My Response to David Brooks’ Hit Piece on Edward Snowden

Where does the New York Times find these people?  I used to think Paul Krugman was bad, but David Brooks makes Krugman look like the reincarnation of Nostradamus and Adam Smith. A few minutes ago, I had the unfortunate experience of reading the latest nonsensical, statist drivel from David Brooks in an Op-Ed on Edward Snowden titled “The Solitary Leaker.” I’m not sure if my brain cells will ever forgive me the experience.

It’s one thing to write a hit-piece on Snowden (something we all knew would happen), and I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that the New York Times would be the “paper of record” to bring us such an editorial.  It’s quite another to write one that would only influence the simplest and most ignorant, brainwashed mind.  He sounds like a 15 year old boy arguing in the high school cafeteria.

At this point, I’m convinced that 90% of the people that call Edward Snowden a traitor are merely expressing a subconscious recognition of their own cowardice. The other 10% work for the military-industrial-Federal Reserve-propaganda complex.  David Brooks seems to uniquely fall squarely into both categories.

So let’s get into it.  It appears that David Brooks dusted off his copy of “How to Write a Hit Piece for Dummies” before getting started as he begins with an attempted character assassination.  He writes:

Though obviously terrifically bright, he could not successfully work his way through the institution of high school. Then he failed to navigate his way through community college. 

What drivel.  So many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and thinkers failed to thrive in the school system.  They were simply too bright.  Even Albert Einstein was known to have struggled in many high school classes.

Brooks then writes:

He has not been a regular presence around his mother’s house for years. When a neighbor in Hawaii tried to introduce himself, Snowden cut him off and made it clear he wanted no neighborly relationships.

Really David, that’s the best you could do?

So after he completes his ineffective character assassination, he attempts to actually make an argument.  Something David Brooks is not very good at.  He writes:

This lens makes you more likely to share the distinct strands of libertarianism that are blossoming in this fragmenting age: the deep suspicion of authority, the strong belief that hierarchies and organizations are suspect, the fervent devotion to transparency, the assumption that individual preference should be supreme. You’re more likely to donate to the Ron Paul for president campaign, as Snowden did.

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.

Brooks doesn’t even attempt to explain why Libertarianism is booming.  He sort of just implies that it has sprung out of thin air and then deeply laments its existence. This “deep suspicion of authority” did not spring from the ether.  Rather, it is the quite natural response to a corrupt, criminal and out of control corporate-financial and political oligarchy that has taken too much control and remains subject to zero accountability.  This isn’t about the balance between the individual and the political system we live under.  It is a realization that the “state” is being run to the benefit of the 0.01% at the expense of the 99.9%. It isn’t any more complicated than that.

Then he writes:

For society to function well, there have to be basic levels of trust and cooperation, a respect for institutions and deference to common procedures. By deciding to unilaterally leak secret N.S.A. documents, Snowden has betrayed all of these things.

While I do not disagree with this statement, trust must be earned.  Our leaders have lost the trust of the citizenry and rightly so.  Then he makes another bizarre generational slander:

He betrayed his friends. Anybody who worked with him will be suspect. Young people in positions like that will no longer be trusted with responsibility for fear that they will turn into another Snowden.

That’s not all though.  He follows it with another childish knock on Snowden’s high school performance:

He betrayed his employers. Booz Allen and the C.I.A. took a high-school dropout and offered him positions with lavish salaries. He is violating the honor codes of all those who enabled him to rise.

Brooks, stop whatever you are doing and change your Twitter avatar to a gigantic pair of lips attached to an ass.

Now for the idiotic climax:

He betrayed the Constitution. The founders did not create the United States so that some solitary 29-year-old could make unilateral decisions about what should be exposed. Snowden self-indulgently short-circuited the democratic structures of accountability, putting his own preferences above everything else.

This is simply unbelievable.  Brooks simply claims that Snowden “betrayed the Constitution” yet gives absolutely no evidence of such a betrayal.  He just states it and states it authoritatively as if that makes it true.  Newsflash Brooks, here’s the 4th Amendment to the Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

You’d have to be a Constitutional Law Professor to not think the NSA violated the above.

So if you wonder why such a large swath of the population is walking around like they just had lobotomies, wonder no more. They are likely reading David Brooks in the New York Times.

His full Op-Ed is here if you can stomach it.

In Liberty,

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  1. Brooks is just protecting his job, his source of money to buy his needed fixes in life. I really don’t think he has a personal opinion on this matter at all. Its just the press, playing the hand they are dealt. Any thinking or intelligent person already knew the government was spying on us. In fact, if the NSA went on TV, tore up the constitution in front of everyone, spit on it, and stomped it into the ground, it would only result in outrage for 3 or 4 days, then the sheeple would go back to Walmart and reality TV, soaking their head in their dreamlike state.

  2. A truly fine smack-down, Mike. Thanks.

  3. so Brooks is telling us the NSA have already talked to his neighbours???

  4. Wiki says he lives in Cleveland Park. If I still lived in DC I would probably try to organize a party to picket his house, so that he and all his neighbors know what a craven turd he is.

  5. Hack Attack!!! What a tool ….

  6. “He betrayed the Constitution.” This actually made me gag. What a horrible joke of a lie. David Brooks has no shame, and the NYT no credibility. Thanks for calling him out.

  7. Someone should drop Brooks off at the Stasi archives in East Germany.

    Brooks wants America run like by a High School principal. He doesn’t get this country filled with thinking adults who forget the name of the principal bureaucrat after graduating to the adult real world. The bureaucrat always remember the truant/escapees who did not comply on a little list in his desk. Snowden didn’t even work for the government direct. He was employed by way of a US contractor, exposing that NGO’s are surveilling citizens for profit, using tax dollars, claiming secrecy and evading accountability! There are grieving immigrants here who left repressive regimes to pursue liberty in America. They wanted a life away from instituted mass surveillance and corporatism/fascism!

    Brooks did not try to conceal the character assassination, as the syndicated columnist for the NYTimes News Service. This was widely published or reprinted for the unique benefit of Snowden’s accusers. Chalk it up to equal time for the pro-surveillance advantage. Even barely educated people know mass surveillance is not a Constitutional more supported by the Founders. Many people are rightly infuriated by Brook’s conclusions. Excusing and justifying arbitrary monitoring invasions by a puppet press is a defining aspect of a repressive regime. SEE: Forced labor camps in China for Ai Weiwei or Liu Xiaobo who may become China’s, Nelson Mandela. The government blames the repressed for abuses committed. “It’s your fault I am beating you! You are doing this yourself!”

  8. I don’t suppose this charlatan of journalism bothered to respond to this, did he, Mike?!?

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