George F. Will

'The Tangle Of Egos And Rules'

In Literature as in life, lawyers are swarming like locusts. The hit movie made from John Grisham's novel "The Firm" (Tom Cruise's first movie since he played a lawyer in 'A Few Good Men") is about nasty lawyers working for the mob and portrays the government (run by and for lawyers) as not much nicer.

So, We Talk Too Much?

Washington's political class and its journalistic echoes are celebrating Senate passage, on a mostly party-line vote, of a "reform" that constitutes the boldest attack on freedom of VW speech since enactment of the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

Sympathy For Guinier

Lani Guinier deserves some sympathy. She is an academic and a liberal Democratic activist, so she probably cannot understand what the fuss was about. She probably rarely associates with people who think her ideas are strange. (After McGovern lost 49 states in 1972, a member of Manhattan's liberal literati exclaimed in bewilderment, "But everyone I know voted for him!") Many of Guinier's ideas are extreme, undemocratic and anticonstitutional.

'Compassion' On Campus

With commencement season comes a summer respite from attacks on freedom of speech on campuses. Consider the University of Pennsylvania, whose recently resigned president, Sheldon Hackney, is heading for Washington to chair the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Jon Will's Aptitudes

Jon Will, the oldest of my four children, turns 21 this week and on this birthday, as on every other workday, he will commute by subway to his job delivering mail and being useful in other ways at the National Institutes of Health.

Anita Hill's Tangled Web

One of them lied. Anita Hill's charges were as detailed as Clarence Thomas's denials were categorical. Now comes a book, "The Real Anita Hill" by David Brock, that dismantles the myth that Hill is a conservative Republican who was driven from Washington by sexual harassment.

Reunion In The Desert

If you want to know everything important about baseballmeaning everything about baseball; there is nothing unimportant-you can memorize the 2,857 pages of The Baseball Encyclopedia.

'Medicine' For '724 Children'

Herewith an understated introduction to the practice of pediatrics in the inner city: "The young child's attempts to master the age-appropriate fears of monsters under the bed are severely undermined when the child needs to sleep under the bed to dodge real bullets or attempt to screen out the violent fights of his or her caregivers." That is from a recent article in The Journal of the American Medical Association, which reported a survey of elementary school-age children in New Orleans: 90...

'The Fatal Conceit'

Clinton's Washington is awash with "the fatal conceit." The phrase is from the late Friedrich von Hayek, Nobel Prize-winning economist. The conceit is the belief that governing elites can make the future conform to their plans, and should do so because the alternative-allowing markets to allocate resources and opportunities-makes the preferences of the untutored many superior to the planning of the expert few.

Agents Of What Change?

President Clinton is quite cross about "the economic elite," a.k.a. "the privileged few," and is promising to punish them by raising their taxes. That will teach them not to do it again. (Do what?

Old Hickory Is Not Amused

Seeing the use to which his name is being put, the ghost of Andrew Jackson cannot be amused. But, then, Old Hickory-brawler, dueler, warrior, Indian remover, slayer of the Second Bank of the United States-rarely was of a mind to be amused.

'Exoneration' Of Alger Hiss

On Oct. 29 The New York Times reported that Gen. Dmitri Volkogonov, in charge of oversight of Russia's intelligence archives, had declared the espionage accusation against Alger Hiss "completely groundless." He said, "Not a single document, and a great amount of materials has been studied, substantiates the allegation." He made this declaration at the behest of Hiss, and of John Lowenthal, who traveled to Moscow and whom the Times described as "a historian and filmmaker who has long studied the...

1992: Came The Revolution

Like Lenin and Trotsky returning from Swiss and Siberian exiles, the American left, at long last a winner of a presidential election, has, as it were, surged forth from the Finland station and stormed the Winter Palace, so now America's propertied classes are at the mercy of ...

Here Come The Eager Beavers

James Carville, Bill Clinton's Clausewitz, talks like an Uzi, in bursts. He should do the president-elect a final favor by firing off for him the story of the traffic lights on Florida Street in Baton Rouge.


Voters, encouraged by candidates and by journalists caught up in all the folderol, begin to believe that a presidential election is like a walk along the lip of a volcano: a matter of life and death.


The finest words spoken so far in this political season were: "I don't want some poor guy in West Virginia, who works in a coal mine, to chip in for a subway he'll never see." So spoke Bruce Herschensohn, a California Republican seeking a U.S. Senate seat.

The 'Truman Paradigm'

Publishing poetry has been likened to tossing rose petals into the Grand Canyon and waiting for echoes. You might think that would also describe publishing (when the public thinks politicians are valuable only as a source of protein) a biography of an unglamorous president who was deeply unpopular most of his time in office, who left office not merely disliked but disdained-and before most of today's readers were politically awake.

Bedeviled By Ethnicity

The Balkans, again. There this century's fuse first sputtered, leading, in 1914, to the explosion that blew to smithereens the Hapsburg, Romanov and Ottoman empires.

Labels Do Matter

Is Bill Clinton our Henry of Navarre (1553-1610)? Henry, King of France, was raised a Protestant but twice embraced Catholicism for political reasons, once with words that could be the credo of many a politician: "Paris is well worth a mass."Is Clinton a chastened, converted liberal?

The Dumpling Also Rises

No one now mistakes George Bush for Old King Cole. A merry old soul he is not. He is trying to become the fourth president since the Second World War, the 6th in this century and the 15th in history to win a second election.

The Veep And The Blatherskite

The more thoughtful half of the Bush-Quayle team has recently been brimming over with thoughts, two of which merit more amplification than he gave them. Quayle says Perot "has contempt for the Constitution." And Quayle says the election of Perot would deepen the problem of "the deadlock between the elected branches" of the government. "So let us return to the tried and true.

The Barefoot Billionaire

Who, besides Bill Clinton and George Bush, is responsible for Ross Perot's remarkable political rise? Owen Wister is. Ninety years ago this week he published a novel, "The Virginian." It pioneered a literary genre, the Western; it invented the cowboy of popular imagination, and it defined a region, the West, as a repository of American yearnings and regrets.

'Shadow World'

Popular fiction can popularize ideas, so Michael Crichton's best-selling "Rising Sun" is dismaying as a symptom and reprehensible as an act. It is a crime novel well stocked with murder and other mayhem-or, as Crichton says, other Japanese business practices.

That Man On Horseback

Ross Perot is saddled up and raring to ride to the nation's rescue-but only if the country says " pretty please" on the 100 phone lines he has installed, so reluctant is he.

The Keepers Of The Rules

OVERLAND PARK, KANS.-One of the battery of physical therapists who put Steve Palermo through an average of five hours of pain, five days a week, says he is the first patient she has had who, looking back on the episode that broke his body, insists he would do it again.