David Brooks of the New York Times and the Occupy Wall Street movement
Mr. Brooks, in “The Milquetoast Radicals” errs in describing the “core theme” of the Occupy Wall Street protests as “If there is a core theme to the Occupy Wall Street movement, it is that the virtuous 99 percent of society is being cheated by the richest and greediest 1 percent.”
As proof, he offers a link to a pdf file allegedly from a 2004 issue of a Canadian left-wing magazine.
This is a straw man argument. It is so shallow because only Mr. Brooks is making this argument, falsely attributing it to Occupy Wall Street by guilt by association in order to make a facile refutation.
Then Mr. Brooks goes on to make a very deceptive and misleading analysis of proposals to tax the rich by considering only those individuals making one to ten million dollars per year and downplaying the supposed impact of increasing taxes on these individuals by ignoring all individuals making more than ten million dollars per year and by comparing the revenue gained not to the balancing effect on the yearly budget but rather to the total, historic, US debt. Mr. Brooks also ignores any discussion of the desirability and effectiveness of increasing corporate taxes and closing corporate loopholes.
Then while castigating the protestors as too extreme, he also attacks them as a “milquetoast” group whose “members’ ideas are less radical than those you might hear at your average Rotary Club”
Mr. Brooks apparently has an axe to grind with the protesters; well and good. His dissent is welcome. But he should not engage in guilt by association or what appear to be outright falsehoods in making his case.
Copyright © 2011 Henry Edward Hardy