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.