Saturday, June 16, 2012

George Will, Eminent Columnist of the Washington Post Has Apparently Gone Completely Bonkers

Devotes Column to Grammar School Class Election

George Will is one of those highly paid, erudite political columnists that the Washington Post employs in an attempt to try to showcase Conservatives.  Mr. Will fancies himself a highly intelligent rational principled Conservative. Unfortunately his writings do not support that conclusion.

The subject of a recent column by Mr. Will is, and no we are not kidding, an election for class officers in a school in suburban Washington.  But first Mr. Will must produce some innuendo, in this case he implies that federal government workers make huge sums of money.

Cross Western Avenue on Wisconsin Avenue, leaving Washington and entering Montgomery County, and you immediately pass Ralph Lauren, Cartier, Bulgari, Christian Dior, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Tiffany & Co. and Saks Fifth Avenue. For those who toil in the ambit of the federal government, virtue may be its own reward, but Louis Vuitton luggage is not to be sneezed at.

There is huge wealth and there are high incomes in the Washington D. C. area.

Washington and its environs are doing well by doing good for — or at any rate to — the rest of America. Four of America’s five wealthiest counties, and nine of the richest 15, are in the D.C. area. Joel Kotkin, the demographer, notes that median household income in the nine is more than $100,000, twice the national average. Washington, Kotkin notes, is not a center of real commerce, “where people make things or risk their livelihoods on ideas,” but it thrives on rent-seeking transactions between economic factions and “the collusional capitalist state.” This area is notable not only for its opulence but also — this could be just a coincidence — for industrious regulating to bring everyone into compliance with the right rules.

But as Mr. Will knows, this wealth and income is enjoyed by government contractors, not government employees and the various ancillary activities around government, like lobbying.  Mr. Will and his conservative colleagues will learn this the hard way when they try to cut government spending and find out that they are cutting lucrative payments to people outside of, not inside of government.

But Mr. Will’s real point involves Freedom of Speech.  Mr. Will is of the belief, like many Conservatives, that Freedom of Speech is the freedom of very wealthy people to dominate so much of the debate that they win by eliminating the opportunity for the other side to speak.  Their unlimited  access to the marketplace of ideas simply does not allow anyone else to dispute their positions, and Mr. Will is a champion of allowing one side, his side, to win by overwhelming the other side with its wealth, not its ideas.

So Mr. Will devotes a column to attempting to illustrate his position with a presentation on an election of class officers by middle schoolers.  Note how he assumes the villains are ‘liberals’.  No evidence, just an assumption.

“Candidates at the affluent, 500-student school, where many parents have political connections of one sort or another, can’t give out buttons. They can’t wear T-shirts bearing their names. They can’t talk about their competition. And they can’t make promises. Not even about school lunches.”

A 9-year-old candidate for vice president told The Post, “We can’t say certain things because the kids would get too excited.”Of course politics should be purged of excitement. But lest you get the wrong idea — the idea that liberalism would, if it could, so firmly restrict political speech that elective offices might as well be allocated by lotteries — the school authorities do permit candidates to post signs. Just six per candidate, however, and only as long as the signs say nothing about promises or rivals — or perhaps anything else.

 Mr. Will presumably thinks he is making a great persuasive argument.  In fact he is showing the shallowness of his position, that he can only support it with a ridiculous example.  But one thing everyone can be certain of, the Washington Post does not have an editor in charge of saying to its columnists "No, this is stupid, we will not print this".  How do we know that?  Easy, Mr. Will's column was published.

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