Monday, September 3, 2018

Automation Will Crash Democracy: Intelligence Squared Debate

Automation Will Crash Democracy. Debate with Yascha Mounk, Ian Bremmer, Andrew Keen, and Alina Polyakova. Video. Intelligence Squared, May 16, 2018. YouTube.

Western Democracy Is Threatening Suicide. Debate with Yascha Mounk, Bernard Henri-Levy, Clive Crook, and Kori Schake. Video. Intelligence Squared, October 3, 2017. YouTube.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Monday, March 26, 2018

Bryan Caplan: The Case Against Education.

The Case Against Education. Video. Bryan Caplan interviewed by Scott Carlson. After Words. C-Span, February 22, 2018. YouTube.

The Case Against Education: Economist Bryan Caplan Says Government Spending of $1 Trillion a Year on Schooling Is aWaste. Video. Bryan Caplan Interviewed by Nick Gillespie. ReasonTV, January 22, 2018. YouTube.

The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money. By Bryan Caplan. Princeton University Press, 2018.

What students know that experts don’t: School is all about signaling, not skill-building. By Bryan Caplan. Los Angeles Times, February 11, 2018.

The 5 worst things about colleges in America. By Bryan Caplan. New York Post, March 10, 2018.

The World Might be Better Off Without College for Everyone. By Bryan Caplan. The Atlantic, January/February 2018 issue.

Is education worth it? Debate between Bryan Caplan and Eric Hanushek. Video. American Enterprise Institute, February 15, 2018. YouTube.

Why this economist thinks public education is mostly pointless. Bryan Caplan interviewed by Sean Illing. Vox, February 16, 2018.

Bryan Caplan’s Case Against Education. By Ilya Somin. Reason, March 24, 2018.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Something Ominous Is Happening to Men in America. By Tucker Carlson.

Something Ominous Is Happening to Men in America. By Tucker Carlson. Video. Fox News, March 7, 2018. YouTube. Also at Real Clear Politics.

Is the Left’s “Toxic Masculinity” Label to Blame for the Male Crisis? Jordan Peterson interviewed by Tucker Carlson. Video. Fox News, March 7, 2018. YouTube. Also at Real Clear Politics.

Tucker Carlson:

You hear a lot in America about the “war on women,” but it’s men in America who are failing. We have some shocking statistics:

The signs are everywhere. If you’re a middle aged man, you probably know a peer who has killed himself in recent years. At least one. If you’re a parent, you may have noticed that your daughter’s friends seem a little more on the ball than your son’s. They get better grades. They smoke less weed. They go to more prestigious colleges. If you’re an employer, you may have noticed that your female employees show up on time, whereas the young men often don’t. And of course if you live in this country, you’ve just seen a horrifying series of mass shootings, far more than we’ve ever had. Women didn’t do that. In every case, the shooter was a man.

Something ominous is happening to men in America. Everyone who pays attention knows that. What’s odd is how rarely you hear it publicly acknowledged. Our leaders pledge to create more opportunities for women and girls, whom they imply are failing. Men don’t need help. They’re the patriarchy. They’re fine. More than fine.

But are they fine? Here are the numbers:

Start with the most basic, life and death. The average American man will die five years before the average American woman. One of the reasons for this is addiction. Men are more than twice as likely as women to become alcoholics. They’re also twice as likely to die of a drug OD. In New Hampshire, one of the states hit hardest by the opioid crisis, 73 percent of overdose deaths were men.

But the saddest reason for shortened life spans is suicide. Seventy-seven percent of all suicides are committed by men. The overall rate is increasing at a dramatic pace. Between 1997 and 2014, there was a 43 percent rise in suicide deaths among middle aged American men. The rates are highest among American Indian and white men, who kill themselves at about ten times the rate of Hispanic and black women.

You often hear of America’s incarceration crisis. That’s almost exclusively a male problem too. Over 90 percent of inmates are male.

