David Brooks Invents the Time Machine and Moralitometer

...that's what readers of David Brooks' column today would be left to conclude.

Writing on the horrendous massacre of 16 Afghans by an American solider, he claims:

"But these days it’s especially hard to think through these situations because of the worldview that prevails in our culture. According to this view, most people are naturally good, because nature is good. The monstrosities of the world are caused by the few people (like Hitler or Idi Amin) who are fundamentally warped and evil. This worldview gives us an easy conscience, because we don’t have to contemplate the evil in ourselves. But when somebody who seems mostly good does something completely awful, we’re rendered mute or confused. But of course it happens all the time."

Of course, he offers no evidence, so we're only left to conclude he has discovered how to describe the worldview of citizens of Earth by inventing a Moralitometer.


"In centuries past most people would have been less shocked by the homicidal eruptions of formerly good men. That’s because people in those centuries grew up with a worldview that put sinfulness at the center of the human personality...This worldview held that people are a problem to themselves. The inner world is a battlefield between light and dark, and life is a struggle against the destructive forces inside. The worst thing you can do is, in a fit of pride, to imagine your insecurity comes from outside and to try to resolve it yourself. If you try to “fix” the other people who you think are responsible for your inner turmoil, you’ll end up trying to kill them, or maybe whole races of them."

I would like to nominate David Brooks for the Nobel Prize for his intimate knowledge of the "worldviews" of "most people" in "centuries past." I can't wait to try out his Time Machine and Moralitometer.

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