rebuttal.


Indianapolis 16 hours ago

The tax revenue lost by the 7% difference between 21 and 28 is sizeable, and Obama never would have placed the impact of any corporate tax cut on the backs of the middle class and those with even lower incomes. Do not act like this is no big deal Mr. Brooks. It is.

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT

Bravo David Brooks. Keep writing, and don’t let the detractors get you down. I’m disappointed that 698 commenters endorsed JBC. The problem with the JBC critique is that Brooks is just right that the world is going towards a 20% or lower corporate tax. But progressive, steep income taxes, and vat taxes, make up the difference, so that other developed countries have plenty to spend on social services for the middle and lower classes. We also spend more on military than these other counties, and fight in poorly thought out wars, which are wasteful. The problem with the GOP tax bill is not the 20% corporate rate, but almost all of the rest of it. They were supposed to get rid of all the loopholes, so that corporations would have to pay 20%. David is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-Century Vietnam”, and blogs at

The Siege Mentality Problem – by David Brooks – NYT

“Why are so many conservative evangelicals in Alabama still supporting Roy Moore? For that matter, why have so many evangelicals around the country spent the past two years embracing Donald Trump?

I just took part in a compelling conversation on this subject at the Faith Angle Forum, founded by the late Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and came away with one core explanation: the siege mentality. In fact, I’d say the siege mentality explains most of the dysfunctional group behavior these days, on left and right.

You see the siege mentality not just among evangelical Christians but also among the campus social justice warriors and the gun lobbyists, in North Korea and Iran, and in the populist movements across Europe.

The siege mentality starts with a sense of collective victimhood. It’s not just that our group has opponents. The whole “culture” or the whole world is irredeemably hostile.”

This is an imortant piece by David Brooks, and it rings true. There are issues to work through, as presented by the top comment, which I also endorsed, even though I basically agree with Brooks’ main premise. What is frightening, is that as a hard working environmentalist, terrified by climate change and overpopulation, I fit the bill of being in a member of group that has a siege mentality.

Ed in Seattle

Seattle, WA 1 day ago

Mr. Brooks thinks that America’s leaders should have worked out an accommodation with evangelicals over gay marriage. That’s a typical Brooks position – find a way to spread the blame over both sides. But he ducks the question of what kind of accommodation might be possible. Because there is no possible accommodation.

The evangelicals already have freedom of religion in their houses of worship. The government isn’t asking their churches to perform gay marriages. Would the accommodation have been, allow restaurants to deny service to gay couples? Allow hotels get to deny rooms to gay couples?

The fact is, religious conservatives are being asked to live in a society that recognizes the rights of people whose beliefs are different than their beliefs. Compromising on that basic principle not only sanctions bigotry, it sacrifices our core values of liberty and freedom for people of all faiths.

Guns and the Soul of America – by David Brooks – NYT

“The reality is that in some places people want these laws. It’s true that individual gun control measures, like banning bump stocks, have popular support, but, over all, the gun rights people are winning the hearts and minds of America. In 2000, according to a Pew survey, only 29 percent of Americans supported more gun rights and 67 percent supported more gun control. By 2016, 52 percent of Americans supported more gun rights and only 46 percent supported more control.”

“The real reason the gun rights side is winning is postindustrialization. The gun issue has become an epiphenomenon of a much larger conflict over values and identity.

A century ago, the forces of industrialization swept over agricultural America, and monetary policy became the proxy fight in that larger conflict. Today, people in agricultural and industrial America legitimately feel that their way of life is being threatened by postindustrial society. The members of this resistance have seized on issues like guns, immigration, the flag as places to mobilize their counterassault. Guns are a proxy for larger issues.”

David Lindsay:  The strengths of this op-ed way outweigh its weaknesses. Brooks is brilliant at looking for answers deeper than what is being discussed, and revealing truths, that add to our understanding of the enormous frustration of our political polarization.

Here are some top comments that are helpful, though none of them acknowledge that Brooks has just made an important point.


is a trusted commenter Verona NJ October 6, 2017

A 2017 Pew survey indicated 51% said it’s more important to control gun ownership, while 47% said it’s more important to protect the rights of gun owners.

