Independent in All Things, Neutral in Nothing

Posts Tagged ‘David Brooks

Review: Tony Judt and Timothy Snyder, Thinking the Twentieth Century

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After publishing Postwar in 2005, a tour de force of European history since World War II, winning the Arthur Ross Book Award for best book in international affairs and numerous other awards, Tony Judt prepared to write an ambitious intellectual and cultural history of Twentieth Century social thought. A professor of European History at New York University, founder and director of the Erich Maria Remarque Institute at NYU, frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, and public intellectual, Judt’s plan for his next book mothballed, as personal history intervened in the form of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. By late 2008, Judt no longer had use of his hands; two years later, he passed away. Read the rest of this entry »


“A Republic, Madam…If You Can Keep It”

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As it usually does, David Brooks’ column caught my attention this week.  Examining the nature of democracy, Brooks concludes that the most recent battles over the debt and deficit in Washington will not yield fruitful outcomes absent a reversion to republican (small-r) politics. Brooks expounds upon this by labeling our current democracy the “politics of solipsism.” “The [current] political culture encourages politicians and activists to imagine that the country’s problems would be solved if other people’s interests and values magically disappeared.” Instead, he says, we need a true leadership class, of the kind that existed “as late as the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations,” to balance interests and passions. Read the rest of this entry »

On the Overconfidence of Consciousness

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Striking a similar tone to a speech I reviewed last week by William Deresiewicz, David Brooks’ recent piece in The New Yorker also addresses the theme of over-achieving people and understanding their paths to success and happiness.  Arguing that “brain science helps fill the hole left by the atrophy of theology and philosophy” in our understanding of the human person, Brooks notes that “Researchers at the University of Minnesota can look at attachment patterns of children at forty-two months, and predict with seventy-seven percent accuracy who will graduate from high school.”  The early experiences of life do not determine us, but they certainly provide us with pathways, “changed or reinforced by later experiences.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ryancberg

January 27, 2011 at 3:53 pm