David Brooks concludes a bizarre column explaining our love for the Olympics with the ability to keep contradictory ideas simultaneously in our mind. We admire both glory of the winner and also the nobility of the good loser.
He uses this observation to then criticize “monomaniacs:”
The world, unfortunately, has too many monomaniacs — people who pick one side of any creative tension and wish the other would just go away. Some parents and teachers like the cooperative virtues and distrust the competitive ones, so, laughably, they tell their kids that they are going to play sports but nobody is going to keep score.
Politics has become a contest of monomaniacs. One faction champions austerity while another champions growth. ….
The right course is usually to push hard in both directions, to be a house creatively divided against itself, to thrive amid the contradictions.
Obviously, the right course is usually to push hard in both directions. We should both use modern medicine to cure people of illness and also let them die because we believe the power of prayer is more important. We should both eliminate segregation and racial discrimination and preserve them because of the inherent superiority of the white race.
What the hell does Brooks think he is saying here? There are any number of issues where there is right and wrong and David Brooks believes that every bit as much as the monomaniacs he is criticizing. He has apparently decided that there is no right or wrong in the debate over fiscal policy.
That’s fine, we would then expect a columnist for the country’s most important newspaper to give us the evidence for this position, not to call people names because they believe that the evidence supports one or the other position. (It does support the case for growth.)
Oh well, at least the NYT is giving a job to a person without the skills to compete in the modern world economy.
Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economy and Policy Research. He also writes a regular blog, Beat the Press, where this post original appeared.