Swatches From The Century's End
...I cannot deny my past to which my self is wed, the woven figure cannot undo its thread.
Louis MacNeice, "Valediction"
These words express a truth of conservatism that has discomfited conservatives in the years covered by this volume. This collection of columns shows how, in the mid-1990s, conservatives fancied themselves poised to conduct a revolution, a radical reorientation of politics and governance. But in the late 1990s, they have discovered how resistant a complex nation is to being undone and rewoven.
In this volume, George F. Will, distinguished political columnist and cultural critic, examines many episodes of the conservative tribulations and the liberal accommodations to the new political landscape. These writings present a map of the landscape, a guide for people perplexed by the gap between contemporary political theories and practices.
With his customary linguistic flair and acerbic wit, Mr. Will tackles a wide range of subjects, including political correctness on college campuses; extreme fighting; the 1996 presidential campaign; judicial activism; ESPN; and Corvettes. These writings are history written on deadline, and together they constitute a richly woven tapestry of our era.
In this gathering of some 150 of his syndicated columns written during the past four years, conservative political commentator Will presents himself as a self-appointed arbiter of moral breakdown and cultural malaise, and takes a firm, principled stand on salient issues. He favors welfare reform and the abolition of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he opposes abortion, "racial gerrymandering," Afrocentrism and political correctness on campus. With curmudgeonly zeal, he attacks multiculturalism, bilingual ballots, egalitarian plans for the redistribution of wealth, campaign finance reform, tobacco smoking and the proliferation of gambling. Will is disturbed by the self-proclaimed victimization status of ethnic, racial and sexual groups and by an "entitlement mentality" that, he argues, fosters dependence on government largesse. He forcefully ties this critique to a conservative vision rooted in limited government, individualism, industriousness and a less-regulated free-market economy. He includes an opinionated portrait gallery of Benjamin Netanyahu, Strom Thurmond, Clinton, Jefferson, Lenin, Gladstone, Al Capone,and Vance Packard. Even when one disagrees with his views, this tonic collection demonstrates why Will is a national resource. Author tour.