The 2017 Pew survey revealed Americans want more gun control:

89% of Americans want to restrict people with mental illnesses from buying guns.

84% think there should be background checks for private gun sales and at gun shows.

83% percent want to ban sales of guns to people on no-fly or watch lists.

But Republicans have fought these common sense ideas like Communism

Why ?

Because stoking fear, ‘free-dumb’, spite and paranoia is more politically profitable to them than selling common sense, unity, thoughtfulness and public safety.

And shameless right-wing stoking of that fear and paranoia led to a surge in deranged consumer demand of ‘bump stocks’ this week by Americans who were ‘impressed’ with the Las Vegas massacre and deranged murderer.

Several ‘bump stock’ customers suggested that demand for bump stocks was because of fear that the products could soon be outlawed, presumably limiting their abilities – and ‘freedom’ – to haul around automatic murder weapons.

The truth is that Republicans have been working against the public’s safety interests for decades while stoking America’s deranged and violent gun culture that is an international disgrace.

Instead of protecting living Americans, Republicans protect guns and ‘pray’ for dead Americans.

2nd Amendment Derangement Syndrome is no way to run a country.

NYT Pick

Lisa Murphy

Orcas Island October 6, 2017

I’m really tired of hearing that stupid phrase”this is not who we are”, to counteract all the cruel, thickheaded, destructive and bigoted ways of thinking and acting taking place in this country everyday. America this is exactly who you are. A country that thinks owning guns( to prove you’re tough) is worth the slaughter of your public officials, innocent people in movie theaters, concerts and shopping malls, and most disgusting of all the murder of little children. America you are a blight on the landscape, not a “shining city on the hill”. Tawdry, mendacious, ill educated and cowardly.


New Hampshire October 6, 2017

One way that might help solve this issue is to require insurance of every gun owner. Not insurance on the value of the gun, but insurance against what that gun might do to others. When the families of victims start going after the insurance companies, things would change.

NYT Pick

Virginia Fowler

Bali, Indonesia October 6, 2017

Why does everyone keep saying that gun control wouldn’t affect mass shootings? This goes against not only logic, but the facts. Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting since they severely cut back on gun ownership. Countries in which it’s very difficult to buy guns, like Japan and Indonesia, don’t have mass shootings. Remember earlier this year when a guy in China went crazy and attacked a bunch of kids in a kindergarten? All he had was a knife, so no one was killed. Anyway, mass shootings are the tip of the iceberg of gun deaths. The statistics are overwhelmingly clear; less guns equals less gun deaths. Pretty simple.

NYT Pick


Konstantin October 6, 2017

You are wrong about the NRA, their spending and their political influence.

This is the second article to minimize that influence by citing the amount they have spent on political campaigns. This is a well designed talking point that has effectively made in to what might otherwise be considered a moderate perspective on gun control.

Fact: the NRA is a top ten spender in outside activities. These activities are often election related and unambiguously intended to influence politicians even when carefully designed to not to be classified as political contributions.

The NRA also spends at least 3 times as much on lobbying as they do on political contributions. Since of this money goes to salaries to hire ex government employees to staff approximately half of the lobbying operation. Is anyone naive enough to believe that this money is not spent too influence our political system?

How did the myth that the NRA is a minor political player as measured by political contributions suddenly become a popular cause of otherwise thoughtful people? I don’t think the answer is obvious, but I am certain it’s part of their budget.

NYT Pick

David Paquette

Cerritos, CA October 6, 2017

It makes me shudder, but there is a vast amount of truth in this article. The unfortunate fact is that it makes no difference what people say they are in favor of, what makes a difference is what people do. People are in fact electing representatives that pass laws that support guns. They are buying guns in record numbers. I’m terrified, but that is the facts.

Even in California, with the some of the strongest gun control laws in the country it is illegal to buy high capacity gun magazines, but it is not illegal to own them. Thus one can just hop over the border to Nevada and buy what you want an bring it on in. No problem.

That interstate gun transport problem is the probable reason that gun control states are not as free from gun problems as one might expect.

