David Brooks employs ‘History’ as an act of political opportunism. Political Observer comments

Can there be any doubt that Mr. Trump is a megalomaniac? Mr. Brooks’ attempts a psychological/moral diagnosis of Trump, the man and his politics, is presented in this paragraph:

I repeat this history because I don’t think moral obliviousness is built in a day. It takes generations to hammer ethical considerations out of a person’s mind and to replace them entirely with the ruthless logic of winning and losing; to take the normal human yearning to be good and replace it with a single-minded desire for material conquest; to take the normal human instinct for kindness and replace it with a law-of-the-jungle mentality.

It takes generations to hammer ethical considerations out of a person’s mind and to replace them entirely with the ruthless logic of winning and losing;…

What can this mean? Generations and a person’s moral evolution or de-evolution are about influence, there is no straight line between ‘generations’ and ‘persons‘: as sentient beings are defined by both influence and personal volition, not to speak of the growth and development of conscious. Mr. Trump is not just the product of a tyrannizing father and forefathers.  Mr. Brooks is a propagandist who attempts to dress his intervention in moralizing garb. This isn’t just argumentatively and logically weak, as propaganda plays upon emotional registers, not on sound argument.

All of this is simply introductory material for a comment on Donald Trump Jr. :

It took a few generations of the House of Trump, in other words, to produce Donald Jr.  

There is something of the musty presence of Freud in all this moralizing psychological shorthand. Yet Mr. Brooks demonstrates that he is, as always, a political/moral conformist,  behind the pose of the arbiter civic probity.

“Can you smell money?!?!?!?!” Jack Abramoff emailed a co-conspirator during his lobbying and casino fraud shenanigans. That’s the same tone as Don Jr.’s “I love it” when offered a chance to conspire with a hostile power. A person capable of this instant joy and enthusiasm isn’t overcoming any internal ethical hurdles. It’s just a greedy boy grabbing sweets.

Note that Donald Jr. is first convicted of ‘…a chance to conspire with a hostile power.’ and then is infantilized: ‘It’s just a greedy boy grabbing sweets.’ Is Donald Jr. a product of ‘Generations’ or a ‘greedy boy grabbing sweets’? He could be both as Brooks describes him, yet the reader is left with the fact that Brooks presents a series of conjectures strung together as representative of rational argument. Again, I would say that the raison d’etre of Propaganda is to strike the notes along an emotional register, not to present coherent arguments.

Political Observer

 

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer.
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