Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Shameless Democratic-Socialist Propaganda

Posted in atheism, Democrats, media, politics by allisonkilkenny on April 8, 2009

YM001405Typical. The Times is at it again. The liberal rag published another thinly-veiled, socialist rant in Tuesday’s edition. Though, this time, the diatribe came from an unlikely source: David Brooks, the Canadian-American columnist, who has served as senior editor to the Weekly Standard, contributes his thoughtful analyses to the Atlantic Monthly, and identifies himself as a “moderate conservative.”

Of course, David is completely unaware that he makes a perfect plea of his readers to join the Democratic-Socialist cause. His column explores the roots of morality, and rattles off scientific theories about where our morality comes from, and how it benefits us as a society to have “morals.” It’s actually pretty interesting, though the best part comes when David steps back and analyzes “morality” i.e. communal spirit:

Like bees, humans have long lived or died based on their ability to divide labor, help each other and stand together in the face of common threats. Many of our moral emotions and intuitions reflect that history. We don’t just care about our individual rights, or even the rights of other individuals. We also care about loyalty, respect, traditions, religions. We are all the descendents of successful cooperators. 

But David, what of that “rugged individualism” that Conservatives so cherish and praise? Are you saying that gallivanting around a dude ranch, refusing to pay taxes and/or care for our fellow humans, is not only the behavior of a selfish, childish asshole, but also detrimental to society itself?

The first nice thing about this evolutionary approach to morality is that it emphasizes the social nature of moral intuition. People are not discrete units coolly formulating moral arguments. They link themselves together into communities and networks of mutual influence.

Like unions, perhaps? But those are the things your Conservative brethren are fighting tooth and nail to suffocate! They’ll be the reason the Employee Free Choice Act fails in Congress. You should really share with them your revelations about all of this “help thy neighbor” stuff, and how it’s so great for our society.

And don’t let Rush hear you talk like that. On the other hand, you may be safe. He’s too busy packing (thank you, Jesus) his things, and moving out of New York. 

The second nice thing is that it entails a warmer view of human nature. Evolution is always about competition, but for humans, as Darwin speculated, competition among groups has turned us into pretty cooperative, empathetic and altruistic creatures — at least within our families, groups and sometimes nations.

Tell your Wall Street buddies that, David. Drop some knowledge onto their finally coifed ‘dos, and let them know competition isn’t everything, that human beings are more than stocks, portfolios, credit default swaps, and speculative mortgages. Ask those financial firm CEOs if jumping out of the burning building with $23 million in severance is an altruistic act, or the act of a pirate.

I’m sorry. That’s not fair. Pirates were actually very democratic creatures that allowed voting and egalitarian debate. They also didn’t profit from suckering poor people into bad loans. Of course, they raped a lot, which is definitely a tick in the “Bad” column.

But I digress. As if he knew I would be reading him today, David throws this curveball at the last possible moment:

[The rise and now dominance of this emotional approach to morality] challenges the new atheists, who see themselves involved in a war of reason against faith and who have an unwarranted faith in the power of pure reason and in the purity of their own reasoning.

…What? Did David Brooks just cite a scientific theory at length, and then in the last paragraph of his column, thumb his nose at atheists who believe in — wait for it — science and reason?

On behalf of the human species, I apologize to the trees that gave their lives for David Brooks’ pointless musings to be published in otherwise highly usable column space.

What an embarrassment.

5 Responses

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  1. Manila Ryce said, on April 8, 2009 at 3:12 am

    “Did David Brooks just cite a scientific theory at length, and then in the last paragraph of his column, thumb his nose at atheists who believe in — wait for it — science and reason?”

    The dig at atheism was immature and out of place, but to be fair his understanding of that particular theory was fairly novice as well.

  2. thehouse said, on April 8, 2009 at 4:46 am

    Spot on!

  3. Linda said, on April 9, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Socialism fails and milton friedman was right. His DVD series is wonderful and shows exactly why 2.0 unemployment, under socialism, is still miserable.

