George Will laments today that President Barak Obama is “determined to complete the progressive project from the founders’ constraining premises, a project Woodrow Wilson embarked on 100 Novembers ago.”
That’s it. That’s George Will’s complaint.
Let’s start with looking at this bad idea Will calls a “progressive project.” Picking up my dictionary — yes, I still have several — I look up Progress and read bad ideas like “Movement toward a goal” and “Steady improvement” and “to advance toward a more desirable form.” Nasty stuff. Nasty stuff, indeed.
One definition seems especially germane to the politics that run counter to George Will’s apparent view of things. It is “Development, unfolding.”
Inherent in Will’s criticism is a rejection of development and unfolding. Rather than let government evolve and progress congruently with our success and best interests, it should be reined in to match the intentions of founding fathers that no one living today has ever met in order to serve the needs of a future that the founding fathers could never imagine.
I understand that this is the basic divide between conservatives and progressives, but when is this going to reach the point of absolute absurdity? Imagine, if you will, a scenario that a good Republican might be able to embrace. Imagine a family business. Pick one that has existed for generations or even years. How long would a business that stubbornly adhered to practices of Grandpa’s founding would thrive today? Is it a given that business adapt to survive? Why shouldn’t a country, why shouldn’t a government?
You’d think guys like George Will would be smart enough to follow this line of thought, but of course he still treats what ails him with Dr. Johnson’s Cure All Elixer.
What conservatives appear unable to grasp is how significant government has been in supporting the institutions, infrastructure, and policies that helped our nation flourish. So called “big government” did not squelch American prosperity, it served the businesses, families, and communities that thrived with America’s success.
Will talks about freedom as if government somehow had curtailed American freedom. In recent years, which have been arguably more friendly to current conservative ideals than America’s golden age, our freedoms have been increasingly under attack. How can a guy like George Will really argue “natural rights” that “pre-exist government” on the one hand and tolerate policy limiting rights affecting everything from justice to privacy to marriage?
And what rights were lost in America’s prosperity? Sure, people hate taxes, but if that investment creates a better, wealthier America, is that a good investment? If it creates a safer, smarter, and more secure world, isn’t that better? Is providing for the common good an infringement on rights? Explain how.
It is hard to believe how stubbornly regressive people can be. Now poor George is getting old. His thinking days might be behind him. But we are raising an entire class of people who are unable to appreciate the benefits of smart government because they have been misled and worse.
The world is changing and it will advance to a more desirable form. Does the United States want to be a meaningful part of it — a leader — or are we more comfortable hiding behind the myths of our past?
- George Will’s Imaginary Obama (theamericanconservative.com)
- Republican or Democrat…What is Difficult About This Question? (alittletourinyellow.wordpress.com)
- George Will’s interesting interpretation of yesterday’s decision (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)