George F. Will

A Boneless Wonder?

IN 1931, WHEN CHURCHILL WAS IN THE OPPOSITION, HE SAID this to the House of Commons concerning Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald: ""I remember when I was a child, being taken to the celebrated Barnum's Circus which contained an exhibition of freaks and monstrosities, but the exhibit on the programme which I most desired to see was the one described as "The Boneless Wonder.' My parents judged that that spectacle would be too revolting and demoralizing for my youthful eyes, and I have waited fifty...

Big Stick Conservatism

THIS COULD GET CONSERVATIVES' DANDER UP. A category of small businesses is being subjected to injurious regulation in New York City. That city, the capital of liberalism and hence of overbearing government, is disrupting the free market by burdening, with the intent to discourage, a form of commerce involving a legal commodity.

Healthy Inequality

ECONOMISTS TODAY PERFORM THE STERN DUTY FORMERLY done by dour Calvinist divines, that of telling many complainers that nothing can be done about their complaints and, besides, the suffering is good for them.

A Partial Home Run

SERVING AS A SURROGATE BOB DOLE DURING BILL Clinton's debate rehearsals, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell was sufficiently ferocious to make Clinton anxious.

Inflation Inflated

ON TUESDAY THE INSCRUTABLE AND, ACCORDING TO critics, incorrigible Federal Reserve may raise interest rates as a preemptive move against inflation. If the critics are correct, this will confirm the axiom (coined by John Keegan, the military historian) that victory is the mother of pedantry.

A New Level Of Worrying

NIGHTTIME ILLUMINATION AT THE LINCOLN Memorial attracted millions of midges, and spiders that fed on the midges, and sparrows that fed on spiders. Scrubbing away the bird droppings and spider webs made the marble vulnerable to exhaust particles.

Enter Lott, Stage Right

TRENT. IT SOUNDS LIKE A HERO'S NAME FROM THOSE magnolia-scented romance novels with titles like "Thundering Hoofs From Shiloh" or "Plantation Passions." Last week Mississippi's Trent Lott, 54, moved to the Majority Leader's front-row desk vacated by Bob Dole, who will be 73 next month.

The Pitch...It's Outahere

THIS TIME, THE HAPPY HAITIAN THEORY CANNOT BE offered as an explanation. In 1987, the last time baseball experienced a power surge comparable to this year's barrage of home runs and high scores, a baseball thinker, who may have been kidding but you never can be sure about baseball thinkers, offered a hypothesis: The major league's baseballs are made in Haiti.

The Politics Of Soulcraft

AMERICAN POLITICAL DISCOURSE HAS BECOME THIN gruel because of a deliberate deflation of American ideals. So says Michael Sandel in a wonderful new book, "Democracy's Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy." Sandel, a Harvard professor of government, believes that politics has been impoverished and life coarsened by the abandonment of the idea that self-government should be -- indeed, cannot help but be -- a "formative" project, shaping the character of citizens.

Civic Speech Gets Rationed

SURVEYING THE CONSTITUTIONAL AND POLITICAL damage done by two decades of campaign finance "reforms," friends of the First Amendment feel like the man (in a Peter De Vries novel) who said, "In the beginning the earth was without form and void.

Conservatism Gets Soiled

JUST 15 MONTHS AFTER THE 1994 ELECTIONS, THE HIGH-WATER mark of modern conservatism, the conservative party is under assault from a man who clearly despises it and disdains the conservatism of its most successful modern president.

An Epidemic's Evolution

The aids epidemic is "one of those cataclysms of nature that have no meaning, no precedent, and, in spite of many claims to the contrary, no useful metaphor." So wrote Sherwin Nuland, who teaches medicine at Yale, in his hook "How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter." No metaphor, perhaps, but the epidemic's evolution underscores a grim truth: life is regressive.

Modell Sacks Maryland

Art modell made dumb business decisions and needed the money, or at least wanted it more than he wanted the affection of his community where he once was ,a leader and now is a pariah.

Senator Byrd Is Not Amused

Sen. Robert Byrd, whose visage is as stony as the mountains of his West Virginia, resembles William Gladstone, of whom it was said he did not lack a sense of humor but rarely was in a mood to be amused.

Fanatics For 'Choice'

Americans are beginning to recoil against the fanaticism that has helped to produce this fact: more than a quarter of all American pregnancies are ended by abortions.

'Arise, Ye Prisoners . . . '

Arise, ye prisoners of starvation!" Exhorted the "Internationale," the anthem of the proletariat long ago, when the class struggle was supposed to be the engine of history and the proletariat was supposed to be the vessel of progress.

A Weird Sincerity

Sen. Bob Kerrey, the Nebraska democrat, spoke with measured nalice. Asked if he trusts President Clinton's promise that he will not betray Democrats by coming to a budget agreement with Republicans without the support of Democrats, Kerrey said, "I trust him because [Senate Minority Leader] Tom Daschle trusts him." In 1993, after much agonizing, Kerrey cast the decisive vote for the Clinton Budget that Clinton recently said raised taxes too much.

Events And Arguments

WAR UNLEASHES POWERFUL CENTRALIZING forces in nations, and from the Civil War through the Cold War it was the principal cause of the concentration of government power in Washington.

The Fourth Awakening

When controversy erupted concerning gays in the military, it was noted that many members of the media have gay friends but no friends in the military. Today the socialization of journalists may also explain the incomprehension that colors coverage of the conservative Christian Coalition.

Wonders In The Deep

Aboard the USS Jefferson City (SSN 759) underway off San Diego--Submariners say there are just two kinds of ships: submarines and targets. Feel free to disagree.

The Voting Rights Act At 30

When Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington (1882-1944), the astrophysicist, was asked how many people understood his theory of the expanding universe, he paused, then said, "Perhaps seven." That may be more people than fully understand how we got from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to the notion that racial gerrymandering is not only virtuous but also mandatory under that Act.Such gerrymandering to create "minority-majority" electoral districts is the quintessential "outcome-based" racial policy and a...

'A Dog In That Fight'?

When Hitler sent ribbentrop to Moscow in August 1939 to sign the nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union, he sent along his personal photographer with instructions to obtain close-ups of Stalin's ear lobes.

Political Ascents And Descents

I realized," wrote a french aristocrat in her memoirs concerning the unpleasantness of the 1790s, "that the Revolution was inevitable when I noticed that the patissier was putting less butter in the brioches." The gift of discerning large portents in small things is useful in politics.

Rethinking 1937

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's day, as today, and as usual in America. the voices of various "experts" and "realists" gravely, warned that society's problems were more daunting than ever and demanded that old principles yield to new realities.

Hurricane Bob

BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES. HERE COMES HURRICANE Bob-Bob Doman, that is, the Orange County congressman who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination.