Is Modesty the Answer to Trumpism?: Part 1

The Keynes CentreContent, How We Think

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Even at this early stage of his presidency, Mr Trump’s behaviour is too demanding and upsetting for many and it is already a matter of ‘tuning him out’ to preserve peace of mind. Otherwise, his opinion tweeting obsession requires economizing on our attention spans – coming to a sustainable position of him so that we need not think about his every turn.  David Brooks, a generally fair observer of the U.S. scene, recently grappled with this dilemma in a New York Times Op-Ed column.

Brooks returned later this summer to pick up on an implication of his earlier piece suggesting MODESTY is the most powerful answer to fanaticism. Modesty he says is a way of knowing the world which opposes ‘conspiracy mongering mind-sets’:

“It means having the courage to understand that the world is too complicated to fit into one political belief system. It means understanding there are no easy answers or malevolent conspiracies that can explain the big political questions or the existential problems. Progress is not made by crushing some swarm of malevolent foes; it’s made by finding balance between competing truths — between freedom and security, diversity and solidarity. There’s always going to be counter-evidence and mystery. There is no final arrangement that will end conflict, just endless searching and adjustment.”

Here is his Opinion article.

Brooks mentions that over the next few months he’s hoping to write several columns on why modesty and moderation are superior to the spiralling ‘purity movements’  of today and says “It seems like a good time for assertive modesty to take a stand.”

Indeed.

This is part one of a series of blog posts which will keep you posted on these columns by Brooks as they arrive.

Meantime, enjoy reflecting on the ideas of one of the more thoughtful of media columnists.

 

The Keynes CentreIs Modesty the Answer to Trumpism?: Part 1