David Brooks has really only got one thing to say about the world, and that is that we live in an "atomized" society; it's pretty much the only insight he brings to the table. His fellow New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has really only got one thing to say about the world, and that is that we live in a "hyperconnected" society. Maybe if we put them in a room together, they would both wink out of existence, leaving us with Gail Collins, I guess. Naturally, David Brooks has sized up the whole Edward Snowden/NSA data mining story with his "have hammer, nails everywhere" approach to the world. At bottom, however, is the assertion that the real grave threat America faces is cynicism. Brooks seems to ignore the things that could only instill those feelings of cynicism, because there is no other rational way to respond to them.