We'll cross that brook when we come to it...

Just read David Brooks' latest NYT column, and it is an amazing piece of work. It starts out by talking about how the British have a functional political system, while the US does not.

That's certainly largely true; all parties in Britain are actually working to try to benefit the country. When they negotiate, they seem to (at least mostly) do so in good faith, to try to make things better. Nobody over there has yet come to the conclusion that the PM's program must be stymied, even if it makes things worse for the country as a whole.

But where Brooks' column totally goes off the rails is when he attributes that function to a political class that "have often known each other since prep school". I've got a new word for you, Mr Brooks. That word is aristocracy. That's what that system is known as.

It might be what you, personally, hope to see in the US, but I can assure you that that is not a widespread opinion. This country has a long history of attempts (with varying degrees of success) at suppressing the development of an aristocracy. And yes, we might be closer, at this moment, to allowing that to occur than at any previous point, but that sure as heck doesn't make it a good (or desireable) thing.

There's an old phrase that must be remembered: "virtue is not hereditary" (that's Jefferson, btw, if it sounds unfamiliar). If you're going to forget (or ignore) that phrase, then you might as well go back to a monarchy. Because a monarch who has the best interests of their subjects in mind at all times is probably the best form of government. But there's no way to ensure that, so we got rid of kings.

And thank God that we did so. Now let's not replace them with an aristocratic class. Or pretend that that would be a good thing.

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