Why Mr Brooks is an idiot

"When Warren wrote the Brown decision, it took the segregation issue out of the legislatures and put it into the courts. If it had remained in the legislatures, we would have seen a series of state-by-state compromises reflecting the views of the centrist majority that’s always existed on this issue. These legislative compromises wouldn’t have pleased everyone, but would have been regarded as legitimate." – Michael Berube channels David Brooks

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2 thoughts on “Why Mr Brooks is an idiot

  1. Read Gerald Rosenberg, "The Hollow Hope" for this kind of thing.

    Ten years after Brown v Board of Education, very very few American kids were in desegregated schools. It wasn’t until the federal executive under Johnson began to do anything that desegregation slowly became a reality, and then the arguments about bussing, etc. really got going.

    Similarly — also from Rosenberg — if you look at the graph of "American women living within 100 miles of a legal abortion clinic", there’s no dramatic shift after Roe v Wade in 1973. With a long look back, it looks as if the main political consequence of Roe v Wade has not been to make abortion more widely available to American women, but rather to call into existence a rabid anti-abortion, anti-feminist conservative coalition that can mobilise resentment year in, year out, ranting about "unelected judges", etc.

    Of course federal power was needed to break up Jim Crow, etc. But liberals so consistently overrate the abilities of the courts to bring about progressive social change, that it’s well worth reminding people again and again that legislative politics rather than judicial fiat is a far better way of generating and securing long-term change for the better.

    (Nathan Newman’s blog is good on this kind of thing.)

    But yes, David Brooks is an idiot, and I wouldn’t want anything I wrote here to suggest otherwise.

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