David Brooks on MTP: We're at 'Adult Table', Ann Coulter, Hebdo at 'Kiddie Table'

Was it just coincidence that the only person consigned by purportedly conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks to the "kiddie table" on Meet the Press this morning was fearless conservative Ann Coulter?

In a panel discussion on Charlie Hebdo's unvarnished brand of political incorrectness, Brooks divided those in the commentariat to the "adult" and "kiddie" tables. As to be expected, Brooks seated himself with the grown ups, which makes sense considering that he's been an adult roughly since toddlerhood. Coulter, on the other hand, she's with the kids, given her troubling propensity to throw food and run circles around liberals --

MTP HOST CHUCK TODD: David Brooks, you wrote something that I can tell you, more people emailed me about your column on Friday than I get usually. (Todd then quoting from Brooks' column) --

The journalists at Charlie Hebdo are now rightly being celebrated as martyrs on behalf of freedom of expression, but let's face it: If they had tried to publish their satirical newspaper on any American university campus over the last two decades it wouldn't have lasted 30 seconds. Student and faculty groups would have accused them of hate speech. The administration would have cut financing and shut them down.

BROOKS: Yeah, we lionize people abroad for things we would not tolerate here. And so the reaction should be for us, domestically, is hey, let's get offended a little more. Let's tolerate a little offensiveness. There's a new thing on campus, 'micro-aggressions,' it's like some minor offense against people. But you just have to learn to tolerate that. We have to do two things -- one, we have to uphold standards of civility and decency, but we ought to let the clowns among us say what the clowns do, and you never do that with law, you never do it with speech codes, you don't disinvite speakers, you allow them to talk but you have distinctions.

So there's some people like, you know, frankly, this show, we're at the adult table of conversation. (The other panelists were NBC's Andrea Mitchell, National Review editor Rich Lowry, New York Times reporter Helene Cooper, and Islamic Monthly editor Arsalan Iftikhar; anti-Islamist writer and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali was also scheduled but "decided to not appear," according to Todd). Some people like Ann Coulter, they're at the kiddie table. Charlie Hebdo, that's the kiddie table. Let the kiddie table have the kiddie table 'cause sometimes they'll say things that those of us at the adult table need to hear. Don't crack down on them.

Are you listening, jihadists and liberals, the two cohorts most prone to hypersensitivity?

In his column, titled "I am not Charlie Hebdo," Brooks also placed comic Bill Maher at the kiddie table, along with Coulter and various unnamed "jesters" and "holy fools."

Pardon me for interrupting the grown ups as they gather to opine, but those willing to hurl offense at the pinched scowl of militant Islam aren't "kiddies" but the bravest among us, since the self-satisfied elite were long ago cowed into timidity.

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