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Recent letters to the NYT, in response to David Brooks

Letter 1

We're really at a loss when our most emotionally evolved begin to experience pleasure when they participate in a system where a lot of promising human beings will receive little feedback on their excellence... for them, it'll all seem to slip out into a void of no-response. I think for this to be happening, most upper-middle-class liberals have to experiencing some kind of growth panic, some sense that their prosperity is selfish and spoiled of them, and warranting a punishment, and are in response helping nurture a society downgraded from the one they at some level know is much the much richer -- a fully open society... some hippie '60s vision, that actually would be possible if we weren't bent on repeating the '30s.

Some gigantic maw that demands lives be lost in hopelessness is becoming satisfied, for the masses, whatever their talent, having to have to will past guaranteed invisibility to manifest their best creative work (in this, you-are-either-exempt-from-being-a-troll-by-your-class-markers-or-are-always-partially-a-troll culture, you will not be seen if you're on the out, no matter how able), and for so many liberals to force deny themselves their upmost self-provisioning openness.

What came first -- trolls themselves? Or the psychic need to obscure genuine talent and human interestingness by casting this dispersion of "likely of troll DNA" over the bulk of the human lot, cuing people into understanding that the way to participate in the game that will most be met with approval, is not to try and contribute something unique, but to attempt to qualify yourself as much closer to your betters than the rest of the lot are ... as much less trollish than they. 

Letter 2

It is not a well known psychological theory, but there are some psychoanalysts who argue that the particular nature of our parents' need for us as children will determine how much growth we will permit for ourselves and for the society we live in, before it makes us feel like we've neglected our parents and drawn their ire. If we have reached a time where almost no one feels growth can continue without placating angry parental "alters," then the problem of privilege is not the same as it would have been in an earlier time when growth felt more permissible, like presumably post WW2 until late 70s.

Upper-middle-class liberals, in this way of seeing things, aren't only looking after their own privilege, for they at some level feel the sacrifice to their own pleasure that comes out of the creativity and useful wandering sapped out of everyone needing to build their resumes and secure As all the damn time -- it's a society of William Deresiewicz's excellent sheep -- and from our collective inability to disentangle ourselves from seeing everyone outside our circle as some variant of troll. They know the self-diminishment that comes out of finding themselves playing the role of aristocrats who delight that their children seem almost anthropologically different from everyone else's in America. For out of fear of what will happen to them if they speak for the lives of everyone, and thereby possibly creating a world where everyone wins, they know they’re at the service of some bitter societal god.


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