Book Review - Daniel Patrick Moynihan - by DAVID BROOKS
Sometime in the late 1980's, I lunched (or had lunch, if you prefer) with Senator Daniel Patrick Sean O'Sean O'Shanuessey Moynihooney Tulrooney Toolrahlee. Although most everyone seemed to call him 'Dave'.
Although outwardly liberal and eductated, he was also a Real (white) American, an elitist Ivy League intellectual liberal who was suspicious of upper-middle-class liberals (the worst kind). Which really is the only reason why anyone cares about him today, because THANK GOD he was a Democrat. Thus we can use quotes from his letters to bash Democrats over the head and then accuse them of supplying the blunt object. Which is really a wonderful feeling.
For example, he argued that African-Americans had a weak family structure. The fact that there are still poor people today--some of whom are African-American--proves his point. The history of slavery, oppression, Jim Crow, and subtle racism such as denying loans to black-owned businesses, excluding them from better-paying union jobs, buying homes in white neighborhoods, or attending an Ivy League school with an Irish man...none of that matters. Because money doesn't matter. Only culture and philosophy matter.
Sadly, the liberal elite failed to understand that racism born of ignorance is a valid opinion. One of his few supporters was Reinhold Niebuhr, a theologian whom I admire for some reason so I mention his name as often as I can. (Although I also admire George Bush, so I would take my admiration with a rather large dose of sodium if you know what I mean.)
He became alarmed by the Democrats' abandonment of the working-class (black people don't work so they don't count, obviously). By supporting unions and trying to stop people from being choked to death by lead, toxic waste, and air pollution, the liberal elites were hurting the working class. Somehow.
Then came the most dreaded beasts of all--the hounds of hell unleashed: Hippies. "The hippies have turned against mindless war and jingoism. What's next?"
Unlike almost all other elderly people who look favorably upon the younger generation, he saw intellectual decay everywhere. "Star Trek has been canceled. I shall never watch television again. Not till they bring back 'Name of the Game'."
What went wrong? Partisan warfare--invented by the liberal elites. As I recall, everyone pretty much agreed with everyone else prior to 1965. And liberals failed to test their assumptions. Do African-American children really need food? Who knows? We can't know for sure until this is tested in a double-blind controlled experiment with true random assignment of subjects.
So, if you're like me, the neutral observer who just happened to have worked for a guy who wants to bomb every Middle East nation except the ones with casinos, you'll love Senator Daniel Whom-The-Fuck-Ever.