Laura at Apartment 11D writes:
11D: Okay, So This is Why I Like David Brooks: He sees the big picture. Brooks comes full circle from his column a couple of weeks ago, which spoke of a new era of virtue.
The scrapbook of history accords but a few pages to each decade, and it is already clear that the pages devoted to this one will be grisly. There will be pictures of bodies falling from the twin towers, beheaded kidnapping victims in Iraq and corpses still floating in the waterways of New Orleans five days after the disaster that caused them.
It's already clear this will be known as the grueling decade, the Hobbesian decade. Americans have had to acknowledge dark realities that it is not in our nature to readily acknowledge: the thin veneer of civilization, the elemental violence in human nature, the lurking ferocity of the environment, the limitations on what we can plan and know, the cumbersome reactions of bureaucracies, the uncertain progress good makes over evil.
As a result, it is beginning to feel a bit like the 1970's, another decade in which people lost faith in their institutions and lost a sense of confidence about the future.
Ya gotta admire a guy who can do a 180 that swiftly.
She's right. Here's Brooks from three weeks ago:
The New York Times > Premium Archive > The Virtues Of Virtue: America is becoming more virtuous. Americans today... are leading more responsible, more organized lives. A result is an improvement in social order... decline in domestic violence... violent crime... drunken driving.... Teenage pregnancy has declined by 28 percent... Fewer children are living in poverty.... I could go on.... I always thought it would be dramatic to live through a moral revival... people have stopped believing in stupid ideas: that the traditional family is obsolete, that drugs are liberating, that it is every adolescent's social duty to be a rebel.... Americans have become better parents....
We in the media play up the negative, as we always do. The activist groups emphasize the work still to be done, because they want to keep people mobilized and financing their work. But the good news is out there. You want to know what a society looks like when it is in the middle of moral self-repair? Look around.
Gail Collins: the credibility of you and your op-ed page has gone negative.