Pondering the Imponderable

It’s an utter mystery to me why George Will is considered such a deep, serious thinker when he’s capable of churning out a column like this. Is it the bow tie?

The gist of it is that Democrats have some sort of deep, ideological commitment to making sure that people are as dependent on government as possible; essentially, that the party’s end goal is a nation of developmentally stunted children who can’t imagine a life not spent perpetually sucking at the teat of the nanny state. What he never explains is why they might see this as a desirable objective. Some deep down desire to live in a Huxleyesque nightmare?

There might be something interesting in Will’s thesis, but he seems intent on keeping it superficial. Why try to understand where your political/philosophical opponents are coming from when you can bend everything they do to your main point by taking the least charitable interpretation possible of their each and every move? Why, for example, assume that liberals supported an SCHIP expansion because making sure as many children are insured as possible is itself a good when it’s so much more convenient to speculate that SCHIP supporters just wanted to “swell the number of people who grow up assuming that dependency on government health care is normal?” Only in George Will’s tweedy headspace could getting health insurance to minors be interpreted as one step in a giant Soviet master plot.

If Will really wants to be taken seriously, perhaps he could stop ascribing spooky motives to the left and instead focus on their actual proposals. If he has alternatives, he should offer them up. But what he’s doing here is taking this tired old “government expansion is always automatically bad” nonsense and dressing up the associated ad hominem attacks in subtler, less inflammatory and more academic rhetoric that sets him apart from Ann Coulter.

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