The scariest statement in this article is this: “Gun rights are about living in a country where families are tough enough and responsible enough to stand up for themselves in a dangerous world.” There is virtually no support for this statement in facts. There are close to zero cases where one can point to the case of a gun owner successfully terminating a mass killing. In the Pulse night club shooting, the armed guard was hiding in the rest room with the rest of the patrons. In Nevada, it is simply inconceivable how any reasonable amount of armament among the concert goers could have had even the slightest effect on the number of deaths. Yet the “self protection” myth reigns.


The Economy Isn’t Broken – by David Brooks – NYT

“The evidence from the past two years strongly supports those who have argued all along that income has not decoupled from productivity. A wide range of economists, including Martin Feldstein, Stephen Rose, Edward Lazear, Joao Paulo Pessoa, John Van Reenen, Richard Anderson of the St. Louis Fed and a team from Goldman Sachs, have produced studies showing wages tracking very predictably with productivity.

If anything, as Neil Irwin of The Times’s Upshot has noted, wages are a little higher than you’d expect from looking at the productivity and inflation numbers alone.The problem of the middle-class squeeze, in short, may not be with how the fruits of productivity are distributed, but the fact that there isn’t much productivity growth at all. It’s not that a rising tide doesn’t lift all boats; it’s that the tide is not rising fast enough.For those interested, Shawn Sprague has a good summary of the data at the Labor Department’s “Beyond the Numbers.” He shows conclusively that during this recovery we’ve endured a historically low labor productivity growth rate of 1.1 percent. By some estimates if productivity increases had kept pace with the mid-20th-century norm, l median incomes would be $40,000 higher than they are today.”

David Brooks, two years of modest growth do not make up for three decades or more of severe decline in middle class incomes.

The comments, as I expected, shred your report. Here are the top ones:

Mark Stave Baltimore 8 hours ago

Mr. Brooks, over the last few years, I have noted with interest your emphasis on character, compassion, empathy, commitment to something larger than oneself.

All of which seems to be belied when you label a 3% increase in household income “especially good news for the poor” I work as a Legal Aid attorney representing abused and neglected children in the foster care system. Please be advised that your ‘especially good news’ has had no impact on the number of children suffering among ‘the poor”.

A 3% increase in the household income in a household where the children don’t have enough to eat – well, that works out to one day a month of not being hungry. This is not good news, this a way for those who live their comfortable lives to justify doing nothing while children are hungry in the richest country on the planet.

Reply 350Recommended

Ted Morton Ann Arbor, MI 7 hours ago

The economy IS broken David, you’re wrong.
I run a small company, an LLC, and I pay 35% tax; technically my company pays no taxes but all that happens is that any profits made pass through to the owners who then have that treated as taxes on personal income – for the last 20 years, I have paid 30-35% of my income in tax and over those 20 years my income has been the same – stagnant.
Just Google “companies that pay no taxes’ to find articles that list major corporations that pay zero taxes or, in some cases, negative taxes; these include GE, AT&T, Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase, Verizon, and IBM – some of the most profitable companies in the world.
Out of the $1,686 billion 2017 global spending on defense, the USA spent $611.2 billion, that’s 36.25% of global defense spending and we are less than 5% of the world population! The minimum wage for those poor people who work at my local TGIFs is $3.38 per hour, our infrastructure is in shreds, and a bunch of billionaires have bought off most of our so-called representatives in Congress who get platinum healthcare for life while voting to deny ANY coverage for 30 million people. The US economy IS VERY broken.

Reply 297Recommended

Tim Berry Mont Vernon, NH 7 hours ago

The economy IS broken for the majority of us David and what will fix it is taxes.
MORE, not less taxes. Taxes on the rich and corporations need to get so high that they will no longer have the funds to purchase our “elected” representatives.

Reply 285Recommended

Bejay Williamsburg VA 7 hours ago

So Obama’s policies fixed the economy and in the last two years of his administration, things went very well. Fine. Does that make up for the decades preceding?