These problems are complex, and they start young. Relative to girls, boys are failing in school. More girls than boys graduate high school. Considerably more go to and graduate from college. Boys account for the overwhelming majority of school discipline cases. One study found that fully one in five high school boys had been diagnosed with hyperactivity disorder, compared with just one in 11 girls. Many were medicated for it. The long term health effects of those medications aren’t fully understood, but they appear to include depression in later life.

Women decisively outnumber men in graduate school. They earn the majority of doctoral degrees. They are now the majority of new enrollees in both law and medical schools.

For men, the consequences of failing in school are profound. Between 1979-2010, working age men with only high school degrees saw their real hourly wages drop about 20 percent. Over the same period, high school educated women saw their wages rise. The decline of the industrial economy disproportionately hurt men.

There are now seven million working age American men who are no longer in the labor force. They’ve dropped out. Nearly half of them take pain medication on any given day. That’s the highest rate in the world.

Far fewer young men get married than did just a few decades ago, and fewer stay married. About one in five American children live with only their mothers. That’s double the rate in 1970. Millions more boys are growing up without fathers. Young adult men are now more likely to live with a parent than with a spouse or partner. That is not the case for young women. Single women buy their own homes at more than twice the rate of single men. More women than men now have drivers licenses.

Whenever gender differences come up in public debate, the so-called wage gap dominates the conversation. A woman makes 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That’s the statistic you’ll hear. It’s repeated everywhere. But that number compares all American men to all American women across all professions. No legitimate social scientist would consider that a valid measure. The number is both meaningless and intentionally misleading. It’s a talking point.

Once you compare men and women with similar experience working the same hours in similar jobs for the same period of time — and that’s the only way you can measure it — the gap all but disappears. In fact it may invert. One study using census data found that single women in their 20s living in metropolitan areas now earn eight percent more on average than their male counterparts. By the way, the majority of managers are now women. Women on average are scoring higher on IQ tests than men are.

Men are even falling behind physically. A recent study found that almost half of young men failed the Army's entry-level physical fitness test during basic training. Fully seventy percent of American men are overweight or obese, as compared to 59 percent of American women.

Perhaps most terrifyingly, men seem to be becoming less male. Sperm counts across the west have plummeted, down almost 60 percent since the early 1970s. Scientists don’t know why. Testosterone levels in men have also fallen precipitously. One study found that the average levels of male testosterone dropped by one percent every year after 1987. This is unrelated to age. The average 40-year-old-man in 2017 would have testosterone levels 30 percent lower than the average 40-year-old man in 1987.

There is no upside to this. Lower testosterone levels in men are associated with depression, lethargy, weight gain and decreased cognitive ability. Nothing like this has ever happened. You’d think we’d want to know what exactly is going on and how to fix it. But the media ignore the story. It’s considered a fringe topic.

Nor is it a priority in the scientific research establishment. We checked and couldn’t find a single NIH-funded study on why testosterone levels are falling. We did find a study on, quote, “Pubic Hair Grooming Prevalence and Motivation Among Women in the United States.”

Those are the numbers. They paint a very clear picture: American men are failing, in body, mind and spirit. This is a crisis. Yet our leaders pretend it’s not happening. They tell us the opposite is true: Women are victims, men are oppressors. To question that assumption is to risk punishment. Even as women far outpace men in higher education, virtually every college campus supports a women’s studies department, whose core goal is to attack male power. Our politicians and business leaders internalize and amplify that message. Men are privileged. Women are oppressed. Hire and promote and reward accordingly.

That would be fine if it were true. But it’s not true. At best, it’s an outdated view of an America that no longer exists. At worst, it’s a pernicious lie.

Either way, ignoring the decline of men doesn’t help anyone. Men and women need each other. One cannot exist without the other. That’s elemental biology, but it’s also the reality each of us has lived, with our parents and siblings and friends. When men fail, all of us suffer. How did this happen? How can we fix it? We hope this series answers those questions.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Tyrannosaurus Rex by Paleo Artist Simon Stålenhag.

