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David Brooks: Conversative Wisdom for the Ages

Some of us are probably familiar with David Brooks, the resident “conversative” over at the New York Times. Back in 2005, Brooks burned an indelible image onto the national psyche when he concluded an interview of then-Senator Obama thus:

I remember distinctly an image of–we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant, and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.

Brooks has remained on a steady trajectory in recent times, asking a couple of weeks ago, with an earnest face, “Why is Clinton Disliked?”

“But what exactly do so many have against her?” he wonders along with his conversative audience, united in their communal befuddlement. It turns out that the antipathy revolves around a single question: “Can you tell me what Hillary [Rodham] Clinton does for fun?”

No, because, even though “people who work closely with [the only First Lady ever fingerprinted by the FBI]” call her “warm and caring,” the truth is that “ she hides her “real self” from “us.” As Brooks the conversative paladin explains,

“Even successful lives need . . . sanctuaries — in order to be a real person instead of just a productive one. It appears that we don’t really trust candidates who do not show us theirs.”

Apparently even the FBI failed to turn up this sanctuary in their investigation of Ms. Clinton.

This week, Brooks has also graced the public discourse with commentary on Trump.  Brooks specifically honed in on Trump’s transgressions of conversative principles, as evidenced by the breadth of his personal attacks and his becoming, I quote, “Trumpier.” As to whither should fly the Americans crying (either clamorously or wimpering) in the wilderness for an alternative candidate, the cosmetic-conversative Brooks has yet to enlighten them.

As the exemplary defender of conversative ideals, Brooks and his wisdom transcend historical eras.  Picture our man in the thick of bygone, less fortunate ages:

Twentieth Century

“I walked with Herr Eichmann a while on the grounds, impressed, at first, only with (a) his sense of style, and (b) his fine way of speaking, but when the conversation turned quickly to literature, and he discoursed so eloquently on all of the refined classics, quoting half a dozen poets in their original languages, I realized that Germany and all the really civilized world were in for a real treat with this man.”

1700s

“I shall never forget it if I live until the next Jerusalem, but when I beheld the heir ascending the Throne and the Crown, and witnessed the elegant drapery of his coronation Robes, the truth sounded the depths of my very Sowl, that this George shall not be a mere King, but the King of Kings.”

1503

“My companion Niccolò and I attended the election of the new Pontiff, Bishop of Rome, and when I first laid eyes on him – the man himself, Julius II – ecce homo! – his Latin was spoken with such manliness and his finger fit the papal ring so snugly, that I knew that all Christendom could not have been more blessed in the election of this Pope.”

c. A.D. XXVI

“Standing, I turned to the man at the head of proceedings, and, examining his cultured Roman dress and the impeccably patrician folds of his toga, I knew, that Pontius Pilate was not just going to be a good prefect for Judaea, but a great prefect.”

A Long Time Ago

“Surrounded by the Senators from my home planet, our eyes were fixed on the poor Chancellor. At first I felt pity, but as he spoke, as my ears were enraptured with the bravery in his broken voice and my eyes were thrilled by the pristine red velvet of his robe, I, for one, had in my heart only the best of feelings about our new overlord. And when the courageous statesman, bent but not broken, told us, ‘I assure you, my resolve has never been stronger,’ I almost cried out, right there, ‘I know!’”

Author: Noah Diekemper

Noah Diekemper studied Latin and Mathematics at Hillsdale College (B.S.) and Data Science at Loyola University Maryland (M.S.). Motivated by a desire to preserve and share knowledge, he contributed to Goodtruebeautiful.net and has also been published in The Federalist, Intercollegiate Review, and The Baltimore Sun.

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