David Brooks (AP/Nam Y. Huh)

David Brooks: "Big love" in America today "is almost a foreign language" -- and it's not like the "little loves" aren't fraying

"Almost nobody speaks about the American project in the same ardent tones that were once routine," he wrote


Scott Eric Kaufman
May 31, 2016 4:35PM (UTC)

In his Tuesday New York Times column, David Brooks performs true to form and engages in a wanton act of unnecessary nostalgia, this time couching it in a discussion of "big love" versus "little love."

"Big loves," for Brooks, consists of things like "America or the cause of global human rights, [and] inspire[s] courage and greatness," whereas "little loves" are like "a shepherd protecting his flock." He claimed that the "little loves are fraying," but that the "big loves" are basically absent from American life, and that that is responsible for most of what is wrong with the country today:

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The small attachments serve as the foundation of our emotional lives, but when you have a big love for your country or a cause, you are loving something that transcends a lifetime. You are pursuing some universal ideal and seeking excellence. A big love involves using power well, seeking honor and glory and being worthy of them...

Big love is hopeful, but today pessimism is in vogue. Big love involves a confidence that one can use power well, but today Americans are suspicious of power, have lost faith in leaders and big institutions and feel a sense of impotence in the face of big problems...

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.

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

Big Love David Brooks Little Love Patriotism

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