Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 6, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

THE RETURN OF THE SUN KING....Henry Farrell rightly points out that David Brooks' paean to primate heirarchy in the New York Times today is pretty ridiculous on its face:

We're so full of it. We pretend to be a middle-class, democratic nation, but in reality we love our blue bloods

....We don't actually want to be governed by people like ourselves. We want the bloodlines. The anthropologist Lionel Tiger points out that in many primate communities, the offspring of high-status females are immediately accorded membership in the troop's elite.

Tiger points out that politics is a visceral business. It's a tremendous advantage to have been instilled with the habit of self-assertion since infancy. If you can project a physiological comfort with power, others around you will begin to accept your sense of self-worth.

This doesn't go a long way toward explaining Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, or LBJ, does it?

But I'm willing to forgive Brooks his strained pop sociobiology. He's obviously just having some fun, and this paragraph was worth the price of admission:

So you have one party, the Republican Party, the so-called party of the heartland, which won't nominate a guy unless he has a ranch the size of Oklahoma. Republicans don't think you're fit to govern unless you're on the north 40 every summer clearing brush. And then you have the Democrats, the so-called party of the people, who won't nominate a guy unless his family had an upper-deck berth on the Mayflower.

Even if it's wrong, at least it's funny.

Kevin Drum 10:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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