The Good Brooks

Via Mark Kleiman, the good David Brooks delivers an excellent column on Mitt Romney and "The Speech":

The first casualty is the national community. Romney described a community yesterday. Observant Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Jews and Muslims are inside that community. The nonobservant are not. There was not even a perfunctory sentence showing respect for the nonreligious. I’m assuming that Romney left that out in order to generate howls of outrage in the liberal press.

The second casualty of the faith war is theology itself. In rallying the armies of faith against their supposed enemies, Romney waved away any theological distinctions among them with the brush of his hand. In this calculus, the faithful become a tribe, marked by ethnic pride, a shared sense of victimization and all the other markers of identity politics.


Meanwhile, from the point of view of a basically secular person who nonetheless holds to certain retrograde notions about human dignity, there continues to be something staggering about the extent to which the politicized "faith" crowd believes that it is a right and just thing to do to, say, keep a man shackled naked in a standing posture in a freezing room and then, later, strap him to a board and force water down his throat so as to induce a sensation of drowning before using evidence obtained by such methods as perhaps a basis for detaining further individuals and treating them likewise.