E. J. Dionne on Warren and Will – “in full, if awkward, agreement”
My favorite Washington Post opinion writer – Massachusetts native E. J. Dionne, Jr – writes today of Elizabeth Warren’s succinctly stated case for liberalism and George Will’s skilled attempt to knock it down. An admirer of both people – both by the way reputedly skilled debaters – Dionne notes that Warren’s gone-viral declaration “there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own” is actually accepted by Will even as he tried to skew her words far beyond her intent or substance. Dionne writes:
“Everyone,” he writes , “knows that all striving occurs in a social context, so all attainments are conditioned by their context.” Indeed. He gives us here a rigorous and concise summary of what she said.
Will then adds: “This does not, however, entail a collectivist political agenda.” In intellectual contests, this is an MVP move. Having accused Warren of setting fire to straw men, Will has just introduced his own straw colossus.
There is absolutely nothing in Warren’s statement that implied a “collectivist political agenda.”
In light of my respect for Will, it seems only appropriate that I close by offering words of admiration — for him, and for Elizabeth Warren. Will doesn’t waste time challenging arguments that don’t matter and he doesn’t erect straw men unless he absolutely has to. That Warren has so inspired Will, our premier conservative polemicist now that William F. Buckley Jr. has passed to his eternal reward, is an enormous tribute to her. And remember: On the core point about the social contract, George Will and Elizabeth Warren are in full, if awkward, agreement.
Read E.J. Dionne’s full political opinion piece here at WashingtonPost.com.
2 Responses to E. J. Dionne on Warren and Will – “in full, if awkward, agreement”
In Newsweek magazine, July 4, 1988, George Will’s full-page weekly essay was titled “Daddy, Who Was Jack Kerouac?” Will ridiculed the idea of a granite monument being created to recognize the literary achievement of the Lowell-born author of “On the Road” and lead voice of the Beat Generation writers of the ’50s and ’60s. I was reminded of this by E. J.’s comment that Will was concerned enough about Elizabeth Warren to attack her. I suppose we in Lowell should consider it a badge of honor that George Will attacked Lowell and Kerouac all those years ago. We inspired him, too.
Twenty years ago I was a regular viewer of the McLaughlin Group on Friday nights, then I read “Sound and Fury: The Washington Punditocracy and the Collapse of American Politics” by Eric Alterman (1993). The book dug into the connections, motivations and biases of all of these supposed “unbiased” commentators. It was devastating, especially towards George Will whom I haven’t read since. The complete abdication of the mainstream media of any objectivity and independence that was so evident in the run up to the invasion of Iraq was all foreshadowed in Alterman’s book. Did the MSM learn any lessons? Given it’s failure to call the Housing Bubble what it clearly was, and it’s current coverage of political affairs in this country, I would say not.