Tyrannosaurus Rex. Simon Stålenhag/Swedish Natural History Museum.

Tyrannosaurus rex tearing apart a carcass while a flock of nervous herbivores skitter by in the foreground. Tyrannosaurs were mostly small and unimportant for the better part of their 100-million-year history. But in the final 20 million years of the Cretaceous before the mass extinction, some species like T. rex reached outrageous size and fearsomeness.

The Artists Who Paint Dinosaurs. By Ross Andersen. The Atlantic, October 5, 2015.

More Paleo art at Jurassic Mainframe.

Rise of the Tyrannosaurs. By Stephen Brusatte, Scientific American, May 2015.

What Killed the Dinosaurs. By Stephen Brusatte. Scientific American, December 2015.

Ascent of the Mammals. By Stephen Brusatte and Zhe-Xi Luo. Scientific American, June 2016.

The Unlikely Triumph of the Dinosaurs. By Stephen Brusatte. Scientific American, May 2018.

T-Rex & Asteroid. Douglas Henderson

Tyrannosaurus rex with the Chicxulub asteroid hovering in the sky, moments before the catastrophic impact that would have released, all at once, far more energy than all the nuclear weapons ever detonated.

—Peter Brannen, The Ends of the World

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Esther Perel: Rethinking Infidelity at TED

Rethinking infidelity . . . a talk for anyone who has ever loved. By Esther Perel. Video. TED, March 2015. YouTube.

Why Happy People Cheat. By Esther Perel. The Atlantic, October 2017 issue.

The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity. By Esther Perel. New York: Harper, 2017. Amazon web page.

Rethinking Infidelity. By Daphne Merkin. Tablet, December 20, 2017.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Peggy Noonan on Gun Control: Americans Want to Go Down Fighting.

Peggy Noonan on Gun Control: Americans Want to Go Down Fighting. Video. Morning Joe. MSNBC, October 2, 2017. YouTube. Also at Real Clear Politics.

Video starting at transcript excerpt:

Transcript excerpt at Axios:

There is a sense that society is collapsing — the culture is collapsing. We’re collapsing in crime. The world is collapsing. Crazy people with bad haircuts have nukes. Everything is going bad — terrorism, etc. They want to be fully armed on their hill, at home. . . . They’re Americans, and they want to go down fighting.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Ben Shapiro Speaks at UC Berkeley.

Hurricane Shapiro Takes Berkeley By Storm. Video. The Daily Wire, September 15, 2017. YouTube. Also here.

5 Things I Learned at Berkeley Last Night. By Ben Shapiro. The Daily Wire, September 15, 2017.

Ben in Berkeley Scolds the Poor. By Titus Techera. American Greatness, September 17, 2017.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Liberal Crackup. By Mark Lilla.

The Liberal Crackup. By Mark Lilla. Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2017.


Liberals should reject the divisive, zero-sum politics of identity and find their way back to a unifying vision of the common good

Donald Trump’s surprise victory in last year’s presidential election has finally energized my fellow liberals, who are networking, marching and showing up at town-hall meetings across the country. There is excited talk about winning back the White House in 2020 and maybe even the House of Representatives in the interim.

But we are way ahead of ourselves—dangerously so. For a start, the presidency just isn’t what it used to be, certainly not for Democrats. In the last generation, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama won the office with comfortable margins, but they were repeatedly stymied by assertive Republicans in Congress, a right-leaning Supreme Court and—what should be the most worrisome development for Democrats—a steadily growing majority of state governments in Republican hands.

What’s more, nothing those presidents did while in office did much to reverse the rightward drift of American public opinion. Even when they vote for Democrats or support some of their policies, most Americans—including young people, women and minorities—reject the term “liberal.” And it isn’t hard to see why. They see us as aloof, elitist, out of touch.

