A plain reading of his latest The Abbie Hoffman of the Right: Donald Trump makes it seem like he's very close to the truth, but oh so far.
A more charitable reading is he realizes he lives among the wackos and delivering a ounce of Truth requires a dump truck of "Donald Trump is a buffoon."
After World War II the Protestant establishment dominated the high ground of American culture and politics. That establishment eventually failed. It tolerated segregation and sexism, led the nation into war in Vietnam and became stultifying.If we consider the audience in question, painting Trump as the villain is the way to go. But in reality, he's compared the establishment to a collapsing regime. They're headed for the trash bin and there's really nothing they can do about it. Nowhere in this piece say what the Protestant establishment should have done...
So in the late 1960s along came a group of provocateurs like Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and the rest of the counterculture to upend the Protestant establishment. People like Hoffman were buffoons, but also masters of political theater.
They never attracted majority support for their antics, but they didn’t have to. All they had to do was provoke, offend the crew-cut crowd, generate outrage and set off a cycle that ripped apart the cultural consensus.
...That’s exactly what he’s doing. Donald Trump came into a segmenting culture and he is further tearing apart every fissure. He has a nose for every wound in the body politic and day after day he sticks a red-hot poker in one wound or another and rips it open.
The members of the educated class saw this past weekend’s N.F.L. fracas as a fight over racism. They felt mobilized and unified in that fight and full of righteous energy. Members of the working class saw the fracas as a fight about American identity. They saw Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin try to dissuade Alejandro Villanueva, a three-time combat veteran, from celebrating the flag he risked his life for. Members of this class also felt mobilized, unified and full of righteous energy.Remember, he's writing to the NYTimes audience. He's telling them they will be completely laid waste in 4 years.
I don’t know which planet is bigger, or which would win an election, but that frankly doesn’t matter. All that matters is that Trump is shredding the culture and ending the dominance of the meritocratic establishment.
He continually goes after racial matters in part because he’s a bigot but also in part because multiculturalism is the theology of the educated class and it’s the leverage point he can most effectively use to isolate the educated class from everyone else.
He is so destructive because his enemies help him. He ramps up the aggression. His enemies ramp it up more, to preserve their own dignity. But the ensuing cultural violence only serves Trump’s long-term destructive purpose. America is seeing nearly as much cultural conflict as it did in the late 1960s. It’s quite possible that after four years of this Trump will have effectively destroyed the prevailing culture. The reign of the meritocratic establishment will be just as over as the reign of the Protestant establishment now is.
Of course Donald Trump is a buffoon. Buffoonery is his most effective weapon. Because of him, a new culture will have to be built, new values promulgated and a new social fabric will have to be woven, one that brings the different planets back into relation with one another.Is David Brooks giving up The Resistance? Or is he trolling his NYTimes audience? There's no way (short of effectively resigning his NYTimes column) Brooks could lay the entirety of the blame where it belongs, on the establishment. Maybe he can make "Donald Trump the Buffoon" into a recurring joke as he skewers the collapse of progressive orthodoxy.
That’s the work of the next 20 years.
The bad news for everyone, not only Mr. Brooks, is that the next 20 years will be a continuation of the past 2 years. This isn't the 1960s, but the 1860s. This isn't a phase transition from one leadership class into another. This is Civil War. Secession is on the table. The Progressive are like Abolitionists, they will not allow one-half of the nation to live in peace. Unity is only possible if they are stopped.