New York Times opinion-haver David Brooks is not a "journalist," per se; he's more of an "amiable prick." Still, he is employed by a newspaper, and he writes about news. One would think he might be, at least, in favor of, you know, journalism, or at least the spreading of facts, in the public interest. Not so!
In some little cutesy online back-and-forth piece today, Brooks and Gail Collins purport to debate the issue of presidential candidates releasing their tax returns. Here is where David Brooks comes down:
My own view is that the desire for full disclosure stems from a few things. First, pure prurience. Second, members of what used to be called the New Class perpetually labor under the delusion that other people dislike the rich as much as they do and if they can only disclose that someone is rich that will end their political chances. Third, there is a misbegotten ideology haunting the land, the ideology of sunshinism. This is the belief that everything should be made public...
Sunshinism is a destructive ideology. Forcing people to financially undress in public is just one of those incursions that repels decent people from running for office... It also destroys people's faith in government. Have you noticed that as democracy has become more open, cynicism has skyrocketed and the effectiveness of government has gone down the toilet?
So just to clarify, and I don't know why I'm shocked by this, really: New York Times employee and wealthy white male David Brooks strongly believes that the idea that our most powerful and barely-accountable leaders should have to tell we, the people, a bare minimum of facts about themselves and their lifestyle, is a "destructive ideology." David Brooks, a columnist whose work is based largely on news reported by journalists dedicated to exposing facts that powerful officials would prefer to keep private, favors allowing powerful officials to keep everything private. David Brooks, who purports to know something about politics, genuinely believes that the fear of too much honesty with the public is the reason that "decent people" don't run for elected office.
That last bit about cynicism I hope is a joke, although David Brooks is not funny.
[NYT. Photo: Getty]