David Brooks on Edward Snowden, David Niven and finger bowls.


The NY Times’ David Brooks loved William Buckley and his finger bowls.

I will always remember the column that David Brooks of the NY Times wrote on the death of the creepy right-wing elitist William Buckley.

Brooks swooned over Buckley like a little groupie.

I don’t know if I can communicate the grandeur of his life or how overwhelming it was to be admitted into it. Buckley was not only a giant celebrity, he lived in a manner of the haut monde. To enter Buckley’s world was to enter the world of yachts, limousines, finger bowls at dinner, celebrities like David Niven and tales of skiing at Gstaad.

Yes. Who doesn’t identify with Brook’s obsession with “yachts, limousines and finger bowls.” And David Niven skiing at Gstadd.

Today he shares with us his analysis of Edward Snowden, the whistle blower who revealed the fact that the NSA collects every American’s telephone calls.

Among other assaults on our civil liberties.

A practice defended by that most famous of Harvard Law Review editors and Constitutional professors, Barack Obama.

What is most impressive about Edward Snowden’s heroic act is also what impressed me about Bradley Manning.

They were just two ordinary guys who saw something and said something.

They refused to act as concentration camp guards. They did not simply follow orders.

But for the finger bowl-loving David Brooks, that is just the problem with them.

They are too common. Too ordinary.

Snowden was not given to attending dinner parties. He was not sociable enough.

It’s logical, given this background and mind-set, that Snowden would sacrifice his career to expose data mining procedures of the National Security Agency. Even if he has not been able to point to any specific abuses, he was bound to be horrified by the confidentiality endemic to military and intelligence activities. And, of course, he’s right that the procedures he’s unveiled could lend themselves to abuse in the future.

But Big Brother is not the only danger facing the country. Another is the rising tide of distrust, the corrosive spread of cynicism, the fraying of the social fabric and the rise of people who are so individualistic in their outlook that they have no real understanding of how to knit others together and look after the common good.

This is not a danger Snowden is addressing. In fact, he is making everything worse.

If you’re David Brooks and you discover that the government is spying on every one of its citizens, your response isn’t outrage and action.

It is memories of David Niven and finger bowls.

And how that brought us all together.

Didn’t it?

5 Replies to “David Brooks on Edward Snowden, David Niven and finger bowls.”

  1. Its interesting to see what side of the fence “libruls” are popping up on, too. I always listened to the Stephanie Miller program on WCPT in the morning but no more. How hateful these Obamabots have become on this subject busily vilefying Snowden at every opportunity.
    Good ole Bill Press, a long time progressive didn’t let me down, thank God!
    Even on the the usual Democratic internet forums the hate against him is astonishing. I wonder how many of the regular posters are on a Dem/Obama payroll as they are so militant and all using the same terms.

  2. After the shit hits the fan we will see people act as the German citizens did. “I knew something was going on over there but i didn’t know they were burning people in furnaces.”

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