Q&A

George Will Still Believes in Classical Liberalism 

The erudite author and television commentator is not ready to give up on conservatism just yet.

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Three years ago, George Will, America's foremost conservative newspaper columnist, officially quit the GOP over its acquiescence to Donald Trump. "This is not my party," he said then. It's even less so now.

Yet the erudite author and television commentator is not ready to give up on conservatism just yet. In his career-punctuating new book The Conservative Sensibility (Hachette Books), Will makes the forceful argument that the natural rights–based classical liberalism of James Madison is the antidote to authoritarianism found on both the Trumpian right and the progressive left.

In June, Reason's Matt Welch spoke with Will about the importance of rehabilitating America's withered constitutional architecture.

Q: Why, in 2019, do we need to be talking about the ideological battle between the legacies of James Madison and Woodrow Wilson?

A: Madison said that natural rights come first and government comes second, and that government's role is to protect natural rights. Woodrow Wilson said Madison's constitutional architecture, with its Newtonian equilibrium between the branches of government, was fine when there were 4 million of us and 80 percent of us lived within 20 miles of Atlantic tidewater. But he said we have reached a point of enlightenment and scientific knowledge that we don't need to worry about factions anymore. So when Wilson said we needed "more nimble government," one that can act with a force that is simply impossible under Madison's architecture, it flowed from that that we had to have presidential government.

Q: People have come to think you can jettison the nasty parts of Wilson's Progressive model and keep just the good stuff. 

A: Alexis de Tocqueville said that historical amnesia is a systemic problem of democracies, which are forward-looking at all times. We decided, as you say, to keep the good parts of Progressivism, but the good parts of Progressivism bear a family resemblance to the bad parts, which is a sort of overbearingness.

Q: Your book talks about a lot of heroes of libertarianism, but it's called The Conservative Sensibility. Why is that?

A: Because American conservatism, rightly understood, is the legatee of classical liberalism. American liberals turned on their own legacy of limited government and resistance to authority, and conservatives like Barry Goldwater took that over by giving us a kind of American West conservatism. Conservatives who say they want to "make America great again" have imported European conservatism: blood and soil, throne and altar, ethnicity and language. European conservatism is about preserving hierarchies. American conservatism is about reconciling people to constant churning and the radical openness of spontaneous order.

Q: This sounds a lot like what Virginia Postrel calls dynamism

A: She said the most wonderful thing: The Bible reduced to once sentence is "God created man and woman, and then lost control of things." The conservative sensibility says, "Good! We don't want control. That's the whole point." The anti-conservative sensibility says, "Oh, that's dangerous. It's tiring. It's worrisome." This anti-conservative hostility toward the constant churning of a free society is about to produce what I call "the big flinch." It's leading people to say, "Enough. We've had it. We're going to hunker down."

The problem is that the American people, whether they know it or not, have already made a choice. When they decided to have an entitlement state, they made enormous demands on their future productivity. And when you do that, you better attend to your future productivity. So they are wedded to economic dynamism whether they know it or not.

Q: Are you trying to make the argument that Ronald Reagan made to Reason in 1976, when he said that the heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism? 

A: Classical liberalism was born in response to established churches and entrenched hierarchies. It defines itself in reaction against oppressive institutions. There is that liberty gene in American conservatism.

Q: You hate the phrase Flight 93 election. Why is that? 

A: Because it bandies about the idea that we're in a crisis. We're not in a crisis. Things are messy. We've had one constitutional crisis, and that was in 1861. Watergate was not a crisis; it was misbehavior.

Q: Is there something in the economic triumphalism of the last 30 years that missed a big problem that nationalists are eager to fix?

A: Some people have been casualties of the very process that has enriched the majority of us. And they are resentful, which is understandable, and they should be helped as much as possible. But there is another critique of classical liberalism that is profoundly dangerous, which is that it doesn't give us meaning in life. "Politics doesn't intoxicate me and fill me with a sense of worth, identity, and mission." Good! We've had quite enough of politics that promised those things. A new Soviet man. A new Aryan man. Politics shouldn't be that important.

This conversation has been condensed and edited for style and clarity. For a podcast version, subscribe to The Reason Interview With Nick Gillepsie.

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  1. …Will makes the forceful argument that the natural rights–based classical liberalism of James Madison is the antidote to authoritarianism found on both the Trumpian right and the progressive left.

    Does he, really? I am not so sure of that. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say he has not advocated Madisonian ‘hands off’ approach consistently. Over the years, Mr. Will has argued for any number of programs/policies that fly in the face of a Madisonian orientation to government. I have enjoyed Will’s writings over the years, even when I disagree. And he is spot-on when he says politics is really not the ‘be all, end all’ in our lives.

    One other point, I do remember reading Reagan’s argument regarding how libertarianism is really the essence of conservatism. That argument he made actually helped shape my thinking on politics, the nature of liberty, and government. I only wish he could have actually shrunk the size of the administrative state.

    1. The real problem is not Repubs or Dems, it is a FAR TO OVER ARCHING GOVERNMENT!!! I live in SC, and I wanted to put in a bigger patio. Guess what? I couldn’t until I got “approval” from the HOA!!!! Imagine calling the U.S. a “Free” country. We could not, under Odumba, REFUSE health care without being fined. The U.S. is NOT a free country, and it never will be.

      1. HOA is an organization created by a covenant on your property. You agree to it when you purchased your property.

        While I agree that the USA has some really non-free things going on, HOAs are not created by government. They are created by private contract.

        1. > you agree to it when you purchased your property.

          You agreed under duress because the FHA has all the guns. It’s the FHA that requires the existence of HOAs. In many cities you either join an HOA or you rent, no other option allowed by law.

          My friend once ran for HOA president on the platform of not holding any HOA meetings. He won by a huge margin.

          1. The FHA certainly encourages the existence of HOAs but does not make it impossible to find other arrangements. There are plenty of properties to be found, even new builds, that are not subject to HOA restrictions (though your appraiser will occasionally get in a snit over it).

            I do think the government needs to butt out and stop encouraging the creation of HOAs, but in the meantime you can still reduce their impact on your life if you’re willing to encourage your neighbors to actually participate in the governance and restrain the worst impulses of the usual asshats who run them.

      2. You voluntarily agreed to submit to the HOA’s authority and can leave at any time. Don’t conflate voluntary organizations with government.

        1. You could say the same of any local government.

          The truth is, HOA’s are effectively a new layer of local government. In multiple ways they look more like a government than a regular contract.

          1. Well sure. Contracts can bind you to all sorts of things that the government cannot (or at least should not.)

            1. Limits to contracts?

              Yes, one does not have the “personal freedom” to contractually allow oneself to be killed and eaten. This has been legally established now, in Germany, at least.

