David Brooks to Teach 'Humility'

Students at Yale now have the opportunity to take a class titled “Humility” from New York Times columnist and “notorious diploma-sniffing aristocrat-apologist douchebag” David Brooks, writes Matt Taibbi.

According to the class description, published at New York magazine’s website, the course will follow “[t]he premise that human beings are blessed with many talents but are also burdened by sinfulness, ignorance, and weakness” — terms that readers should be skeptical about whenever Brooks uses them, given his history of championing neoconservatism. The class would be a continuation of his interest in pop-cognitive psychology, which reached book form in early 2011 with “The Social Animal.”

Brooks has previously taught at Yale and Duke universities. Of the name of the class, he said in an email:

“The title of the Humility course is, obviously, intentionally designed to provoke smart ass jibes, but there’s actually a serious point behind it. People from Burke to Niebuhr, Augustine to Dorothy Day, Montaigne to MLK and Samuel Johnson to Daniel Kahneman have built philosophies around our cognitive, moral and personal limitations. The course is designed to look at these strategies as a guide for life and politics and everything else.”

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone’s Taibblog:

When I first read this, I flashed to that classic moment in Army of Darkness where Ash doesn’t fall for the not-quite-dead wraith trick – you know, the “It’s a trick. Get an axe” scene. Having David Brooks explain why teaching a course in Humility at Yale is not a landmark moment in the history of pretentiousness by quoting Burke, Niebuhr, Dorothy Day, Montaigne, Martin Luther King, Samuel Johnson and Daniel Kahneman in the same sentence has to be some kind of trap, right? It can’t really be happening, can it?

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Alexander Reed Kelly
Associate Editor
In December 2010, Alex was arrested for civil disobedience outside the White House alongside Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, Pentagon whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, healthcare activist Margaret Flowers and…
Alexander Reed Kelly
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