Ta-Nehisi Coates in The New York Times on Ben Carson's sudden fame The rise of Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson in the GOP pundit ranks is rooted in the party's desire for a "Conservative Black Hope, a lonesome outsider, willing to stare down the party of Obamacare and stand up for the party of voter ID," writes Ta-Nehisi Coates, who traces such a hope to the notion that black voters cast their ballots on behalf of President Obama's race, not his policies. "Does it matter that this abolitionist truth-teller serves at the leisure of an audience that is overwhelmingly white? Not really. Blacks are brainwashed slaves; you can’t expect them to know what’s in their interest," Coates explains, illustrating the mindset of a party that, in the second half of Obama's presidency, is looking for a star of its own. At the New York Daily News, John McWhorter adds that Carson is a conflicted example for young black Americans, who "are watching the right turn Carson into a fool by using him to make a hopelessly flabby case about racism."
Amy Davidson at The New Yorker on David Brooks's philosophy of freedom Why, asks Amy Davidson, does New York Times columnist David Brooks think he has a special purchase on the experience of gay Americans? Assessing his latest column, in which Brooks asserts that gay people are somehow limiting their freedom by fighting for marriage rights, Davidson notes that "Brooks treats gays and lesbians, en masse, like hedonistic teenagers who he’s pleased to see have just grown up." Brooks's column, she adds, "is the musing of the prince who thinks that the pauper is so much more free than he is—so lucky to be spared your aunt’s questions about when you are going to get married. It is blind to what those questions, or the lack of them, have really meant in people’s lives, as if there was no pain or reflection or growing old, no days when someone was turned away from visiting a hospital room." Brooks, as Justin Wolfers put it on Twitter, fails to that the "freedom to contract with your lover is an expansion, not a restriction of freedom."