One of the serious thinkers for whom I have had great respect for many years is George Will, perhaps America’s leading voice for thoughtful conservatism, tinged with libertarianism. Here’s a quote from his book The Conservative Sensibility that impressed me.
“The Conservatives’ task is to build a society that nurtures individuals to self-sufficiency, including independence from politics. Now more than ever conservatives need to be focused on this nurturing because the related forces of urbanization and statism are exerting a powerful pull toward an enervating dependency. It is a dependency on large economic entities, and on government, for security. Ultimately, it is a dependency on – and addiction to – security as the highest aim of life. This addiction produces, over time, a timid, fearful debased people erecting barriers against a competitive world and aggressively asserting an entitlement mentality, including an entitlement to government protection against uncertainty. This entitlement exacts a steep moral cost. Government that acknowledges such an entitlement becomes a bland Leviathan, administering a soft, kindly, but ultimately corrupting statism of benighted benevolence.”
The Ethan Allen Institute has been the voice of the political philosophy that animates both George Will and Vermont’s 1777 Constitution, which is a wonderful example of what in those early days would be called liberalism. We’re bringing George Will to Vermont on Wednesday May 31 to celebrate the Institute’s thirtieth anniversary. For more information and registration, please visit ethanallen.org
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