“Ben Franklin’s Nation” by David Brooks (TIMES, 12/14/10)


“Americans could well become the champions of the gospel of middle-class dignity.” What a bold expression of capitalist triumphalism from conservtive columnist David Brooks! This opinion was undoubtedly made easier by his inability or unwillingness t take stock of the widespread unemployment and poverty throughout the world. 

          “American culture was built on the notion of bourgeois dignity.” In the slave states too, where agricultural production played an important role in creating a favorable balance of trade? Did “King Cotton” develop bourgeois dignity with the whip and the branding iron?

           And what about the profits from war? Didn’t the Civil War accelerate the growth of capitalism and World Wars I & II greatly expand the wealth of the USA? Of course, old Ben Franklin was not around then.

          Aside from the fact that all this talk of bourgeois dignity is so much propaganda, Brooks continues to defame the role (“we’ve never had much proletarian consciousness”) ad condition (double-digit unemployment) of the working-class.

          David Brooks shuold have his eyesight checked.

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