When you write specifically to generate pageviews from conservatives reinforcing their world view or liberals who are outraged, there are just certain turns of phrase you have to use. While I usually get caught up on such wording, I was able to look past Brooks' verbiage because I've read "The Central Liberal Truth" (to a great gnashing of teeth), at the behest of recognized experts on international aid. I knew from whence his "evil" ideas came.
All of this is just build up, however, to a comparison of my own.
Today, I ran across a few turns of phrase I consider far more outrageous. Strange enough, they deal with issues tangentially related to what Brooks was discussing. In a cognitive sense, these kinds of words, having been spoken over and over again throughout the course of our nation's history, lay the foundation upon which the suspicion of Brooks' words are laid.
This is not a "Modest Proposal" type farce, either, this is literally what "conservative" Republican and South Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer thinks is an appropriate government policy that he will engage in should he be elected governor of the Palmetto State.
You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”
One is forced to wonder who makes up the group of "they" of which Bauer speaks.
And, like Bookman says, if you don't believe this "starve the poor people" line of thinking was viewed in the appropriate context, go ahead and hear it from the horse's mouth.
While he drapes his rhetoric in the veil of "political correctness is killing our country" and the "big government vs small government" false choice, his ideas that free and reduced school lunches might be some ancillary cause of low student test scores is mind-boggling in its departure from reality.
Brooks's contentions were based in real sociological studies, peer reviewed academic reports and address specific grievances with American policy that is not measuring up to standards of success.
Bauer's main line of thinking is based in revisionist history, American mythology, right-wing narrative, anti-government screed, top-down class warfare and other oft-used cliches. His use of loaded phrases and comparing people to animals tiptoes upon the line where allegations of another insidious belief system come to mind. But I'm not one to truck in code words, and overused allegations of "bygone" eras are unecessary bases for my critique.
His own words are already so damning that he has already engaged in a seldom seen political tactic, the public pseudo-apology-slash-I-only-used-a-bad-metaphor-story.
But he'll be OK. It sounds like South Carolina Democrats and fellow Republicans are going to let him get away with it, by engaging in the political theatre that usually follows such a comment.