George Will Quotes.
Americans are overreaching; overreaching is the most admirable and most American of the many American excesses.
The pursuit of perfection often impedes improvement.
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tax, conservatives should respond: Taxing consumption has merits, so we will consider it – after the 16th Amendment is repealed.
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.’
Conservatives define themselves in terms of what they oppose.
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.
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It knows that almost all entitlements are forever, and those that are not – e.g., the lifetime eligibility for welfare, repealed in 1996 – are not for the middle class.
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.
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.
Today more Americans are imprisoned for drug offenses than for property crimes.
Voters cannot hold officials responsible if they do not know what government is doing, or which parts of government are doing what.
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.
Voters don’t decide issues, they decide who will decide issues.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Modern parents want to nurture so skillfully that Mother Nature will gasp in admiration at the marvels their parenting produces from the soft clay of children.
This is an age in which one cannot find common sense without a search warrant.
It is extraordinary how extraordinary the ordinary person is.
We are given children to test us and make us more spiritual.
Politics in a democracy is transactional: Politicians seek votes by promising to do things for voters, who seek promises in exchange for their votes.
I sometimes think that when he was at Harvard Law School, Mr. Obama cut class the day they got to the separation of powers, ’cause he seems to consider it not just an inconvenience but an indignity that, although he got 270 electoral votes and therefore gets to be president, he didn’t get everything.
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.
When I’m in my car, I’m listening to books, audio books, always.
Civilization depends on, and civility often requires, the willingness to say, ‘What you are doing is none of my business’ and ‘What I am doing is none of your business.’
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.
All politicians are to some extent salesmen.
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.
Childhood is frequently a solemn business for those inside it.
I’ve lived in Washington now for 44 years, and that’s a lot of folly to witness up close. Whatever confidence and optimism I felt towards the central government when I got here on January 1, 1970 has pretty much dissipated at the hands of the government.
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.
Populism has had as many incarnations as it has had provocations, but its constant ingredient has been resentment, and hence whininess. Populism does not wax in tranquil times; it is a cathartic response to serious problems. But it always wanes because it never seems serious as a solution.
Big government inevitably drives an upward distribution of wealth to those whose wealth, confidence and sophistication enable them to manipulate government.
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.
A politician’s words reveal less about what he thinks about his subject than what he thinks about his audience.
Constitutional arguments that seem as dry as dust can have momentous consequences.
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.
Barack Obama hopes his famous health care victory will mark him as a transformative president. History, however, may judge it to have been his missed opportunity to be one.
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!’
Politics should share one purpose with religion: the steady emancipation of the individual through the education of his passions.
There may be more poetry than justice in poetic justice.
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.
If your job is to leaven ordinary lives with elevating spectacle, be elevating or be gone.
Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings.
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.
The first election I remember was Dewey Truman in ’48. I was, I guess, seven years old.
In 1976, Jimmy Carter – peanut farmer; carried his own suitcase, imagine that – somewhat tapped America’s durable but shallow reservoir of populism. By 1980, ordinariness in high office had lost its allure.
Some calamities – the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, 9/11 – have come like summer lightning, as bolts from the blue. The looming crisis of America’s Ponzi entitlement structure is different. Driven by the demographics of an aging population, its causes, timing and scope are known.
Leadership is, among other things, the ability to inflict pain and get away with it – short-term pain for long-term gain.
The proof of liberal virtue is generousity with other people’s money.
I hear Democrats say, ‘The Affordable Care Act is the law,’ as though we’re supposed to genuflect at that sunburst of insight and move on. Well, the Fugitive Slave Act was the law, separate but equal was the law, lots of things are the law and then we change them.
The strongest continuous thread in America’s political tradition is skepticism about government.
The Soviet Union tried for 70 years to plant Marxism with bayonets in Eastern Europe. Today there are more Marxists on the Harvard faculty than there are in Eastern Europe.
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.
Political ignorance helps explain Americans’ perpetual disappointment with politicians generally, and presidents especially, to whom voters unrealistically attribute abilities to control events.
There is no ‘European people’ united by common mores.
The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.
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.
America is the only developed nation that has a 2,000-mile border with a developing nation, and the government’s refusal to control that border is why there are an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona and why the nation, sensibly insisting on first things first, resists ‘comprehensive’ immigration reform.
Money is time made tangible – the time invested in the earning of it. Taxation is the confiscation of the earner’s time. Although some taxation is necessary, all taxation diminishes freedom.
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.
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.
Freedom means the freedom to behave coarsely, basely, foolishly.
World War II was the last government program that really worked.
In democracy, as quaintly understood, voters pick their representatives. American democracy increasingly reverses that. Legislative districts are drawn to protect incumbents who, effectively, pick their voters.
Well, you know, the definition of second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.
The future has a way of arriving unannounced.