              See http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/dec/04/germany.lukeharding … Names were Meiwes and Brandes… Legal consent was all drawn up. “Victim of cannibal agreed to be eaten”… That eats me up pretty badly!

              But you know those Germans! They have a bad history of sometimes strangely restricting your personal freedoms!

            2. It’s a contract somebody else signs, that you come under just by moving into the area that it has jurisdiction over, without signing anything. It creates an entity that can tax you, that can promulgate regulations you have to comply with, and which, to a certain extent, is governed democratically.

              Sure sounds a lot more like a local government than a regular contract, to me.

              1. If you were not afforded a copy of the relevant CC&R when you bought the property you may have a case against your realtor, but your attorney will have the disadvantage of being employed by an idiot.

                1. Wouldn’t happen, because I made a point of avoiding areas with HOAs, already knowing about them. I have friends who weren’t so lucky, because they moved here from someplace the plague hadn’t reached yet, and didn’t know they needed to watch out for them.

            3. Contracts require equality of standing. An HOA member receives nothing from the HOA, but is under constant threat of losing their home for not following their petty rules.

              1. “An HOA member receives nothing from the HOA”

                They receive equal membership in a legal covenant.

                And to be clear, I’ve never lived in an HOA, and would never live in an HOA. But these are private agreements that some people like. Those people are welcome to them, and if you don’t like them then it’s your own damned fault if you end up under one of them.

                Nobody else to blame.

                1. I have, however, lived in condominium. It was alright, but that’s because I did my homework and already a new a significant number of residents.

                2. I’ve never lived in San Francisco, and would never live in San Francisco. For the exact same reasons I wouldn’t live under an HOA.

                  But describing HOAs as merely private agreements is stretching things to the breaking point. They really do look more like units of government, in practice.

                  1. Not to mention that in many places, they’re not optional. The residential options are often buy in an HOA or rent. Non-HOA options are rare unless you want to live in the sticks.

      3. Buying a home with an HOA is a voluntary act. You agreed to live by their rules. Next time buy a home without an HOA.

        1. Buying a home in Chicago is a voluntary act, too. That doesn’t mean Chicago isn’t a unit of government.

    2. Over the years, Mr. Will has argued for any number of programs/policies that fly in the face of a Madisonian orientation to government.

      That’s what I thought. If Mr. Will is now a convert to libertarianism/classical liberalism, that’s great. But don’t call it “conservatism”. Most people don’t see that is meaning the same thing at all. Because it doesn’t.

      1. There is a long and perplexing tradition of people who mostly believe in classical liberalism, with a few oddly-shaped carve-outs for their pet projects, calling their philosophy “conservatism” and steadfastly insisting they aren’t filthy libertarians despite sharing something like 80% of our positions.

  2. Because American conservatism, rightly understood, is the legatee of classical liberalism.

    No it is not. And it can never be as long as it insists on using the term ‘conservative’ to describe itself. Rather, it is an attempt to claim the mantle of classical liberalism while undermining both the legacy and meaning of it. Identical in fact to what ‘positivists’ did to ‘liberalism’ in the late 19th and early 20th in order to undermine and coopt that word for their own ideas.

    There is no way anyone can understand the meaning of ‘classical liberal’ without understanding that its goal – its existence – was predicated on universalizing individual liberty. That was the entire purpose of creating a structural limit on government in order to source the origin of that liberty in a ‘natural rights’ idea. Because that ‘natural right’ could only apply universally.

    That does not mean any of those classical liberals much pondered the gulf between the actual and the ideal then. No one ever can do that because we are all a creature of our own time. We can create grand ideas about liberty and self-governance – but completely ignore realities of slavery, lack of suffrage, religious intolerance, ethnic conflict, structural economic ‘bear traps’ that only capture some, etc. Classical liberalism was not triumphalist. Conservatism is.

    The difference between actual classical liberals and conservatives is that TODAY – 100+ years later – a conservative would STILL tend to ignore those realities solely because those 19th century folks did. Where a ‘classical liberal’ would understand that if those folks were still alive of course they would not ignore those issues of reality in their thinking.

  3. George Will is awesome! He is the kind of “conservative” (with a string libertarian orientation) that I can stomache! Little if any nationalism-tribalism, little if any support for Government Almighty telling us what our purposes in life are or should be, and little if any support for always-bigger Government Almighty… Opposed to what Dave Barry called conservatives at times, “In favor of smaller government… Except when they’re not!”

    Trump (with the exception of corporate taxes and excessive regulation) favors larger government… Especially when it comes to border walls and trade wars!

    Hooray for George Will-type conservatives, and Booo for Trumpists!

    1. “Trump (with the exception of corporate taxes and excessive regulation) favors larger government… Especially when it comes to border walls and trade wars!”

      I disagree. A border wall, will inhibit some of the flow of illegals, but it would be far more effective to change the law, so that illegals are detained until they are deported.

      Secondly, Trump has stated many times, he’d like to eliminate tariffs and trade wars – because they allow the political class to take from citizens (via tariffs that protect the political class’ businesses from foreign competition, and trade deals like the Bidens made). Free trade is something the political class doesn’t like, because then they can’t use government force to enrich themselves via international trade. Trump’s desire to eliminate tariffs, will eliminate trade wars that benefit politicians at citizens’ expense.

      Third, regarding the size of government (i.e. the spending levels), that’s more controlled by Congress. Trump can’t win that battles until we elect real fiscal conservatives to Congress, so he doesn’t fight it (besides he has other problems with Congress that wants to remove him for who he is, using whatever excuse they can manufacture). The RINOs which dominate the GOP ranks, aren’t fiscal conservatives. And all the Democrats want to significantly expand government spending.

      1. I forgot to mention, wouldn’t a border wall reduce some federal spending on illegals? Spending less than 0.1% of the federal budget on a wall, is barely “bigger government” and ignores the savings that would occur from dealing with fewer illegals. But consider how much the savings would be, if we deported illegals rather than just let them go in the US. There’s a huge amount of welfare going to them, including lots of free medical care.

        1. The wall. Apparently the Mexicans have figured out how to use power tools. Lowe’s has a cordless reciprocating saw for about $100. You will need some good metal cutting blades. They have already figured out how to push the bollards back so they can reuse the door next time.

          The cost for legal proceedings, detention, and deportation is how much? The company I work for is making some good money as a subcontractor for some of those centers.

          Simple solution is issue temporary work and residency permits. Immigrants can then get payroll jobs. Should be no more difficult than a drivers license. Kind of difficult to reconcile the cost of social services and at the same time deny people the opportunity to work.

