David Brooks Comforts Rich People

  lord and master of fappery

I got mineIf you LOVED David Brooks’ last column, wherein he blamed massive income inequality on slutty poors who do not read “Goodnight Moon” to their ugly, lazy, and disrespectful children (no rly), you’ll REALLY LOVE his latest column! In THIS column, he  concludes that elites (like him) are rich (again, like him) because they just deserve it, and they’re only corrupt because they are blind to the glory of their brilliance and as such, are unable to appreciate the gravity of their decisionmaking. If only they would just act like their racist, sexist, anti-Semitic predecessors (no rly!) everything will be FINE, the END.

Via the New York Times:

Christopher Hayes of MSNBC and The Nation believes that [income inequality] is inherent in the nature of meritocracies. In his book, “Twilight of the Elites,” he argues that meritocratic elites may rise on the basis of grades, effort and merit, but, to preserve their status, they become corrupt. They create wildly unequal societies, and then they rig things so that few can climb the ladders behind them. Meritocracy leads to oligarchy…

It’s a challenging argument but wrong. I’d say today’s meritocratic elites achieve and preserve their status not mainly by being corrupt but mainly by being ambitious and disciplined. They raise their kids in organized families. They spend enormous amounts of money and time on enrichment. They work much longer hours than people down the income scale, driving their kids to piano lessons and then taking part in conference calls from the waiting room.

 
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See, if only poor people would spend enormous amount of money and time on enrichment, they would be rich and successful—like the rich and successful elites, who got that way by spending enormous amounts of time and money on enrichment. This is simple math! See also: if you work hard, you’ll be successful, therefore, people who are successful must have worked hard.

The corruption that has now crept into the world of finance and the other professions is not endemic to meritocracy but to the specific culture of our meritocracy. The problem is that today’s meritocratic elites cannot admit to themselves that they are elites.

(Note: David Brooks does not suffer from this particular ailment.)

As a result, today’s elite lacks the self-conscious leadership ethos that the racist, sexist and anti-Semitic old boys’ network did possess. If you went to Groton a century ago, you knew you were privileged. You were taught how morally precarious privilege was and how much responsibility it entailed. You were housed in a spartan 6-foot-by-9-foot cubicle to prepare you for the rigors of leadership. […]

Today’s elite is more talented and open but lacks a self-conscious leadership code. …If you read the e-mails from the Libor scandal you get the same sensation you get from reading the e-mails in so many recent scandals: these people are brats; they have no sense that they are guardians for an institution the world depends on; they have no consciousness of their larger social role.

The difference between the Hayes view and mine is a bit like the difference between the French Revolution and the American Revolution. He wants to upend the social order. I want to keep the current social order, but I want to give it a different ethos and institutions that are more consistent with its existing ideals.

To be fair, if I churned out this kind of drivel a few times a week and had a four million dollar house to show for it, I’d probably want to keep the existing social order as well. So maybe David Brooks isn’t QUITE as stupid as his columns indicate. But yeah, totally. No need to regulate these elites; just TELL them how important they are, and how many Poors are affected by their decisions, and surely they’ll start acting with the magnanimity of their racist, sexist, anti-Semitic predecessors—now THEY had a moral code, amiright?

[New York Times]

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About the author

Kris E. Benson writes about politics for Wonkette and is pursuing a doctorate in philosophy. This will come in handy for when they finally open that philosophy factory in the next town over. @Kris_E_Benson

View all articles by Kris E. Benson

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177 comments

    1. CalamityJames

      I'll go ahead and represent my herpetic brethren on this one. I'm glad that I only have to deal with herpes and not this megalo-fuck-wad.

    1. Nothingisamiss

      What's funny is that my first thought was that I needed to start drinking more.

  1. starfanglednut

    As someone who spent years working 40-60 hours a week for minimum wage with no benefits, and still couldn't pay the bills, I feel entitled to tell mr Brooks to shut the fuck up.

      1. flamingpdog

        I've got the feeling that the only thing Mel David Brooks ever drove his children to was drink.

        1. GhostBuggy

          Meritocracy? What's a meritocracy? That thing you shouldn't oughtta do, but you do anyway.

  2. actor212

    Hey, Brooksie?

    if life was based on what we deserved, I'd be your fucking God, shithead.

    Kneel before me….GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY ZIPPER!

  3. Goonemeritus

    If only David Brooks hadn’t grown up with such stifling privilege he might not have become the empathy deficient douche-bag we know today.

  4. ChernobylSoup

    Shorter Brooks: The only thing the Robber Barons ever did wrong was not let undesirables in the country club. The only thing the current crop of elites do wrong is not realize they have the power to exclude undesirables from the country club.

  5. actor212

    It’s a challenging argument but wrong. I’d say today’s meritocratic elites achieve and preserve their status not mainly by being corrupt but mainly by being ambitious and disciplined.

    Ronald Reagan's father was an alcoholic laborer.

    George W Bush's GRANDfather was a Senator.

    QED

      1. Callyson

        Maybe that's what Brooksie has wanted all along…

        (Now, that's the best explanation for David Brooks' drivel I've seen in a while…)

    1. jodyleek

      Fish sticks and shit –
      What is "The Taste Left in My Mouth After Reading a David Brooks Article"?, Alex.

  6. Nostrildamus

    In my browser, Brooks is looking leeringly at naked, Asian car lady. No doubt thinking "Boy, she'd look hot in a Milton Friedman mask!"

    1. JohnyEdge

      You must be more disciplined and work harder than me, because in my browser he's only leering at Ben & Jerry's.

  7. CapnRadio

    Fool me into commenting on a Brooks post once, Wonkette, shame on you. Fool me twice . . . aw, dammit.

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      His mellifluous piffle would make him millions in insurance or mutual fund sales.

  8. edgydrifter

    Shorter Brooks: Elites spend enormous amounts of time and money (not necessarily their own) rigging the system to preserve their enormous surpluses of time and money. And this is good.

    1. Naked_Bunny

      I notice that, aside from his preposterous assertion that rich people work hundreds of times harder than poor people because they drive their kids to piano lessons and spend a lot of time talking to other rich people, Brooks forgot to refute the idea that the powerful rig the system to prevent others from becoming powerful.

  9. Blunderthing

    I'll say this for them: When they get caught with their hands in the cookie jar, they do a mighty fine job of saying the jar is to blame.

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      That's covered in your freshman year at Groton. Usually scheduled between Latin and Lacrosse practice.

  10. freakishlywrong

    The difference between the Hayes view and mine ..is that Chris Hayes actually has a well researched and thoughtful point of view and I'm just an oily tool.

  11. va_real

    "They work much longer hours than people down the income scale, driving their kids to piano lessons and then taking part in conference calls from the waiting room."

    Fucking morans missed the part about working smarter, not harder, apparently.

    1. flamingpdog

      Working smarter, not harder = twice the work for the same pay. Applies only to the poorz and the middle class*.

      *not that there's all that much difference between the two these days.

      1. NellCote71

        And wimmenz. Don't forget us, who are still working for 76 cents for every male dollar. Or something like that.

  12. actor212

    You were housed in a spartan 6-foot-by-9-foot cubicle to prepare you for the rigors of leadership.

    By this motherfucking logic, you motherfucking elitist prick, the homeless Iraqi corporal living in a refrigerator box ought to be a motherfucking captain of motherfucking industry, you motherfucking bastard.

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      {BZZZZZZZP}

      Sorry, five points deducted for using the word 'logic' in regards to a David Brooks post.

    2. flamingpdog

      Being housed in a spartan 6-foot-by-9-foot cubicle to prepare you for the rigors of leadership?

