Whether you agree with him or not, George Will is consistently one of the most insightful pundits in America. His recent article, which ran in today’s Albuquerque Journal, but can be found on the Washington Post website, views the last 100 years of public policy debates through the prism of the differing worldviews of James Madison and Woodrow Wilson.
Madison and the Founders believed:
believed that free government’s purpose, and the threats to it, are found in nature. The threats are desires for untrammeled power, desires which, Madison said, are “sown in the nature of man.” Government’s limited purpose is to protect the exercise of natural rights that pre-exist government, rights that human reason can ascertain in unchanging principles of conduct and that are essential to the pursuit of happiness.
According to Wilson and the so-called “progressives” (who really tend towards socialism), “Government exists to dispense an ever-expanding menu of rights — entitlements that serve an open-ended understanding of material and even spiritual well-being.” In practice, this means that that government has no limits.
This is the battle that is being waged in America today. It is not new, but Will certainly frames it in an interesting way.