          1. And “power tools” can open a bank safe too… Are you seriously going to try and present the case that banks would be better off NOT buying vaults and locks and just storing your cash holding in a little red wagon?? That’s some pretty FAR fetched excuses/justification. Perhaps, just maybe — that walls “stalls” the process long enough for criminals to get caught ehhhhhhh????

            1. How about a little cost-benefit analysis? Trump’s zillion-dollar “big, beautiful walls” can be bypassed by $100 battery-powered tools? (I’ve read about this as well). Maybe we should LOOK AT what bennies, if any, we are getting for our money?

              If we REALLY need to do more to keep the illegal sub-humans out… Which I do actually question… Maybe we could do it more cost-effectively?

              The walls are not a cost-effective measure at ALL… They are political show-pieces. If we wanted cost-effective, we’d do this:
              http://www.businessinsider.com/fiber-optic-sensing-technology-vs-border-wall-2019-2

              A simple technology could secure the US-Mexico border for a fraction of the cost of a wall — but no one’s talking about it

              But Trump is obsessed about what LOOKS intimidating… Walls (old tech thousands of years old) and barbed wire (dating from the late 1800s). He wants his (and I quote) “Big, beautiful wall”. And the psychology (hate the other tribe or troop) dates back to apes and monkeys. To hell with effective; it is all a political show. And since we are racists, we do NOT bother with the political theater with respect to the Cannucks.

              Once again, if we’d want effective, we’d go fiber-optic sensors. Leaves the wildlife alone as well…. But NOOOO, Trump and the troglodytes want highly visible political theater!

            2. Those steel and concrete posts are the same as a bank safe.

              Ever see those walled cities from medieval or earlier times? They stopped making them. All along they had towers, firing points.

              One thing was the invention of cannons, trebuchets, ramps, tunnels, ladders. These days rockets, balloons.

              A wall is worthless unless it is manned all along it with people willing to kill. So if you want that go ahead and deploy soldiers backed by AirPower, artillery and armored vehicles.

              Simple solutions do not work for complex problems.

              1. At the point where siege engines start being deployed against the wall, we can call in the air force for strafing runs.

                Until then, you’re right: A wall does no good unless defended: The only point of the wall is to reduce the necessary number of defenders relative to a wall of soldiers standing their shoulder to shoulder.

            3. Oh TJJ

              Do you really think the bank stores your cash in a vault?

              1. I’ll just summon that whole slew of replies up —

                But… But… We can put motion sensors on the Little Red Wagon.
                But… But… Your cash isn’t really in the Little Red Wagon.
                But… But… Vaults and locks at the bank are just Show-N-Tell.

                1. Yes and when the motion sensors detect motion what happens? You can put them in the ground with sophisticated cameras on poles and a cheap chain link fence. Motion sensors alone will respond to deer or anything else so somebody is going to need to go check it out.

                  Vaults and locks in banks are mostly show and tell. Your money is numbers in an electronic register. The bank has cash but so does the grocery store. Those things are electronic and backed by police alarms.

                  There are a few actual vaults containing treasure and some stories of great bank robberies but those are few.

                  The core of what I have proposed all along is that a simplified immigration system would save billions. Taking people into custody is expensive and requires taking responsibility. The current system is not working. Making it bigger with a wall is not going to either.

                  1. Right… Because shoplifting at the grocery store is SO MUCH HARDER to get away with than breaking into a bank’s vault. When you figure out how to automate a system that installs LoJack permanently on all trespassers as they run through the gate with their Little Red Wagons – give me a call.

                    Until then; Sorry, I just don’t think you’re taking “security” very seriously.

          2. Yeah, basically the problem remains a lack of manpower: Wall can slow people down, but they can’t stop them.

          3. A $100 cordless reciprocating saw is going to need a lot of batteries to get through 1/4 thick steel, and even more to cut through concrete.

            1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/smugglers-are-sawing-through-new-sections-of-trumps-border-wall/2019/11/01/25bf8ce0-fa72-11e9-ac8c-8eced29ca6ef_story.html

              Smugglers are sawing through new sections of Trump’s border wall

              It is happening! So they might need an extra backup battery backup or 2 or 3… Whoop-de-doo! Story remains, billion-dollar “big, beautiful walls” are easily defeated by low-dollar means. “Asymmetrical warfare” means the explosive pot full of tin-foil shreds fired off of a Vietnamese hillside brings down a low-flying radar-guided FB111 worth many-many millions of dollars. We should have learned these lessons in Vietnam and then again in Kosovo etc. But NOOOO… We HAVE to have “political theater” based on “big, beautiful walls”!!!

              Conservatives like to deride “social engineering”, and I agree! But these walls are conservative-backed “social engineering” of the worst kind! They don’t work, they’re filthy expensive, and they regard human beings as stupid wood or blocks or concrete, glass, or steel, elements to be manipulated, rather than intelligent and resourceful beings! If you will investigate zoo escapes, you will find that even animals like orangutans and binturongs have escaped in amazing and unforeseen ways, so clever that humans have had to put up all-night camera traps to see how they do it!

              The much-despised-by-conservatives “illegal subhumans” are even smarter than orangutans and binturongs! Who knew?!?!

              Stupid walls built by stupid actors, in acts of political theater, don’t work, and they are a HUGE waste of money!

              1. If the wall was expected not to work, there wouldn’t be this level of opposition to it; The federal government wastes comparable sums on a daily basis without much controversy.

                The reason there’s all this opposition is people who are afraid that it WILL work.

            2. PS, as a “handy-person” I can tell you, the reciprocating saw does NOT need to cut through the concrete! You nibble the steel all around the concrete fill at the bottom of this pipe… Steel is all gone, in a ring-shaped small cut, and the concrete remains. Now whack it with a sledgehammer, and the concrete is busted! Now swing the steel bar (pipe) to the side, slip through, push the pipe back into place so that it will be MUCH harder to noticed that it is busted, and you’re done!

              1. ……………… And here comes the border patrol officers while you’re working away breaking the barrier and changing batteries.

                But hey — If I didn’t know any better I’d say you’re lobbying for a Steel Wall.

          4. “Deny people the opportunity………”

            Ah yes, there’s some not so classical liberalism for ya: always start with the premise that we are the bad guys, denying people things that they didn’t earn. Everything is so terrible and unfair, and all that nonsense.

            If they didn’t sneak into this country (or any other) we would not be in a position to deny anything. And they can still work. They can work on making their country a better place.

