George Will is awful

Yup. That’s a good title. Go read Charlie Pierce’s takedown of Will’s miserable editorial, to which I will not link (Pierce does). Bonus points to Pierce for criticizing Will’s irritating baseball fandom. He gives us all a bad name. I’ll only note this excerpt:

Warren is (as William F. Buckley described Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith) a pyromaniac in a field of straw men: She refutes propositions no one asserts. Everyone knows that all striving occurs in a social context, so all attainments are conditioned by their context. This does not, however, entail a collectivist political agenda.

Such an agenda’s premise is that individualism is a chimera, that any individual’s achievements should be considered entirely derivative from society, so the achievements need not be treated as belonging to the individual. Society is entitled to socialize — i.e., conscript — whatever portion it considers its share. It may, as an optional act of political grace, allow the individual the remainder of what is misleadingly called the individual’s possession.

Note how Will castigates Warren for making a straw-man argument and then constructs his own straw-man argument the very next paragraph. Is George Will just bored and trolling us? I have no idea.

And William Buckley supported Joseph McCarthy. And Jim Crow. I point this out not to disparage Buckley, but rather to posit that even the most reputable, sophisticated members of a movement can be motivated to support disreputable, unsophisticated positions that the movement espouses. That is the most charitable stance I can imagine towards Buckley’s… indiscretions (which he did, later on, recant). There are several less charitable explanations.

Update: Greg Sargent does typically good work on the Will piece as well.

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