George F. Will

Dawnism In California

Armies on the march are no match for a terrible idea whose time has come, and in California the terrible idea is an army on the march--an army of disgruntled voters exercising their ridiculous right to utter a collective "Oops!"California's constitution is riddled with early-20th-century Progressivism, the persuasion of the sort of people an English wit once called Dawnists--people who believe that there will be a dawn of perpetual happiness if the people are just allowed to work their will.

Race-Norming In Michigan

Before America became as enlightened as it is now, Asian-Americans were denied, among much else, the equal protection of the law. In various jurisdictions they were forbidden to testify in courts against whites, practice law, be employed by corporations, attend public schools, marry Caucasians (a California law prohibiting marriage between a white and a "Negro, mulatto, Mongolian or member of the Malay race" was signed in 1945 by Gov.

High Noon For 'Diversity'

The late Justice William Brennan reportedly said that the most important word in the Supreme Court is not "justice" or "equality" or "law" but "five." Soon the Supreme Court, and perhaps Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as the decisive fifth vote, will decide whether racial preferences will be part of American higher education forever, or whether America will continue its long, meandering march to a colorblind society.The result may turn on how she construes fidelity to her departed friend Justice...

The Stiletto's Sharp Idea

Secretaries of labor, if they are republicans, generally come and go quickly. Organized labor and its many congressional allies are so relentlessly hostile to Republicans, the secretaries grow weary of constant guerrilla warfare, and depart: their average tenure since 1960 is just 24 months--less than half the 47-month average for Democratic secretaries.But the current secretary, Elaine Chao--as slender as a stiletto, and as steely--is not going away.

The Politics Of Vengeance

Many members of the House and Senate say they ran for office out of love--of justice, equality, peace, the American way, etc. James Inhofe says he ran for Congress in 1986 for "vengeance." In a city full of people who pretend to believe that politics should be kinder and gentler, Inhofe is refreshing.

Measured Audacity

Not many people even know there is a memorial in the nation's capital to Ulysses Simpson Grant, whose hard slogging--"I propose to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer"--saved the nation from dismemberment.

Three Strikes And You're In

If being dumb were a crime, Gary Ewing and Leandro Andrade would be Al Capone and Don Corleone. And if "possibly misguided" or "arguably unfair" were synonyms for "unconstitutional," perhaps the Supreme Court should have struck down the sentences imposed on Ewing and Andrade under California's "three strikes" law.But they are not synonyms.

After Powell, Before War

At 10 a.m. eastern time Wednesday, as Colin Powell arrived at the United Nations to tutor some slow learners about the obvious regarding Iraq, North Korea--it was midnight there--announced it was reactivating the Yongbyon nuclear facilities, but only to produce electricity "at the present stage." This announcement came five days after U.S. satellites had seen fuel rods being moved around the facility, which has an insignificant capacity for generating electricity but can produce fissile...

Once More, The Bullhorn

The President's economic policy announced last Tuesday in Chicago refutes the notion that today's disputes between the two parties express merely "the narcissism of small differences." The president spoke the day the 108th Congress convened, and what he said means that the 108th will bear some resemblance to the 97th.

2002: Let's Keep Dancing

Onward and upward with homo sapiens. A 7 million-year-old skull uncovered this year in Central Africa belonged to someone the size of a chimpanzee and is the earliest--by about a million years--yet discovered member of the human family.

The Sound Of Bakersfield

Bakersfield, Calif.--Buck Owens came to this city, 100 miles north of Los Angeles, at the southern end of the prodigiously fertile San Joaquin Valley, to pick cotton, not a guitar.

'Electronic Morphine'

On the North bank of the Ohio River sits Evansville, Ind., home of David Williams, 52, and of a riverboat casino. During several years of gambling in that casino, Williams, a state auditor earning $35,000 a year, lost approximately $175,000.

Jimmy Carter, Disappointed

Jimmy Carter, whose reputation as a better ex-president than president constitutes damnation with the faintest possible praise, is a Christian whose services to his faith include making vivid the scarlet sin of pride.

Optimism And The Economy

The cupboard where democrats store their adjectives must be nearly bare. "Tragic, deplorable, abysmal" and "atrocious" is Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's description of the economy. "Stumbling, staggering, faltering," says Nevada's Sen.

Etchings And Then Posters

President Theodore Roosevelt explained how he helped his secretary of war, William Howard Taft, campaign to succeed him: "I told him he must treat the political audience as one coming, not to see an etching, but a poster." Bold strokes, bright colors.

Another Pose Of Rectitude

George Orwell's axiom about intellectuals--that some ideas are so silly that only intellectuals will embrace them--needs a corollary that covers U.S. senators: No international agreement is so grandiose in its ambitions and so unclear about the obligations it imposes that it cannot receive the support of many U.S. senators.

Hog Heaven: Harley At 100

Milwaukee--in 1903, young men (the hyperkinetic president was just 45) were on the move. The Wright brothers--Wilbur, 36, and Orville, 32--left their bicycle shop in Dayton to take their 12-second, 120-foot flight at Kitty Hawk.

One Nation Under Judges

Last week was replete with reminders that there was something to be said for the Ninth Circuit Court's ruling that there is something wrong with the Pledge of Allegiance's assertion that this is "one nation under God." But that court, famously imaginative and frequently reversed, got wrong what is wrong.

Elias Knows Everything

Last Monday Nancy and Henry Kissinger arrived at a Manhattan restaurant at 8:10 p.m. and excitedly recounted what they had just listened to in their car: a Yankee rookie in his first major league at-bat had hit a home run off a fearsome pitcher--the Diamondbacks' Randy Johnson, who is 6 feet 10 and looks like a giant praying mantis with an attitude.Before the Kissingers had time to examine their menus, some baseball commentators were reporting that this was the first time since 1986 that a...

A Train Wreck Called Title Ix

On this 30th anniversary of the enactment of Title IX, the law prohibiting sexual discrimination in education, consider this: has even more nonsense been written about Title IX than has been committed in its name?Title IX, as adumbrated by ideology-besotted Education Department regulation writers, has produced this lunacy:Colleges have killed more than 400 men's athletic teams in order to produce precise proportionality between men's and women's enrollments and men's and women's rates of...

Powell's Path To Jerusalem

Last week The Washington Post reported "the belief held by many Israelis that the recent suicide bombings are an example of anti-Jewish violence." Those who hold this "belief" reject alternative explanations of the violence, such as: The terrorists are targeting Brazilians but are confused about which hemisphere they are in.Intellectual confusion and moral miasma, expressed in Orwellian language, now permeate U.S. policy and media coverage concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


It is probably the most pernicious idea ever to gain general acceptance in America. No idea has done more, and more lasting, damage than the "one drop" rule, according to which if you have any admixture of black ancestry, you are black, period.

Virtue At Last! (In November)

Presidential Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, pioneering new frontiers of fatuity, says some parts of the Shays-Meehan campaign-finance bill please his boss and others do not. "But ultimately the process is moving forward, and the president is pleased." Ultimately, in Washington, the celebration of "process" signals the abandonment of principle.

Soft Money, Odd Thinking

Rep. Richard Gephardt set a winter indoor record for audacious arguing when he wrung this lesson from the Enron debacle: "The real scandal here may not be what the administration did to help Enron, but what it avoided doing because it was concerned that the campaign contributions created the appearance of conflict." Political people are adroit at arguing that anything and everything that happens, or does not happen, demonstrates the wisdom of whatever they want.