George Will's Libertarian Evolution

The nation's most syndicated columnist talks about political philosophy, drugs, isolationism, optimism, and his political development over four decades in Washington.


"I've lived in Washington now for 44 years, and that's a lot of folly to witness up close," says Washington Post columnist George Will. "Whatever confidence and optimism I felt towards the central government when I got here on January 1, 1970, has pretty much dissipated at the hands of the government."

Branded "perhaps the most powerful journalist in America" by The Wall Street Journal, Will appears in more newspapers than any other columnist in America and was a sharp-witted commentator on ABC News' This Week from 1981 until this September, when he switched to Fox News. He received the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1977 and is the author of numerous books, including Statecraft as Soulcraft: What Government Does, Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball, and One Man's America: The Pleasures and Provocations of our Singular Nation. He has the distinction of having been attacked in the pages of Doonesbury and praised in an episode of Seinfeld (for his "clean, scrubbed look").

Will began his career at National Review, but he has always had a mixed relationship with conservatism and the Republican Party. He was critical of the Nixon administration's abuses of power in the 1970s. Initially somewhat hawkish, Will also became a prominent critic of the Bush administration's conduct in the run-up to and execution of the Iraq War.

More recently Will has become a frequent champion of libertarianism, both in print and on the air, praising the likes of Liberty Movement stalwart Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) while puncturing the balloons of big-government conservatives like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). "America's most interesting development since November," he wrote in an April column about Amash, "is the Republican Party becoming more interesting."

Will sat down with reason's Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch in late August to talk about his libertarian evolution, the incarceration crisis, what the government should be spending money on, and much more.

To see video of the full interview, go to reason.com or scan the QR code at left.

reason: In 2011 you discussed in your Washington Post column a rather obscure tract called The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America. You wrote, "These incurably upbeat journalists with Reason magazine believe that not even government, try as it will, can prevent onrushing social improvement."

"America," you continued, "is moving in the libertarians' direction not because they have won an argument but because government and the sectors it dominates have made themselves ludicrous. This has opened minds to the libertarian argument." Is it correct to say that you yourself over the years are inclining more in a libertarian direction as well?

George Will: Yes, for several reasons. The first is that I've lived in Washington now for 44 years, and that's a lot of folly to witness up close. Whatever confidence and optimism I felt toward the central government when I got here January 1, 1970, has dissipated at the hands of the government.

Second, I participate-although I'm 72 and too old to learn much-in the changing technological assumptions. Give you an example: When I was growing up and wanted to hear the songs of the day, Bill Haley & His Comets, the Platters, and all that stuff, I would turn on the radio and hope the disc jockey would play three or four of the songs I wanted to hear in the next hour. When my daughter and other children want to hear songs, they just go to the Internet and they have 50,000. When I wanted a cup of coffee I went to a coffee shop and ordered a cup of coffee. Now you go to Starbucks and you have a mind-boggling number of choices, and choice just seems natural, more built into the social environment.

reason: So what does this have to do with government?

Will: Government operates on one-size-fits-all, because that suits the bureaucratic impulse and method, which is empire building and Manifest Destiny on the part of every bureaucracy to maximize its mission. You can see it in everything from the Secret Service-no president can be safe enough-to ObamaCare.

reason: You've said previously that John McCain was helpful in your evolution in a more libertarian direction. Talk about that.

Will: The McCain-Feingold [campaign finance] law did something that never occurred to me the Congress would have the audacity to do, or that the Supreme Court would ratify, which it largely did at first. And that is, Congress, which is to say incumbent legislators, passed laws limiting the content, timing, and quantity of political speech about incumbent legislators. This passed, which shouldn't have surprised me but it did, and was ratified by the Supreme Court.

reason: That was the final moment when you gave up completely on large government?

Will: That was part of it. I'm a reader. I read Mancur Olson and Jonathan Rauch's Demosclerosis, where he applied some of Olson's insights to how interest groups fasten like barnacles on a ship of state and eventually immobilize the ship and make reform almost impossible.

reason: Let's talk about this in the context of Statecraft as Soulcraft, which was published in '83. You had been in the public eye for a decade or more, but this was kind of a big statement. Among other things you wrote caustically of the similarities between liberals and conservatives. Talking about FDR and Ronald Reagan, you wrote, "I will do many things for my country, but I will not pretend that the careers of Ronald Reagan and Franklin Roosevelt involve serious philosophical differences." Specifically, you faulted both groups for believing that the inner lives of citizens, sentiments, manners, and moral opinions, are none of the government's business. So you're saying that Ronald Reagan meant it when he said he was an FDR Democrat, and that the problem with them is that they left people alone too much?

