Matt,Looking at the article, I canÂ kind of see where Taibibi`s correspondent thought it was parody. (While I am not, myself, entitled to nominate people to the "Supreme Court Of ——-dom," if asked about a Brooks nomination, I would declare him "well qualified.")Brooks has been known to dip his toe in the subject of IQ,Â but he always gets it wrong. Steve Sailer wrote in David Brooks As The Kinder, Gentler Steve Sailer
I happened to see the David Brooks essay Social Animal on the New Yorker site, about the Composure Class and "brain science." Aside from the obvious jokiness, I honestly thought this was a brilliant and vicious intentional parody of the Gladwell-style approach of breezily applying science factoids to social issues. Turns out it`s an excerpt from a forthcoming book and people are taking it seriously. Brooks seems to have achieved a career-best The World Is Flat level of inanity which might warrant a patented Taibbi takedown.
JohnJohn, I read the Brooks essay and I am eagerly awaiting the release of the book. This whole genetic/class superiority thesis â€¦ itâ€™s almost like Brooks is peddling straight-up Nazi race science, but heâ€™s straining desperately to find a polite upper-middle-class Yuppie way to couch his theories. Which is hilarious. This â€?Composure Classâ€? invention of his is classic. I especially love the bit about how the rich snobs heâ€™s fawning over got their money not because, say, they stole it, or are lawyers for a foreclosure mill or something, but because â€?wealth settled down upon them gradually, like a gentle snow.â€?[More, some of it disgusting.]
So, Brooks is absolutely not committed to a hereditarian view of IQ. And I`m afraid the idea that IQ is hereditary, or even important to financial success is enough to qualify in Taibibi`s view as "straight-up Nazi race science,"
One of the eerier feelings for me is to start reading a New York Times op-ed and realize partway through that the columnist is engaging in an argument with me, even though Iâ€™m not named. That happens several times per year with David Brooksâ€™s NYT columns. (Iâ€™ve been told on trustworthy authority that he is a regular reader, so Iâ€™m not just being paranoid here.)A moderate amount of his stuff seems to be either echoing or arguing with me, (The last time Brooks mentioned my name in the NYT back in 2004, he got a lot of grief from the commissars about it.)Without the Secret Decoder Ring, itâ€™s often hard to figure out what Brooks is talking about. Consider his recent column â€?The Luxurious Growth.â€? (Hereâ€™s John Derbyshireâ€™s reply.) Or hereâ€™s his September 2007 column on â€?The Waning of IQâ€? that makes no sense at all except under the presumption that NYT subscribers are regular iSteve readers who are almost persuaded by my work. [More]