Missing George Will

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 2 2011 @ 3:19pm

Scott Galupo collects a number of passages from Will's early writings to demonstrate how far from sane conservatism he has drifted. Contrast the below excerpt from a 1981 column with Will's claim this weekend that "government and the sectors it dominates have made themselves ludicrous."

Eisenhower's conservatism ended the conservatives' pretense that the New Deal's steps toward a welfare state were steps along "the road to serfdom," and reversible. Eisenhower knew those steps reflected realities common to all developed nations—broad acceptance of the ethic of common provision, and the majority's desire to purchase things, such as certain pension and health services, collectively…The problem is not "bigness," it is unreasonable intrusiveness, which is a function of (bad) policy, not size.

Besides, inveighing against big government ignores the fact that government is about as small as it ever will be, and obscures the fact that government, though big, is often too weak.  Many conservatives insist that America's great problem is just that government is so strong it is stifling freedom. These people call themselves "libertarian conservatives"—a label a bit like "promiscuous celibates." Real conservatism requires strong government.