I have worked in the same place for 38 years. When I started there, in 1980, I was paid $5.00 an hour. Last year the rate for new hires in the same job was raised by more than 10% to $11.00 an hour. No doubt that raise was the sort of improvement Brooks speaks about. However $5 in 1980 adjusted for inflation is equivalent to $15 in 2017 dollars. So, in terms of buying power, new hires are still paid less today than they were in 1980. And the ceiling, the highest rate that a front-line employee can earn, with enough senior-and-merit increases, was recently lowered. So they earn less, and have less hope of improvement in their income if they stay with the job as I have done for almost 38 years. I know now that it is highly unlikely I will ever make a penny and hour more than I do now.

These are a kind of direct public service jobs, but in which skill, experience, and knowledge are assets. There has not been much room for increased productivity, except in the sense that staffing is reduced, and everyone has to work harder than we once did. Working harder to receive less in buying power, while things like health insurance take a bigger chunk of the gross than they did 30 years ago. This is not progress.

I did not think I was living high in 1980, but compared to the young people coming in today …

Reply 221Recommended

chickenlover Massachusetts 7 hours ago

The “problem of the middle-class squeeze” is explained by Brooks to be the result of stagnation in productivity. He goes on to note that ” It’s not that a rising tide doesn’t lift all boats; it’s that the tide is not rising fast enough.”

Well, if it is the case that the “tide isn’t rising fast enough,” then I’d ask Brooks to explain how the ultra rich had such a boost in their income and why their share of the total wealth increased as much as it did?

Reply 183Recommended

Socrates is a trusted commenter Verona NJ 4 hours ago

Lord Brooks thinks two years of good economic news (thanks to Obama-era progressive policies) has cured three decades of right-wing Grand Old Parasitism that has systematically leeched the economic blood out of the middle class, the poor and the common good.

Look at the data for the preceding 34 years of cruel and sadistic Reaganomics that we’re still drowning in, Mr. Brooks.

Incomes for the top 0.001% richest Americans surged 636% during the 34-year period between 1980 and 2014

Meanwhile, the average pretax income of the bottom 50% of Americans has stagnated since 1980, while the share of income going to Americans in the bottom half of the distribution collapsed from 20% in 1980 to 12% in 2014.

The top 1% made 12% of income in 1980, but it’s up to 20% in 2014.

The top 1% of US adults now earns on average 81 times more than the bottom 50% of adults; in 1981, they earned 27 times what the lower half earned.

And the wealth picture is even bleaker.

The richest 10% of American families are worth a combined $51 trillion, equal to 75% of American household wealth.

And the eight richest humans on the planet have as much accumulated wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion humans.

But according to David Brooks, everything’s pretty good thanks to two years of 3% raises for the peasants after a near liftime of Grand Old Plantationomics.

Get your head out of the Republican sand and wake up, Mr. Brooks.

Reply 169Recommended

How Trump Kills the G.O.P. – by David Brooks – NYT

“It’s ironic that race was the issue that created the Republican Party and that race could very well be the issue that destroys it.The G.O.P. was founded to fight slavery, and through most of its history it had a decent record on civil rights. A greater percentage of congressional Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act than Democrats.

It’s become more of a white party in recent years, of course, and adopted some wrongheaded positions on civil rights enforcement, but it was still possible to be a Republican without feeling like you were violating basic decency on matters of race. Most of the Republican establishment, from the Bushes to McCain and Romney, fought bigotry, and racism was not a common feature in the conservative moment.

Between 1984 and 2003 I worked at National Review, The Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal editorial page and The Weekly Standard. Most of my friends were Republicans.”

Don Shipp, Homestead Florida 7 hours ago

David is wrong about the Republican Party and its white identity politics, it was an integral part of Republican Party strategy long before 2005. Republican opposition to “big government” was always a metaphor for opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” was a raced based appeal to white voters. Ronald Reagan’s entire presidency was marked by racial dog whistles, opening his 1980 campaign in racially infamous Philadelphia, Mississippi. Reagan originally opposed making Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday. He was against forced busing to achieve integration, and affirmative action. He told false stories about “Chicago welfare queens” driving around in Cadillacs, and referred to “strapping young bucks”. He vetoed the “Civil Rights Restoration Act ” of 1987 and sanctions against the Apartheid regime in South Africa. The notorious Willie Horton campaign was the creation of George H.W. Bush’s campaign strategist, Lee Atwood. Moderate Republican’s must accept the fact that Donald Trump’s blatantly racist appeal to voters is an ugly legacy of Republican Party history.