      How does that prepare you for the rigors of operating in a 60-foot-by-90-foot, real wood paneled executive office with wet bar, 60" flat screen TV, mahogany desk the size of a pickup truck, and a closet-full of sexetaries? The only reason those douchebags are housed in six by nine foot cubicles in prep school and college is because the schoolmasters are fucking sadistic sociopaths who get orgasmic over the thought of degrading others, including the chilluns of teh rich!

      1. James Michael Curley

        Don't forget sodomy and the lash. All captains of industry were raised with sodomy and the lash at those private (public for you brits) schools.

    3. Dudleydidwrong

      Too bad we can't see how a 7-foot by 3-foot box might prepare Brooks for "the rigors of (mortis) leadership." Smaller is better, huh Brooks?

    4. Nothingisamiss

      Did you just call him a motherfucker? Because he motherfucking deserves it. What a motherfucker.

    5. BarackMyWorld

      Wait…hold up…

      I'm still not sure I understand what the 6 by 9 ft. cubicle he's referring to is.

      Also…everything else.

      1. James Michael Curley

        That's because if it was 6 by 9 it wouldn't be a cubicle. Maybe a retangicle, or if the there were no right angles a pararllelagramicle.

    6. BoatOfVelociraptors

      So when Bernie Madoff gets out of prison, he's going to be able to lead like a billionaire!

  13. ManchuCandidate

    Soon to be released by hero of the eelights, David Brooks, a digital album of songs from the class war that doesn't exist if poor people mention it.

    "Songs to Burn Benjamins To"

    Included are such hits as:
    "I'm Leaving on MY Jet Plane"
    "Money"
    "Poor People Have No Reason To Live."
    and
    "I'll Take Your Job and Shove It (to India.)"

  14. edgydrifter

    You, too, could be a millionaire if you made your kids learn to play the piano and talked on the phone in public places and already had a million dollars in the bank.

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      I'm kinda wondering what kind of millionaire piano teacher has a "waiting room." When my kid's at piano, I'm waiting in 1993 Subaru wagon.

  15. MissTaken

    This is why I hate diarrhea. Right when you think it's over it comes back with a vengeance.

  16. Callyson

    …today’s meritocratic elites…spend enormous amounts of money and time on enrichment.

    So, the elites are elite because they have money and time to spend. Thanks for clearing that mystery up…

    Asshole.

  17. BlueStateLibel

    The only good thing about David Brooks' columns are the comments telling him to piss off and die.

  18. fartknocker

    Aww David, your so cute, coining the new word meritocracy so you can attempt to make your goofy theory legitimate. I'm so happy you thought of a particular word that permits you the ability to hang out with the elites in the Hamptons licking the sweat of Romney's nut sack. Shit stain.

  19. Antispandex

    You know, the Federalists tried the same argument (that some people were just BORN better and more fit for wealth and power). You may have notice there is not a Federalist Party anymore. Dare we hope?

  20. randcoolcatdaddy

    Yes, David, you miss the good old days at the last turn of the century great Robber Barons – yes, we get it.

    Since you can't afford a little time machine, even with your great wealth, I'd suggest you deal with the present day reality that we plan on eating rich pricks like yourself for dinner and picking our teeth with your feeble little bones as an aperitif. So, yes, David, go fuck yourself.

    1. AbandonHope

      I don't know, they seem like they'd be all stringy gristle. On the other hand, biomass is becoming a very popular, clean, and efficient fuel source.

  21. Callyson

    today’s elite lacks the self-conscious leadership ethos that the racist, sexist and anti-Semitic old boys’ network did possess. If you went to Groton a century ago, you knew you were privileged. You were taught how morally precarious privilege was and how much responsibility it entailed. You were housed in a spartan 6-foot-by-9-foot cubicle to prepare you for the rigors of leadership

    And this self – conscious leadership by the elites a century ago led to them exercising social responsibility by doing…um, er, they must have done something…

    1. DustBowlBlues

      Building libraries when they were old and had worked a lot of miserable people to death so they could afford to do it.

