David Brooks (PBS)

Perpetually nostalgic David Brooks argues key to happiness "is not to dwell in confusing, frustrating nostalgia"

It's much better to do as Brooks does -- invent Golden Ages and then pine to return to them


Scott Eric Kaufman
May 20, 2016 5:11PM (UTC)

David Brooks' Friday New York Times column reads less like an editorial and more like a book report, which is more disappointing than surprising. The book in question, Yuval Levin's "The Fractured Republic," addresses the question that's constantly on Brooks' mind -- why can't America be great again?

Levin begins, according to Brooks, by acknowledging that for critics like Brooks, "our politics and much of our thinking is drenched in nostalgia for the 1950s and early 1960s." He then proceeds to prove Levin correct by drenching quite a bit of editorial page acreage with talk about declining church attendance rates and the like, all the while insisting that happiness relies on the ability "not to dwell in confusing, frustrating nostalgia."

Advertisement:

"[R]eligious life has bifurcated," Brooks wrote. "Church attendance has declined twice as fast among people without high school diplomas as among people with college degrees [and] with each additional year of education, the likelihood of attending religious services rises by 15 percent."

Moreover, he added,

We’re also less embedded in tight, soul-forming institutions...Our politicians try to find someone to blame for these problems: banks, immigrants or, for Donald Trump, morons generally. But that older consolidated life could not have survived modernity and is never coming back. It couldn’t have survived globalization, feminism and the sexual revolution, the rising tide of immigration and the greater freedom consumers now enjoy...

Read the rest at The New York Times...


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

MORE FROM Scott Eric KaufmanFOLLOW scottekaufmanLIKE Scott Eric Kaufman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Books David Brooks The Fractured Republic The New York Times Yuval Levin

BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••






Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •