The Simpletons: Do-Something Punditry

Monday, December 05, 2011

Matt Welch, Editor in Chief of Reason magazine, discusses his article “The Simpletons: David Brooks, Thomas L. Friedman, and the banal authoritarianism of do-something punditry.” He examines the large and influential “do-something” school of political punditry, which looks for solutions to the country’s problems and ends up empowering authority.


Matt Welch

Comments [15]

bob h from nj

If I were running the Times I would not be shelling out the big salaries paid to Friedman, Brooks, Douthat, et. al. I've been reading the paper for 45 years, and never waste my time with them. Rather, I would bring in on an occasional basis some of the very talented left blogosphere people like Digby, Charles Pierce, Juan Coles, et. al. On the conservative side, there is simply no one worth paying attention to.

Dec. 08 2011 12:50 PM

More Libertarian Laissez faire "free market" do nothing and let the magic of the markets take care of everything nonsense.

Dec. 06 2011 09:42 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Well, India left socialism about 10 years after the Chinese decided to go whole-hog capitalist but with an Red Iron fist. So the road to prosperity in India may take longer, but I think it will be more solid in the long run because it is based on democracy, as bumpy a road as that may be.

But sure, multiparty parliamentary democracy is as Churchill once described it: The worst system, except for all the others.

Dec. 05 2011 12:35 PM

Democracy has a limit. Look at India. You like? It seems we like to get nothing done because reaching the end goal isn't what counts but all the political churning that happens in trying to get there.

Dec. 05 2011 12:30 PM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

The Civil war was probably the most "divisive" time in American history actually...

Dec. 05 2011 12:27 PM
JT from LI

Most of us have encountered people that seem so confident that they get people to think they know what they're talking about. This is the same cloth most pundits seem to be cut from. If people would take the time to think about what the pundit has said or even look at their history they'd see enough inconsistency to know they should be ignored.

Dec. 05 2011 12:27 PM
john from office

The China issue is interesting. We would not want to be there, the reason they are able to do big things is because they dont have the rule of law. We do and respect property rights.

Dec. 05 2011 12:26 PM
Molly from NYC

Finally! Someone who articulates what Ive felt for a long time. So tired of these media friendly gas bags (Friedman, Brooks) telling us "how it is".

Dec. 05 2011 12:26 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Most of the pundits, like the "financial analysts," have a long record of getting things WRONG far more often than right. They are chronic utopians who think they can "figure it all out." Life will always throw a curve ball nobody sees coming.

Dec. 05 2011 12:25 PM
Amy from Manhattan

What does Matt Welch think of Frank Rich, who went from drama critic to political columnist?

Dec. 05 2011 12:21 PM
stuart from nyc

didn't Frank Rich of the NY Times used to be the theater critic?

Dec. 05 2011 12:21 PM
Robert from NYC

FINALLY someone who got it right about these two jokers, frankly put and my words. Especially Friedman is well overrated and is nothing but a simpleton who smoothes over his audience of followers. That's not hard to do in the USA, after all we are a society of followers more than leaders.

Dec. 05 2011 12:18 PM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Lenny asked if he was surprised that so many worked for the New York Times..

I don't get why the New York Times has this reputation as being liberal and/or a legitimate unbiased newspaper. I think the Times has long ceased being either, if it ever was either.

The Times were one of the chief war-mongering papers leading up to the invasion of Iraq. They've lost all credibility.

Dec. 05 2011 12:17 PM
Ross from New Windsor, New York

Do you have insights as to why political scientists (other that Larry Sabato) are simply NOT included for political analysis in most media outlets? More the fault of political scientists failing to insinuate themselves into the conversation?

Dec. 05 2011 12:17 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

The bill that paid the victims of 9/11 is an excellent example of reacting (do something) without the benefit of careful consideration.

Dec. 05 2011 12:14 PM

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