David Brooks’s dilemma (and ours)
By Scott McConnel | February 21, 2010
Consider one of David Brooks’ dilemmas. In last Friday’s Times he wrote a pretty good column about the contemporary American power elite. As he described it, sixty and more years ago, blue blood WASPs ran America’s financial institutions and foreign policy (something of a simplification, but let it pass), ethnic bosses ran the cities, and engaging working class drunks filed the newspaper stories. Now those critical sectors are run and staffed by the meritocracy, people who did well on the bubble tests and went on to succeed at elite universities. We have, Brooks explains, “opened up opportunities for women, African-Americans, Jews, Italians, Poles, Hispanics and members of every other group. “
Then he acknowledges the new regime isn’t working out as well as expected. None of these major institutions is now doing its job adequately, and the country knows it. We need, Brooks concludes, to reevaluate our definitions of merit, and leadership because “very smart people make mistakes because they didn’t understand the context in which they were operating.” This is true, and for a newspaper column, a profound observation.
But there is a salient body of fact that Brooks elides, and therein lies a tale. While opportunities have opened up for women and all the non-Wasp groups Brooks mentioned, all groups have not rushed with equal force into the breach. If one takes, for example, the issue of Mideast diplomacy, it has been noted recently that most of the country’s important Mideast diplomats are Jews, most of writers covering the Israel-Palestine conflict for the New York Times are Jewish, as are two of three of the president’s top political advisers. Dig in a different direction, and one finds a similar kind of thing, as observed on this site, of the financial players engaged in selecting the next senator from New York.
There is no need to exaggerate the phenomenon, and indeed a need not to—outside of New York, there are plenty of rich Protestant power brokers, the South is important politically and Jews are seldom influential there, etc. But to say the least, the collapse of the WASP ascendancy has not been equally rewarding to all of the groups Brooks cites at the top of his column. Indeed for some of them, like Catholics, that collapse has probably coincided with a net reduction in cultural and political influence.
Brooks avoids mentioning this, as do virtually all writers. The reason is obvious: nearly any analysis, indeed any mention, of Jewish power is overburdened with sensitive historical associations. Unspecified but ominous reference to this history is the main polemical weapon Leon Wieseltier uses in his effort to take down Andrew Sullivan for his writing on Israel and Palestine. Some of Sullivan’s arguments, Wieseltier asserts “have a sordid history”; Sullivan is one of those who proclaim “without in any way being haunted by the history of such an idea that Jews control Washington”; Sullivan adopts an explanation which “has a provenance that should disgust all thinking people.” No need then to examine the truth or the untruth of Sullivan’s argument, a vague allusion to history suffices. Criticism of Israel is tied to the modern history of European anti-semitism, and to an extensive bibliography of generally tendentious books about Jewish power, from Alphonse de Toussenel’s Les Juifs, Rois de L’Epoch (published in 1845) forward. Of course this discourse was an auxiliary to the holocaust. About this Wieseltier (and the countless others who polemicize in this manner) are correct: discussions of Jewish power have sometimes had terrible consequences.
But where does that leave 21st century Americans? One example is the case of David Brooks, who clearly knows what he leaving out of his column about the American power elite. Brooks is Jewish, and a Zionist, and in no danger of being labeled an anti-Semite by Leon Wieseltier or anyone else. But still he is hesitant; presumably because he doesn’t want to write something that either might encourage anti-Semitism, or (more likely considering his readership) enhance public understanding of the Israel lobby. At least the first of these motives is commendable. But the reticence has a consequence: when Brooks writes a column about the American power elite and its weaknesses, he needs to avoid one of the essential aspects of his subject. That can’t really be satisfactory to him, or to his readers. It’s a dilemma with no obvious solution to it.
1 Comment »
or go to
From the Archives
By Richard Edmondson | October 11, 2013
Located in Boston, Northeastern University is a four-year college and graduate school offering degrees in law, political science, African American studies, and various other fields. The school seems to be generally well thought of, and is even involved in a research program to develop high-resolution images of human brain activity. But recently the university, or more specifically some of its faculty members, has come under attack by Zionists.
This of course is not new. Faculty members who criticize Israel have found themselves targeted at one university after another in America. Norman Finkelstein is probably one of the more famous cases in point, but he is not by any means the only one. Attacks at Northeastern have focused in the main on Denis Sullivan, professor of International Affairs and director of the school’s Middle East Center for Peace, Culture and Development; Economics Professor M. Shahid Alam; and Berna Turam, who also teaches in the International Affairs program.
