George Will is one of my favorite columnists/commentators. I appreciate his historical perspective and his logical approach. But every so often he seems to lose his perspective and become a shill for ideologues. This past Sunday’s edition of the TV news show This Week was one such occasion.
Mr. LaGreca, I hear a certain dissonance in your message. Your message is, Washington is corrupt, Washington is the handmaiden of the powerful. A lot of conservatives agree with that. But then you say this corrupt Washington that’s the handmaiden of the powerful should be much more powerful in regulating our lives. Why do you want a corrupt government bigger in our lives?
This is a classic “when did you stop beating your wife” trick question. LaGreca did a reasonable job answering, but I would have been shorter:
Mr. Will, as a historian, I am sure you are familiar with the works of Adam Smith. In his book The Wealth of Nations he described how individuals pursuing their selfish ends were guided “as if by an invisible hand” to achieve the common good. I think we can call this the “Capitalist Manifesto”. But he also said that the “invisible hand” can only function within a system of laws and common morés.
Is it so unreasonable for the people to demand that their government institute and enforce laws to prevent people from turning our vital financial institutions into giant Ponzi schemes?