      My husband taught our little girl to spit on Carnegie libraries.

  22. SexySmurf

    If America was truly a meritocracy David Brooks would be working at Arby's.

    Not McDonald's, Arby's.

      1. horsedreamer_1

        He wants to tell her to eff off & quit, but can't, because he's banging that girl on the fryolator. They say she's retar*ed, but those titties ain't re*arded.

        H/t Dave Attell

  23. poorgradstudent

    "They work much longer hours than people down the income scale, driving their kids to piano lessons and then taking part in conference calls from the waiting room."

    My God, my friend who worked full-time and went to school full-time for years must be lying when she says she's in massive student loan debt and not a millionaire.

    1. BoatOfVelociraptors

      Driving people around is hard work. It's why cabbies are so rich that Tom Friedman goes to THEM for advice.

  24. An_Outhouse

    I thought reading “Goodnight Moon” to the childrenz is what made them ugly, lazy, and disrespectful. I can't keep the rules straight. Its like one week bacon is an anti-oxidant and the next week its not good for you.

    1. Nothingisamiss

      Are you trying to get me to believe that bacon's not good for me? I've heard that it has antioxidants and fiber. I read it inon the internet so it must be true.

  25. Jus_Wonderin

    Sometimes, when I hear this type of argument I am reminded of what ants think of humans. I mean, we tower over them. We can crush them without a thought. We could lay waste to their tiny secure homes.

    So, if rich people are "better" than the poor. Are the Gates and Buffets of the world better than the lower rich classes??????????

  26. Dashboard Buddha

    "these people are brats; they have no sense that they are guardians for an institution the world depends on"

    So, in other words the enormous amount of money, time, and effort spent on enrichment was wasted?

    Also this..

    "driving their kids to piano lessons"

    You mean having their driver drive the kids to piano lessons?

  27. FNMA

    Next week, David Brooks will explain how we can once again have a robust economy by emulating the values espoused by southern landowners in the 1850s, a time when the elites knew they were elite and the Negroes knew their place.

  28. UnholyMoses

    Shorter rich prick: Rich pricks need to be told how rich they are so they'll stop being pricks.

  29. MiniMencken

    Meritocratic elites? Has Brooksie ever been to a charity ball with $25,000 tables and listened to what passes for conversation around one of them? Dubya was President because of his merit? Really? How about luck? That have anything do do with being a millionaire? Maybe just a teensie bit?

    1. jodyleek

      Richie Rich sperm goes into Debutante egg, Trust Fund baby pops out. Who can explain it?

  30. CrunchyKnee

    My crack dealing neighbor works hard, shit, he's always working, yet he lives in a cardboard box down by the river just like me. Help us, Brookes, we just aren't doing it right!

  31. rocktonsam

    which cabinet position in the Rmoney administration does he want? There is a huge line for douche bag czar probably

  32. Dashboard Buddha

    If long hours and hard work are the best pathway to wealth, then why isn't that African lady rich?

  33. Beowoof

    I am a supporter of Brooks, Friedman and the editorial crew at the NYT. They provide so much fodder for Wonkette and others such as Taibbi to make fun of them.

    1. FNMA

      Head over to Charlie Pierce's blog. He has an enormous amount of fun slapping Brooks around.

    2. Rotundo_

      If it wasn't for Krugman they would be on a glide path to the WaPo level and sinking rapidly.

  34. mrpuma2u

    What a clueless douchebag! Hey Brooks brothers is all i wear Brooks, most of these lower class people who you are maligning for not being rich like you, are worried about paying their bills each month, not paying for piano lessons.

  35. TootsStansbury

    Well! I'm glad I can rest easy now! It's that simple; time, money, piano lessons, money and being born into privilege! Rmoney 2012!

    1. fuflans

      if feels like obama's entire presidency has been like this – and like living in an alternate reality.

      the cold hard facts are there in black and white and often read all over and RIGHT next to them you get some bozo like boehner or cantor or david brooks spouting some meaningless talking point that is directly contradicted by what is right there. in black and white and read all over.

      and we're in a close election contest. the mind reels.