On July 5, 2013 the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) wrote a letter to the university’s president, Joseph Aoun, calling for Sullivan’s and Alam’s dismissal, and also complaining about a campus student group, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), whose activities—along with classroom comments made by the professors cited—are said to be causing Jewish students at Northeastern to “feel unsafe and uncomfortable.” … continue
Aletho News Exclusive Content
This article will examine some of the connections between the US and UK National Security apparatus and the appearance of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory beginning after the accident at Three Mile Island. … continue
Also by Aletho News:
September 19, 2011
March 8, 2011
January 2, 2011
October 10, 2010
July 5, 2010
February 25, 2010
February 7, 2010
January 5, 2010
December 26, 2009
December 19, 2009
December 4, 2009
May 9, 2009
- Israeli settlers attacked internationals and a Palestinian shepherd September 15, 2014
- Israel army cuts electricity to Kufr Qaddum, six villagers dependant on oxygen machines evacuated to hospital September 14, 2014
- Gaza beach massacre commemorated by child survivors September 10, 2014
- The arrest of Burin activist Ghassan Najjar September 10, 2014
- Army incursions into Madama September 9, 2014
- Ukraine Truce or Trojan Horse: Retreat, Re-Armament and Relaunch September 12, 2014
Looking for something?
TagsAfghanistan Africa al-Akhbar Al-Manar American Civil Liberties Union American Israel Public Affairs Committee Argentina Bashar al-Assad Benjamin Netanyahu Brazil Britain Canada Central Intelligence Agency China CIA Colombia East Jerusalem Egypt European Union FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation France Fukushima Gaza Germany Gilad Atzmon Hamas Hebron Hezbollah Honduras Hugo Chávez Human rights India Intelligence International Atomic Energy Agency International Middle East Media Center International Solidarity Movement Internet Iran Iraq Iraq War Israel Israeli settlement Japan Jerusalem John Kerry Latin America Lebanon Libya Ma'an Middle East National Security Agency NATO New York Times NSA Obama Pakistan Palestine Palestinian prisoners in Israel Police Press TV Russia Sanctions against Iran Saudi Arabia South America Syria Turkey UK Ukraine United Nations United States USA Venezuela West Bank Zionism
Visits Since December 2009
- 1,868,331 hits
Contact:atheonews (at) gmail.com
- Who is Behind the Islamic State Beheadings? Probing the SITE Intelligence Group September 16, 2014
- Abbas’ spurious charges September 16, 2014
- Poll: Only 10 percent of Gazans would vote for Abbas in presidential election September 16, 2014
- PCHR: Gaza detainees underwent ‘torture’ in Israeli custody September 16, 2014
- Ukraine and EU ratify landmark Association Agreement September 16, 2014
- US-led military drill begins in western Ukraine September 15, 2014
- EU members purchased oil from ISIL: Official September 15, 2014
- Israeli settlers attack internationals and a Palestinian shepherd September 15, 2014
- Secret Law is Not Law September 15, 2014
- Johannesburg university issues ban on Israeli students and academics September 15, 2014
- TSA Not Sure If It Groped Man Before Flight, Demands To Grope Him After Flight Is Over September 15, 2014
- A Principled Fight Against Surveillance September 15, 2014
- ECHR case challenges UK government over surveillance of journalists’ communications September 15, 2014
- Response to “Memory is not history” September 15, 2014
- Remembering Eugene V. Debs’ Imprisonment for Speaking Against War September 14, 2014
- NATO members start supplying weapons to Kiev – Ukrainian Defense Minister September 14, 2014
- Jordanian parties oppose fight against Islamic State September 14, 2014
- Say ‘no’ to war and media propaganda September 14, 2014
Categories"Hope and Change" Aletho News Civil Liberties Corruption Deception Economics Environmentalism Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism False Flag Terrorism Full Spectrum Dominance Illegal Occupation Islamophobia Mainstream Media, Warmongering Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity Militarism Nuclear Power Science and Pseudo-Science Solidarity and Activism Subjugation - Torture Supremacism, Social Darwinism Timeless or most popular Video War Crimes Wars for Israel
This site is provided as a research and reference tool. Although we make every reasonable effort to ensure that the information and data provided at this site are useful, accurate, and current, we cannot guarantee that the information and data provided here will be error-free. By using this site, you assume all responsibility for and risk arising from your use of and reliance upon the contents of this site.
This site and the information available through it do not, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Should you require legal advice, you should consult your own attorney.
Nothing within this site or linked to by this site constitutes investment advice or medical advice.
Materials accessible from or added to this site by third parties, such as comments posted, are strictly the responsibility of the third party who added such materials or made them accessible and we neither endorse nor undertake to control, monitor, edit or assume responsibility for any such third-party material.
The posting of stories, commentaries, reports, documents and links (embedded or otherwise) on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such posted material or parts therein.
The word "alleged" is deemed to occur before the word "fraud." Since the rule of law still applies. To peasants, at least.
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more info go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
This is information for anyone that wishes to challenge our “fair use” of copyrighted material.
If you are a legal copyright holder or a designated agent for such and you believe that content residing on or accessible through our website infringes a copyright and falls outside the boundaries of “Fair Use”, please send a notice of infringement by contacting email@example.com.
We will respond and take necessary action immediately.
If notice is given of an alleged copyright violation we will act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the material(s) in question.
All 3rd party material posted on this website is copyright the respective owners / authors. Aletho News makes no claim of copyright on such material.