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The Unbearable Elitism of David Brooks

The columnist's sneering take on the tea party movement reveals a deep and abiding ignorance of the motivations of the protestors.

by
Andrew Ian Dodge

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January 6, 2010 - 10:59 am
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“Personally, I’m not a fan of this movement. But I can certainly see its potential to shape the coming decade.”

So ends the sophomoric and sneering rant against the tea party movement by David Brooks. If he had written this in the first few sentences of his New York Times column, most people would not have needed to read his entire piece.

Why should anyone from the tea party movement read the piece? After all, tea party members are too stupid to understand it according to his dictum.

Brooks seems to believe that the tea party movement contains an uneducated rabble not capable of making up their own minds. You see, the tea party movement is against things merely because their educated betters are for it:

The educated class believes in global warming, so public skepticism about global warming is on the rise. The educated class supports abortion rights, so public opinion is shifting against them. The educated class supports gun control, so opposition to gun control is mounting.

That Brooks delivers this vitriol-filled diatribe in the New York Times should surprise no one. It is obvious that he believes that his paymasters want him to write another piece where they can laugh at all the little ignorant people who disagree with their grand, socialist plan for the U.S.

It is patently obvious that this man has never been to one tea party event in his life. His assumption that there are no “educated” people at these rallies is based on ignorance. He has no clue that there are doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other people with “useful” education in the movement. There are people with high school, college, and advanced degrees involved. When he speaks of the “educated” class, he means to say “ruling” class.

He does not just insult the intelligence of those who are part of the movement. He seems to think that the leadership is “mediocre” and in search of a figurehead. What he does not realize — probably due to the fact he has never actually met anyone involved — is that there is a feeling that the tea party movement does not need one “leader” or figurehead. It strives to avoid being a cult of personality driven by one person’s ego or ambition. In fact, if he were to do the smallest bit of research, he would discover that the tea party movement has distanced itself from a whole myriad of self-proclaimed “leaders.” Brooks writes:

Over the course of this year, the tea party movement will probably be transformed. Right now, it is an amateurish movement with mediocre leadership. But several bright and polished politicians, like Marco Rubio of Florida and Gary Johnson of New Mexico, are unofficially competing to become its de facto leader. If they succeed, their movement is likely to outgrow its crude beginnings and become a major force in American politics. After all, it represents arguments that are deeply rooted in American history.

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