David Brooks: The Follower Problem
David Brooks is a columnist for the NYT.
If you go to the Lincoln or Jefferson memorials in Washington, you are invited to look up in admiration. Lincoln and Jefferson are presented as the embodiments of just authority. They are strong and powerful but also humanized. Jefferson is a graceful aristocratic democrat. Lincoln is sober and enduring. Both used power in the service of higher ideas, which are engraved nearby on the walls.
The monuments that get built these days are mostly duds. That’s because they say nothing about just authority. The World War II memorial is a nullity. It tells you nothing about the war or why American power was mobilized to fight it. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial brutally simplifies its subject’s nuanced and biblical understanding of power. It gives him an imperious and self-enclosed character completely out of keeping with his complex nature.
As Michael J. Lewis of Williams College has noted, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial transforms a jaunty cavalier into a “differently abled and rather prim nonsmoker.” Instead of a crafty wielder of supreme power, Roosevelt is a kindly grandpa you would want to put your arm around for a vacation photo....
comments powered by Disqus
- Zara removes striped pyjamas with yellow star following online outrage
- According To U.S. Big Data, We Won The Vietnam War
- Nearly Every Founding Fathers’ Quote Shared By A Likely Future Congressman Is Fake
- Fareed Zakaria Appears to Have Plagiarized Entire Paragraphs in One of His Books
- Medal of Honor for a Civil War Hero 150 Years in the Grave
- Cornel West and the Insular World of the Obama-Hating Left
- Fox to turn Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “No Ordinary Time” into a 10 hour series on FDR and Eleanor
- Martin Kramer says Columbia University professors claim Israelis are the new Nazis
- Denying Historians: China’s Archives Increasingly Off-Bounds
- Is this the way to teach history? Mark Carnes thinks so.