      2. https://thehill.com/opinion/international/443511-why-xi-jinping-reneged-on-the-trade-deal-with-trump Why Xi Jinping reneged on the trade deal with Trump … From there, “Both Liu He and the official voice of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People’s Daily, cited three issues to explain Xi’s rejection of the deal: first, the U.S. wanted to keep some tariffs in place, and refused to abolish all of them…”

        So the Donald is FIBBING when he claims he wants zero tariffs, and all! Also, The Donald’s record on wanting to keep steel and aluminum tariffs in place, NAFTA-wise, contra the spirit of the agreement awaiting Congressional approval… This and his profligate trade wars against all and sundry, not just China… All this clearly shows that The Donald is flat-out, a protectionist. He SAYS he wants free trade, but doesn’t really.

        The Donald lies about His ultimate goals be all free-trade, when His actual track record shows him to be a protectionist.

      3. The RINOs which dominate the GOP ranks

        If they dominate the ranks of the party, wouldn’t the other, more fiscally conservative Republicans be the RINOs? Always seems a little funny to put that label on what is really the mainstream of the party.

        1. The thing is, they’re the mainstream of the party establishment and office holders, but not the mainstream of the party’s voters, who comprise almost all of the actual “Republicans”.

          Essentially, having gotten ahold of the mechanisms of the party, they’ve entrenched themselves against removal.

    2. A string libertarian indeed — as in “pushing a string.” As for Dave Barry, pardon me while I snork.

  4. “Three years ago, George Will, America’s foremost conservative newspaper columnist, officially quit the GOP over its acquiescence to Donald Trump.”

    George Will is the kind of principled ex-Republican I can respect. That is, the kind who stuck with the party through its minor missteps like the Iraq War, but who could not in good conscience continue to be a member during the alt-right white nationalist takeover.

    After Republicans lose badly in 2020, hopefully serious conservatives like Will, David Frum, Max Boot, Jennifer Rubin, and Bill Kristol regain control.

    #LibertariansForABetterGOP
    #PutTheNeoconsBackInCharge
    #(AtLeastTheyreProImmigration)

    1. You seem myopically focused on authoritarian, bigoted, cruel immigration policies and practices. Why?

      1. Try to keep up, Art. I’m a Koch / Reason libertarian. That means my fundamental, non-negotiable issue is open borders — particularly in light of the US’s ORIGINAL SIN of slavery.

        And Orange Hitler is running literal concentration camps in which immigrants are literally forced to drink from toilets. So obviously that will be my main criticism of his government.

        But not my only criticism, of course. Like you, I am absolutely disgusted by Drumpf’s betrayal of the Kurds, and the resulting genocide he allowed to happen.

        #LibertariansForGlobalMilitaryPresence

        1. I had the same question as Art above, Trumpian. Tell us again why you’re for building border walls and putting kids in detention camps.

          1. LOL

            I’ve been here #Resisting Drumpf’s white nationalist agenda longer than you have. Over and over again I’ve pointed out that no Democratic President — and certainly not a Nobel Peace Prize winner like Barack Obama — would ever put kids in cages.

            #VoteDemocratForOpenBorders
            #AbolishConcentrationCamps
            #ToiletsArentForDrinking
            #IMissObama

            1. Ah, so your justification for Dear Leader’s authoritarianism is a whataboutism about something Obama did. How predictable… and pathetic. Get fucking bent, slaver.

              1. Oh Tony you poor retarded AIDS-ridden faggot.

      2. Progtard Idiot Supreme has returned.

        Too bad you’re not dead Arty.

    2. #LibertariansForTheDeepStateRight

  5. Because American conservatism, rightly understood, is the legatee of classical liberalism. American liberals turned on their own legacy of limited government and resistance to authority, and conservatives like Barry Goldwater took that over by giving us a kind of American West conservatism.

    “American conservatism, rightly understood,” sounds like “no true Scotsman” and classical liberalism is not really conservatism, is it? The unfortunate problem with modern conservatism is that it’s let itself be defined by the Left and what is it it’s trying to conserve? As far as I can tell, it just resists change generation by generation and winds up supporting the conservation of whatever it is the Left supported 20 years ago. Trump came in threatening to tear some shit up and the conservatives reacted in horror – they’re naturally opposed to the changes the Left wants to inflict but, the changes having been inflicted, they’re opposed to changing them back.

    Further, the idea that Madisonian government and Wilsonian government are somehow diametric opposites misses the point that what Wilson was proposing with his technocratic government was merely an incremental advance on the idea that the government exists to make people’s lives better, the Madisonian night watchman idea had long since been abandoned. Once you allow that the government should do “good things”, you’ve lost the battle over the proper role of government – “to secure these rights” and to otherwise restrain itself from meddling. Good intentions always justify the worst actions and conservatism should be nothing more or less than saying “no”. Standing athwart history, yelling “Stop!”, if you will, when it comes to progressive government.

    1. Whoa, Jerryskids, ya NAILED it! They do support “…whatever it is the Left supported 20 years ago” indeed! Or longer ago, of course…

      Whatever happened to conservatives actually advocating ROLLING BACK Social Security, for example? Chile rolled it back in a sensible manner years ago by now! I have heard SQUAT lately from USA conservatives about even TRYING to do similar things here! Now USA “conservatives” holler “get your hands OFF of MY Medicare!”

      1. Obama and Trump happened, that’s what.

      2. Whatever happened to conservatives actually advocating ROLLING BACK Social Security, for example?

        You mean like when George W. Bush proposed it and old worthless pieces of shit like you went apoplectic and said it was literally Nazism?

      3. Also, you’ve outed this sock over a dozen times Hihn. Do you really expect us to pretend we haven’t listened to you bitch and moan endlessly about how reducing your old age entitlements is the end of America as we know it? Do the dignified thing already and ask the orderlies for a couple of extra Flintstones chewable morphine in your morning pill cup. Trust me, they will be more than happy to accommodate you.

    2. ^^^GREAT cite.

      1. (meaning Jerryskids).

        Reason….we need a damned edit functionality, please!
        And if it is not too much, html code to allow for underlining text.

        1. Nobody underlines text online because it’s become associated with links.

    3. Conservatism has always defined itself that way — and just as frequently denied it, claiming (falsely) it was for something else, unspecified and undefined. Sometimes they’ll just enumerate a bunch of details they’re for or against, and proclaim that of course any true conservative would have arrived independently at this melange of beliefs, based on…uh…their having the right thinking, I guess. (Of course the “left” does that last bit too, because all they’re about is upsetting the apple cart.)

    4. Yes, once a significant number of people in a democracy expect the government to help them, especially financially, the battle is lost.

      And couple that with a true-believer morality that many progressives, absent traditional religion, want to impose on us, and in some sense we have come full circle back to a hybrid theocratic-imperial state. Perhaps this is what most people actually want.