Will: Ronald Reagan said, "I'm an FDR Democrat, not a Great Society Lyndon Johnson Democrat." That Ronald Reagan never assaulted, never promised to assault in any way, the social safety net. It was when government got in the business of saying who should live where, who should think what-the Great Society agenda, comprehensive social engineering-is when Reagan got off the bandwagon.

Statecraft as Soulcraft, read by dozens, began as the Godkin Lectures at Harvard, three lectures in 1981. The subtitle is "What Government Does"not what government should do but what government cannot help but do. Any regime by its structure of laws is affirming certain values and discouraging certain vices. If you have a free market, a market society affirms certain values-choice, freedom, self-reliance, sanctity of contract, promise-keeping, all the rest-and therefore, when you choose your regime, you're choosing to affirm and nurture certain characters. That's why what I said is that government cannot be in any business but the soulcraft business.

reason: Do you still believe that?

Will: I do. And I think you do, too.

reason: In the column about our book, The Declaration of Independents, you noted the essence of libertarian thought is the common-sense principle that before government interferes with the freedom of individuals and individuals making consensual transactions in the market, it ought to have a defensible reason for doing so. It usually does not. Now, we just talked about McCain-Feingold. The entitlement state-you're an arch-critic of things like Medicare and Social Security. You are against war in Syria; you became a critic of the Iraq invasion. The beads are piling up where you say the government can't do things. Where are some places the government should still be limiting human interaction, or where is it defensible to say, no, actually people can't do this?

Will: Fewer and fewer, as you say. Obviously there are neighborhood effects of pollution, neighborhood effects of noise, neighborhood effects of all sorts. Where the government goes astray is when it decides to allocate wealth and opportunity, and that's almost entirely what the government does these days. The tax code is, as Chairman Dave Camp of the Ways and Means Committee said, longer than the Bible without the good news, because it is entirely rent-seeking. It is more than the appropriations process. The tax code is how the government allocates favors.

And we reach a point-and this is a systemic thing in a way-where the tax code is so complicated that it cannot be reformed. If you say let's start over, as Camp and [Rep. Max] Baucus have tried to do, they've said, we'll have a blank slate and wipe out all the exemptions, credits, deductions, and all the rest, and it's up to you people to defend them and put them back in. The problem is, if you're starting with a blank slate, you're not picking one fight with every American, you're picking five fights with every American. The system can't handle it and you get overload.

reason: To get back to that Mancur Olson or Demosclerosis model, is it impossible to separate the barnacles from the hull? Are we sinking?

Will: We're not sinking. We're slowing down. That is, it's very hard to move the ship. It slows down economic growth, because you're allocating wealth and opportunity in political rather than efficient ways. This has, cumulatively, a terrific drag on economic growth.

reason: The philosophical basis of Statecraft as Soulcraft could be seen as government as an instrument of morality, and once citizens, politicians, and commentators have that feeling, then that helps the removal of limitations [on government power], in the LBJ way. I saw David Brooks was citing Statecraft as Soulcraft in one of his periodic jeremiads against libertarianism. How do you square those impulses?

Will: Strict, pure libertarians say that because the government can back its tastes with police power, it shouldn't have tastes. The argument of Statecraft as Soulcraft says that's all very well, but government is going to have laws. It's going to legalize certain things, proscribe certain things, encourage certain things. You have to pick, you have to choose. Unless you have the most severe night-watchman state, and we're not going to have that.

reason: By "severe" you mean totally freaking awesome?

Will: You mean that, but it's not going to happen. I wrote the other day that if we could tax Americans' cognitive dissonance we could balance the budget. The American people want all kinds of incompatible things, they're human beings, and they want high services, low taxes, and an omnipresent, omniprominent welfare state.

reason: There's a new book out by Erica Grieder. She's a liberal who writes for Texas Monthly. She talks about Texas as opposed to California. Isn't the vision of the country somewhere between California and Texas, and Texas is winning right now?

