George Will is a deservedly famous American political thinker. His latest book, the Conservative Sensibility, is a meditation on the meaning of the American founding. He sees an eternal opposition between the limited government ideas of James Madison, and the progressive vision of Woodrow Wilson, who thought that the US Constitution was obsolete conception of the state. I largely agree with his negative assessment of Woodrow Wilson, who was a kind of Obama before his time: detached, aloof, pompous, and a progressive. Wilson failed to secure the support of the Republicans for the post World War 1 settlement and much blame for what followed could be laid at his feet in consequence.
George Will has been the most prominent never-Trumper, and he has not ceased his disparagement. As the election approaches, he seems to be demented on the issue. On ABC’s television show “The View” he said that:
“They think the country is angry. I don’t think Americans are angry. I think those who watch certain cable channels are angry, but that’s a small slice of the country. I think most Americans are sad and embarrassed and exhausted.”
He added, “They’re sad because they’re embarrassed and they’re exhausted because of the constant embarrassment that is inflicted on them by a president that never sleeps. The American people don’t want transformation. They want restoration. They can get the transformation later, but they would like a period of normality.”
Trump annoys many conservative people because he reminds them of everything that is over-amplified, vulgar, and incessant in American society. They feel that the job of the Republican President is to be the adult in the conversation. Trump offends them because their idea of a Republican is someone like George Herbert Walker Bush or Mitt Romney, someone who keeps the noise down across American society. The job of a conservative President is to uphold a certain decorum. Taxes and immigration are secondary issues in this view.
Conservatives are right in their desire for a society with more decorum; but they will not be able to get it. The Democrats have flown free from reality. When you assert, seriously, that when a man may declares himself to be a woman, that we are to be forced to treat a person of one sex as if he belonging to another, and that the full force of social opprobrium and coercive enforcement will fall on those too slow to adjust, you are not dealing with reality any longer. You cannot have decorum in this era of radical contestation.
Trump reminds me of the person who in a crowded cocktail party points out that the dog has just shitted on the carpet. Some people are more offended at the observation being made than that the dog has misbehaved. If only we could all go on pretending, we could all be happy in our ignorance, and besides the staff can deal with the problem anyway.
I find George Will’s taking against Trump to be of that order. I wonder how he would feel about Alexandra Occasio-Cortez as President? Would he be more tolerant?
In the meantime I urge you to read The Conservative Sensibility. It is very good. Try to ignore Will’s harrumphing about Trump. Trump will crush the Democrats at the next election, and they know it.