It is time to admit that American liberalism is in deep crisis: a crisis of imagination and ambition on our side, a crisis of attachment and trust on the side of the wider public. The question is, why? Why would those who claim to speak for and defend the great American demos be so indifferent to stirring its feelings and gaining its trust? Why, in the contest for the American imagination, have liberals simply abdicated?

Ronald Reagan almost single-handedly destroyed the New Deal vision of America that used to guide us. Franklin Roosevelt had pictured a place where citizens were joined in a collective enterprise to build a strong nation and protect each other. The watchwords of that effort were solidarity, opportunity and public duty. Reagan pictured a more individualistic America where everyone would flourish once freed from the shackles of the state, and so the watchwords became self-reliance and small government.

To meet the Reagan challenge, we liberals needed to develop an ambitious new vision of America and its future that would again inspire people of every walk of life and in every region of the country to come together as citizens. Instead we got tangled up in the divisive, zero-sum world of identity politics, losing a sense of what binds us together as a nation. What went missing in the Reagan years was the great liberal-democratic We. Little wonder that so few now wish to join us.

There is a mystery at the core of every suicide, and the story of how a once-successful liberal politics of solidarity became a failed liberal politics of “difference” is not a simple one. Perhaps the best place to begin it is with a slogan: The personal is the political.

This phrase was coined by feminists in the 1960s and captured perfectly the mind-set of the New Left at the time. Originally, it was interpreted to mean that everything that seems strictly private—sexuality, the family, the workplace—is in fact political and that there are no spheres of life exempt from the struggle for power. That is what made it so radical, electrifying sympathizers and disturbing everyone else.

But the phrase could also be taken in a more romantic sense: that what we think of as political action is in fact nothing but personal activity, an expression of me and how I define myself. As we would put it today, my political life is a reflection of my identity.

Over time, the romantic view won out over the radical one, and the idea got rooted on the left that, to reverse the formula, the political is the personal. Liberals and progressives continued to fight for social justice out in the world. But now they also wanted there to be no space between what they felt inside and what they did in that world. They wanted their political engagements to mirror how they understood and defined themselves as individuals. And they wanted their self-definition to be recognized.

This was an innovation on the left. Socialism had no time for individual recognition. Rushing toward the revolution, it divided the world into exploiting capitalists and exploited workers of every background. New Deal liberals were just as indifferent to individual identity; they thought and spoke in terms of equal rights and equal social protections for all. Even the early movements of the 1950s and ’60s to secure the rights of African-Americans, women and gays appealed to our shared humanity and citizenship, not our differences. They drew people together rather than setting them against each other.

All that began to change when the New Left shattered in the 1970s, in no small part due to identity issues. Blacks complained that white movement leaders were racist, feminists complained that they were sexist, and lesbians complained that straight feminists were homophobic. The main enemies were no longer capitalism and the military-industrial complex; they were fellow movement members who were not, as we would say today, sufficiently “woke.”

It was then that less radical liberal and progressive activists also began redirecting their energies away from party politics and toward a wide range of single-issue social movements. The forces at work in healthy party politics are centripetal; they encourage factions and interests to come together to work out common goals and strategies. They oblige everyone to think, or at least to speak, about the common good.

In movement politics, the forces are all centrifugal, encouraging splits into smaller and smaller factions obsessed with single issues and practicing rituals of ideological one-upmanship. Symbols take on outsize significance, especially in identity-based movements.

The results of this shift are now plain to see. The classic Democratic goal of bringing people from different backgrounds together for a single common project has given way to a pseudo-politics of self-regard and increasingly narrow and exclusionary self-definition. And what keeps this approach to politics alive is that it is cultivated in the colleges and universities where liberal elites are formed. Here again, we must look to the history of the New Left to understand how this happened.