1374 Recommend

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval

David Brook’s remarkable op-ed went right by you, Mr. Ship. There is variation and nuance in both parties. John Lindsay was a Republican when he co-authored the what became the civil rights act of 1964. He was part of a bi-partisan group of leaders in congress who forced it to a vote against the quiet wishes of the the Kennedy brothers, who warned it would damage the Democratic party for years.
While you are right that the GOP has moved closer and closer to the white supremacists and racists, a number of Republicans certainly had their great moments in the sunshine of the civil right movement.

Sundar Pichai Should Resign as Google’s C.E.O. – by David Brooks – NYT

“Geoffrey Miller, a prominent evolutionary psychologist, wrote in Quillette, “For what it’s worth, I think that almost all of the Google memo’s empirical claims are scientifically accurate.”

Damore was especially careful to say this research applies only to populations, not individuals: “Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population-level distributions.” ”

David Brooks impressed my greatly with his points. But here is a comment which claims to overturn the writer.

HT is a trusted commenter Ohio 7 hours ago

I’m a woman engineer, and I’ve heard the argument made by Damore countless times. It’s flawed in two ways.

First, it is obvious to all but the most sexist observers that some women do excel in STEM. To argue that the population-level differences in, say, mathematical abilities between men and women have a biological basis is to argue that women who do excel in math are biologically different from women who do not. Once you make this claim, then none of the other population-level averages in other traits can be applied to women in STEM. In other words, if you are going to claim, as Damore does, that women are underrepresented leadership positions at Google because of innate differences in competitiveness, then you need to look at competitiveness among STEM women, not the general population.

Secondly, companies like Google are striving for a diverse workforce because they believe that it makes their company more competitive. (The literature supporting this is just as strong as the literature on gender differences associated with STEM.) The smaller pool of STEM women means that companies like Google must work harder to attract, recruit, and retain STEM women than STEM men. In other words, diversity is about winning a competition between corporations. Damore completely misses this point, but Pichai, whose job is to maintain Google’s competitiveness, does not.

Reply 579 Recommended

Getting Trump Out of My Brain – by David Brooks – NYT

“Last week The Washington Post published transcripts of Donald Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders. A dear friend sent me an email suggesting I read them because they reveal how Trump’s mind works. But as I tried to click the link a Bartleby-like voice in my head said, “I would prefer not to.”

I tried to click again and the voice said: “No thanks. I’m full.”For the past two years Trump has taken up an amazing amount of my brain space. My brain has apparently decided that it’s not interested in devoting more neurons to that guy. There’s nothing more to be learned about Trump’s mixture of ignorance, insecurity and narcissism. Every second spent on his bluster is more degrading than informative.

Now a lot of people are clearly still addicted to Trump. My Twitter feed is all him. Some people treat the Trump White House as the “Breaking Bad” serial drama they’ve been binge watching for six months. For some of us, Trump-bashing has become educated-class meth. We derive endless satisfaction from feeling morally superior to him — and as Leon Wieseltier put it, affirmation is the new sex.But I thought I might try to listen to my brain for a change. That would mean trying, probably unsuccessfully, to spend less time thinking about Trump the soap opera and more time on questions that surround the Trump phenomena and this moment of history.

How much permanent damage is he doing to our global alliances? Have Americans really decided they no longer want to be a universal nation with a special mission to spread freedom around the world? Is populism now the lingua franca of politics so the Democrats’ only hope is to match Trump’s populism with their own?”

Good Column David Brooks. Good questions.

I Like Christine McM’s top comment, but not her tone of superiority. She criticizes Brooks, as do so many, for what he didn’t say, while avoiding a good discussion regarding what he does say. Her comment follows:

Christine McM is a trusted commenter Massachusetts 7 hours ago
How Wasp-centric you are Mr. Brooks! Nary a word about the waves of immigration, bringing millions of Irish Catholics, persecuted Jews, and war-torn Vietnamese, Koreans, Indians, Africans. And of course, no word either of the product of Americans original sin—slaves and the long history of African American subjugation.

