Sunday, February 18, 2007

Brooks' pessimistic view of human nature

"Human Nature Redux." This column is just plain weird. The short version - apparently a "belief in natural human goodness" is no longer the predominant belief in the world. (Not according to Izzy the other night on Grey's Anatomy, by the way...:) but I digress) Anyway, that's what he says - and that it's replaced now by a "darker" worldview called the "Tragic Vision" which says human nature is bad, it's "nasty" and has "competitive elements," "we don't understand much about it" and that conservatives are the "thinkers" most associated with this vision. What's the basis, Dave? Do you read your own newspaper? Some are musing about a potential great "liberal" moment right now given failure after failure of the Bush administration's policies. Failed Social Security privatization, for example. Or, recall the outrage at the failure of FEMA to provide basic emergency services post-Katrina, something that the American people clearly wanted to occur. Those programs represent the "good" that government can accomplish, don't they?

I'm at a loss for his message. People are bad and you can't impose social programs to fix them...yet on the other hand, he writes, "Iraq has revealed what human beings do without a strong order-imposing state." So the law and order function of a state is acceptable, because people are bad. But fostering the good? Not in Brooks' world...whatever happened to the sunny Reaganite conservatives?

This one gets a big, "WTF?"