Noblesse Oblige Declined

Over at The Glittering Eye this piece by David Brooks get quoted approvingly:

House Republicans led the way and will get most of the blame. It has been interesting to watch them on their single-minded mission to destroy the Republican Party. Not long ago, they led an anti-immigration crusade that drove away Hispanic support. Then, too, they listened to the loudest and angriest voices in their party, oblivious to the complicated anxieties that lurk in most American minds.

TGE adds:

I believe that what he characterizes as destroying the Republican Party is, in fact, the triumph of ideology over pragmatism and the consequence of the attempts to transform our catch-all parties into programmatic ones that are going on in both parties. Ideologues can’t agree; they are peculiarly unsuited to democratic republican government in which compromise is mandatory.

That’s what James Madison warned against in Federalist #10

Well, not really. I think what we are witnessing is just how much we have forgotten what the House of Representatives is supposed to be like. As I said over in the comments at TGE:

“Uh, what if they simply thought it was a crappy bill? Maybe they didn’t want to be stampeded into doing ‘something!’ at the expense of doing ‘the right thing.’

“That is what makes Brooks’ statements so silly. Sure, average people feel anxious about the economy, but that doesn’t mean they want Congress to do something stupid just so they can say they did ‘something.’

“And hell, if the Democrats actually believed this was the right thing to do they might have tried fighting for it. Obviously, they didn’t…so what does that say about the legislation?

“Besides, does Brooks really think that the calls, letter and emails that were flooding into elected officals offices (running 100-1 or more AGAINST this bailout) were really just the ideological wing of the Republican party? Thats just stupid.

“As for Madison, he didn’t have ideologies in mind because ideologies, as we think of them, were not an intellectual category back then. The idea of ‘faction’ is much more closely related to ruling political coalitions, in the Roman Republican sense. Indeed, Madison was a better (small ‘d’) democrat than you give him credit for. I really don’t think he would have had a problem if members of the House listened more closely to their constituents than other branches of government. Hell, if we are going to base this on the Federalist Papers, shouldnt we expect the Senate to go forward in a more august and thoughtful manner? (The answer is ‘yes’ they are supposed to do just that.) But did they? NO! They refuse to even begin the process by voting up or down on this measure. And why is that? Basically they are cowards who don’t want to get exposed during an election year.

“It is the ruling elite, as a whole, of this country that is failing us so badly and not this or that party or ideological wing. Brooks will never recognize that because he is so emeshed within the elites’ pattern of thinking. For him the elites ARE the country, so what they say should go, and the rest of the American people should feel themselves lucky that the elite lower themselves to do our thinking for us.”

I could have gone on. There were spontaeous demonstrations against the bailout all over the country. Did you hear or see one break out in favor of it? The notion that it is illegitimate for the most representative body in our national government to pay attention to the people writ large is deeply anti-democratic. Indeed, we are being asked, yet again, to suspend the normal process of making legislation because the elite want the money quickly. When people starting asking why, the response amounted to, “You wouldn’t understand ‘why.’ But trust us, its for your own good.”

Brooks still isn’t sure why that wasn’t good enough for us.

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3 Responses to Noblesse Oblige Declined

  1. syn says:

    David Brooks is doing a fine enough job destroying the Republican Party all by himself, he is an elitest and this what elitist do to the common people, destroy them.

  2. Absolutely. I got skewered by a few commenters over at Hot Air because I dared to express skepticism about this crisis. Where are the data? The analyses? Have any been done at all?

    Note: I’m neither pro- nor anti-bailout, because I haven’t seen any evidence either way, just appeals to authority. And a lot of squealing and hand wringing.

    I think Erik at Red State yesterday commented on the irony of conservative bloggers complaining because legislators listened to their constituents.

  3. Rich Horton says:

    I hear you. I got the same over at Donklephant for suggesting the so-called “freezing” of the credit market was not the result of there being no money to lend, but to institutions waiting to get a better deal from the Government. Hey, why pay the going rate when Congress can get you all you want dirt cheap? Hell, on those terms I wouldnt borrow either.

    I’ve not seen anything to disprove that notion, and in fact other aspects of the credit market have continued per usual. This is a highly selective “freeze.”

    I just hate it when people try to sell me on acting without thinking. That is supposed to be the job of a carnival barker not the job of the media or Congress.

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