Will: This is why we have federalism. Two reasons: You're more apt to have three or four smart governors than you are to have a smart president at any time, so you disperse decision-making and experimenting. Beyond that, we can now practice under federalism what the late Daniel Boorstin, great historian and librarian of Congress, called "entrepreneurial federalism." That is, let the states compete for mobile businesses.

President Obama the other day went to Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, and gave a speech in which he said two particularly riveting things. He said it's just terrible that Maytag pulled up from Illinois and went to Mexico. No one said: Yeah, Mr. President, that's because your friends in the labor unions chased them out. A few sentences later he says, but wonderful things are happening-Airbus, the European consortium, is going to build in Alabama. Well, why'd they go to Alabama? Because it's a right-to-work state.

reason: Do you think somebody like Obama doesn't understand that disjuncture, or is he just kind of dissembling?

Will: This is a man who says ATMs and airport ticket kiosks cause unemployment. We had this argument a long time ago, whether or not automation in the Ford plant would mean that nobody would be able to buy Ford cars. Surely we've had that argument. But, it hasn't percolated in Hyde Park, Chicago.

reason: One of the things that's interesting about your work over the past couple decades is that you were as tough on George W. Bush as you have been on Barack Obama. If economic growth started slowing down in the first decade of the 21st century, what were the policies that Bush was pushing that helped contribute to that, or Republicans more broadly? Have they internalized their role in this scarcity America?

Will: No, I don't think they have. Those people who have internalized have asked the simple question: Every proposed policy, how does it contribute to or subtract from economic growth? That's everything now. We have an ongoing national tragedy. We're losing a generation. We have what percentage of young people are now living with their parents from 18 to 28?

reason: The real tragedy is for the parents.

Will: Tell me about it. I've got four children, none of them live at home. I've dodged that bullet. But the sheer waste! Americans are prodigies at wealth creation. It's hard to stop them. We're industrious, educated, have a continental market, we are a mobile people. If things aren't working in Michigan, we move to Texas. Yet still, the cumulative weight of lots of little policies…

reason: So what were some of those policies in particular that Bush or the Republicans layered on top of the cake?

Will: First of all, the regulations. I was asked to come out and talk to the House members two years ago and they asked what they should do. I said, first of all, pledge that you will not publish the Federal Register. You're not going to do it anymore, you're not going to have any more regulations. Then-and this is something Romney endorsed, and others have-any major regulation, understood as one that has a $100 million impact, has to be voted on. Put their fingerprints on it. It'll work wonders.

reason: But that did happen with things like Dodd-Frank more recently, with Sarbanes-Oxley. And-it's not a regulation, but the Medicare prescription drug expansion.

Will: What made the Medicare prescription drug particularly pernicious and Republican was that it was the first major expansion of an entitlement without a dedicated funding. They just simply said: We'll make it up as we go along. We'll borrow from the Chinese.

reason: What was going through the Republican mind then?

Will: In the pithy statement of Dick Cheney, Ronald Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. He didn't do any such thing, but he did prove that to Dick Cheney. And in fact, deficits don't matter politically. Americans talk about a balanced budget, but they don't care about a balanced budget at all. In fact, what deficits have done-and Reagan gets some of the demerits for this-deficits have made big government cheap. For giving the people a dollar's worth of government and charging them 65 cents for it, and the American people say, we can live with that.

reason: There's a new generation now of politicians who are rising, who do talk about this stuff-Justin Amash, Rand Paul-they talk about actually cutting government and tackling this problem. They try to win elections [on the issue]. These are the people you were speaking of when you said a couple months ago that the most interesting thing in American politics since last fall's election was the Republican Party getting more interesting.

Will: Becoming more heterodox on foreign policy and domestic policy, yes.

reason: Talk about that. What do you find interesting about these guys?

Will: First of all they begin with a principle, which is not a radical principle: Before the government interferes with freedom or privacy, it ought to have a compelling reason. That's all, tell me your reason. When you start like that, all kinds of things happen, because 98 percent of what government does, it does for what the Founders called factions, which are those that are not public-spirited, but private-spirited, who are trying to bend public power to private advantage. If you start with that simple principle, there's no end to the times you can ask that on a given day as to what's going on in Washington.

reason: What explains that appeal? Obviously, the Rand Pauls, the Mike Lees, the Justin Amashes, the Thomas Massies of the world, they're gaining energy and momentum, but so far they're a fraction of the Republican Party, much less the electorate. Why are they striking a chord with people, if, in fact, Americans like government on the cheap? How far can they go with that?

