You could have spent pretty much all day today on Twitter reading derisive left-wing quips about David Brooks's New York Times column. My favorite tweet--and there were plenty of contenders for that title--was from the journalist Brendan Koerner (@brendankoerner), who summarized Brooks's point as, "The main problem with America is that the little people don't tremble in front of fearsome idols."
Brooks's column was about how recent monuments--the Vietnam Memorial, the Martin Luther King monument, etc.--don't hold a candle to the monuments of yore: Lincoln, Jefferson, etc. And, since this was a David Brooks column, the demise of monuments had to reflect an even larger trend: the demise of respect for authority.
In defense of Brooks (it's a job somebody's gotta do), he wasn't quite counseling indiscriminate respect for authority. He thinks we should respect " just authority" (which I gather means authority imbued with justice, as opposed to meaning mere authority). So the column wasn't authoritarian in the strict sense.
Still, it did exude a certain impatience with people who don't fall in line. Brooks says he's not sure America has a leadership problem, but "it certainly has a followership problem." And as for those of us who say we'll be good followers as soon as you can show us some leaders who deserve to be followed: "To have good leaders you have to have good followers -- able to recognize just authority, admire it, be grateful for it and emulate it."