  36. larrykat

    Basically he wants rich people to keep being assholes but to realize they are IMPORTANT assholes… is that about it?

  37. actor212

    I really want to take this bastard on a bike ride with me through Brooklyn. I ride at the crack of dawn. The neighborhoods that most worry me are the working class neighborhoods, like Sunset Park. There, people are up early. Hispanics, blacks, Asians. They open shops, they walk to the subway, they scoot across streets to catch a bus…on a Sunday. At dawn. I'm terrified because they grab car services if they can afford them, or have headphones on, and cross in front of me, hustling to one of their three or four jobs.

    The neighborhoods where I can sit up and relax? The white, middle and upper middle class ones, where I know I have until at least 9AM before Dad throws an old pair of PJs on to drive the two blocks to the bagel shop.

    Fuck you, Brooksie. Just fuck you.

    1. AbandonHope

      Oh, but you see, they're not doing the right kind of work. The kind where you're a fucktard drivel-spewing commentator or a sleazy money huckster.

  38. mavenmaven

    I don't care. I'm reposting my comment to the mysterious disappearing previous Brooks piece because I'm not some kind of blue blooded WASPy elitist but rather a mongrel with foreign parents:

    …If you are born to high school grads, your odds are terrible…

    So does that mean if you are born to immigrant or refugee parents from non-English speaking countries, your chance of getting into Stanford is zero? Um, apparently not.
    I call this whole article bs ( 헛소리 )

  39. Dildeaux

    Dild believes Bobo's writing, not unlike the post-truth, faux-empire in which he resides, is well past its apex. One dreams of a day when Bobo's posh lair is overrun by filthy hippie OWS hoardes, smashing crystal vases and liberating the impoverished handmaidens and footmen.

  40. Allmighty_Manos

    If starving people just ate more food, than starvation wouldn't be a problem would it?

  41. flamingpdog

    Yeah, really now. The rich, they put in 60 hours a week at the office, while the poorz only put in 20 hours. At each of the three minimum-wage jobs they have in order to survive.

  42. grex1949

    Let's see if I've got this right. 21st Century America is NOT a class-based society. Opportunity is out there for everyone who is willing to work for it. But rich parents, because they have the resources, invest more money in their children, giving the rich kids a leg up on the poor kids, whose parents don't have the money, or time, to invest in their kids because they are busy making rice and beans for dinner, if they can afford it. Rich kids, born on third base believing they hit a triple to get there, want to preserve their "fragile" hold on economic power by any means available. Daddy's trust funds can be used for that purpose. Poor kids (who never even heard of "Goodnight Moon", fercrissakes) have no trust funds to rescue them from abject poverty and little, if any, opportunity to seek higher education without committing to indentured servitude for the remainder of their natural lives.
    And this describes a meritocracy? Are you shitting me or am I missing something really important?

    1. AbandonHope

      And here people have been saying "money equals speech"; I didn't realize money equals merit too.

  43. spends2much

    If I didn't have such awesome hair, I would be TEARING IT OUT in anger at reading this guy! He is a parody or himself, right??
    You think that you, DAVE, work "much longer hours" coming up with this DRIVEL than some struggling wage slave with 3 jobs and no benefits??
    Honestly, he shits this stuff out and gets paid for it. I would rather Jamie Dimon take home a billion dollars a year than David Brooks continue cashing paycheques.

        1. fuflans

          ahh dear departed shoreland…

          i went to chicago but after david the wonder elite. one of my best friends was there with him however. to this day, one of my favorite things to do is to get him going on 'david brooks and his mediocrity: then and now.'

  44. iburl

    The fact that he says "taking part in conference calls" is evidence of hard work is really just about all you need to know about the oilgarchy.

  45. Nothingisamiss

    Fucking prick who works less hours and in a less stressful envrionment than I do says what?

