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First take/Brooks

I go hot and cold on David Brooks’ New York Times columns, but he runs fairly hot today. Here he warns of extremism in our current politics: “Countrymen with different views are regarded as aliens. Political identity became a sort of ethnic identity, and any compromise was regarded as a blood betrayal.” And he goes on to say, “If a politician lacks the quality of detachment — the ability to let the difficult facts of reality work their way into the mind — then, [writer Max] Weber argues, the politician ends up striving for the “boastful but entirely empty gesture.” His work “leads nowhere and is senseless.” Welcome to Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and the Freedom Caucus.” The point is coming when you have to ask: Do these people believe in self-government, in democracy? And if not, what do they believe in? – rs (photo)

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