Nothing quite like a Taibbi takedown of David Brooks…
The condescension is bad, but the argument is even worse. Brooks is trying to make a “point” here – he takes something like 800 words to make it, but it boils down to a single snarky observation: “Isn’t it ironic that these same people who’ve been fighting for the right to personal indulgence for all these decades since the Sixties are now fighting for the right to be legally restrained?”
This is absurd on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to start. First of all, gays and lesbians are not asking to be forced into marriage – they’re actually campaigning for a new legal choice they didn’t have before. So technically speaking, they are campaigning for more freedoms, and Brooks’s argument is already fatally screwed.
But that’s so beside the point, it’s barely worth mentioning. This whole same-sex marriage issue is much less about freedom than it is about justice. This is about a group of people wanting to be fully recognized as citizens, with absolutely equal rights, who among other things no longer want to subsidize the tax-advantaged marriages of straight people like Brooks.
So Brooks sits down to write about same-sex marriage, and within a few paragraphs he’s in the middle of this darkly sarcastic rant full of grim ruminations on black fathers abandoning their kids and the irresponsible poor splurging on credit-card shopping sprees. All you convention-breakers, he seems to be griping, you wanted all this freedom, and it turned out you couldn’t handle it, just like people like me predicted, and now you come to us begging to be reined in.
So you see, in the end, I was right about your permissive society! I drink your milkshake!
This is some seriously crazy shit. None of what he’s talking about is within a hundred miles of anything relevant to the gay marriage question. It’s just weird, confused, old-person bitterness, mixed in with the usual obnoxious conservative delusions – like the way fiscal irresponsibility is always poor people buying wide-screen TVs on credit, and never teams of Ivy Leaguers at places like Lehman Brothers running up trillion-dollar balance sheets at 40-1 leverage.
The whole world seems rapidly to be coming to an understanding that this discrimination against gays and lesbians has to end, and the fact that this change is coming is a beautiful thing. You have to be a very unhappy person indeed to feel anything but joy about it – much less this sarcastic depression.