After Reagan’s election in 1980, conservative activists hit the road to spread the new individualist gospel of small government and free markets and poured their energies into winning out-of-the-way county, state and congressional elections. Also on the road, though taking a different exit on the interstate, were former New Left activists heading for college towns all over America.

Conservatives concentrated on attracting working people once attached to the Democratic Party—a populist, bottom-up strategy. The left concentrated on transforming the outlook of professional and party elites—a top-down strategy. Both groups were successful, and both left their mark on the country.

Up until the 1960s, those active in the Democratic Party were largely drawn from the working class or farm communities and were formed in local political clubs or on union-dominated shop floors. That world is gone. Today they are formed primarily in our colleges and universities, as are members of the overwhelmingly liberal-dominated professions of law, journalism and education.

Liberal political education, such as it is, now takes place on campuses that are far removed, socially and geographically, from the rest of the country—and particularly from the sorts of people who once were the foundation of the Democratic Party. And the political catechism that is taught is a historical artifact, reflecting more the idiosyncratic experience of the ’60s generation than the realities of power politics today.

The experience of that era taught the New Left two lessons. The first was that movement politics was the only mode of engagement that actually changes things; the second was that political activity must have some authentic meaning for the self, making compromise seem like a self-betrayal.

These lessons, though, have little bearing on liberalism’s present crisis, which is that of being defeated time and again by a well-organized Republican Party that keeps tightening its grip on our institutions. Where those lessons do resonate is with young people in our highly individualistic bourgeois society—a society that keeps them focused on themselves and teaches them that personal choice, individual rights and self-definition are all that is sacred.

It is little wonder that students of the Facebook age are drawn to courses focused on their identities and movements related to them. Nor is it surprising that many join campus groups that engage in identity movement work. But the costs need to be tallied.

For those students who will soon become liberal and progressive elites, the line between self-discovery and political action has become blurred. Their political commitments are genuine but are circumscribed by the confines of their self-definitions. Issues that penetrate those confines take on looming importance, and since politics for them is personal, their positions tend to be absolutist and nonnegotiable. Those issues that don’t touch on their identities or affect people like themselves are hardly perceived. And classic liberal ideas like citizenship, solidarity and the common good have little meaning for them.

As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate.

Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: Speaking as an X…This is not an anodyne phrase. It sets up a wall against any questions that come from a non-X perspective. Classroom conversations that once might have begun, I think A, and here is my argument, now take the form, Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B. What replaces argument, then, are taboos against unfamiliar ideas and contrary opinions.

Conservatives complain loudest about today’s campus follies, but it is really liberals who should be angry. The big story is not that leftist professors successfully turn millions of young people into dangerous political radicals every year. It is that they have gotten students so obsessed with their personal identities that, by the time they graduate, they have much less interest in, and even less engagement with, the wider political world outside their heads.

There is a great irony in this. The supposedly bland, conventional universities of the 1950s and early ’60s incubated the most radical generation of American citizens perhaps since our founding. Young people were incensed by the denial of voting rights out there, the Vietnam War out there, nuclear proliferation out there, capitalism out there, colonialism out there. Yet once that generation took power in the universities, it proceeded to depoliticize the liberal elite, rendering its members unprepared to think about the common good and what must be done practically to secure it—especially the hard and unglamorous task of persuading people very different from themselves to join a common effort.

Every advance of liberal identity consciousness has marked a retreat of liberal political consciousness. There can be no liberal politics without a sense of We—of what we are as citizens and what we owe each other. If liberals hope ever to recapture America’s imagination and become a dominant force across the country, it will not be enough to beat the Republicans at flattering the vanity of the mythical Joe Sixpack. They must offer a vision of our common destiny based on one thing that all Americans, of every background, share.

And that is citizenship. We must relearn how to speak to citizens as citizens and to frame our appeals for solidarity—including ones to benefit particular groups—in terms of principles that everyone can affirm.

