Brooks probably does wish he was a better man, maybe even one of those Great Men that are so central to his paleoconservative worldview. The problem is that the transformation that he himself describes demands way too much of him. He preaches the need for a worthwhile vocation even as he clings to a job he hates for the easy paycheck. He instructs others to ignore the external joys of prestige even as he gladly accepts the accolades showered upon him by his peers. He demands that others confront their wretched and sinful nature even as he denies ever doing anything wrong. He speaks of the virtue of the private life even as he grants himself the privilege to judge the private lives of the poor from afar. He wants everyone else to sacrifice while he stays the same.
And really, that describes Brooks most of all. He walked down the road to character, met himself eight times and found the promised land which was right back where he started. Would that we could all get paid for such things.