Analysis of “A Case Of Mental Courage” by David Brooks
Essentially, the author postulates that underlying problem in the U.S. Is that people no longer strive for the mental fortitude that is necessary to have real critical thinking,
The writer opens up with a harrowing story about the life experience of Fanny Burney, A woman who lived during the late 1700's into the mid 1800's. It describes an mastectomy without anesthesia, written by the subject. While this is used to evoke an empathetic response from the reader, the author never really points to hard evidence that backs up this claim, in fact he references an interview with Larry Summers (the White House's top economic adviser) Who said this about “Very few in public life habitually step back and think about the weakness in their own thinking and what they should do to compensate. A few people I interview do this regularly (in fact, Larry Summers is one).” which seems to disprove his on statement.
As far as the reliability of the evidence put forth in the article, the story was written by the one who experienced it, Fanny Burney and the story takes place during a historical period that was before the development of any anesthesia. So you could assert its truth. As for Larry Summers, he mentions the name and his statement “ (in fact, Larry Summers is one)” is his own opinion and therefore not evidence.
The article is well written and composed in my opinion. Opening up with something that strikes at your emotions is an easy trick to get the reader on your side from the start. And later in the piece when he says “Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway once gave a speech called “The Psychology of Human Misjudgment.” He and others list our natural weaknesses: We have confirmation bias; we pick out evidence that supports our views.” he admits to his own shortcomings, thereby connecting with the reader all the more. But he fell short in that the narrative takes a very pessimistic view of “most people”...