Black Lives Matter is a textbook example of how not to build solidarity. By publicizing and protesting police mistreatment of African-Americans, the movement delivered a wake-up call to every American with a conscience. But its decision to use this mistreatment to build a general indictment of American society and demand a confession of white sins and public penitence only played into the hands of the Republican right.

I am not a black male motorist and will never know what it is like to be one. If I am going to be affected by his experience, I need some way to identify with him, and citizenship is the only thing I know that we share. The more the differences between us are emphasized, the less likely I will be to feel outrage at his mistreatment.

The politics of identity has done nothing but strengthen the grip of the American right on our institutions. It is the gift that keeps on taking. Now is the time for liberals to do an immediate about-face and return to articulating their core principles of solidarity and equal protection for all. Never has the country needed it more.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Fareed Zakaria: Why Trump Won.

Why Trump Won. By Fareed Zakaria. CNN, July 31, 2017.

Fareed Zakaria: Trump’s Victory Was “A Class Rebellion Against People Like Us.” Video. Mediaite, July 31, 2017. YouTube. Full CNN New Day segment here, here.

Donald Trump and the endgame of “The End of History”: The latest news from World War IV. By Andrew O’Hehir. Salon, August 5, 2017.

Francis Fukuyama On Why Liberal Democracy Is In Trouble. Interviewed by Steve Inskeep. NPR, April 4, 2017.

See also Rush Limbaugh, Real Clear Politics.


The real question of the 2016 presidential election isn’t so much why did Donald Trump win, as why did he even get close?

After all, Trump was a totally unconventional candidate who broke all the rules and did things that would have destroyed anyone else running for president. So why did he break through?

Here’s the answer: America is now divided along four lines, each one reinforcing the others. Call them the four Cs.

The first is capitalism. There was a time when the American economy moved in tandem with its middle class. As the economy grew, so did middle class employment and wages. But over the last few decades that link has been broken. The economy has been humming along, but it now enriches mostly those with education, training, and capital. The other Americans have been left behind.

The second divide is about culture. In recent decades, we’ve seen large scale immigration; African-Americans and Hispanics rising to a more central place in society; and gays being accorded equal rights. All of this has meant new cultures and narratives have received national attention. And it’s worried a segment of the older, white population, which fears that the national culture they grew up with is fading. One comprehensive study found that after party loyalty, the second strongest predictor of a Trump voter was “fears of cultural displacement.”

The third divide in America today is about class. The Trump vote is in large part an act of class rebellion, a working class revolt against know-it-all elites who run the country. These voters will stick with Donald Trump even as he flails, rather than vindicate the elite, urban view of him.

The final C in this story is communication. We have gone from an America where people watched three networks that provided a uniform view of the world to one where everyone can pick their own channel, message, and now even their own facts.

All these forces have been at work for decades, but in recent years, the Republican Party has been better able to exploit them and identify with those Americans who feel frustrated, anxious, angry – even desperate about the direction that the country is headed in. Donald Trump capitalized on these trends even more thoroughly, speaking openly to people's economic anxieties, cultural fears, and class rebellion. He promised simple solutions, mostly aimed at others – Mexicans, Muslims, Chinese people and, of course, the elites and the media.

It worked. He won. Whether his solutions are even enacted is another matter. But the real victory will come for this country when someone looks at these deep forces that are dividing it and tries to construct a politics that will bridge them. Rather than accept that America must remain a country split between two tribes – each uncomprehending of the other, both bitter and hostile – he or she would speak in a language that unites them.

That kind of leadership would win not just elections -- but a place of honor in American history.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

David Brooks on Conservatism in the Trump Era.

David Brooks on Conservatism in the Trump Era. CNN Fareed Zakaria GPS. Video. Breaking News Channel, June 25, 2017. YouTube. Also here.

Donald Trump’s Populism Decoded: How a Billionaire Became the Voice of the “Little People.” By Leonard Steinhorn. Moyers and Company, July 3, 2017.

