George Will Quotes.
Politics in a democracy is transactional: Politicians seek votes by promising to do things for voters, who seek promises in exchange for their votes.
When liberals advocate a value-added tax, conservatives should respond: Taxing consumption has merits, so we will consider it – after the 16th Amendment is repealed.
It is extraordinary how extraordinary the ordinary person is.
Since the emergence of the Republican Party, only two Democratic presidents, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy, have been followed by Democrats, and both FDR and JFK died in office, so their successors ran as incumbents.
The average American expends more time becoming informed about choosing a car than choosing a candidate. But, then, the consequences of the former choice are immediate and discernible.
All politicians are to some extent salesmen.
The pursuit of perfection often impedes improvement.
The euro pleases dispirited people for whom European history is not Chartres and Shakespeare but the Holocaust and the Somme. The euro expresses cultural despair.
Promoting dependency is the Democratic Party’s vocation. It knows that almost all entitlements are forever, and those that are not – e.g., the lifetime eligibility for welfare, repealed in 1996 – are not for the middle class.
If those who wrote and ratified the 14th Amendment had imagined laws restricting immigration – and had anticipated huge waves of illegal immigration – is it reasonable to presume they would have wanted to provide the reward of citizenship to the children of the violators of those laws? Surely not.
Committed partisans are generally the most knowledgeable voters, independents the least. And the more political knowledge people have, the more apt they are to discuss politics with people who agree with, and reinforce, them.
The proof of liberal virtue is generousity with other people’s money.
Popularity makes no law invulnerable to invalidation. Americans accept judicial supervision of their democracy – judicial review of popular but possibly unconstitutional statutes – because they know that if the Constitution is truly to constitute the nation, it must trump some majority preferences.
Voters cannot hold officials responsible if they do not know what government is doing, or which parts of government are doing what.
Political nature abhors a vacuum, which is what often exists for a year or two in a party after it loses a presidential election.
The cost of appearing with a bloviating ignoramus is obvious, it seems to me. Donald Trump is redundant evidence that if your net worth is high enough, your IQ can be very low and you can still intrude into American politics.
Believing that a crisis is a useful thing to create, the Obama administration – which understands that, for liberalism, worse is better – has deliberately aggravated the fiscal shambles that the Great Recession accelerated.
The strongest continuous thread in America’s political tradition is skepticism about government.
Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings.
Pessimism is as American as apple pie – frozen apple pie with a slice of processed cheese.
Arizonans should not be judged disdainfully and from a distance by people whose closest contacts with Hispanics are with fine men and women who trim their lawns and put plates in front of them at restaurants, not with illegal immigrants passing through their backyards at 3 A.M.
I suppose there’s a melancholy tone at the back of the American mind, a sense of something lost. And it’s the lost world of Thomas Jefferson. It is the lost sense of innocence that we could live with a very minimal state, with a vast sense of space in which to work out freedom.
Sarah Palin, who with 17 months remaining in her single term as Alaska’s governor quit the only serious office she has ever held, is obsessively discussed as a possible candidate in 2012. Why? She is not going to be president and will not be the Republican nominee unless the party wants to lose at least 44 states.
Leadership is, among other things, the ability to inflict pain and get away with it – short-term pain for long-term gain.
Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.
Politics should share one purpose with religion: the steady emancipation of the individual through the education of his passions.
A society that thinks the choice between ways of living is just a choice between equally eligible ‘lifestyles’ turns universities into academic cafeterias offering junk food for the mind.
If you seek Hamilton’s monument, look around. You are living in it. We honor Jefferson, but live in Hamilton’s country, a mighty industrial nation with a strong central government.
Voters don’t decide issues, they decide who will decide issues.
Football is entertainment in which the audience is expected to delight in gladiatorial action that a growing portion of the audience knows may cause the players degenerative brain disease.
The First Amendment…begins with the five loveliest words in the English language: ‘Congress shall make no law’.