Will: We'll see how far they can go. This is the argument, basically, for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. It's the public choice argument that the incentive to deliver benefits now and defer costs to the unborn and unconsenting future generations is irresistible. The public choice argument is powerful and gaining more strength.

Why the libertarian impulse? Partly, as the government gets bigger, it becomes more comprehensively annoying, and the annoyances add up. But beyond that, there is a great sense that America's lost its energy, there's a kind of sagging taking over the country. You look around, even where we're supposed to spend money, we're not spending money.

I travel between Washington and New York all the time by train. I thank the people of Boise for subsidizing the Acela. I don't know why they do it, but they do it, and I appreciate it. I don't want to live forever, but I want to live long enough to go from Union Station to Penn Station and all the escalators are working at the same time. They're never working at the same time. They're just awful-the shabby, tatty, shopworn, down-at-the-heel, threadbare nature of American public infrastructure.

reason: But we shouldn't be spending money on that!

Will: Yes, we should.

reason: Well, who's we, kemosabe?

Will: The public should spend on genuine public good.

reason: In recent columns, you talk about the sequester. You're in favor of cutting the overall federal budget, but you're actually critical of the sequester for the effects it has on the National Institute of Health. Lay out some of the things you think the government actually should be spending money on.

Will: I'm a Henry Clay, Abraham Lincoln, central Illinois Whig. I believe in canals, though Illinois and a lot of other states practically went broke when they plunged too enthusiastically into public works. But yes: roads. We used to be a nation that celebrated people who got things done. Now we celebrate people who stop things getting done. Pat Moynihan spent most of his long career in Washington trying to get the Westside Highway changed in New York. A great potential urban-scape that would be a great beauty to Manhattan. Can't get it done, because there's some wretched fish in the river.

reason: If the New Deal ends up giving us the Great Society, and then you have someone like Ronald Reagan who says "I don't want the Great Society, I want the New Deal," but then he pursues policies through deficit spending that then jack up the Great Society, where do you get to the point where you grant that the Westside Highway or Amtrak should be run by the federal government?

Will: If the New Deal, of necessity, in the end had to give us the Great Society, it is because the New Deal gave rise to a new class. Not capital and labor, but regulators and regulated. That's what America's become. It's generating enormous numbers of lawyers. Happily, there's a collapse in law school admissions, so there might be a corrective at work here. We have produced an enormous number of people who think they are entitled to rule, who are trained to rule, which is to say, trained to administer the regulatory state. Arguably, absent the New Deal we wouldn't have the regulatory state which gave rise to this class that decided it could fix Bedford-Stuyvesant.

reason: Since Reagan, and possibly before, there has been a Republican culture of being strong and barrel-chested on defense. And then there's the Amash/Rand Paul wing talking strikingly differently about military spending, due process, and things like that. Can a modern Republican Party tolerate that kind of growth of a more skeptical, humble foreign policy approach?

Will: It better, because along comes the president, who says let's have a fourth intervention in the Middle East and bomb Syria, and 80 percent of the country says, let's not. 80/20 issues don't come along that often, and you want to be on the right side of those.

Remember, it was a Republican who warned against the military-industrial complex. January 1961. Dwight Eisenhower knew a thing or two about war, having been in a few. Eisenhower spurned those in his cabinet, and they were loud and legion, who said we have to help the French. And we don't, actually. The French, British, Israeli adventure in Suez, he brought it to a halt. He just stopped it, using our financial power. The Hungarian revolution we perhaps improvidently encouraged, but Eisenhower said: Be that as it may, that did not obligate us to intervene, we can't do it, can't get there from here.

So there is a tradition of Republican restraint, and it's all the more impressive because what caused Eisenhower to take off his uniform and run for president was the fear that the Republican Party would be taken over by Bob Taft, and Taft was too isolationist, to use a problematic term. Here was Eisenhower who ran for president because he was more interventionist, internationalist than part of his party, but still had a fairly well-developed sense of restraint.

reason: To take it down from an atmosphere of rhetoric and into political reality, how is it that much of the Republican Party became the hawkish party because they started winning the South, where a lot of military spending is done, and the Democrats became more hawkish when they ran South?

