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The Gospel According to David Brooks

By The Reverend Published: March 17, 2009

Brooks explaining America's gospel of success

David Brooks has a reputation for being the New York Times "intellectual" conservative writer. I'm not sure why that is, really. The intellectual reputation, that is. Perhaps because the group of "intellectual" conservative writers is such a tiny one.

Brooks plumbed his own "intellectual" depths today in a piece of rubbish he called, "The Commercial Republic." In it, Brooks bemoans the, as he sees it, temporary cessation of enthusiastic popular culture examples "celebrating commercial ambition." Maybe Brooks should reread his copy of "DOW 36,000", you know, so he doesn't fall completely into a pit of despair.

Here's a bit of Brooks' intellectualism....

Over the centuries, the United States has been most conspicuous for one trait: manic energy.

This energy was first aroused by abundance, by the tantalizing sense that dazzling wealth was available just over the next hill. But it has also been sustained by a popular culture that celebrates commercial ambition. From Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton, through Horatio Alger and Norman Vincent Peale, up until Donald Trump and Jim Cramer, popular figures have always emerged to champion the American gospel of success, encouraging middle-class people to strive, risk and make money.

Brooks' requisite shot at President Obama as he longs, in sackcloth and ashes, for the days of the Great CEO President, the Galactically Successful BusinessPerson, George W. Bush.....

This is an administration that has many lawyers and academics but almost no businesspeople in it, let alone self-made entrepreneurs.

The New York Times columnist, without mentioning once the wonderful story of "the gospel of success" now on display in the wreckage on Wall Street, predicts a great comeback for the capitalistic good news.

The gospel of success will recapture the imagination.

Having already mentioned CNBC's Jim Cramer in the same sentence with Benjamin Frankin and Alexander Hamilton, Brooks dreams about Cramer the Great reigniting that once-historic, manic-energy-American-trait as told in those "gospel of success" stories.

Somewhere there’s probably a TV producer thinking of hiring Jim Cramer to do a show to tell story after story of unapologetic business success.

THIS Jim Cramer....

" A lot of times, when I was short at my hedge fund and I was positioned short, meaning I needed it down, I would create a level of activity beforehand that could drive the futures. It doesn’t take much money. Or if I were long and I would want to make things a little bit rosy, I would go in and take a bunch of stocks and make sure that they’re higher, maybe commit $5 million in capital to do it, and I could affect it.

What you’re seeing now is maybe – it probably is a bigger market now – maybe you need $10 million capital and knock the stuff down. But it’s a fun game and it’s a lucrative game. You can move it up and then fade it. That often creates a very negative feel. So let’s say you take a longer-term view intraday and you say, “Listen, I’m gonna boost the futures, and then when the real sellers comes in, when the real market comes in they’re gonna knock it down and it’s gonna create a negative view.”

That’s a strategy very worth doing when you’re evaluating on a day-to-day basis. I would encourage anyone who’s in a hedge fund to do it, because it’s legal."

As David Brooks sees it, what "middle class people" need is "story after story of unapologetic success" from successful capitalist preachers like Donald Trump and Jim Cramer. According to the conservative "intellectual" and NY Times columnist, those wonderful greed-inspiring stories will encourage, you know, regular Americans, to take "risks."

That's just a great idea, isn't it? Former stock price manipulators, but still multi-millionaires, can share all those inspiring "gospel of success" stories with regular non-millionaire Americans. Segments could include, "How to Headfake the Market Open with Futures Manipulations", "How to Cheat While Trading and When to Do It", "How to Empty Out Worker's IRA's and 401K's Through Naked Short Selling", or, "Got $10 Million? Own the Market."

Let's see.....what could we call a Jim Cramer "gospel of success" teevee program? A program which would satisfy all of David Brooks deep longings to hear stories of "dazzling wealth just over the next hill." Oh..I know...."American Idol Greed Stories for Suckers."

I guess that's why David Brooks is called a conservative "intellectual." He's really smart.



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