Brooks, GPS Transcript:

ZAKARIA: Ronald Reagan: In the minds of many on the right, he will forever be the king of conservatism, his presidency the high point of that movement.

So what does Donald Trump’s presidency represent? Where does conservatism go from here? Where does the Republican Party go from here?

Early in the week, I had the opportunity to talk to a man who thinks a lot about these issues, the New York Times columnist David Brooks.


ZAKARIA: David Brooks, pleasure to have you on.

BROOKS: Good to be with you.

ZAKARIA: When you look at Trump and the way he’s been governing, the things he’s passed, it’s, kind of, a hodgepodge of some things that seem hardcore Republican economic agenda, the repeal of Obamacare. Some of it is the trade protectionism he’s always promised. Is there a new conservatism developing?

BROOKS: No, I don’t think so, not – not in this administration. I think we saw glimmers of it in the campaign. And what Trump understood but a lot of us didn’t understand, what debate we were having. We grew up in the debate of big government versus small government, whether you wanted to use government to enhance equality, as Democrats did, or reduce government to enhance freedom, as Republicans did. But in the campaign, Trump said “That’s not our debate.” As many people, including you, have said, it’s open-closed. It’s between those who feel the headwinds of globalization blasting in their faces and they want closed borders, closed trade, security, and those who feel it’s pushing at their backs, and they want open trade, open opportunity and open social mores.

And he identified that we’re having a new debate now. And what's central to his administration is he hasn't delivered on that.

And that’s because there are not a lot of Trumpians in the world of policy. And so he hasn’t exactly helped the people who got him into office. He’s staffed his administration, to the extent it is staffed, with people who basically believed in the Reagan bargain of 1984, which is, you know, cut tax rates, reduce government regulation. And so I think he opened the door for a new kind of conservatism but has not fulfilled it. That’s for somebody in the future.

ZAKARIA: So where do Republicans go?

When you look at Republican congressmen, politicians, have they looked at that campaign and said, “We need to become more populist conservatives?” Is that where the party is heading?

BROOKS: Yeah, there was a book that was really useful to read, a short book called The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. And he said what happens in science – but it’s also true in politics – is you get a paradigm; you get a way of looking at the world, Reaganism. That was a paradigm. It works for a little while and then slowly it detaches from reality and it’s hollow, but nobody knows it. Somebody comes along, punctures it and it collapses.

And that’s what Trump did to Reaganism. But then you get this period of chaos, where people really haven’t released the old paradigm but they haven’t – don’t know what the new one is. And then you get a period of competition of paradigms.

And so, in the Republican Party, you’re going to get a libertarian paradigm; you’re going to get a paleo-conservative Pat Buchanan paradigm. You’re going to get a whole bunch of different ones and they will fight it out.

And if I had to bet, I would like an Alexander Hamilton, open trade, a lot of immigration, a lot of economic dynamism. But frankly, when I look at the polls, there are not a lot of people who want what I want. The Steve Bannons of the world – that’s where a lot of the people are. If you – they’re older; they’re economically disadvantaged, and they want a national conservatism that will protect them.

ZAKARIA: And if that is what they want, the party, you think, will – will fold. Because, to me, what’s been really interesting to watch is conservative intellectuals have, by and large, particularly the more prominent ones like you, have stuck true to their ideas and ideals and, you know, been very critical of Trump. I think somebody like George Will essentially got fired from Fox for that reason.

BROOKS: Yeah, right.

ZAKARIA: But the Republican politicians have not. They have all caved and, in some way or the other, have accommodated themselves to Trump?

BROOKS: Yeah. And either those of us in the intellectual class are hidebound and rigid and we’re stuck with our ideas and we’re not reflecting reality, or the politicians are craven and they just don’t want to lose their jobs, so they’ll go wherever the people are. And that’s basically where they are.

I think one of the things we’ve learned and Trump has demonstrated is that parties are not that ideological. Trump ran against a lot of Republican positions and Republicans signed on.

