“To ‘No,’ I say an emphatic ‘Yes!'”


This morning, Ricochet member Mao Zehedgehog sent along an e-mail alerting me to an excellent speech by George Will, which he delivered at a Cato Institute dinner honoring Milton Friedman this past spring. Here are a few choice morsels:

We are not Europeans. We are not, in Orwell’s phrase, a “state-broken people.” We do not have a feudal background of subservience to the state. No, that is the project of the current administration – it can be boiled down to learned feudalism. It is a dependency agenda…


We are told that one must not be a “Party of No.” To “No,” I say an emphatic “Yes!” For two reasons. The reason that almost all improvements make matters worse is that most new ideas are false. Second, the most beautiful five words in the English language are the first five words of the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law.” That is: no law abridging Freedom of Speech, no law establishing religion, no law abridging the right to assemble and petition in redress of grievance. The Bill of Rights is a litany of “No’s” – no unreasonable search and seizure, no cruel and unusual punishments, no taking of property without just compensation, and so it goes. The American people are, I think, healthier than they are given credit for. They have only one defect. They have nothing to fear, right now, but an insufficiency of their fear itself. It is time for a wholesome fear of what people with a dependency agenda are trying to do. We have few allies. We don’t have Hollywood, we don’t have academia, and we don’t have the mainstream media. But…we have arithmetic. The numbers do not add up, and cannot be made to do so.

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  1. Profile Photo Member

    I agree, an excellent speech. Thanks for sharing.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Inactive

    “Learned feudalism”. Perfect! President Obama, I will not be thy vassal!

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Contributor

    Patrick Shanahan: President Obama, I will not be thy vassal!

    Patrick, this is a perfect one liner. We must find a way to put this to use.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Inactive

    Diane: It’s a great speech. My favorite line was when Will quoted Yuval Levin’s recent article in the Spring 2010 issue of National Affairs: “[O]ur public life is a gluttonous feast upon the flesh of the future — we use more than we need, spend more than we have, and borrow more than we can pay.”

    That’s an even better description of what is going on than “inter-generational theft.”

    • #4
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