Jonah invites George Will, author of The Conservative Sensibility, onto the Remnant to discuss the book and how George Will helped make him into a pundit in the first place.

Shownotes: 

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There are 18 comments.

  1. Arahant Member

    Interesting interview. Thank you.

    • #1
    • June 15, 2019, at 2:05 PM PST
    • 1 like
  2. filmklassik Member

    Terrific interview. And yet another reminder that few people can extemporize as eloquently (or persuasively) as George Will.

    • #2
    • June 15, 2019, at 11:37 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  3. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    Jonah talks about Wilsonian and Darwinian evolved thought regarding the Constitution, but George Will says that a state can now not have a state religion even though this was possible in the past.

    A meter has to equal a meter until it has been amended to mean something different. The Constitution has to mean the same thing until it is amended to mean something different.

    That doesn’t make sense as there was not an amendment stating this. State religion and freedom of religion are two different things. Most European countries recent had state religions. Countries like England, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, and Costa Rica still have state religions today. Argentina, Bolivia, El Salvador, Paraguay, and Peru did as recently as 15 years ago. The “In God We Trust” United States of America cannot have an official religion, but that’s something different.

    • #3
    • June 16, 2019, at 12:34 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  4. Egg Man Member

    Did he really say “hold up the book?” Where was Jack to point out this is a podcast?

    • #4
    • June 16, 2019, at 5:30 AM PST
    • 1 like
  5. Joseph Stocks Member

    I’m struck by the disconnect of hearing Will eloquently defend our founding principles while simultaneously advocating for the election of people who want to destroy those principles. 

    I feel bad for Will, that he allowed personal pettiness to cloud his usual clear and objective mind. 

    • #5
    • June 16, 2019, at 3:42 PM PST
    • Like
  6. kedavis Member

    Joseph Stocks (View Comment):

    I’m struck by the disconnect of hearing Will eloquently defend our founding principles while simultaneously advocating for the election of people who want to destroy those principles.

    I feel bad for Will, that he allowed personal pettiness to cloud his usual clear and objective mind.

    That may be, but I don’t think it’s as recent as just Trump. Seems to me Will started having some problems long before that.

    • #6
    • June 17, 2019, at 1:17 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. filmklassik Member

    Joseph Stocks (View Comment):

    I’m struck by the disconnect of hearing Will eloquently defend our founding principles while simultaneously advocating for the election of people who want to destroy those principles.

    I feel bad for Will, that he allowed personal pettiness to cloud his usual clear and objective mind.

    It may be as simple as the fact that having certain inflexible principles makes you incapable of voting for any candidate who violates them.

    Yes, even if your political enemies stand to benefit from your inability. And in a big way.

    “The ways of the Lord are often dark, but never pleasant.”

    • #7
    • June 17, 2019, at 9:03 AM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Joseph Stocks Member

    @kedavis,

    Yeah, Will has undergone an interesting subtle evolution. When Jonah was talking about his communitarian argument about keeping America interesting because communities could have an unique imprint on how they are formed and governed Will pushed back fairly strongly. It seems Will would view dry counties (and to bring the French Wars back) banning drag queens from public library reading hours as tyrannies that need Washington to rid us of. 

    I side with Jonah on this one completely (and I actually think this is Sohrab Amari’s point as well) because in Will’s vision we make an idol out of Washington because local battles cannot be settled locally to Will. 

    • #8
    • June 17, 2019, at 9:49 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  9. Joseph Stocks Member

    @filmklassik,

    And by this logic Will should have been stumping for Mondale over Reagan. 

    And you misstated something, it’s not that his enemies stand to benefit, Will is specifically advocating for his enemies. 

    Every modern Republican president has had major flaws. Somehow, the out of control spending of George W Bush didn’t lead Will into Obama’s arms but Trump’s sins send him to Joe Biden’s. 

    I don’t call that principled. I call that personal and petty. 

    • #9
    • June 17, 2019, at 9:55 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. John Russell Thatcher

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    Terrific interview. And yet another reminder that few people can extemporize as eloquently (or persuasively) as George Will.

    I’d include the late great Charles Krauthammer in that short list

    • #10
    • June 17, 2019, at 8:15 PM PST
    • 1 like
  11. kylez Member

    I don’t know, I’m happy there are no more liberal Republicans. 

    • #11
    • June 18, 2019, at 11:41 AM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Arahant Member

    kylez (View Comment):

    I don’t know, I’m happy there are no more liberal Republicans.

    I hope you mean Progressive, rather than liberal.

    • #12
    • June 18, 2019, at 12:29 PM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Taras Coolidge

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kylez (View Comment):

    I don’t know, I’m happy there are no more liberal Republicans.

    I hope you mean Progressive, rather than liberal.

    Isn’t Rob Long a liberal Republican? 

    Liberal Republicans were quite happy with the Republican Party advocating conservative positions, as long as those conservative positions were never actually enacted, never became real.

    But Donald Trump is not, in his basic character, a politician. He actually thinks he is supposed to really get conservative things done, not just go through the motions.

    Like when they would have one house pass a conservative bill, knowing that the other house will vote it down; e.g., Obamacare repeal.

