A reader writes:
Thanks for putting into much finer words than I could muster some reasoned reaction to Brooks’s column. His basic argument that the opposite ends of the “government wars” have moved farther apart is just wrong, in my view. The right has moved farther to the right there is no doubt about that. And, yet, I think the Democratic approach to cleaning up the myriad and pervasive social and economic issues we face now has been essentially moderate, by historical standards.
These are not the Democrats of the 1960s and 1970s with a kind of knee-jerk approach that government is the only way to cure our social ills, crowding out all other options. Instead, the Democrats of 2010 are using government as the moderating force of and definitively not the replacement for the private sector. From healthcare to financial reform to climate control, the “liberals” are actually acting much more closely to the Burkean ideal than the so-called “conservatives” of the GOP.
Brooks might feel abandoned in the middle, but only because he has somehow bought into the rhetoric of those hailing from the party more associated with conservatives. Indeed, he essentially falls into the same “more government vs. less government” binary trap that he complains about. By simplifying the Democratic measures to be “more government,” offering no further nuance of what is really taking place, he fails to acknowledge that these recent efforts to expand the use of government are fundamentally different than the old trope of the Left. I was hoping Brooks would know better.