And of course our more recent subjects of strife and animus: Hispanics and Muslims.

you may be sick of Donald Trump, but it’s establishment Republicans like you who are very much responsible for allowing this grotesque caricature of a president to become elected. Why didn’t you and your peers speak out more loudly, ferociously, and fiercely?

if Donald Trump i, the last gasp of white America against the loss of privilege, you still don’t account for the forces that were largely products of Republican administrations: Citizens United; voter repression, gerrymandering, the rise of polarized politics, and worst of all, the denial of basic knowledge and scientific facts about climate change.

You worry about what comes after Trump? David, it’s time to focus on now, to fight the pernicious effect of what’s occurring on a daily basis all over this country: the ravaging of precious resources, deregulation that will foul our air and water and potentially trigger another economic crisis; the ratcheting up of police actions against minorities and immigrants, hate crimes.

Time to come down from your ivory tower and get involved today.

979 Recommended

I am more intesested in the substantive questions that Brooks raises. Will Trumps blunders damage us in foreign affairs for generations. Will the rejection of the TPP excellerate the rise of China over the US? I wish he had asked, Can we survive the worst effects of climate change and the 6th extinction, with Trump in power for four years?

Can People Change After Middle Age? – by David Brooks – NYT

“Shreveport saw a lot of ugliness during the civil rights era. But it is fortunate today to have Community Renewal, one of the nation’s most impressive community-building groups. Community Renewal builds settlement houses for kids in crime-ridden communities. It sponsors over 1,500 Haven Houses in neighborhoods rich and poor where volunteers sponsor activities and build relationships. It’s one of the most successfully integrated organizations I’ve seen.

Mike pulled out of his dental practice at age 49 and works at Community Renewal, often without pay. Bo heard about the organization from a member of his breakfast group and is now a volunteer and donor. When I sat with Bo and Mike after the staff and volunteer meeting on Monday, three things struck me, which often strike me about people who have transformed their lives for the final lap.”

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval

Bravo David Brooks.
Looking at the negative comments, the left wing “progressive” fanatics can’t forgive you for coming from a respectable GOP past, but they are historical amnesiacs. They forget, or never knew, that just 50 years ago, it was the GOP that was the party of civil rights, and the Democrats were the party of racism and jim crow. One of the founders of the Republican Party was Abraham Lincoln.

Republicans Can’t Pass Bills – by David Brooks – NYT

“Over the past few decades Republicans cast off the freedom-as-capacity tendency. They became, exclusively, the party of freedom as detachment. They became the Get Government Off My Back Party, the Leave Us Alone Coalition, the Drain the Swamp Party, the Don’t Tread on Me Party.

Philosophically you can embrace or detest this shift, but one thing is indisputable: It has been a legislative disaster. The Republican Party has not been able to pass a single important piece of domestic legislation under this philosophic rubric. Despite all the screaming and campaigns, all the government shutdown fiascos, the G.O.P. hasn’t been able to eliminate a single important program or reform a single important entitlement or agency.”

Great column David Brooks, thank you.

Here is a comment I fully endorse.


New England 3 hours ago

I often disagree with Brooks, but this … this is a great column.

There is nothing “freeing” about living in terror that you will lose your house, savings and everything else if you get sick and/or that you will lose access to healthcare if you are unemployed. Brooks gets that, while the Ryans and McConnells of the Congress do not (or don’t care).

The GOP’s frantic efforts to pass a health care bill that alarms most Americans (and a CBO currently run by a Republican appointee) and that they are not even willing to debate in an honest and organized manner exposes the immorality at the heart of today’s GOP leadership. At this point, McConnell seems to be trying to confuse his caucus into voting for something that will be terrible for Americans, and he refuses to work with nearly half the Senate simply because they are not in his party. It is always politics with him, never actually governing in the interest of the people – history will not judge this man kindly.”