Monday, June 16, 2008


George Will is one of the sharpest political minds in the country. In this otherwise brilliant and quick witted exchange with the equally sharp Colbert, there is one quip from Will that I take umbrage to. When asked what's the difference between liberals and conservatives, he says that conservatives value freedom more than anything else while liberals would bring about equality by sacrificing some freedom.

So let's think about all this freedom that conservatives value so much. Conservatives instituted the patriot act, conservatives approved indefinite detainment of citizens on tenuous grounds, conservatives advocate the war in Iraq, conservatives advocate the building of new nuclear weapons, conservatives are roiling up foreign policy while ignoring border protection at home, conservatives want to curb gary marriage and personal choice over abortion. Heck, conservatives don't even advocate a fair free market by obscenely subsidizing oil and corn for example.

A grand bunch of freedom-lovers conservatives are! Every one of the above actions and policies undermine freedom and national security. Now one might say that liberals have also supported some of the above policies and that not all conservatives support this action, but the point is that Will is setting up a false premise here. However, Will is an old-school conservative and I think we can give him the benefit of doubt by assuming that by "conservatives", he is referring to the old guard of conservative Republicans like Barry Goldwater.

If Will is really talking about those historical conservatives, then his point is well-taken. But that's the whole problem; that that brand of Goldwater conservatism has almost gone extinct. What world is Will living in? Those honorable conservatives have been replaced by rabid, freedom-hating neo-conservatives who pay nothing more than lip service to freedom. These neocons have long since dragged the good old conservative name into the mud. And so, even if he did not perhaps mean to, Will's definitions simply don't apply to today's 'conservatives'. If conservatives were really freedom-lovers, America would not have found itself in the mess it is in.

[link: Gaurav]

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Blogger Gaurav said...

George Will has been bashing the neo-cons in his column regularly. Even in his atest column he has bashed McCain for calling the Supreme Court's Gitmo judgment the worst in history. He also said a couple of weeks back that a vote for McCain will be a vote for war (with Iran).

Yes, the term "conservative" has been hijacked by nutcases. But as an age-old conservative himself, Will probably does not want to give up on the word that easily.

5:03 AM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

True. Will is probably referring to old-school conservatives although I thought he should have been clearer about that.

5:06 PM  

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