George Will is wrong

No, that’s not news. But today he was more wrong that usual. In his article about Elizabeth Warren, reprinted in today’s Virginian-Pilot, Will trots out more than his normal “liberals are bad” arguments. This line particularly got my blood flowing:

Everyone knows that all striving occurs in a social context, so all attainments are conditioned by their context.

No, George, everyone doesn’t know. Witness the number of people who are constantly berating the poor, saying that they should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Or how about those people who puff out their chests and say that they are “self-made?” There is a disconnect in our society, one that fails to acknowledge that it is because of it that they are able to accomplish. Warren was right – and what she said bears repeating:

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. . . . You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea — God bless, keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

But Will doubles down on liberals with arrogance in this statement:

Many members of the liberal intelligentsia, that herd of independent minds, agree that other Americans comprise a malleable, hence vulnerable, herd whose “false consciousness” is imposed by corporate America. Therefore the herd needs kindly, paternal supervision by a cohort of protective herders.

Hmm, let’s see. Cigarette smoking was glorified on TV for years. There was an appeal to the “herd,” to use Will’s term, by showing ads that made it cool and sexy. No one can deny the effect of the tobacco companies, aka “corporate America,” on the people. It wasn’t until the hazards of smoking were uncovered – after years of coverup by the tobacco companies – that smoking dropped off. Would you have preferred, Mr. Will, that more people died from lung cancer?

Just because the American people didn’t buy an Edsel doesn’t mean they don’t buy corporate advertising every day of the week. One need look no further than political advertising to see how easily the public can be misled.

But this statement from Will had to be the worst:

It is conservatism, not liberalism, that takes society seriously.

And that’s where George Will and his ilk really miss the boat. Liberalism and conservatism are two ways of looking at and approaching the same problem. I could argue that conservatism – especially in its bastardized form – doesn’t take society seriously with just two words: Grover Norquist. But I’m unwilling to make a such a blanket statement.

This is what’s wrong with political discourse today. It is far easier to use shorthand to describe positions than to clearly make a coherent argument. It is much easier to throw stones than to try to offer solutions.

Shame on George Will.

8 thoughts on “George Will is wrong

  1. Warren is full of it. Roads the “rest of us paid for?” So the trucks that the factory owner uses to deliver his goods don’t pay gasoline taxes? Ditto for the police, etc.. The factory owner is also providing jobs and products that people want. He’s doing puh-lenty for society – much more than Prof. Warren ever will.

  2. Elizabeth Warren is the candidate Scott Brown would prefer to run aganist there is no doubt in my mind on that. The rest of the article is hyperbole.

  3. Mrs. Warren’s statement has more falsehood than truth. Certainly, no-one got rich on his own. However, everyone has access to those roads, policemen, and firemen; but that one man built a factory. Why didn’t the rest of us?

    And those roads, firemen, and policemen? They were not paid for by “the rest of us,” but by ALL of us — including the businessman who build the factory. Except in the case of federal highways, of course — nearly half of the people in this country do NOT pay federal income taxes, and do NOT pay for those roads.

    The class-warfare aspect of Mrs. Warren’s words is clear: the rich businessman is not one of US.

    Finally, she says, “But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.” That is called “charity,” yet that is not what she is advocating. What she is advocating is the government’s TAKING a hunk and GIVING (not paying — he’s already paying his employees) it to someone else. She went from legitimate government functions — road, police, and fire protection — to taking from one person to “pay” another for nothing.

  4. “Finally, she says, “But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.” That is called “charity”

    No, that is called “good citizenship.”

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