Author of the week
For an icon of political conservatism, George Will is surprisingly down with perpetual change, said Andrew Sullivan in The New York Times. In his current best-seller, The Conservative Sensibility, the veteran Washington Post columnist defines his own sensibility as one that “finds flux exhilarating,” that takes delight in a world so complex that any attempt to impose order on it is foolhardy. As the book reminds us, Will is also a conservative of that particularly American type who favors a revolutionary return to first principles established by the nation’s revolutionary founders. But seeing the Princeton-educated, bow-tied pundit as a true believer in limited government also illuminates why, at 78, he has left the party he’d supported through most of his life. To him, the Republican Party of 2019 is “a cult of personality”—and a threat to conservatism.
Will’s book, readers will note, never mentions Donald Trump by name, said Boyd Matheson in the Salt Lake City Deseret News. Though Will quit the GOP shortly after Trump locked up the party’s 2016 presidential nomination, he prefers the long view on how the country went wrong. For a century, he says, both parties have been loading the federal government with so many responsibilities that power is overconcentrated in the executive branch, making inevitable a failure to deliver on promises. Fittingly, Will won’t be endorsing any 2020 candidate as a potential savior. “Put not your faith in princes,” he says. “Politics is important, politics is fun, politics can be noble. But do not derive your sense of yourself, your identity, and the meaning of life, from politics. Politics doesn’t have that big a jurisdiction.” ■