    5. As I see it that’s what conservatism is. It’s not any specific ideology. It’s just aversion to things changing too quickly. Things are working OK, so let’s not fuck it up too badly.
      And I think that’s a necessary part of politics. But it means, as you say, that they get dragged along by progressives.

    6. Good post. I’d say that as a general rule, regardless of party or ideology, people don’t seek power so they can dismantle it. That’s just the nature of politics. Voters want to see laws repealed and programs eliminated, just not the ones that benefit them. That is why specifics are the kiss of death. Someone will be affected, and then complain very loudly. That isn’t a recipe for lots of votes. So the blame is as much on voters as on politicians for government being a one-way ratchet. “Cut spending! Just not this or that!”

    7. “and classical liberalism is not really conservatism, is it? ”

      To the extent one seeks to retain and remain classical liberalism then it is entirely conservative.

      Of that.

      1. Which is to say that conservatism and classical liberalism parted ways some time during the FDR administration. Because that was when classical liberalism stopped needing to conserve things, and started needing to win them back.

        1. Fair point, to the extent that people like George Will have made their peace with the remaining elements of the New Deal (and the Great Society welfare state) they have become conservative of something else.

  6. Never-Trumpism is poor ideology. In 2016 Will revealed himself as an unprincipled cuck.

    1. Well, yes, if you call Trumpism as having much to do with principles. When I think of Trump’s principles, I think of Calvin’s principles, as is the now-frozen-in-time “Calvin and Hobbes” cartoons… Calvin’s self-proclaimed principle was, “I’m number One! All is for MEEEE!”

      That’s Trump’s principles as well. “Make Trump Greater Some More”. It is shown in how He constantly demands personal loyalty. Did you know that Adolf Hitler had German troops swear loyalty to Hitler? Not to the German Nation, or anything like that… If Trump could do the same, with USA troops, He would!

      1. If Trump had no principles, the NeverTrumpers wouldn’t care much about him. He’d be a personality blip who would pose no threat to their power.

        But Trump does have principles. Democratic self government, and the nationalism it presupposes. America First.

        The NeverTrumpers are the right wing of the Globalist Deep State. The US people are chunks of protein for feed the global deep state.

        Globalists vs. Nationalists. Trump wrested one party from the globalist ruling class for the people. Wrested it *from the NeverTrumpers*. That’s why they hate him so.

        1. Well, speaking strictly for myself, trying not to speak for others, the reason I despise the idea of vast political powers in the hands of Trump, is that he doesn’t even understand a VERY simple principle, which intelligent and benevolent people have realized for thousands of years… Treating everyone as enemies and potential enemies, is a VERY quick way to make tons of enemies! Treating most people (nations, tribes, etc.) as potential friends (until they prove otherwise) is a MUCH smarter choice! Donald is too stupid, arrogant, and narcissistic to see that, though. He thinks that ALL games are zero-sum games!

          Summary: Donald (and Trumpistas) simply cannot or will not recognize the central illusion of politics… You can pussy-grab all of the people some of the time, and you can pussy-grab some of the people all of the time, but you cannot pussy-grab all of the people all of the time! Sooner or later, karma catches up, and the others will pussy-grab you right back!

        2. I can always spot the alt-right cretins, they blather on about “globalism” as if it means something.

          1. I can always spot the neo-Marxist pieces of subhuman shit, they support subjugating the entire planet under a supranational global government and blather on about how any opposition to their international Marxist agenda is racist.

    1. Babylon Bee: Nation’s Gen Xers Announce Plan To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Watching Boomers, Millennials Tear Each Other To Shreds

  7. George Will has worn so many different clothes he calls “conservatism”, pretending each was the real thing, that who knows what he’s about?

      1. You of all people would be in a position to offer an expert opinion on the subject.

  8. Wilson said Madison’s constitutional architecture, with its Newtonian equilibrium between the branches of government, was fine when there were 4 million of us and 80 percent of us lived within 20 miles of Atlantic tidewater. But he said we have reached a point of enlightenment and scientific knowledge that we don’t need to worry about factions anymore. So when Wilson said we needed “more nimble government,” one that can act with a force that is simply impossible under Madison’s architecture, it flowed from that that we had to have presidential government.

    Aside from everything else he got wrong, this is self-evidently inconsistent. If society is so much more enlightened and less factional, then it needs less government, not more

    1. But now that the New Soviet-American-Woke-Man-Woman-LGBT+ is here, who believes in “scientific Marxist Socialism” (and the good of the proletariat), ALL selfishness of defective humans has been set aside, and so we can TRUST all of our Good Government Servants, to ALWAYS be looking out for the good of ALL of society!

      (Please ignore the special stores with good-quality imported goods, accessible ONLY to Communist Party members. These stores are neither here nor there, or relevant to ANYTHING, since we are ALL equal now, Comrade!)

  9. Frankly I’m disappointed in Will. His criticism of Trump appears to be entirely based on Trump’s willingness to be outspoken, say it like it is, and generally call out Democrats for their desire to force more government down our throats, like many New Yorkers. Because as far as I can see, Trump’s free market and limited government policies are in line with Will’s objectives. Or it may be that (like for Andrew Napolitano) he’s not getting that high paying job writing speeches for a lying RINO, and is wed to the money. He criticizes Trump for things he says, such as loosening libel laws though no legislation is forthcoming, criticizing a judge for his ruling where Will says it was because he was a Latino, writing Trump’s “obvious aim is to chill free speech, for the comfort of the political class, of which he is now a gaudy ornament”, etc., but not Trump’s actual government actions such as promoting and signing legislation.

    Will is, as the book “The Party Decides” puts it, one of the political insiders that helps pick the candidates. IMHO, Trump is the most libertarian president in the past 75 years, even more so than Regan. They both have had to deal with a big government Congress. The Democrats tried to impeach Reagan as well.

    1. His criticism of Trump appears to be entirely based on Trump’s willingness to be outspoken, say it like it is, and generally call out Democrats

      Will’s always been about style more than substance, and Trump’s definitely not his style. Will would prefer a soft-spoken Mao.

      Of course Trump’s mostly about style too, but his style has a chance of getting shit done.

    2. Reminds me of when Bill Buckley climbed aboard the Pat-Buchanan’s-antisemitic bandwagon. Plenty to dislike about Buchanan, but it’s like the (spurious) charge of antisemitism was needed to help keep the respectable “right” with Buckley et al. rather than defecting to Buchanan or anywhere else.

  10. How does sending men with guns to threaten doctors–and coerce pregnant women to please the Pope–square with liberal as opposed to totalitarian anything?

