By casting genuine political movements emerging from the real, lived experiences of millions of people as mere demographic difference, Brooks again obscures power relations by making both sides in struggles for social and economic justice appear parochial and cut off from what is supposedly “real” about life. White supremacists are motivated by misguided notions of racial superiority, but so too, apparently, is anyone who opposes them. Yet the obfuscation does not happen by equivocation alone. Brooks evidently takes a swipe at the Times’ massively successful 1619 Project when he criticizes progressives, who believe “that the founding [of the U.S.] was 1619, not 1776,” and “were willing to step on procedural liberalism in order to get radical change.” What does coalition look like between people of color and anti-racist whites? It looks like current movements to take down Confederate monuments, end mass incarceration, and raise the federal minimum wage. These are divisive issues, though, and so appear as “warfare” against the defenseless beating heart of authentic society: “procedural liberalism.”

From David Brooks’s imaginary friends by Garrett Bridger Gilmore