Tuesday, August 15, 2017

David Brooks Explains Fanaticism And Offers Modesty As A Remedy

David Brooks used to spend most of his time writing articles about politics.  The policy issues were usually conservative ideas supported by Republicans and Liberal polices promoted by Democrats.  Those days are over for David Brooks.  He is worried about the rise in fanaticism that has been the consequence of increased anxiety in our society.  That inspires conspiracy theories that surface to ease anxiety.  He intends to define and promote intellectual modesty as the remedy for fanaticism.  He starts out by rejecting intellectual purity.  Fanaticism and anxiety cannot be countered by a war between pure ideas.  Modesty begins with that realization.  He hopes to more fully describe modesty and explain how it will reduce fanaticism in subsequent opinion pieces.

I can sympathize with David Brooks.  There is not much more that one can say about Donald Trump and his failures as our president.  He as done more to increase anxieties and promote fanaticism than anyone might have thought possible.  Trump exacerbated a problem that has lied dormant in our society for a long time.  Hopefully, intellectual modesty, as it is fleshed out by David Brooks will be part of a solution.  I doubt that it will be sufficient.  Fanaticism was dormant in our nation for many years because there were few institutions to promote and organize it.  It is much easier to do that today with the rise of alt-right media,  the use of social media to facilitate communication and by the divisions within each of our major political parties. A modest solution to a growing problem may not exist.

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