From the howling vacuum that is David Brooks’s historical consciousness escapes this gem:
Vast majorities of Americans don’t trust their institutions. That’s not mostly because our institutions perform much worse than they did in 1925 and 1955, when they were widely trusted.
Let’s pass swiftly over 1955, when our institutions were so trusted that vast swathes of the unReconstructed South decided they could disobey the Supreme Court, a state of affairs that would last until the Great Golfer sent the 101st Airborne (late of Normandy) to liberate Little Rock, and say uncomprehendingly to ourselves, 1925? When the nation realized that agents of the Doheny and Sinclair petroleum concerns were delivering cash and livestock to the Secretary of the Interior in exchange for favorable considerations? When Americans so trusted their institutions that they were defying federal law on a regular basis by liquoring up and making jokes about it?