    • #13
    • June 18, 2019, at 1:16 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  14. kedavis Member

    Listening through again, I note that Will seems to exhibit a failing I started noticing years ago. He admits that – as Jonah puts it – most of the problems today are “way upstream” of Washington (politics). Which is also another way of saying “Trump isn’t the cause, Trump is just the latest symptom.” But Will doesn’t seem to have any interest in doing anything – at least not seriously – about the “upstream” problems. He just says “We shouldn’t have Trump.” The problem is that, without doing something about those “upstream” problems FIRST, just saying we should have Hillary instead, is simply unilateral disarmament. Which I don’t think Will has favored in any other situation.

    In other words, if your big problem – as Will’s seems to be – is “the imperial presidency,” then simply turning over that presidency to “the other side,” does NOT improve things.

    Hillary Clinton – or Joe Biden, or any other Democrat president – is not going to think “George Will is correct, I shouldn’t have all these powers.”

    • #14
    • June 18, 2019, at 9:57 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  15. Taras Coolidge

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Listening through again, I note that Will seems to exhibit a failing I started noticing years ago. He admits that – as Jonah puts it – most of the problems today are “way upstream” of Washington (politics). Which is also another way of saying “Trump isn’t the cause, Trump is just the latest symptom.” But Will doesn’t seem to have any interest in doing anything – at least not seriously – about the “upstream” problems. He just says “We shouldn’t have Trump.” The problem is that, without doing something about those “upstream” problems FIRST, just saying we should have Hillary instead, is simply unilateral disarmament. Which I don’t think Will has favored in any other situation.

    In other words, if your big problem – as Will’s seems to be – is “the imperial presidency,” then simply turning over that presidency to “the other side,” does NOT improve things.

    Hillary Clinton – or Joe Biden, or any other Democrat president – is not going to think “George Will is correct, I shouldn’t have all these powers.”

    Will doesn’t just have it wrong, he has it backwards.

    With the Federal bureaucracy and the big media arrayed against him, Donald Trump is the least capable of all Presidents of turning himself into an “imperial President”.

    If you’re searching for a nascent imperial Presidency, take a look at how the Obama Administration was able to violate the law with impunity. We see, for example, how liberal Democrats in the IRS conspired to help a liberal Democratic President be reelected in 2012. 

    Similarly, in 2016, liberal Democrats and RINOs in the FBI worked to help elect Hillary Clinton; though they didn’t work as hard as they might have, as they expected her to win in any case. 

    • #15
    • June 19, 2019, at 1:20 AM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Listening through again, I note that Will seems to exhibit a failing I started noticing years ago. He admits that – as Jonah puts it – most of the problems today are “way upstream” of Washington (politics). Which is also another way of saying “Trump isn’t the cause, Trump is just the latest symptom.” But Will doesn’t seem to have any interest in doing anything – at least not seriously – about the “upstream” problems. He just says “We shouldn’t have Trump.” The problem is that, without doing something about those “upstream” problems FIRST, just saying we should have Hillary instead, is simply unilateral disarmament. Which I don’t think Will has favored in any other situation.

    In other words, if your big problem – as Will’s seems to be – is “the imperial presidency,” then simply turning over that presidency to “the other side,” does NOT improve things.

    Hillary Clinton – or Joe Biden, or any other Democrat president – is not going to think “George Will is correct, I shouldn’t have all these powers.”

    I don’t think that it’s fair to say that Will has no interest in doing anything about the “upstream” problems. I think that he — and Goldberg — think that these will be solved by “persuading” people. However, they both seem to rule out any “tribal” or “nationalist” elements of such persuasion. I’m inclined more toward the Sorhab Ahmari side of the argument, meaning that we need an appeal to our history, traditions, and way of life — including religion — as a foundation for long-term persuasion. My impression is that Will and Goldberg disagree with this, and I’m concerned that this leaves them with nothing on which to base a persuasive argument.

    • #16
    • June 24, 2019, at 2:49 PM PST
    • 1 like
  17. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    This was a fine interview.

    I think that Will may have put his finger on the key point of disagreement between his type of conservatism and mine. He said something like: “Earl Warren was right.”

    He was talking specifically about cruel and unusual punishment, but made it clear that he held the same opinion about the Establishment clause. Essentially, my impression is that Will accepts the Leftist view of judicial activism. This is rather implicit in thinking that Earl Warren was right, after all.

    • #17
    • June 24, 2019, at 2:52 PM PST
    • 1 like
  18. kedavis Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    In other words, if your big problem – as Will’s seems to be – is “the imperial presidency,” then simply turning over that presidency to “the other side,” does NOT improve things.

    Hillary Clinton – or Joe Biden, or any other Democrat president – is not going to think “George Will is correct, I shouldn’t have all these powers.”

    I don’t think that it’s fair to say that Will has no interest in doing anything about the “upstream” problems. I think that he — and Goldberg — think that these will be solved by “persuading” people. However, they both seem to rule out any “tribal” or “nationalist” elements of such persuasion. I’m inclined more toward the Sorhab Ahmari side of the argument, meaning that we need an appeal to our history, traditions, and way of life — including religion — as a foundation for long-term persuasion. My impression is that Will and Goldberg disagree with this, and I’m concerned that this leaves them with nothing on which to base a persuasive argument.

    Possibly claiming to be concerned about something, but having nothing on which to base a solution – or even a persuasive argument – to even START doing something about it, I would include with “not being serious.”

    But I’m not convinced Will actually is all that concerned, or he was in the past but when people asked “what do we do?” he just shrugged. And now avoids the subject entirely.

    • #18
    • June 24, 2019, at 5:04 PM PST
    • 1 like