    The economy is the exchange of goods and services. And the economy accelerates when people really want to exchange goods and services. When you have rewards to creating something that others want, as in capitalism, you get motive to innovate new products through creativity and technology. If you have a bunch of people doing this, you exchange these goods and services and create jobs and wealth.

    Under socialism, people stay complacent in their situation. there is relatively any motivation to create products that other people want, and this creates a domino effect. (you can motivate others to produce cool products if they want other peoples’ cool products). however, high taxes eliminates the motivation for many. And for this reason, most of the good products come out of capitalists countries.

    There is not a set amount of wealth in this world. It can be created and people can join in by creating something that people want. Obama’s policies seek to make everyone equal by stifling competition and innovation — trickle up poverty.

    So everyone is equal financially, and unemployment is very low — but everyone is just above poverty. Cuba has low unemployment, but there are no mansions and nothing to shoot for.

    Furthermore, people stop progressing. People stop learning from failures.

    http://www.tinyurl.com/socialismfails

  4. allisonkilkenny said, on April 9, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Linda-

    I agree with you that overzealous adhesion to Socialism wouldn’t work, just as I think that we are now witnessing the fall following overzealous adhesion to the concept of Capitalism. The key (in my opinion) is a mixed economy: Capitalism with strong regulation, mixed with Socialist aspects. We already have Socialist aspects in our society, such as the fire department, welfare, the post office, etc.

    Power corrupts, and so the “free market” has proven that greedy men will seize power until a regulatory body stops them. Of course, people will want to be compensated for their products and ideas, and the state should never stifle creativity. However, a humane society cares for all its citizens, and so a mix of the best elements of Capitalism and Socialism would be ideal.

  5. Manila Ryce said, on April 10, 2009 at 7:57 am

    @Linda

    “Socialism fails and milton friedman was right.”

    Friedman is quite successful at demolishing the strawman he sets up. He essentially equates Socialism with the Soviet Union. Any college freshman with a beret and copy of the Communist Manifesto can tell you why that’s bullshit. Lenin himself noted that the Soviet Union practiced State Capitalism, not Socialism.

    Friedman, and all capitalists who accused the Soviet Union of having an authoritarian system are not only correct but are ironically denouncing a form of their own ideology – ie state capitalism rather than free market capitalism (which is even more tyrannical). The Soviets merely marketed their Capitalism under a Socialist label to gain support for their policies from average working Russians. Meanwhile they oppressed legitimate Socialist movements such as eliminating workers’ control of unions and putting them under state control. The West was all too happy to accept that narrative and agree that the Soviet system was Socialism so as to demonize any alternative to corporate capitalism. Despite all the problems we had, the common phrase was “There Is No Alternative” (TINA).

    “When you have rewards to creating something that others want, as in capitalism, you get motive to innovate new products through creativity and technology… Under socialism, people stay complacent in their situation. there is relatively any motivation to create products that other people want, and this creates a domino effect.”

    As an artist myself I can tell you this is false and so can anyone who’s downloaded any freeware off the internet that took hundreds of hours to create. People create because our species is creative. No monetary motivation has ever been needed. In fact, you couldn’t pay people NOT to create. Capitalism actually does the opposite of what you claim by stifling creativity as it turns artists into machines who only do as much as necessary for the reward of payment. The only person who benefits from art in a capitalist society is the uncreative middle man. There’s a reason why corporate music sucks. You can’t praise the wonders of capitalism for motivating creativity if you’ve ever claimed that music would be better if it was made for the art and not the money.

    “…And for this reason, most of the good products come out of capitalists countries.”

    Famous last words from a Detroit assembly line.

    “Obama’s policies seek to make everyone equal by stifling competition and innovation — trickle up poverty.”

    Please oh please cite one of those Socialist policies.

    “Cuba has low unemployment, but there are no mansions and nothing to shoot for.”

    They’ve also been under a fairly brutal embargo for awhile. Worth looking into.


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