    1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/heartbeat-bills-are-wholesome-provocations-in-the-abortion-debate/2019/05/03/6b81f5d8-6cfb-11e9-a66d-a82d3f3d96d5_story.html for reference…

      G. Will here (IMHO) isn’t taking a super-strong stance… He’s fence-straddling a bit. But yes, he sure doesn’t seem to be wide-open “pro-choice” here…

    2. Gee Hank, how does murdering millions of gestating infants square with any fork of human decency?

      Ponder that while you jerk off to Kermit Gosnell’s abortion videos.

      1. Calm down. You’re getting rather emotional.

      2. Note to foreign readers: the U.S. citizenship oath requires support for the Constitution and laws. Kindly explain to the FaeceJesus sockpuppet the meaning of “All persons born” in the 14th Amendment.

    3. Well, Hank, some people think that one of the few legitimate uses of government power is to protect rights, including the right to actually, you know, live. I’m pro-choice, myself, but definitely understand the motives of anti-abortion people as being decidedly non-papist in origin.

      1. Political rights in America come right after “All persons born” in the 14th Amendment. There are mohammedan satrapies in which the idea of women having individual rights is regarded as a joke, and not enough mystics take this seriously enough to want to move there–or at least run a blog from which to spout coercion. Even Ireland and Italy recognize pregnant women as individuals clothed in individual rights in this CE year 2019.

        1. Political rights in America come right after “All persons born” in the 14th Amendment.

          One wonders where our constitutional rights came from for the 125 years before we had a 14th Amendment.

          1. … OR … Where those rights came from in the conception stages… My fetus has a right to bear arms, freedom of speech, freedom of religion …. And somehow; It doesn’t seem to talk or even mutter or have arms or a religion..

            You case falls right on top of itself.

        2. By the way Hihn, every European country has restrictions on abortion after the first trimester. Of course since you think the GOP is responsible for prohibition having been passed into law via constitutional amendment during the reign of a Democratic president and congress, your senile ravings don’t mean much. You’d think an old piece of shit like you would have a clearer memory since your parents were fucking alive when that shit was taking place, but the senile dementia makes it difficult. You should really consider exercising your right to bodily autonomy and ingesting several kilograms of sodium thiopental.

    4. I think they look at the “doctor” and “pregnant women” as about to commit the crime of murder. You’ve got to be way out in lefty land to label law-enforcement as “totalitarians” when they try and stop a murder.

      For me; its an extremely far-fetched idea but not quite as far-fetched as calling law-enforcement against murder “totalitarian”.

      It might surprise a lot of people to see many polls that show the abortion debate is actually pretty even across the [R] and [D] divide. As in; just about as many [D] appose abortion as [R]’s and visa versa.

      1. Race-suicide hitlerites and Ceausescu-Nixon fans have dominated the Prohibition party since the LP’s nullification of Comstock and Dixiecrat girl-bullying laws by the transcription of the LP plank into Roe v Wade. All impressed by the cogency of its reasoning would be duty-bound to support its platform and candidates or infiltrate its ku-klux offspring the GOP. The LP attracts more whack jobs than it knows what to do with, thanks to big-tenters’ failure to grok the law-changing power of spoiler votes. R and D, both force-initiating looter gangs, cannot be expected to know the definition of a moral right or political freedom.

        1. Minus all your faulty biased adlib in this post –

          “Political rights in America come right after “All persons born” in the 14th Amendment.”

          Is what the Constitution says and any person proclaiming to support it should accept that their theories of fertilized human eggs ISN’T a U.S. Individual Citizen by the 14th Amendment.

          GOP — ku-klux offspring??? LOL… Here’s some real news… The [R] Party was the party that freed the slaves.

  11. There was a time when we had thoughtful commentary on the left and right. We had George Will and William F. Buckley to talk about right-wing issues with some depth and intelligence.

    Where are these folks now? It seems like we have nutcases and screwballs on all sides these days.

    1. It’s because both sides have lost interest in reaching consensus. What is the point of thoughtful commentary, if you know you will not convince the other side of anything? And why should you try to convince the other side anyway, when it is a war with the Others? No, you should try to own them, to humiliate them, attack them, and dehumanize them. There are three main motivations for a conversation: 1) to share information, 2) to build rapport, or 3) to attack to lower the other person’s confidence and social status in the eyes of others. Now both sides only engage in #3.

      1. Too much truth to what you say here… Other than just trying to dial it back to be more respectful of the others… Which I know I have to work on sometimes… What else can we do?

        Here’s a top-notch book that I recommend that might help… https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ACYBGNQKNfr2ghKmC8L1GUh_ViLgA2ZNaA:1573415587243&q=The+Righteous+Mind&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgFuLSz9U3ME6Kz8hOUQKzs0wLk3OTtaSyk630k_Lzs_UTS0sy8ousQOxihfy8nMpHjK2M3AIvf9wTlqqZtObkNcYyLjyqhTS42FzzSjJLKoXkuPikkOzTYJDi4UK2X8tIbtelaefYJARLZh_8dvpCoIMUp-CF80cPvLz21l6LiYOhad-KQ2wsHIwCDFZMGow8i1iFQjJSFYIy0zNKUvNLixV8M_NSAF-Tu0bUAAAA&npsic=0&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwixiaXpteDlAhUYsp4KHSUvD10Q-BYIQDAn&tbs=kac:1,kac_so:1

        Jonathan Haidt Books The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

        Understand the other side will help!

        1. You can’t even keep your own opinions straight from hour to the next as the senile dementia eats away the final rotted recesses of your brain, Hihn. Why do you want to continue living that way? Do the noble thing. There are sharp instruments in the cafeteria.

      2. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

        I think Ronald Reagan or some other icky Republican must have said that.

    2. ” It seems like we have nutcases and screwballs on all sides these days.”

      Technically, they’re called ‘young people.’ They’re part of Mother Nature’s evil plan to replace all the good people with nutcases and screwballs.

      1. Coming from a bugfuck nuts 9/11 truther and Russiagate dead-ender in his 40’s, this is really rich.

        1. “this is really rich”

          Puncturing self important bluster has always been my métier.

    3. Straight Up — When Obama decided to, “Fundamentally change the USA” …. He fundamentally started a war with ALL Patriotic citizens who aren’t willing to discuss, “thoughtful commentary on the left and right” when one side is “thoughtfully” insisting on destroying the Constitution and implementing communism across the board.

      1. Foreign readers beware: The socialist left and mystical right agree that individual rights should be sawn into pieces, and the totalitarians agree with chopping up that which you plan to burn. The thickness with which they infiltrate here, as in your countries, show how much they fear and hate the integrity of individual rights whole and undivided. Prove them wrong by voting libertarian, off making a donation if you cannot yet vote.

        1. Foreign readers beware: Michael Hihn, using the Hank Phillips sockpuppet among his several dozen others, is a senile dementia patient confined to a government-funded old age home so that he can receive medical care in his deteriorated state without posting a danger to the public.

