David Brooks is a guilty pleasure of mine. Why guilty you say? Because I get the impression that he doesn't really have an opinion on anything and simply writes whatever seems hip. Take, for example, his wild love/hate swings on Obama, or his defense wayback when of big government conservatism.

Still, given that he's often taken as the metric of moderate conservatism, neoclassics may have reason to be worried:

The nation had essentially bet its future on economic models with primitive views of human behavior. The government had tried to change social psychology using the equivalent of leeches and bleeding. Rather than blame themselves, Americans directed their anger toward policy makers and experts who based estimates of human psychology on mathematical equations.
I never know what Brooks believes because he often cages his statements in elaborate rhetorical devices. Here's one possible reading:

The government shouldn't intervene because it doesn't know what it's doing and will just make things worse. Economics isn't a science; it's just abstract mathematics.

If so, it's a pretty cunning about turn from someone who would have a few years ago turned to economists as a justification for the same end: don't intervene because markets are efficient (economists agree!).

It's certainly a better argument than the efficient markets hypothesis, but still seems flawed:

1) Not intervening is what got us here in the first place
2) The models may be flawed, but not all policy needs models. In fact, I'd argue the best policy is driven by common sense. The best thing Milton Friedman did was point out the obvious: there can't be a permanent trade-off between unemployment and inflation because people will eventually catch on and develop inflation expectations. No shit. I don't understand how anyone could have thought otherwise. Then again, looking at academia in general, there seems to be a huge incentive to argue for conclusions that defy logic; it's a lot more interesting than being told what you already know.
3) Economists do spend a lot of time thinking about the economy so they must know something. Just ignore their models, listen to their common sense arguments, and check up on their statistics. It won't be perfect but its better than nothing... I hope.

I'll leave you with this entertaining snip-it from an old Brooks piece that reminds me why I continue to read him:
When Democrats open their mouths, they try to say something interesting. If the true thing is obvious and boring, the liberal person will go off and say something original, even if it is completely idiotic. This is how deconstructionism got started.