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Thursday, October 16, 2014

David Brooks, "The Case for Low Ideals": In Praise of "Low Idealism"

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Case for Low Ideals," David Brooks tells us that he is not about to make the case for "high idealism," as exemplified by Obama's 2008 election campaign, "based in the idea of a heroic savior (remember those 'Hope' posters)." Rather, Brooks is "here to make the case for low idealism." David writes:

"The low idealist is more romantic about the past than about the future. Though governing is hard, there are some miracles of human creation that have been handed down to us. These include, first and foremost, the American Constitution, but also the institutions that function pretty well, like the Congressional Budget Office and the Federal Reserve. Her first job is to work with existing materials, magnify what’s best and incrementally reform what is worst."

Ah yes, the American Constitution and lest we forget, the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights (as opposed to today's Bill of Clinton). Who would believe that the United States is well on its way to abandoning the principle that "all men are created equal," and in its stead, new "royal" families are fast emerging, e.g., the House of Bush and the House of Clinton. Yes, the United States has gone full circle.

"Magnify what’s best and incrementally reform what is worst"? A noble aspiration, and certainly preferable to messianism. But abandon the high ideals that were responsible for the Constitution? Never. Without high ideals, as opposed to the messianism and personality worship fostered by the likes of Anita Dunn and David Axelrod, life would not be worth living.

Glorify "low ideals"? Sorry, but I'm not in the market. Liberty to dream of and live by high ideals or death!

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