wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost

The Post Most: Opinions

direct signup

Today’s Opinions poll

Should the United States fund the service program AmeriCorps? President Obama would increase its budget. Rep. Paul Ryan would eliminate federal funding for the program.

Submit
Next
Review your answers and share

Join a Discussion

Weekly schedule, past shows

Post Partisan
Posted at 03:45 PM ET, 09/06/2012

Hoisted on their own words

While we here at PostScript are waiting to find out whether Bill Clinton’s speech last night was terrible or awesome or what, we have a column from George Will about Barack Obama’s radicality. Radicalness. Radiqqque. Being so radical that PostScript must invent a term for it.

Will described some radical progressive presidents America has had and outlined the way they tried (mostly successfully) to transform the federal government. It is, Will noted, a 20th-century phenomenon and a departure from the philosophy of the Founders.

The Founders, Will argued, were small-government people. The radical progressives favored the gigantic, arms-up-to-the-elbows mechanics of Hummer-sized government.

Interestingly, commenters argued about this quote-heavy column with quotes of their own. PostScript cannot recall such a what-he-said comments section in her thousand-minute history of PostScripting.

Our first two quotes (and one quote within a quote!) have big shocking twists at the ends when you find out who said them. Take it, stormkrow:

On its Centennial, the Republican Party again calls to the minds of all Americans the great truth first spoken by Abraham Lincoln: “The legitimate object of Government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate and individual capacities. But in all that people can individually do as well for themselves, Government ought not to interfere.”
We are proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs — expansion of social security — broadened coverage in unemployment insurance — improved housing — and better health protection for all our people. We are determined that our government remain warmly responsive to the urgent social and economic problems of our people.
GOP Platform 1956

Shocking twist! Got any more for us, keller1?

Guess who wrote this defense of government?
“Eisenhower’s conservatism ended the conservatives’ pretense that the New Deal’s steps toward a welfare state were steps along “the road to serfdom,” and reversible. Eisenhower knew those steps reflected realities common to all developed nations — broad acceptance of the ethic of common provision, and the majority’s desire to purchase things, such as certain pension and health services, collectively . . . The problem is not “bigness,” it is unreasonable intrusiveness, which is a function of (bad) policy, not size.”
George F. Will in 1981.

SHOCKING! Tedmacks, care to lend a hand, maybe against Will’s radical presidents?

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busy bodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” C.S. Lewis

PostScript admits a little shiver of delight in the phrase “omnipotent moral busybodies.” Eee.

Leftbank quotes an IMAGE, which PostScript does not believe has happened before on her watch:

Will describes some radical progressive presidents America has had and outlines the way they tried (mostly successfully) to transform the federal government. It is, Will notes, a twentieth-century phenomenon, and a departure from the philosophy of the Founders.

PostScript can’t help but notice that listing quotes is in fact the very function of PostScript and is delighted to see the form take root in the comments themselves. For as Hamlet said, certainly with the function of PostScript on his horizon, “the purpose . . . whose end both at the first and now, was and is, to hold as ‘twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature.”

By Rachel Manteuffel  |  03:45 PM ET, 09/06/2012

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company