“The Rugged Altruists” by David Brooks (TIMES, 8/23/11)

     Has David Brooks been observing “rugged altruists” or guilt-ridden masochists?  Admittedly, that is a difficult question to answer after reading his thin column, which asks: “Who is doing good in the developing world?”

     There is little indication of what his three subjects accomplished in the dangerously grim places where they “served others.”  Instead, we learn about what sacrifices they made in being where God wants them to be.  Is Brooks simply praising a different form of self-flagelation?

     The widespread human suffering that exists throughout the world, including right here in the United States, requires the existence of rational governments of honest officials serving the greater society.


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