Will: I don't think that's it. I think it has more to do with the intellectuals. Pat Moynihan said something momentous happened in the 1970s: The Republican Party became the party of ideas. The good part was they were the ideas of Milton Friedman, the Austrian economists, Hayek, all the rest. In foreign policy, however, they became first of all the party of stopping the slide in the later stages of the Cold War, which was a real danger to us.

I think when the Cold War ended, some conservatives suffered an acute bout of '30s envy. It was a wonderful clarity in the '30s. Franco, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini-certifiable bad guys. They looked bad, they were bad. And they went looking for something else to give their lives meaning. Instead of kicking back and saying, we got through the Cold War, ended without cataclysm, let's relax a little.

reason: This morning I was reading Bill Kristol complain with Hugh Hewitt, right now with the British Parliament voting against war with Syria, that we're just living through the '30s all over again.

Will: I thought it was a stirring moment yesterday. Vote in the House, prime minister gets outvoted, a shift of seven votes and he would have won, and he looks across the chamber and says the government will act accordingly.

reason: What does it say that our former monarchist overlords are showing more democratic leanings on questions of war?

Will: It shows that the Iraq Syndrome, the successor to the Vietnam Syndrome, may be more durable than the Vietnam Syndrome was. That is, people are still getting over that. Vietnam was a mistake about nation-building, about the Domino Effect and all the rest, but in the context of the Cold War you could sort of understand that. What makes the Iraq War so interesting was the clarity of the failure of intelligence. The man who must be dreading today's argument about Syria is Colin Powell. People are going to go back to the videotape and see him presenting in complete sincerity bad information to the United Nations.

reason: What was the mistake? Or was it a series of mistakes that just kept getting worse? The intelligence was wrong that the U.S. acted on, but the war plan was pretty successful. We were able to get to Baghdad very quickly, but then it's clear that there was no operational plan after that, and we just compiled more and more errors.

Will: The head of our military establishment, Donald Rumsfeld, didn't want to stay there. He said, "I want to get rid of Saddam Hussein, hand the keys over to the Iraqi people, and leave." The Iraqi people barely exist as a people. Turns out there are lots of different Iraqis who don't like each other very much. Regimes should be understood the way Aristotle did-a regime is an entire culture of politics, assumptions, values, mores, customs, and dispositions. Once you understand regimes that way, you begin to realize regime change is preposterous the same way nation-building is preposterous. Think about nation-building like orchid-building: Orchids are organic things, and so are nations. That's how we got in trouble with Iraq.

We thought we'd go in and change folks behind the desk and effectively change Iraq. When the Japanese government went to Admiral Yamamoto and said: "Could you take stealthily a fleet across the North Pacific and deliver a devastating attack on the American fleet in Hawaii?" Yamamoto supposedly said: "I can do that and I will run wild in the Pacific for six months, maybe a year, but then what?" That's the question people forget to ask. Yamamoto had lived in the United States, he loved the United States, he had been military attaché in Washington, been to Harvard and amazingly he still loved the United States. He knew what Japan would accomplish with Pearl Harbor was to enrage a continental superpower, and it was not going to end well. And it didn't.

When we talked about regime change in Iraq, we could say all Iraq needed was three people-a George Washington, a unifying figure above politics; a James Madison, a genius at the architecture of getting factions to live together; and an Alexander Hamilton, who understands the political economy of a large society. Oh yes, and by the way, they need the political culture from which those people sprang. It's that part that we neglected.

We undertook regime change in our own country. We did it in the American South. We started at Appomattox in April 1865, then Reconstruction, had a long lapse with Jim Crow, then with litigation, demonstrations, all the rest. We really affected regime change, as Aristotle would understand it, by the late '70s. 110 years.

reason: You're saying it's too soon to issue a verdict on Iraq?

Will: No, it's not. Because the pressure won't be kept on that long.

reason: You've written recently this year critically of gay marriage, or what we would call marriage equality. If government exists to secure certain rights and should treat people as individuals, why wouldn't that clearly indicate that two men or two women should be allowed to marry with all the privileges that the state secures?

