Glenn Greenwald on David Brooks. Hat tip to David Heleniak.
It has long been the supreme fantasy of establishment guardians in general, and David Brooks in particular, that American politics would be dominated by an incestuous, culturally homogeneous, superior elite “who live in [Washington] and who have often known each other since prep school.” And while these establishment guardians love to endlessly masquerade as spokespeople for the Ordinary American, what they most loathe is the interference by the dirty rabble in what should be their exclusive, harmonious club of political stewardship, where conflicts are amicably resolved by ladies and gentlemen of the highest breeding without any messy public conflict.
In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, Brooks fondly recollected that “once, there was a financial elite in this country” — “middle-aged men with names like Mellon and McCloy led Wall Street firms, corporate boards and white-shoe law firms and occasionally emerged to serve in government” — but that glorious “cohesive financial elite began to fall apart” in the 1960s. The 2008 financial crisis, celebrated Brooks, would lead to a rejuvenation of political power of “the sort that used to be wielded by the Mellons and Rockefellers and other rich men in private clubs” — “unlimited authority to a small coterie of policy makers” that “does not rely on any system of checks and balances, but on the wisdom and public spiritedness of those in charge.” This would usher in “an era of the educated establishment.” “A new center and a new establishment is emerging,” he gushed, one that will be disliked by liberals and conservatives alike; in other words, once you get rid of the commoners and the rambunctious ideologues, the somber, Serious elites will impose, with top-down magnanimity, true centrist wisdom (which just coincidentally happens to match the specific centrist-right views of David Brooks).