  12. “Q: You hate the phrase Flight 93 election. Why is that?

    A: Because it bandies about the idea that we’re in a crisis. We’re not in a crisis. Things are messy. We’ve had one constitutional crisis, and that was in 1861. Watergate was not a crisis; it was misbehavior.”

    Does Will actually think “the Flight 93 election” had anything, anything AT ALL to do with Watergate? Is he really this dumb, or was there something he said that actually made sense, and you just didn’t bother printing it?

    1. Some people at the time said Watergate was a constitutional crisis. Will’s just saying, no, there was only one, ever. So whatever we have now isn’t one. Flight 93 is just brought up as an example of a crisis for the people there.

      1. There’s never been a second constitutional crisis because Lincoln destroyed it completely in the first go-round

        1. Ooh. Harsh but fair. Maybe. I keep changing my mind on the civil war. My newest position is that the federal government should absolutely have interfered in order to extend government protection of rights to black Americans in the south.

    2. I don’t think that’s what he’s saying. Though this is the first time I’ve heard the phrase “Flight 93 Election”, but I assume it means it’s different this time because it’s some kind of life or death crisis where people need to do things they ordinarily wouldn’t. I think mentioning Watergate is just to say that even a crisis even worse than the present mess isn’t really that big of a deal in the grand scheme and people should dial back the rhetoric. Which seems sensible. He’s no fan of Trump, but it’s not the end of the world or even a constitutional crisis.

      1. “Flight 93 election” was an editorial written y some former-member in good standing of Conservative Inc. He’d made all the usual Never-Trump noises during the primary and, in a moment of clarity that escaped his peers, he realized that Hitlery Kkklinton and the commiecrats had taken over the plane with boxcutters and were going to crash it right into the Supreme Court and the US Constitution. His column was essentially “unuckle your seatbelts we have to grab this Trump-cart and smash our way into the cockpit even if it means flying our party, our norms and our democratic institutions straight into the ground…LET’S ROLL!!!”

        The Never-Trumpers blame him for the victory and drummed him out of the club

        1. To complete the analogy, think about it: Flight 93 “Let’s roll” dudes and dudettes succeed, take over the cockpit, kill or restrain these asshole terrorists. Now what? Regular pilot is dead or incapacitated (not sure if that was the case, or not, but let’s say it was). “Let’s roll” dudes and dudettes now need to fly the plane, and they don’t know how! Better get on the horn, quick, get some coaching, ask for a guide plane to fly up there and lead the way, see if you can land safely! “Let’s roll” dudes and dudettes do NOT think that they’ve magically been transformed into skilled pilots, for the long term! This is emergencies-only procedure here!

          Trump, in this analogy, is the “Let’s roll” dudes and dudettes, as emergency-pilot only! Now that the “terrorist Hillary” in the analogy, has been shoved aside, we need to get back to a REAL, skilled pilot!

          1. unfortunately the ‘real skilled pilots’ of the Republican Party have been on the exact same flight path, just with a slower descent and better in-flight entertainment.

  13. “Classical liberal” indeed. Liberals are liberals. “Classical” is just a dodge to avoid getting called out on it.

    1. What we call liberals are not liberals, they are progressives. Woodrow Wilson screwed up that moniker so bad they had to steal another.

      Meanwhile…

      Matt Welch’s newfound respect for George Will.

      George. Will.

      George. Fucking. Will.

      Wonder what caused this change of heart?

    2. “Classical liberal” indeed. Liberals are liberals. “Classical” is just a dodge to avoid getting called out on it.

      This is just ignorance.

      “Liberalism” has been a distinct thing since The Age of Enlightenment.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment

      First Amendment protections that restrict the government’s attempt to violate people’s religious rights is an excellent example of classical liberalism, and Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Jame Madison can all be properly thought of as such–as well as Adam Smith. Anyone who thinks a conservative who shares their ideas about small government and capitalism is a liberal in disguise because they call themselves “classical liberals” is an idiot.

      1. ““Liberalism” has been a distinct thing since The Age of Enlightenment.”

        500 years before that the Magna Carta was signed securing the right of a fair trial and due process among other liberal concessions. It’s interesting that the enlightenment both instituted property rights and saw the rise of slavery in the West.

        1. You’re an idiot. The “West” is those areas shaped by the Roman Empire, which had slavery long before the Magna Carta. Horrible slavery, much worse than what most American slaves experienced.

          1. Romans had widespread slavery. I didn’t mean to lead you to believe otherwise. Slavery in western Europe in medieval times between the Roman period and the Enlightenment was not nearly as common. During the Enlightenment it became huge, involving millions of people on several continents.

            1. “Slavery in western Europe in medieval times between the Roman period and the Enlightenment was not nearly as common.”

              That wasn’t by any sort of moral choice or opposition to the practice. It was more a reflection of the reality that, in such a disordered and disintegrating time you simply could not exercise much ownership over anyone who could get up and walk away.

              Meanwhile the vast majority of the peasantry were slaves in everything but name.

              1. Medieval times in western Europe were not characterized by disorder and disintegration. There were pandemics and wars and troubles, but otherwise there was stability. Some peasants were enslaved, but otherwise they were overwhelming serfs. Slavery became significant during the Enlightenment, along with property rights.

    3. On not knowing British, Canadian, Indian or Australian English or on not being able to let go of the 1931 Liberal party helping FDR to legalize beer and defeat Hitler?

  14. Some tthings don’t really change as much as people imagine.

    Millennials flee the cities for the suburbs once they get married and have kids–just like their parents did and for all the same reasons.

    The arguments about whether trade with China is desirable despite their totalitarianism is pretty much the same now as it was when we used to debate China’s MFN status during the Clinton administration.

    The arguments about whether we should strip productive people of their assets and give them to people who are so pathetic, they can’t do anything of value is pretty much the same now as it always was.

    I don’t think the gun control debate has changed much since before the Clinton administration lead the way of the federal “assault weapons” ban either.

    The week before last, I posted a quote of Trump explaining his foreign policy decision in Syria, and was basically a bullet point reiteration of the Powell Doctrine.

    People who imagine things have changed dramatically are mostly people who get caught up in culture war issues that go out with the tide and hardly ever come back. Does anybody remember whatever happened to Terry Schaivo?

    Donald Trump being elected certainly didn’t change much of anything about core issues that conservatives have rallied around for generations since before I was born–and if you imagine it did, then you probably have TDS.

    1. “Millennials flee the cities for the suburbs once they get married and have kids–just like their parents did and for all the same reasons.”
      Except 50 years ago, when they fled, they became Republicans like all their neighbors. Now, when the flee the city, they remain Democrats and eventually overwhelm the Red rings around the city.

