Columnist: George Will

Apr. 22, 2015 @ 08:01 PM

When bootleggers and Baptists converge, be clear-eyed

Smoking, said King James I in 1604, is "loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs." Three years later he planted a colony in Jamestown. Its tobacco enhanced the royal treasury until Virginia produced a bumper crop of revolutionaries, including the tobacco farmer George Washington.     


Apr. 19, 2015 @ 03:56 PM

Don't seize the raisins

In oral arguments Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear the government defend its kleptocratic behavior while administering an indefensible law. The Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 is among the measures by which New Dealers tried and failed to regulate and mandate America back to prosperity. Seventy-eight years later, it is the government's reason for stealing Marvin and Laura Horne's raisins.


Apr. 15, 2015 @ 08:20 PM

Sustainability gone wild

Syracuse University alumni are new additions to the lengthening list of persons who can stop contributing to their alma maters. The university has succumbed -- after, one suspects, not much agonizing -- to the temptation to indulge in progressive gestures. It will divest all fossil fuel stocks from its endowment. It thereby trumps Stanford, whose halfhearted exercise in right-mindedness has been to divest only coal stocks. Evidently carbon from coal is more morally disquieting than carbon from petroleum. 


Apr. 12, 2015 @ 10:55 AM

Deterring Iran's nuclear intoxication

This week brings a constitutional moment illustrating a paradox of Barack Obama's presidency. The catalyst of the drama is legislation proposed by Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, asserting Congress' foreign policy responsibilities and prerogatives. 


Apr. 01, 2015 @ 08:01 PM

The rough math facing Ted Cruz’s candidacy

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was born in 1970, six years after events refuted a theory on which he is wagering his candidacy. The 1964 theory was that many millions of conservatives abstained from voting because the GOP did not nominate sufficiently deep-dyed conservatives. So if in 1964 the party would choose someone like Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, hitherto dormant conservatives would join the electorate in numbers sufficient for victory. 


Mar. 29, 2015 @ 04:32 PM

Voters can choose based on remembrance of Clintons past

An abscess of anger seems to gnaw at Hillary Clinton, but the reasons for her resentments remain unclear. The world's oldest party, which governed the nation during two world wars and is the primary architect of America's regulatory and redistributive state, is eager to give her its presidential nomination, in recognition of ... what?


Mar. 22, 2015 @ 03:34 PM

Social inequality's roots are steadily deepening

The rate of dog ownership is rising ominously. How can a profusion of puppies be worrisome? A report from the Raymond James financial services firm concerning trends in the housing market explains: Increasing numbers of women "are adopting dogs for security and/or companionship," partly because of "the great education divide."


Mar. 19, 2015 @ 11:51 AM

Ohio’s Kasich waits in the wings, suited up

Ideas fly from Gov. John Kasich like sparks from a flint. While explaining his prison reforms, he interrupts himself mid-sentence -- his sentences, like some e. e. Cummings poems, are unpunctuated -- to praise a Delaware church that buys prom dresses for low-income high school girls. His spirit would add spice and his policies would add substance to the Republican presidential contest.


Mar. 15, 2015 @ 03:49 PM

The prescience of Daniel Patrick Moynihan

In the mid-1960s, a social scientist noted something ominous that came to be called "Moynihan's Scissors:" Two lines on a graph crossed, replicating a scissors' blades. The descending line charted the decline in the minority male unemployment rate. The ascending line charted the simultaneous rise of new welfare cases.  


Mar. 11, 2015 @ 08:22 PM

The Export-Import Bank's bipartisan grip on existence

Conservatives' next disappointment will at least be a validation. The coming reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank will confirm their warnings about the difficulty of prying the government's tentacles off what should be society's private sphere.


Mar. 08, 2015 @ 06:35 PM

Obama needs GOP for Asian trade deal

Michael Froman received from a Harvard Law School classmate, Barack Obama, a job that validates the axiom that the unlikelihood of any negotiation reaching agreement grows by the square of the number of parties involved. In trade negotiations, even one's own country is troublesome, as the catfish conundrum illustrates. And the degree of difficulty in achieving a free trade pact is proportional to the number of Democrats in Congress.


Mar. 04, 2015 @ 08:00 PM

Stopping the IRS’ persistent pattern of corruption

Rep. Peter Roskam is now chairman of the Ways and Means subcommittee whose jurisdiction includes oversight of the Internal Revenue Service, and hence of Lois Lerner's legacy. He knows how interesting her career was before she, as head of the IRS exempt-organizations division, directed the suppression of conservative advocacy groups by delaying and denying them the tax exempt status that was swiftly given to comparable liberal groups.


Feb. 25, 2015 @ 08:01 PM

Reversing course in Illinois

CHICAGO -- The most portentous election of 2014, which gave the worst-governed state its first Republican governor in 12 years, has initiated this century's most intriguing political experiment. Illinois has favored Democratic presidential candidates by an average of 16 points in the last six elections. But by electing businessman Bruce Rauner, it initiated a process that might dismantle a form of governance that afflicts many states and municipalities.


Feb. 19, 2015 @ 08:33 AM

War authorization's difficult and urgent debate

Americans, a litigious people, believe that rules for coping with messy reality can be written in tidy legal language. This belief will be tested by the debate that will resume when Congress returns from a recess it should not have taken, with a war to authorize. The debate concerns an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State and also against ...


Feb. 15, 2015 @ 04:02 PM

Americans should curb their pessimism

Barack Obama's tone of mild exasperation when tutoring the public often makes his pronouncements grating even when they are sensible. As was his recent suggestion that Americans, misled by media, are exaggerating the threat of terrorism.