Q&A: Acclaimed journalist George Will talks 'The Conservative Sensibility' and America's governing crisis (+podcast)

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  • Kate Hutch Kenmore, WA
    June 13, 2019 12:29 p.m.

    It's so interesting how George Will seems to be tailoring this interview for the audience when he is saying this in other places:

    '“What Mr. Trump is doing that is damaging to the country is public and constant, it is a bell he’s ringing that can’t be unrung. He is putting into our civic discourse a level of conversation and of name-calling and of abuse that will now seem perfectly normal in the future.”

    And blaming troubles on progressives? These are the people who fought for women's right to vote, who fought to overcome poverty in the elderly with the introduction of social security, who listened when workers were injured on the job and installed the concept of workplace safety and child labor laws. They gave us the 40-hour work week (remember Ebenezer Scrooge?).

    How disingenuous, Mr. Will.

  • Pepe the Frog 🐸 ,
    June 13, 2019 9:56 a.m.

    George Will has talked alot, but his talk never amounted to anything significant.

    Trump is a man of action. He does the things conservatives talk about, but never get done. Judges that believe in the constitution (unlike RBG), moving the embassy to Jerusalem, fighting for free speech - Romney would have caved a long time ago.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 13, 2019 8:00 a.m.

    Peter Wiggin,
    "Trump has been the Conservative, Constitutionalist leader the nation has been looking for."
    Trump is neither conservative nor a Constitutionalist. He is a firebrand populist showing increasingly bold autocratic inclinations bordering on fascism.

  • kreese Ivins, UT
    June 12, 2019 5:59 p.m.

    George Will, a conservative? This is laughable.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    June 12, 2019 4:58 p.m.

    Conservatives only want to conserve one thing: The bank statements of the top 1%.

    You can't say conservatives want to conserve life (ostensibly because they're pro life) - if conservatives were really pro life, they would support things that keep kids alive, like health insurance, school lunches, and vaccination.

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    June 12, 2019 4:22 p.m.

    David - Centerville, UT
    A baby is an independent person, even in the womb. It has its own DNA, brain, heart, eyes, lungs, etc, etc.

    A fetus may develop into a baby, and once born has the rights of a person. But the moment a woman has the right and should maintain the right of deciding whether she wants to carry that fetus through the development process.

    Most abortions, approx. 90%, occur before the 13th week of pregnancy.

    Laws which allow for abortions in the case of potential death of the mother, rape, or incest, frequently seen in 'right to life' legislation, are absolutely inconsistent with the anti abortionist claims that innocent 'life' should be protected, since the fetus had no responsibility for how the mother's ova was fertilized. And of course, religious believers can rely on prayer for the case of mothers with medical emergencies.

    Further, this would also include prohibiting such of in vitro fertilization, against Catholic teaching, the freezing of fertilized ova for later use, since there is a high likelihood of the ova not attaching, not developing, and thereby dying, etc, or perhaps not being viable after a long period of being frozen.

  • 👍 Peter Wiggin Saratoga Springs, UT
    June 12, 2019 3:59 p.m.

    Trump has been the Conservative, Constitutionalist leader the nation has been looking for. He has fought for the Forgotten man, principles of truth, and the Bill of Rights.

    Meanwhile, people like Will and Romney are more than happy to throw aside Freedom of Speech and support Communists.

  • 🎼TruthIsMarching Boston, MA
    June 12, 2019 3:47 p.m.

    "Boyd Matheson: Troubling trends are eroding the strength of the American family,"

    Legalize the healthy, natural, scientific, traditional practice of plural marriage if you want to strengthen the family.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    June 12, 2019 2:55 p.m.

    To "jeclar2006" I never said that we have socialism here. However "Marxist" keeps advocating that we convert over to Marxism/Socialism. I would just like to see an honest answer to the question that I posed.

    The simplified version of the question is this: If it is so evil for a business owner to live off of the work of their employees, why does is to noble for a government worker to live off the work of the laborer?

  • David Centerville, UT
    June 12, 2019 1:25 p.m.

    jeclar2006 - Oceanside, CA

    Women already have the right to do with their bodies what they want. What they should not have is the right to abort the life of a developing child.

    A baby is an independent person, even in the womb. It has its own DNA, brain, heart, eyes, lungs, etc, etc.

    So let the woman decide if she will engage in behavior that will lead to pregnancy, or not. But if she becomes pregnant, aborting the developing baby should not be a choice. Under the Constitution, government has a responsibility to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness--that is the purpose of government. So yes, government should regulate and restrict abortion.

    You brought up slavery. Abortion and Jim Crow laws are very similar in that slave owners/women control "property" at the expense of independent freedom and life.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 12, 2019 1:23 p.m.

    "The question that recurs in American history from the founding on, most particularly with Abraham Lincoln, which I'll talk about in a minute, is a question of whether the United States is about a condition, which is liberty, or about a process, which is majority rule. The process can be a threat to liberty."
    Yes, if it abrogates or attempts to abrogate individual rights. But without a democratic process of any reasonable sort, what is liberty but an invitation to anarchy?

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    June 12, 2019 12:48 p.m.

    George Will's reasoning is filled with irony.

    On the one hand he continues the implicit criticism of the Federal government and a perceived overreach. Yet, lauds Lincoln, who was the leader that essentially enforced Federal power over the states.

    He decries this Federal power, yet it is the very power that he demands for the protection of some nebulous and essentially undefined set of Natural Rights.