Just as the common law derives from ancient precedents – judges’ decisions – rather than statutes, baseball’s codes are the game’s distilled mores. Their unchanged purpose is to show respect for opponents and the game. In baseball, as in the remainder of life, the most important rules are unwritten. But not unenforced.
There may be more poetry than justice in poetic justice.
In 2008, Barack Obama had all the wind at his back, everything going for him. He was an African-American at a time when the country was eager to do that. The Republicans had, in the view of many of us, pretty much disgraced themselves at home and abroad for eight years.
Children who open their lunchboxes and find mothers’ handwritten notes telling them how amazingly bright they are tend to falter when they encounter academic difficulties.
Donald Trump is redundant evidence that if your net worth is high enough, your IQ can be very low and you can still intrude into American politics.
The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.
World War II was the last government program that really worked.
Only recently – about five minutes ago, relative to the long-running human comedy – have parents been driving themselves to distraction by taking too seriously the idea that ‘as the twig is bent the tree’s inclined.’
Being elected to Congress is regarded as being sent on a looting raid for one’s friends.
Canada has one great novelist (Robertson Davies), which means it has one for every twenty-five million citizens – the world’s highest ratio.
This is an age in which one cannot find common sense without a search warrant.
There is no ‘European people’ united by common mores.
Big government inevitably drives an upward distribution of wealth to those whose wealth, confidence and sophistication enable them to manipulate government.
In the lexicon of the political class, the word ‘sacrifice’ means that the citizens are supposed to mail even more of their income to Washington so that the political class will not have to sacrifice the pleasure of spending it.
Hyperbole expands in societies where articulateness atrophies.
Some parents say it is toy guns that make boys warlike. But give a boy a rubber duck and he will seize its neck like the butt of a pistol and shout ‘Bang!’
As advertising blather becomes the nation’s normal idiom, language becomes printed noise.
Democrats believe, plausibly, that middle-class entitlements are instantly addictive and, because there is no known detoxification, that class, when facing future choices between trimming entitlements or increasing taxes, will choose the latter.
Corporations do not pay taxes, they collect them, passing the burden to consumers as a cost of production. And corporate taxation is a feast of rent-seeking – a cornucopia of credits, exemptions and other subsidies conferred by the political class on favored, and grateful, corporations.
The designs of the paper euros, introduced in 2002, proclaim a utopian aspiration. Gone are the colorful bills of particular nations, featuring pictures of national heroes of statecraft, culture and the arts, pictures celebrating unique national narratives. With the euro, 16 nations have said goodbye to all that.
Big government is indeed big, and like another big creature, the sauropod dinosaur, government has a primitive nervous system: The fact of an injury to the tail could take nearly a minute to be communicated to the sauropod brain.
Arizona’s law makes what is already a federal offense – being in the country illegally – a state offense. Some critics seem not to understand Arizona’s right to assert concurrent jurisdiction.
Look, three love affairs in history, are Abelard and Eloise, Romeo and Juliet and the American media and this President at the moment. But this doesn’t matter over time. Reality will impinge. If his programs work, he’s fine. If it doesn’t work, all of the adulation of journalists in the world won’t matter.
Perhaps the soundest advice for parents is: Lighten up. People have been raising children for approximately as long as there have been people.
No matter how deeply you distrust the government’s judgment, you are too trusting.
Politicians fascinate because they constitute such a paradox; they are an elite that accomplishes mediocrity for the public good.
The 1935 Social Security Act established 65 as the age of eligibility for payouts. But welfare state politics quickly becomes a bidding war, enriching the menu of benefits, so in 1956 Congress entitled women to collect benefits at 62, extending the entitlement to men in 1961.
The euro currency both presupposes and promotes a fiction – that ‘Europe’ has somehow become, against the wishes of most Europeans, a political rather than a merely geographic expression.
Taking offense has become America’s national pastime; being theatrically offended supposedly signifies the exquisitely refined moral delicacy of people who feel entitled to pass through life without encountering ideas or practices that annoy them.
Americans are overreaching; overreaching is the most admirable and most American of the many American excesses.