    Honest to God I hate this douchebag and all the others who share his morally repugnant beliefs. I need some good news (or better meds) to get my snark on.

  46. imissopus

    Once again I want to call my friend who considers Brooks and Shields heroes for being "civil in an uncivil era" and whack her with a rolled-up copy of the NYT.

  47. AbandonHope

    Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute, this is the David Brooks that NPR has on every week with E.J. Dionne to discuss issues? This is the guy? I had absolutely no idea.

    Yeah, not going to donate to NPR again until they drop this shitbag permanently.

  48. DustBowlBlues

    Speaking of the French Revolution: I happen to be reading the book that this douche is bashing. He calls Hayes a Jacobin, while Brooks knows the good old days were those of noblesse oblige. (don't have time to look up spelling).

  49. Dudleydidwrong

    It is so nice, Brooks, that you have the job of writing an apology (using the word in its classic sense) of your job that allows you to write about what's wrong with all the others who don't have jobs like yours. It is so nice to be born fucking superior and be able to tell everyone about it. Dingleberry!

  50. DustBowlBlues

    Or like the lady said at the Romney cashapaloozas held in the Hamptons: those people just don't understand how things work, so they vote wrong.

    Excuse me for being arcane here, but wasn't this the same theory that made the Crimean War such a major fuckup for the Brits? Because the "better people" were making the decisions. (And creating new fashions in sweaters).

  51. fuflans

    If you went to Groton a century ago, you knew you were privileged

    Please. if you go to Groton now, you know you are privileged.

  52. Naked_Bunny

    As a computer programmer, I probably get paid more than the contractors who are rebuilding my office building around me as I sit as my desk commenting on Wonkette. But I don't for a second pretend that I'm smarter or working harder than they are, much less sneer at their efforts.

  53. AddHomonym

    "these people are brats; they have no sense that they are guardians for an institution the world depends on"
     
    That’s called PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS bitchez!  Freedom!  BOOM!

  54. horsedreamer_1

    Chris Hayes, in response, said, "Gotta get up to get… Get down. The NY Times op-Ed page is a joke in my town".

  55. DemonicRage

    I actually read this column in the paper this morning and, aside from a free ad for Chris Hayes' book, I thought that the point of the article was to say, over and over again, that rich people hire tutors for their generally dumbass kids, so that kids of the wealthy take all the places in the best schools.

  56. JackObin

    I'll bet Little Georgie Bush can't spell elite. By the way, congratulations to elite universities Yale and Harvard for granting degrees to that illiterate twerp.

  57. sati_demise

    Does he even know the people he is talking about? The elite families I knew consisted of the kids being in rehab by 16 and adultery, the list is too long…..

  58. Not_So_Much

    I was just going to observe what a complete douche he was, but a quick search of the page on "douche" and it looks like we got him covered. (what a douche)

  59. Slim_Pickins

    We shall overcome, so that the meritocracy of brats, for brats, and by brats will not perish from this earth.

    I thought the NY Times was known for adult supervision.

  60. Jukesgrrl

    I can't even begin to imagine what David Brooks was thinking when he recently wasted a seat at a Bruce Springsteen concert (in Spain, I guess he was afraid to show his face at one closer to home) and listened to lyrics like, "The banker man grows fatter, the working man grows thin/ It's all happened before and it'll happen again/ It'll happen again, THEY'LL bet YOUR life."

    Maybe he thought it was patriotic, same as that wonderful Springsteen anthem Born in the USA. Or maybe he thought, "His daughter rides show-jumping horses, so he's just like me." But Dave, somehow I don't think that Bruce's secretary-mother taking out a loan to buy him a $60 guitar (after he had learned on an $18 guitar) is the same as plutocrats driving their kids to piano lessons.

  61. valmach

    That piece of shit up there, I never liked him, I never trusted him. For all I know he had me set up and had my friend Angel Fernandez killed…

Comments are closed.