What parties are these days are cultural signifiers, social identity markers and just teams. And people think, “What team has people like me on it? What fits my social identity?”

A lot of people looked around; a lot of suburban women in Missouri looked around and said “Sarah Palin, she’s, kind of, like me.” And whether Sarah Palin believed in high tax rates or low tax rates or health insurance markets or some other health care policy, that’s not what they were thinking about. They were thinking about, “Who’s like me?”

And for a lot of people in the Republican Party, which is older, whiter and less educated at the core, Trump was like that.

ZAKARIA: Does that tell you that they will be loyal to him to the end, if there – if these investigations go – go badly for the president?

BROOKS: Yeah, pretty much. One of the things I think we’ve learned in spades over the last 20 years is that we in the political class get super-excited about scandal, and we think, “Oh, it’s about to tear that person down.” But, time and time again, when you actually go out to districts where people are voting, it’s, sort of, just a noise in the background, and they’re voting the things that they care about, their economics, their health care, their education, or they like the person.

And so, in my conversations with Trump voters, the scandals just don’t come up. They think – always, he’s kind of a buffoon or whatever, but at least he’s still basically trying to say the right things. And so I don’t think it will have any difference.

ZAKARIA: And is part of Trump's support that that – you know, that core 35 percent or so of the country strengthened every time the media criticizes him?

BROOKS: Yeah...

ZAKARIA: Because the last thing they want to do is to give you the satisfaction...


BROOKS: Correct.

ZAKARIA: ... of having been right about Donald Trump?

BROOKS: Correct. Yeah, one of the things we learned about the class structure in this country is that people in the lower middle class or people in the working class or people who voted for Trump don’t mind billionaires; they do not mind rich people. What they mind are bossy professionals, teachers, lawyers, journalists who seem to want to tell them what to do or seem to want to tell them how to act.

And if you had to pick the classic epitome of that person who most offends them, that would be Hillary Clinton. And so she was exactly the wrong person.

And so I find them remarkably stable in their support. There’s been some seepage around the edge for Donald Trump, but so far it’s just seepage.

ZAKARIA: David Brooks, pleasure to have you on.

BROOKS: Thank you.

Steinhorn (excerpt):

But populism has always been about more than a loss of jobs, status and prestige. It’s also about who they blame for that loss. And typically they train their fire on those they view as elites.

Notwithstanding the threads of nativism and xenophobia woven into the early populist rhetoric, their targets were clear: monopolies, banks, industrialists and those who controlled the levers of capital in America. To them, they traced their loss of livelihood and status directly to the economic barons who constituted the elites of their time.

But today’s populists — with the notable exception of the Bernie Sanders wing — don’t rage against the capitalist elites and corporate boards and CEOs and financiers for outsourcing their jobs, closing their plants, squeezing their incomes and soaking up much of the nation’s wealth.

Rather, they aim their anger at those who they believe have deprived them of their cultural capital. To them, it’s the liberal, intellectual and media elites that have redefined who and what America values. On the cultural pedestal is now a rainbow flag, not the American flag. The masculinity of old is now declassé. We elevate diversity and multiculturalism, not the hard hat, cop and white picket fence.

In the white working-class worldview, these elites have hijacked what Sarah Palin once called the “real America” — through globalization that stole their jobs, dispensations and benefits for those that haven’t earned it, and a politically correct hierarchy that privileges gays, minorities, immigrants and now the transgendered, but not the white working class even though, to them, they’re the ones who built the country and deserve respect.

From their perspective, all these elites seem to hand them is disdain and condescension. So they see themselves, in the words of President Trump, as the “forgotten Americans.”

Trump understood all of that from the very beginning of his campaign. Sporting his trademark “Make America Great Again” red baseball cap signaling white working-class solidarity, he vowed to stomp on the elites that his supporters believed were putting them down.