Will: This argument to me at this point is highly unsatisfactory, because we're arguing about the name. Even people who say, we want to deny the word marriage to this, are all for civil unions with the full social rights and entitlements. Frankly, it's not an argument that interests me very much, other than to say it's helped some of our liberal friends rediscover federalism. We now have blue-state federalism. People say that's a good idea. Marijuana? Let Colorado decide. Marriage? Let California try and see what happens. So it's been an educational moment for our centralizing friends.

reason: On marijuana federalism, you wrote a couple of really interesting columns rethinking where our drug laws are. Where are you right now, in terms of should people be arrested for selling pot or smoking it?

Will: My first point is, I want various states to try various regimes and see what happens. One in eight Americans lives in California. That's a big laboratory. Let's see what happens out there. Colorado's going through all kinds of difficulties. Unanticipated questions arise-workplace safety, what about driving when you're using a controlled legal substance? Let's figure out by having little experiments.

To the extent that our drug laws are driving massive incarceration-which is a national scandal and a huge national waste of money, and a huge assault on social fabric, because almost everyone who goes to jail comes out, comes home back to the neighborhood, and is not coming back improved by the experience-to the extent that the drug laws are tangled up in all the rest, they need a radical rethinking.

reason: In 2016, what do you see the choice in the country being between-not necessarily between Republican and Democrat-but what is the choice that we have to make that's going to let us start addressing the operational cognitive dissonance in the American population?

Will: I think the American people today feel that the system isn't working for them, and I think they're largely right. I think what they have not internalized is that big government is invariably, primarily a servant of the strong, the organized, the educated, the affluent, the lawyered-up. That's why Washington is what it is today.

reason: And that's why we get Medicaid prescription drugs first.

Will: Exactly. It's the old law of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs, a constant shell game. Two-thirds of the federal budget is transfer payments. Transfer payments are twice as big as everything else-the Marine Corps, the National Parks, the FBI, everything-so everyone's on the take, as it were. The challenge for conservatives, particularly libertarian-flavored conservatism, is to maneuver within the public's deeply conflicted desires.

My first rule is: I want a governor, I don't want any more senators. They've never run anything. They really believe in the magic of words. Scott Walker, John Kasich, Mike Pence, Bobby Jindal actually had to run things and had people clamorous outside their offices. The American people are now living with, more comfortably than they want to admit, a big state, and we're not going back. We're just not. I'd like to go back to what Albert Jay Nock wanted, but we're not.

reason: You've talked about economic determinism, or how people think that the way things are going now is the only way they can. But in fact at various points in American history, that just radically changes. Medicare at this point, if you throw in those securities as well, we're in a death spiral. Are there ways to pull out of that that won't be so disruptive as to cause social upheaval?

Will: Sure. President Obama says Paul Ryan would end Medicare as we know it. Arithmetic will end Medicare as we know it. This does not surprise and it's not optional. The question is: Then what do we do? Yamamoto's question again. So Republicans have to be ready as the crisis nears. I don't want to sound like this is Marxism, the internal contradictions become insupportable.

reason: Are you optimistic still, despite everything?

Will: I think so, because the American premises are quite correct, and the American capacity for renewal is real. We live in a city here in Washington that was segregated 40 years ago. Look at the change in this country-breathtaking, shocking behavior that was normal, the routine daily insulting of African Americans by white Americans is completely unacceptable. That's an astonishing improvement. And laws. I have to say to my libertarian friends, laws matter.

reason: Goldwater's the one who said you can change the laws, but you can't make me love my neighbor. In fact, he's probably wrong about that.

Will: To answer that, A) you'd be surprised; and B) even if you can't love him, you can sit at the lunch counter with him and say, "Pass the sugar." You do that enough and things change, and they did.

The plasticity of America is still wonderful. You look at all the valedictorians in California named Rodriguez and Nguyen. The premises are right, and the final word about the capacity of renewal-we have a wonderfully retrospective cast to our politics. We always look back at the basic documents, the Declaration and the Constitution. The best, most renewing thing in the last few years is the Tea Party, named after something that happened in 1773, for Pete's sake. It's a very healthy way we go through life, with a crick in our neck looking back at our origins, which are in a doctrine of limited, delegated, enumerated powers of the governed. That's why I'm confident.