    Apparently, and most will agree these days, that chattel slavery is counter the Natural Right of an individual to be free.

    Yet when the conversation for the present day turns to say a woman's right to chose what she does with her body, or when two people or more want to declare themselves married, all of a sudden Natural Rights are cast off, and the power of the State (Federal, State, or local) to control is invoked as right and just.

    Some states did not grant Natural Right of freedom to some set of people, it required a war and the power of the Federal government, likewise the Natural Right of marriage several Supreme Court actions.

    Had the states willingly granted, or better yet, made no laws with such limitations, the Federal government need not have involved itself.

  • bamafone Salem, UT
    June 12, 2019 12:36 p.m.

    Wealth inequality, or any inequality will always be with us, it always has through all of time. Some people are just smarter, better looking, more physical, and more capable. Your just going to have to come to grips with that. All of the welfare started by Roosevelt until now, hasn’t solved much, neither has communism, or socialism. You could divide an entire pie equally, and everyone would still be left short, no matter how big the pie was. Helping others has to come from within, not dictated by any governmental entity. There is plenty of evidence that it just doesn’t work very well.

    George Will, the conservative who tipped over turning left.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    June 12, 2019 12:35 p.m.

    Thank you for the outstandingly interesting interview of Mr. Will's book. Two of the book's primary lessons was that some truths are self-evident apparent to a reasonably educated mind unclouded by superstition, and that culture is paramount for success of a society. I would greatly appreciate your answer to the quandary of church required social believe in a thousand year BOM story of a great Hebrew Nation here in the America's as recently as two thousand years ago. How does one reconcile the BOM with modern day intelligence and self evident truth. It is understandable how in past centuries of limited knowledge and superstitions one could be a believer. But in today's world when even outer space is being explored, what is the integrity in accepted fiction as required religious believe. Thank you for your time and teaching.

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    June 12, 2019 12:31 p.m.

    RedShirtMIT - Cambridge, MA
    Think of it this way, is it better for the owner of a business to live off his labors combined with the labors of his employees or is it better for a government official to live off the labors of the laborers?

    What we have now in the US is not in any was any form of Socialism. A necessary condition for Socialism is to have major industry owned by the state. Please point to any for of industry completely owned by the state, 'state' meaning both state government or the Federal.

    There are certain services which the government funds directly, but even then suppliers for those services are provided by private enterprise. The military is supplied by private companies and corporations. The social services support pay funds to privately owned housing, privately owned stores, and other private entities for services. Farm excess output has/is funneled from private farmers to recipients, for example.

    In short, government supported social services is neither Communism nor Socialism.

  • mohokat , 00
    June 12, 2019 12:28 p.m.

    George Will? I thought he was in a care center. He's struggling to gain relevance!

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    June 12, 2019 12:22 p.m.

    marxist - Salt Lake City, UT
    JHave either of you guys heard of capital vs labor? It's like me and you live in different universes. Karl Marx thoroughly explored the relationship in "Capital." But neither of you have ANY knowledge of it.

    For most people who have only read the sloganeering about Marx and Communism (capital C...), don't realize that Marx's major work was a detailed criticism of Capitalism, which in the mid-19th Century was in its embryonic stage with the industrialization of Britain.

    The Communist Manifesto can be read in a day or for the slow reader, a couple of days. Das Kapital requires years.

    Capitalism has been modified from the original Industrial Revolution state and many of those modifications were due to the organization of Labor, and effecting changes.

    Today even the conservatives decry such things as 'human trafficking', which in the 19th Century was common, and not subject to laws. Conservatives today would not permit 6-7 year olds to work in factories, or mines, or other dangerous jobs. Such things did not pass away because the factory/mine owners decided they were bad ideas.

    They disappeared based on protest and legislation by government.

  • Jamchild Centerville, UT
    June 12, 2019 12:14 p.m.

    Inequality is the core issue and you two have ignored it amazingly thoroughly. Government policies have largely led to our huge wealth inequality, and it's not going to be fixed by changing our perspective on conservative principles (which largely got us into this mess via "conservative" politicians).

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    June 12, 2019 11:47 a.m.

    To "marxist " they probably have, and realize that it is better to live in a capitalist society than a Marxist/Socialist one.

    Think of it this way, is it better for the owner of a business to live off his labors combined with the labors of his employees or is it better for a government official to live off the labors of the laborers?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    June 12, 2019 11:29 a.m.

    @BM "But you really made the case that it's civil society, it's community and culture, not politics, that we should really be looking to for answers."

    Have either of you guys heard of capital vs labor? It's like me and you live in different universes. Karl Marx thoroughly explored the relationship in "Capital." But neither of you have ANY knowledge of it.

  • MatthewD Oregon City, OR
    June 12, 2019 8:28 a.m.

    This was a really great episode. The insights about conservatism shared on this are greatly appreciated. It is efforts like this, the education of the mind, that make a difference in changing the hearts and minds of people for good. I have really enjoyed listening to these podcasts. Thank you very much for putting them on. I wish there were more of them to listen to.

  • cdk Salt Lake City, UT
    June 12, 2019 7:40 a.m.

    Great article and podcast, Mr Matheson!

    Now I want to get the book- “The Conservative Sensibility”. Also I loved your three sign-off’s...1. See something that inspires, 2. Say something that uplifts, and 3. Do something that makes a difference. Thank you for your insights! They are going up on my kitchen window again!!