So the buttoned-up mind of David Brooks returned to the liberal hippie enclave of Hyde Park to tell the bong-hitting radicals at the University of Chicago to . . . buy the world a Coke and sing in harmony:

Brooks also expressed his pessimism about the ability of Middle Easterners and Americans to imagine a shared future both with members of their respective societies and within the global community, as Americans become more divided by educational achievement and Middle Easterners remain divided by religious ideology.

“The tragedy of the post–9-11 world is that a world that seemed to be coming together is not,” Brooks said.

Americans carried a “powerful sense of universalism,” during the 1990s after the Cold War, Brooks said. U.S. ideology seemed triumphant and the Soviet Union had apparently embraced democracy, with other European countries in tow.

September 11 and the vagaries of the Iraq war broke this notion, Brooks said, leading to a return among U.S. conservatives to what he called “epistemological modesty,” which he said involves a more serious understanding of cultural divides and how differing perceptions affect political outcomes.

This leads to a “great hesitancy to get enmeshed” in the affairs of other countries, Brooks said.

For such an epistemologically modest man, he seems hesitant to get unmeshed out of the great mesh we’ve made–i.e. the trilateral civil war–in Iraq. Now maybe if we can get him to use that modesty to retract his epistemology safely away from everything outside the grounds of his local Restoration Hardware location, the less craven among us can get started on that swell universalism.

This part is great, too. If your mother says loves you, check it out; if John McCain tells you anything, print that shit, because he’s AWESOME:

Brooks said that he remains an “unabashed fan of McCain.” Keeping with McCain’s “straight-talk” campaign slogan, Brooks said that when McCain tells him something, he has no problem putting it in his column, because he trusts that McCain is not lying.

Every time David Brooks speaks or writes a column, my U. of C. diploma loses like 10 cents of value.