I blogged last week on a George Will column in which he took on Elizabeth Warren's logic in her now very well-quoted series of remarks on the rich and their debt to the greater society. Into the fray steps liberalism's greatest purveyor of ridiculosity, Mr. E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post. In his essay, Dionne goes to great lengths in his praise of George Will, before delivering what he obviously believes is a triumphal take-down:
"Will is a shrewd man and a careful student of political philosophy. I am a fan of his for many reasons, but more on that in a moment. In this case, he demonstrates his debating skills by first accusing Warren of being “a pyromaniac in a field of straw men,” and then by conceding the one and only point that Warren actually made. “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.”
Wow--stunning, huh? Because Warren did not follow up her OBVIOUSLY collectivist statement with another which says "YES, THIS IS OBVIOUSLY COLLECTIVIST IDEOLOGY", Will has created a straw man of his own. Of course she didn't say that. She didn't have to. One only has to look at the great body of collectivist/liberal thought through history--not to mention Warren's own past writings and agendas--to discern where such a statement comes from.
Of course no one makes it "on their own". One must first tip one's cap to Mom and Dad, who supplied the genetic material. Why not even take it a generation or two back from that, shall we? The point for Will and other conservatives isn't that success is entirely self-generated, but that it IS the result of individual choices. To try. To strive. To ignore adversity. To challenge one's potential. These are NOT decisions derived of the collective, attributable to the roads built with tax money (paid mainly by the rich) or schools subsidized (mainly by the rich). These are the yearnings and strivings of individual human hearts, and they are the well-spring of our capitalist, market based, democratic political system.
Sorry E.J. You tried to take down the great man--but you failed.