Before David Brooks came along to snatch away the title, George F. Will was every liberal’s favorite conservative. He still retains an enormous reservoir of prestige among non-conservatives. Some of it stems from his regular fits of non-partisanship. The rest is atmospheric – he is erudite, possessed of innumerable historical and literary analogies; he wears a bow tie; he has many leather-bound books.
But he’s also out of his gourd.
Consider Will’s column from the past weekend. It centered primarily on climate change, a favorite Will topic – he is a climate-science skeptic. Occasionally, Will ventures forth to cast doubt on the science directly, but he usually takes the total falseness of the climate-science field for granted and proceeds from that basis. In his recent column, Will argues that liberals made up the global warming scare in order to justify their desire to ration energy:
Because progressivism exists to justify a few people bossing around most people and because progressives believe that only government’s energy should flow unimpeded, they crave energy scarcities as an excuse for rationing — by them — that produces ever-more-minute government supervision of Americans’ behavior. …
An all-purpose rationale for rationing in its many permutations has been the progressives’ preferred apocalypse, the fear of climate change.
Did you read that carefully? Will is not arguing that liberals are misguided, or even that climate science is wrong. He thinks liberals were sitting around looking for ways to reduce peoples’ standard of living in order to enrich themselves, and global warming is the rationale they concocted. Along with virtually all the climate scientists.
Of course, by Will’s theory, liberals could just as easily have decided to start claiming that wheat is scarce or that cotton is scarce and started a big campaign to pass laws restricting them. This would have been just as effective a way to justify new bureaucracies charged with bossing around Americans. Somehow that didn’t happen.
It may be the case that Will is one of the most erudite and interesting intellectuals associated with the modern conservative movement. But, sadly, that does not preclude him from also having completely insane conspiratorial beliefs.