      1. Once they become homeowners and start thinking about retirement, all that shit will change, too–if someone comes along and makes being a Republican about taxes again.

        The Millennial Howard Jarvis and Ronald Reagan, where are you?

        1. But Democrats have made sure that many millennials will never be able to pay off their student loans or homes or save for retirement. They are ready made slaves fire the Democratic plantation.

          1. They’ll still save for retirement, and they’ll still pay down their student debt–but if there is more pressure on them for those reasons than past generations, that’s just more reason to want taxes lower. If the problem isn’t that they aren’t unemployed, then promising them a job isn’t as compelling as promising to let them take home more of what they earn.

            Oh, and because they imagine themselves so much more woke than prior generations, they may not feel like their own prejudice justifies handing them the bill for an enormous welfare state. Earlier generations had to pay for those bills–because they were so racist. If Millenials are so woke, why should they have to pay?

            1. A big portion of millennials has useless degrees and dead end jobs if they have a full time job at all. They won’t marry and won’t found families. They’ll never be able to create the kind of stable life that traditionally encourages people to favor small government, small taxes, and personal responsibility.

    2. “Some tthings don’t really change as much as people imagine.”

      That says more about the imagination or its lack, in some people.

      “The arguments about whether trade with China is desirable despite their totalitarianism is pretty much the same now as it was when we used to debate China’s MFN status during the Clinton administration.”

      I disagree. At the time, introducing trade, investment and capitalism to China was seen as a way to liberalize and tame the country, soften the harshness of its authoritarianism. Nobody today is making these arguments.

    3. The first “assault weapons ban” was an executive order issued by George H.W. Bush that is still in effect. It’s why we can’t have cheap quality AKs among other cool guns.

      1. Wasn’t Ronald Reagan one of the first to institute gun control when he was governor of California? The Black Panthers would arm themselves and follow the police as they patrolled black neighborhoods to ensure they didn’t abuse their powers. Conservatives naturally objected, and Reagan made sure that the police could patrol as they preferred.

      2. “The first “assault weapons ban” was an executive order issued by George H.W. Bush

        That banned the importation of “assault weapons”. It didn’t ban ownership.

        This was the big one, and it was all Dianne Feinstein and Bill Clinton:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Assault_Weapons_Ban

    4. “Some things don’t really change as much as people imagine.” — And a lot of things change without even getting proper acknowledgement.

      – Subsidized imported goods from China.
      – Communistic Healthcare.
      – LGBT Laws insisting on who one hires and fires.
      – The “oppression” cult vote-picking winners and losers.
      – Billions as in (B) thrown at utterly inefficient power generation.
      – EPA crippling the entire diesel energy market

      Or to just sum it all up — Changing the fundamental Constitutional concept of America into Communism.

      “But… But… I doesn’t feel like the water is changing”, says the frog boiling away in the stove-top pot of water.

  15. George Will is not someone Reason should be throwing roses to. A couple of examples:

    1. He has always held up Goldwater as the gold standard. For those who weren’t alive at the time, Goldwater was far worse than Lindsey Graham or John McCain. He was a career military man before he became a politician, and he advocated the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam, which is the chief reason he was crushed by LBJ. He was regarded, rightly so, as untrustworthy and unhinged as a prospective Commander in Chief. No Reason-minded voter in 1964 would have voted for him.

    2. During Ron Paul’s tenure in Congress, Will regularly made fun of him, calling him an “anachronism,” while supporting the scabrous policies of mainstream Republicans Paul was attacking.

    1. No, Goldwater lost because he voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Why did he vote against it?

      “More specifically, Goldwater had problems with Title II and Title VII of the 1964 bill. He felt that constitutionally the federal government had no legal right to interfere in who people hired, fired; or to whom they sold their products, goods, and services. He felt that “power” laid in the various states, and with the people.”

      Goldwater was a underrated genius.

  16. George Will’s picture currently appears in the dictionary for at least two words — irrevelant and bloviate. Next revision, rhino TDS.

    This comment not approved by Silicon Valley brain slugs.

  17. George Will can’t “still” believe in classical liberalism, because his body of work, accumulated over decades, clearly shows he never believed in it.

  18. Maybe I’ll take a look at Will’s ginormous book of conservatism, but hopefully he’ll explain why he didn’t leave the Republicans over Read My Lips, Medicare expansion, perpetual war, Romneycare, etc.

    He can explain why *doing* these things isn’t as bad as mean ol’ Trump *saying* things.

    1. those things were said in soft, dulcet tones appropriate to plush carpeted floors in restrictive country clubs — not that brash, jeans wearing, over the top WWE style that Trump employs; so gauche!

  19. still believes in classical liberalism, but not ready to give up on conservatism

    no wonder this jackass is so conflicted.

  20. Trump has done more for classical liberalism in the US In three years than George Will has in his entire life. Will is a useless blowhard.

  21. I think we already discussed George Will a few months ago.

    He is no Centrist like a Classical Liberal.

  22. “authoritarianism found on both the Trumpian right”…lol…..Will is and always has been an intellectual dilettante

  23. “American conservatism is about reconciling people to constant churning and the radical openness of spontaneous order”….nope…not even close, the Constitution protected property rights of the time..(omg a “hierarchy”…lol)

  24. Insufferable Dinosaur makes David French palatable. Film @11

  25. the Right’s version of arrogance incarnate John Kenneth Galbraith

    1. Galbraith was arrogant and frequently wrong, but at least was a practicing economist and public official. Will is a complete and total poseur.

  26. I remember an editorial Will wrote in 1992 in which he dismissed the Libertarian Party and its then presidential nominee, Andre Marrou. He pined for the days of third-party candidates like Eugene V. Debs. When did he become a classical liberal?

  27. Madison said that natural rights come first and government comes second, and that government’s role is to protect natural rights

    And the Democrat Party is hell bent on destroying those natural rights

    Like the rights to free speech, self defense, and the right to believe a live according to your religious beliefs

    You hate the phrase Flight 93 election. Why is that?
    A: Because it bandies about the idea that we’re in a crisis

    1: We are in a crises. The Democrats want to destroy the US Constitution and the order it created, and replace it with a system of “all power to the Left, no power to the Right”
    2: He hates it because he’s a dishonest hack, fighting to in fact destroy what he claims to believe in. Because that’s the practical effect of letting the Democrats win

    “Flight 93 election” makes it clear that he’s a liar. He could acknowledge the truth, and stop lying. But then he’d lose his schtik. So, instead, he lies, and whines about those who tell the truth

    George Will is a “classical liberal” the way Genghis Khan was a “home remodeler”

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