To make political points, columnists who are ideologically rigid often make wild leaps that defy logic and fact. To put down a contemporary American government he sees as progressivist and paternalistic, George Will starts by slamming PBS’s popular “Downton Abbey” series, snidely labeling it “British artistic syrup” for a “disproportionately progressive audience” (“‘Abbey’ Fans Forget Hamilton,” Feb. 13).
He then goes on to skewer Thomas Jefferson as a paternalistic American counterpart of the landed gentry in Downton. The facile Will, who ever seems to delight in his own cleverness and intelligence, then brings Alexander Hamilton into the fray as his champion of anti-aristocratic, free-market capitalism.
One serious problem: Will’s stereotypes of both Jefferson and Hamilton distort the truth. While a supporter of capitalism, Hamilton was also a passionate advocate of strong central government, tariffs, and a powerful national bank, direct forerunners of the big “regulatory state” Mr. Will so indignantly attacks.